Monday, August 07, 2006

Fisk: That there will be another 9/11.

via kathleen (thnx!) the Independent has liberated Robert Fisk!

"Is it to be like this every day? How many civilians can you make homeless before you start a revolution? And what is next? Are the Israelis to bomb the centre of Beirut? The Corniche? Is this why all the foreign warships came and took their citizens away, to make Beirut safe to destroy?
Indeed, as the Lebanon war continues to destroy innocent lives - most of them Lebanese - the conflict seems to be increasingly aimless. The Israeli air force has succeeded in killing perhaps 50 Hizbollah members and 600 civilians and has destroyed bridges, milk factories, gas stations, fuel storage depots, airport runways and thousands of homes. But to what purpose?

Does the United States any longer believe Israel's claims that it will destroy Hizbollah when its army clearly cannot do anything of the kind? Does Washington not realise that when Israel grows tired of this war, it will plead for a ceasefire - which only Washington can deliver by doing what it most loathes to do: by taking the road to Damascus and asking for help from President Bashar al-Assad of Syria?

What in the meanwhile is happening to Lebanon? Bridges and buildings can be reconstructed - with European Union loans, no doubt - but many Lebanese are now questioning the institutions of the democracy for which the US was itself so full of praise last year. What is the point of a democratically elected Lebanese government which cannot protect its people? What is the point of a 75,000-member Lebanese army which cannot protect its nation, which cannot be sent to the border, which does not fire on Lebanon's enemies and which cannot disarm Hizbollah? Indeed, for many Lebanese Shias, Hizbollah is now the Lebanese army.

So fierce has been Hizbollah's resistance - and so determined its attacks on Israeli ground troops in Lebanon - that many people here no longer recall that it was Hizbollah which provoked this latest war by crossing the border on 12 July, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two others. Israel's threats of enlarging the conflict even further are now met with amusement rather than horror by a Lebanese population which has been listening to Israel's warnings for 30 years with ever greater weariness. And yet they fear for their lives. If Tel Aviv is hit, will Beirut be spared. Or if central Beirut is hit, will Tel Aviv be spared? Hizbollah now uses Israel's language of an eye for an eye. Every Israeli taunt is met by a Hizbollah taunt.

And do the Israelis realise that they are legitimising Hizbollah, that a rag-tag army of guerrillas is winning its spurs against an Israeli army and air force whose targets - if intended - prove them to be war criminals and if unintended suggest that they are a rif-raff little better than the Arab armies they have been fighting, on and off, for more than half a century? Extraordinary precedents are being set in this Lebanon war.

In fact, one of the most profound changes in the region these past three decades has been the growing unwillingness of Arabs to be afraid. Their leaders - our "moderate" pro-Western Arab leaders such as King Abdullah of Jordan and President Mubarak of Egypt - may be afraid. But their peoples are not. And once a people have lost their terror, they cannot be re-injected with fear. Thus Israel's consistent policy of smashing Arabs into submission no longer works. It is a policy whose bankruptcy the Americans are now discovering in Iraq.

And all across the Muslim world, "we" - the West, America, Israel - are fighting not nationalists but Islamists. And watching the martyrdom of Lebanon this week - its slaughtered children in Qana packed into plastic bags until the bags ran out and their corpses had to be wrapped in carpets - a terrible and daunting thought occurs to me, day by day. That there will be another 9/11.

from a man who has just about seen it all.

had enough?


Miguel said...

Just to add a little personal touch- I got in touch with my sister-in-law (who lives in Lebanon) on Saturday. She and her husband, an Armenian-Lebanese, are doing OK and are far from the fighting. But my wife and I did all we could do to cheer her up because the situation is very depressing, even for someone who has not personally witnessed violence. Her husband can't work because the country is shut down- and she has an awful decision to make. Should she stay with her husband and his family and hope the situation gets better soon? Or should she try to flee to her home country (a tropical island near the African coast) and risk not seeing her husband for a very long time?

Among the Lebanese, I am told, there is a difference of opinion as to how long the war is going to last. Some say 2 weeks, other say 6 months.

If Larisa's sources are right- it could be far longer than even 6 months. We are torn between cautioning her that the war could last a very long time and just keeping our mouths shut. Because at the end of the day, it may be very difficult for her to get out of the country anyway, and we don't want her to get any more depressed than she already is.

lukery said...

miguel - wish i had some words.

in the interim - your family is in my thoughts. have been fretting about them for weeks.

rimone said...

Miguel, i just don't have the words. i wish your sister-in-law and her family the best of luck. i surely don't know what i'd do, in the same situation.

but i'm so sorry, SO sorry, that we've enabled these criminals.

Miguel said...

Thanks guys (assuming rimone is a guy too!). I guess we are thankful they are far from the bombing. But it should be a reminder that war upends not only the lives of those wounded by shrapnel, but the lives of many others as well. In the case of Lebanon, there is probably not a single Lebanese citizen who has not been negatively affected by the war, be they Christian, Sunni, Shiite, Orthodox or Druze.

lukery said...

rimone is a woman

i meant to post yesterday (and will today): 'imagine if 70million americans were 'displaced''

rimone said...

Miguel's like the 3rd dude this year to think i'm one too.

lol, oh well.

lukery said...

R - better that than being recognized as an american ;-)

Miguel said...

Sorry,that's my mistake! I definitely won't make it again. At least I know you're not American now...

rimone said...

but...but...i /am/ American. :-)

lukery said...

so much confusion!

rimone is an american woman in the UK. (and she rocks)

Kathleen said...


Happy Birthday, Leo girl! I love your slant on things. Astoooote, with a twist.

rimone said...

THANK YOU, Kathleen. :-) (i'm so blushing here.)

lukery said...

im soooooo happy that you are all so smart and that you value each other and everything.

am so glad that you all met at my little watering hall. you guys are the greatest. can't tell you what it means to have you all in my days.


rimone said...

i know, dude. i don't feel so alone anymore, having found you and those who comment here.

*suppressed raving about huge-ass political sites w/hundreds of comments* apart from saying i'm so into subverting the dominant link hierarchy (a raving for another time). :-)

ps, fuck the kewl kids' klubs, lol

lukery said...

you do seem to spend a lot of time in comments. i dont seem to have enuogh time