I cannot remember being surrounded in such a cloud of depression caused a world event as I am currently over the Lebanon situation. Israel's actions and rhetoric have been frightening, no less so than yesterday's comment from Amir Peretz:
"Let no terror organisation feel we would cower from any operation," he said. "We have no intention of conquering Lebanon but... we will do it without thinking twice."
It seems clear that Israel's actions are not merely a response to the two soldiers killed by Hizbullah a week ago. As the Economist describes, the military aid given to Hizbullah by Syria and Iran has built it into a major force in the region. From Israel's point of view this is an intolerable situation.
Any sympathy this may have drawn however has been totally extinguished by the manner of the invasion. With over 300 Lebanese dead, a paltry proportion of which can be identified as Hizbullah is ripping the heart out of a country only recently finding its feet after Syrian occupation. This is not to forget, either, the smokescreen the Lebanon action provides for the renewed shelling of Gaza (are we now seeing the real reason for the withdrawal?) with 130 dead there in the last week.
There are some glimmers of hope. Louise Arbour of the UN Human Rights Commission has stated that Israel's attacks on civilians and there are some in Europe willing for some kind of intervention.
Unfortunately Britain, or rather Blair, has not seen fit to join this club. Contrary to Foreign office advice, "Tony" Blair has again deigned to stand strong and boldly do whatever the US tells him to. I would love to know waht defintion of diplomatic expediency old Tony subscribes to, but being afraid of not treading on toes when such outrage is being committed gives lie once more to the opinion that ours is a morally driven Prime Minister.
The worrying thing about Lebanon is that so many of the world's web of problems seem tangled within its small borders: Israel-Palestine, Iran, US-Europe relations, European unity, post-colonialism, neo-colonialism. I don't think its too sensationalist to say that all these could unravel if the situation escalates. Lets hope the cloud lifts soon.
The capital-mobilising deal maker
13 hours ago