Sunday, July 23, 2006

Order vs. Disorder

Thomas Friedman finds novelty in the Lebanon conflagration because it is about borders and sovereignty, in contrast to being just another Arab-Israeli war. One wonders what he thinks the Arab-Israeli wars have typically been about if not borders and sovereignty.

He then goes on stress the need for an international force with robust rules of engagement. He sees the force as a source of protection for the Lebanese army, especially from Hizballah. He neglects to add that Israel has a long record of recidivism when it comes to ignoring Lebanon's borders and dismissing its sovereignty. So might he not wish to add that the force should be prepared to protect the Lebanese residents of the south from Israel? If this is not one of the force's responsibilities, there will be trouble ahead for it.

Finally, the bloody record of Lebanon's earlier international force (1982-84) reveals that without scrupulous neutrality there is a very good likelihood that soldiers sent to protect others will spend much of their time protecting themselves, not least because the hundreds of thousands of southern Lebanese whose homes, villages and fields are being now being savaged by Israel's war for hegemony are not going to be very happy campers.

Order vs. Disorder - New York Times: "So this is not just another Arab-Israeli war. It is about some of the most basic foundations of the international order — borders and sovereignty — and the erosion of those foundations would spell disaster for the quality of life all across the globe."

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