“Our policy is very simple. The Jewish state was set up to defend Jewish lives, and we always reserve the right to defend ourselves.” – Benjamin Netanyahu
The mideast turmoil keeps bubbling and churning, and there have been some rather interesting (and disconcerting) developments of late. First, a coalition of NATO nations have gone on the offensive to disrupt Mohammar Qaddafi’s genocide against his own people, resulting in some interesting politics:
- Barack Obama said back in 2007 that the president had no power to go to war without a direct threat against the US – which president Obama has now done. Is he right or wrong in the first statement? it depends on who you ask. One thing is clear – he is a hypocrite. (Of course this leads to a finer point about not making bold, principled arguments that you don’t actually support just because they fit nicely into some rhetorical theatrics. Believe what you believe, and stick to that.)
- Vice President Biden, it turns out, made even more dramatic statements about impeaching president Bush over “unapproved” military adventures. No word yet on whether he is leading an effort to impeach president Obama (currently that effort is being headed up by Denis Kucinich).
- Non-US NATO members were chomping at the bit to get involved and show themselves strong – until the fighting started. Then, having realized that Qaddafi wouldn’t fall immediately they started backing down and bowing out – fearful that madman Mohammar might resort to terrorism (he has history, you know) and they don’t want to be the target.
Time will tell if that last bullet will play out, though one suspects that Colonel Qaddafi won’t go quietly. He’s got a lot of money, and apparently very little left to lose (he’s already been targeted!).
In other international terrorism news, violence coming out of the Gaza strip has intensified in the last few days. The Israelis were understandably nervous about uprisings across the Arab states; you never know just where instability will land you. (Even Qaddafi, when he started to feel the heat a bit, tried to find common cause with the uprisings and declare that everybody should join in a general Arab uprising against Israel.)
The number of rocket attacks has increased, and just today a bomb exploded near a bus stop in central Jerusalem. This has gone beyond Arab citizens, oppressed by their own dictatorial governments, rising up demanding freedom. My guess is that the Israelis have few good options available.
Can they handle the Gaza insurgency? Sure. They could dispatch it post haste. However, doing so would possibly serve to focus the grass-roots movements across the region and coalesce them into an anti-Israeli movement. (Perhaps they are headed there anyway, but I find that option to be anything but a given.) Of course, not responding also has its troubles. The problem won’t just go away if ignored. What about giving in to some demands? Appeasement has never worked either.
So, we don’t know what Netanyahu and the Israeli defense forces will do. We do know that the region is heating up (if that’s possible). And what can we do with this information? Make a fuss over here in the US and demand certain actions from our government? Well, I suppose we can; but I also suppose they have a pretty full plate right now and aren’t quite sure what to do with “trivial” stuff like Libya. At the very least I would like to see an untempered statement from the Obama White House about how these attacks are unacceptable and intolerable. No calls for concessions, understanding, dealing with the nuances of the issue and Palestinian demands. First, a clear statement on the main issue of the violence against civilians.
What else? “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” – Psalm 122:6. Prayer … always a good response.
We’ll keep an eye on the news, hoping for boring stories rather than intense ones. For now though, it seems to be the intense that is on the rise.