Middle East New Turmoil
Return to the “State of nature”
Ali Asghar Kazemi
July 16, 2006
Those who still believe that “war is a continuation of politics by other means” are disciples of 18th century Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz. Yet, the emergence of nuclear and other weapons of mass destructions rendered the theory obsolete and recourse to war and armed conflicts for settling political disputes was legally prohibited in the United Nations Charter. In actual world however, nations continue to fight each other for various reasons and under different pretexts. The paradigm that still seems to be valid is the social-Darwinism theory and the struggle for survival of human species in a quasi “state of nature” environment.
What happened in the Middle East during the past week appears to fit both theories. On the one hand, Israel, totally despaired and frustrated from the political strata of peace efforts, used the pretext of kidnapped soldier to show the doggedness of the new government vis-à-vis the Palestinian movements. On the other hand, Israel’s over-reaction and disproportionate response to this incident instigated its perennial enemy, Hezbollah, to open a new front in South Lebanon by killing some and kidnapping two other soldiers.
Israel could easily manage the first incident and avoid escalation, but preferred to seize the opportunity to set thing straight with Hamas, which came into power through legitimate democratic process. However, Hezbollah intervention in this situation was eventually not expected, but when they came through some unknown intrigue, this was the best thing that could happen for Israel from a strategic point of view. Since, Israel could use its full pressure on Lebanon and convince the international community that it’s time for the disarmament of Hezbollah with the enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 and to settle the case of an armed entity outside the Lebanese government control.
However, today’s Hezbollah seems to be quite different from the past, when they had limited capability to harm Israel. The types of weapons that Hezbollah has been using recently are much more powerful and accurate. They cover much longer distance and have much heavier munitions. The damages caused to Israeli warship and the industrial arias in Haifa are examples of this radical change in Hezbollah weapon procurement, training and logistics.
Israeli authorities have charged that the Islamic regime in Iran has provided military equipment and training to the Hezbollah. They have even alleged that some members of the Revolutionary Guards (Passdarans) have been behind the land-sea and other long range missiles fired at Israeli targets. The allegations however, are yet to be proved by independent and impartial sources, since Iran has rejected the contention.
With the escalation of the crisis and despite the request from many authorities and states, including the United Nations Secretary General and members of the G8 Summit in Saint Petersburg in Russia, the prospects for a cease fire seem to be remote. Israel’s intransigence to halt military operations against civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and Gaza will eventually make the future peace process much more difficult and will deepen the hatred and antagonism against a Jewish state in the Middle East.