Tuesday, August 29, 2006
"Key US legislator says will block aid to Lebanon, by Adam Entous, Reuters, 27 August 2006, http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060827/ts_nm/mideast_usa_lebanon_dc (from Democratic Underground).
"Islamic Revival in Syria Is Led by Women," by Katherine Zoepf, New York Times, 29 August 2006, A1, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/29/world/middleeast/29syria.html.
Tom Lantos, a California Democrat who not only supports a McCain-Lieberman foreign policy but also married a first-cousin of Zsa-Zsa Gabor, pushes for the continued separation of Lebanon from Syria:
A key U.S. legislator said in Israel on Sunday he would block aid President George W. Bush promised Lebanon and free the funds only when Beirut agreed to the deployment of international troops on the border with Syria
"The international community must use all our available means to stiffen Lebanon's spine and to convince the government of Lebanon to have the new UNIFIL troops on the Syrian border in adequate numbers," said Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives' International Relations Committee.
Syria, showing the same stupidity that got her expelled from Lebanon in the first place, promises to play into her enemies' hands
Syria has threatened to shut its border with Lebanon if U.N. troops deploy there. Israel says it will not lift a sea and air blockade of Lebanon unless a U.N. force helps ensure that no new weapons reach Hizbollah in the south.
Meanwhile, women less glamorous than Zsa-Zsa (and not of the liberal Muslims kind) do their bit to hasten their brothers and submit Damascus to the Koran
At those meetings, participants say, they are tutored further in the faith and are even taught how to influence some of their well-connected fathers and husbands to accept a greater presence of Islam in public life.
These are the two faces of an Islamic revival for women in Syria, one that could add up to a potent challenge to this determinedly secular state. Though government officials vociferously deny it, Syria is becoming increasingly religious and its national identity is weakening. If Islam replaces that identity, it may undermine the unity of a society that is ruled by a Muslim religious minority, the Alawites, and includes many religious groups.
Syrian officials, who had front-row seats as Hezbollah dragged Lebanon into war, are painfully aware of the myriad ways that state authority can be undermined by increasingly powerful, and appealing, religious groups. Though Syria’s government supports Hezbollah, it has been taking steps to ensure that the phenomenon it helped to build in Lebanon does not come to haunt it at home.
For many years any kind of religious piety was viewed here with skepticism. But while men suspected of Islamist activity are frequently interrogated and jailed, subjecting women to such treatment would cause a public outcry that the government cannot risk. Women have taken advantage of their relatively greater freedom to form Islamic groups, becoming a deeply rooted and potentially subversive force to spread stricter and more conservative Islamic practices in their families and communities.
Mr. Abdul Salam explained that such secret Islamic prayer groups recruited women differently, depending on their social position. “They teach poor women how to humble themselves in front of their husbands and how to pray, but they’re teaching upper-class women how to influence politics,” he said.
(It is not surprising that radical Muslims are exploiting women in this way. Christians did the same thing to spread their ideology and conquer Rome. Women are not somehow opposed to religion. They are the vehicles for religion.)
Arab National-Secularism is in collapse. Since Sharon took power in 2000, and Bush took power in 2001, Lebanon and Iraq have been freed from the National-Secularist yoke. Now we see the Syrian National-Secularists increasingly isolated from their former-client and from their own people.
Like the Qaedists, the National-Secularists are losing. The dreams of our generational enemies in the Middle East are falling apart. Good.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The question is which is preferable... 2000
Israel Surrounded by Arab National-Seularist Regimes
Rollback of Arab National-Secularism
The first map, the world as it was before George Bush and Ariel Sharon, shows an Israel surrounded by Arab National-Secularist regimes: Yasser Arafat's Fatah-led PLO in the east, and two states controlled by the Baath party, Lebanon and Syria. The situation gets even worse down south, as another Arab National-Secularist regime, Egypt, borders Israel on the Sinai. The only half-way normal neighbor Israel had was the tribalist Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Arab National-Secularism was one of the worst products of the twentieth century, the intellectual offshoot of German National-Socialism and an ideology may have done less harm if it ruled for a few bloody years (as the NSDAP did in Germany) whether than perverting generations of minds.
If Arab National-Secularism merely left lifeless, frozen states in its midst, fine. But National-Secularism has done worse than freezing the cultures of the states it takes over, but it begins destroying the culture. Arab National-Secularism, by taking away the traditional meaning of life while not replacing it with economic growth, leaves behind a murderous rage. In states like Egypt and Syria it has so-far been contained by massacres and political repression. In countries where it can break free, such as Iraq and Lebanon, the consequence is state failure and civil war.
Israel's greatest enemy has been the National-Secularism and, because of its wise actions, Israel is in the final phases of destroying Arab National-Secularism as a political force.
The recent Israel War in Lebanon did not succeed in destroying Hezbollah as a fighting force -- it failed as a war in the context of war -- but it succeeded in further rolling back the Arab National-Secularist block that has been Israel's main enemy. The War in Lebanon succeeded as a War in the Context of Everything Else<. In the context of war, Isarel's failure to disarm Hezbollah makes Hizbullah stronger. In the context of everything else, Israel's failure to disarm Hezbollah weakens Syria (which was forced to stay out of the fight due to fear of Israeli retaliation and Muslim Brother reaction).
Lebanon is now even further away from Syria's sphere of influence than before the Hezbollah War. All actors see yet another failure by an Arab National-Secularist government, and another success by a Shia Theocratic government.
Lebanon will now be contested between the country's indigenous, globally-oriented, Catholic-Sunni majority, and a smaller but well armed Shia minority. It is important that whatever country leads the SysAdmin effort in that country, be if France, Italy, or someone else, that the Catholic-Sunni majority's interests are favored. Yet it is a mistake to believe that just because Hezbollah won the war Israel must lose the peace. On the contrary, by further weakening its primary 4GW adversary, Israel is closer to "peace" than ever.
A New Middle East, a tdaxp series
A New Middle East 1: Our Vanquished Enemies
A New Middle East 2: Iran
A New Middle East 3: Israel
A New Middle East 4: Islam is the Answer
Sunday, August 20, 2006
"The Big Bang spreads . . . the rough way," by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 7 October 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002427.html (from tdaxp).
"President's Radio Address," by George Bush, White House Radio, 19 August 2006, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/08/20060819.html.
As George Bush assumed power in January 2001, the Middle East was in a dire state. The al-Qaeda backed Taliban government ruled Afghanistan, while the noxious rule of the Arab Nationalist-Secularist governments (some in uneasy league with America, others opposed) ruled Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria. If al Qaeda was a rapist, doing damage quickly and violently, the Nationalist-Secularists were parents with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. While al Qaeda was more mindlessly violent, the National-Secularists had been disastrous for their states, rolling back the traditional governments and traditional societies that once existed in those lands. The National-Secularists, from the Ba'ath, to Fatah, to the rest, were politically and intellectually bankrupt.
Red = National-Secularist, Green = Shia, Yellow = Tribal, Black = al Qaeda, Blue = Globalist
Since then the situation has changed for the better. In three states the National-Secularists have been driven out: by the US military in Iraq, by the people in Palestine, and by a combination of internal factions and external pressure in Lebanon. And Afghanistan, of course, was liberated in Operational Enduring Freedom.
Red = National-Secularist, Green = Shia, Yellow = Tribal, Blue-Geen = Contested between Iran and Globalist, Blue = Globalist, Purple = Muslim Brothers
That these places are unstable is not proof that Bush's plan is failing, but that it is working. As the President recently said
It is no coincidence that two nations that are building free societies in the heart of the Middle East, Lebanon and Iraq, are also the scenes of the most violent terrorist activity.
The same is true, of course, when Palestine, where the Muslim Brother's local branch, Hamas, is squeezed between a justly hostile Israeli and unjustly hostile National-Secularist dead-enders.
If we are to judge the Global War on Terrorism by the standards of Thomas Barnett:
In the end, what will have to change for all this violence in the Middle East to stop is not our withdrawal, but political reform in the region. Keeping this fight suppressed, or having it exported to our shores like it was on 9/11 is certainly a safer route for the local authoritarian regimes. Then again, I think 9/11 put us past caring about those regimes' stability like we used to.
Bush basically runs a race with Osama: who can destabilize the region's regimes first? Both sides want change, but only one wants to replace the current autocracies with a religious dictatorship. What Bush wants solves the problem. What Osama wants merely extends it.
Then we are clearly winning this Long War. We destabilized Afghanistan, throwing al Qaeda out of their only State. We destabilized National-Secularist Iraq, and now contend with Iran (not al Qaeda) in seeing which of us has the most influence in that State. We destabilize National-Secularist Lebanon, and now content with Iran (not al Qaeda) in seeing which of us has the most influence in that State.
In this New Middle East we are building, we will have to be careful. We will have to deal wisely with the new regional indigenous hegemon, Iran. But we will not have to fear al Qaeda or the National-Secularists. They will be killed. That is why we can leave Iraq now.
A New Middle East, a tdaxp series
A New Middle East 1: Our Vanquished Enemies
A New Middle East 2: Iran
A New Middle East 3: Israel
A New Middle East 4: Islam is the Answer
Monday, August 07, 2006
The Israelis are expert at 4th Generation Wars. This style of war, which focuses on changing the mental orientation of opponents, is normally dangerous for state powers. France lost 4G Wars in Vietnam and Algeria, while the United States was previously set back in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia.
Yet the Israelis are the exception. With a patience often associated with non-state actors, the Jewish State destroyed the nationalist-secularist Palestine Liberation Organization. Exploiting internal divisions among the Palestinian population originally seen during the First Intifada in 1987, Jerusalem began increasing the moral, mental, and physical isolation of the PLO. The first major attack was the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, a controversial move to delegitimize the PLO by removing its reason for being. Low intensity war (with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat repeatedly maneuvered into the role of the senseless aggressor) waged for more than a decade, with Israel ever working to isolate the PLO from its tools for power.
David's Patient Nation
Israeli Victory came on January 25, 2006, when Hamas (a spin-off of the technocratic-fundamentalist Muslim Brothers) trounced the PLO's main political party, Al-Fatah, in free Palestinian elections.
It appears that Israel is using a similar strategy to build victory in Lebanon. Israel recognizes that isolation leads to defeat, so she attempts to maximize her connectivity while minimizing the connectivity of her enemy, Hezbollah. In particular, Israel is attempting to maximize Hezbollah's physical disconnectivity. Israel's airstrikes against roads and bridges that lead to Syria are widely recognized, but attacks on infrastructure by themselves could not do much. There is no "systempunkt" -- the mythical list of physical infrastructure targets that can permanently destroy an enemy -- so Israel instead focuses on changing the long-term correlation of forces.
Behind the scene diplomacy by Israel and her lobbies forced the military expulsion of Syria from Lebanon. Indeed, Dawlat Israil is turning the security situation of Lebanon on its head, from a Hezbollah-friendly state in the Syrian orbit to a country that faces a French anti-Hezbollah invasion. That prospect was viewed by some as impossible when it was first floated last year, but momentum is building.
In summary, Israel is destroying Hezbollah just like she destroyed the PLO: patiently. Israel is excelling at dual-use attacks, not just degrading Hezbollah's firepower in the short-term but changing the facts on the ground that allow Hezbollah to thrive in the long-term.
Friday, August 04, 2006
"OIC is concerned over the UNSC failure to halt Israeli aggression on Lebanon," Syrian Arab News Agency, 3 August 2006, http://www.sana.org/eng/22/2006/08/03/54464.htm (from Democratic Underground).
Some at that toothless talking club, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, has (predictably) joined the anti-Israeli chorus:
Participants at the emergency meeting of the executive committee of the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference vehemently condemned the constant Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Palestine.
The conferees, in a final statement Thursday, held Israel the full responsible for the loss of innocent lives particularly in Qana's second massacre that claimed lives of some 60 innocent persons mostly children and women.
" The OIC is deeply concerned over failure of the UN Security Council to take necessary measures to impose a cease-fire in Lebanon and end the Israeli brutal onslaughts on Lebanon," the statement said.
" The U.N. Security Council is demanded to undertake its responsibility without any further delay by deciding on and enforcing an immediate and unconditional comprehensive cease-fire in Lebanon," the participants underlined.
On Palestine, the Islamic states' leaders demanded of the Israeli complete and unconditioned pull out of the occupied Palestinian territories including western Jerusalem, underscoring necessity of setting up the independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Why predictably? Because the OIC is a defining part of the Gap. We should expect nothing less in this fight of the Core in the Gap -- this Core intervention in a Gap civil war.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
As the anyone-but-Israel crowd (I'm looking at you, Adam, Eddie, and John) heats up its demonization of the Dawlat Israil, some context is needed. Particularly, an understand of the levels of power. These are essentially the levels of anlaysis that were devised by Waltz in his book Man, the State, and War, and since elucidated elsewhere.
In general, a power on one level can meaningful effect those on lower levels, win or lose "fairly" against those on the same level, and very weakly influence the level above.
To understand the Israel-Hizbullah conflict, we must understand where the actors are:
Knowing this, most criticisms are blown away (they were already hot air).
Monday, July 31, 2006
Hezbollah v. the Lebanese Nation, Hezbollah v. the United Nations
In a recent post, Mark described the violence Hezbollah intentionally inflicts on the Lebanese people
As Hezbollah is a semi-4GW organization, it obeys no recognized rules of warfare yet escapes much in the way of blame, and intentionally seeks maximum civilian casualties among Lebanese Shiites from Israeli retaliation, there are certain political realities that cannot be ignored:
Yet the common people of Lebanon are not the only victim's of rejectionist violence in Lebanon's Civil War. The Party of God is also targeting United Nations missions:
The geographically-aware Catholicgauze has blogged on the War in Lebanon before.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Pull out of Iraq while having the air force bomb the Ba'athist government in Syria and the Party of God in Lebanon.
The net results (viz. the April 2003 invasion of Iraq)
- No more minority (Sunni Ba'ath) government in Iraq
- No more minority (Alawite Ba'ath) government in Syria
- No more minority (Hizbollah) government in Lebanon
Our legacy is three rational states, a huge improvement over the mess with British and French made.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Earlier, after terrorists exported trouble from Pakistan to India, I urged readers to view the event through PNM Theory and particularly the PNM/tdaxp synthesis that sees the world divided into several zones
1. The Old Core (North America, Western Europe, Japan)
2. The New Core (Brazil, India, China, etc)
3. The Seam (Cuba, South Africa, Philippines, etc.)
4. The Non-Integrating Gap (Congo, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, etc)
The higher your country up in this list, the nicer your citizens' lives are, the less likely they are to die of starvation, the less likely your women are likely to be raped as a tool of warfare, the less likely your child will die of starvation. All in all, it's fantastic to be born in the Old Core, pretty good to be born in the New Core, somewhat acceptable to be born in the Seam, and a Hobbesian nightmare in the Gap.
A State in the Hobbesian Gap
Part of the Terror of the Gap is that it exports terrorism, death, and disease from the Gap to the Seam and the Core. Lebanon's Civil War's envelopment of Israel is yet another example of this example. We are not seeing in Lebanon "collective punishment" or a "lethal care wreck." We are seeing something that has always existed in the world: the attempted destruction of the good by the bad. Lebanon's export of violence and death to Israel is analogous to Afghanistan's export of violence and death to America, or any of the other recent acts of terrorism against civilized countries.
Fortunately, the success of global capitalism teaches us how this will end: the spread of the Core to the four corners of the world, and the eradication of war as we know it. Between now and that end of history good decisions can be made, and the nature of that final peace can be tweaked this way and that. Much work is to be done, and billions of lives hang in the balance.
Yet when we see specific cases like the current Lebanon-Israel conflict, we know what's going on: the Gap is exporting violence to the Core. If you want a true end to this mess, don't worry about shuttle diplomacy and magic bullets. Instead: Shrink the Gap, primarily through structural economic and security connectivity.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Earlier today a former student of mine asked me for my thoughts on Israel's invasion of Lebanon. I responded directly to him, and decided that because Chirol, Mark, Tom, and everyone else is chatting about the subject I will post my thoughts on the blogosphere as well.
The context is the Lebanese civil war, which was fought by the three largest ethnicities in Lebanon
Shia: ~40% (client of Iran)
Sunni: ~30% (client of Saudi Arabia)
Catholic: ~30% (client of France)
When the French decolonized they left the Catholics in charge with Sunnis as deputies, and for the first thirty years things went relatively well. (The Shia were poor, but no one really cared about them.) A lot of Catholics moved to France or America, decreasing their numbers, but in spite of that things remained stable.
Around 1980 Yasser Arafat's PLO invades Lebanon (if that seems stupid, it was)...