I'm not really sure what I shout under my breath when reading an unexpectedly good analysis (Bravo? Huzzah? The depressingly common Yeah?), but I was silently shouting this morning when reading, of all things, a USAToday editorial.
I know, it's shocking. But the analysis was sharp: We are wont, because we are creatures of habit, to look at the current Middle East crisis as just another flare-up of the longstanding struggle, but it is anything but. With the rise of Islamism -- which now holds Palestine, Syria and Iran in its grasp -- the war has changed and:
... the deeper truth is that the old peace process is in ruins and a new, more troubling reality rooted in the rise of Islamic extremism is emerging. Israel, the United States and the rest of the world are struggling to adjust.USAToday reminds us that as awful as Arafat was, he did a good job of keeping the Islamists out because for him it was about power and money, not jihad. With him gone, there is no opportunity to huddle at Camp David and hammer out a new Oslo Accord, because we cannot negotiate with the terrorists or the terrorist states that back them.
Israel may be accomplishing its military objectives, but it is not accomplishing its goal. Its pounding of Lebanon is turning more Lebanese toward Hezbollah and Iran than away from them. We are doing better -- supporting Israel, putting the blame squarely on the Islamists, but cautioning Israel not to go too far.
But while the two-state solution remains the only viable formula for peace, it clearly is now a distant hope, at best. The immediate need is a strategy to turn Palestinians and Lebanese against Hamas and Hezbollah.
Since the recent attacks, Israel has recognized the new reality by holding not just the terrorists accountable but also the governments in which they play a key role. It has combined attacks on the terrorist targets with strikes affecting civilian populations, in hopes they will turn against the terrorists.
It also is pointedly - and sensibly - singling out Iran as the culprit behind the violence. Iran funds both terrorist groups, and to much shock around the world, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has publicly urged the destruction of Israel.
As for how to get out of this mess, USAToday looks toward Putin, and on that score, the editorial whimpers. Putin has had plenty of his own trouble with Islamists and knows he's sitting on a powder keg that will do nothing to support his desire to rebuild super-state status for Russia (and, of course, its ruler).
We can't expect much from him, or the Chinese.
We're left with supporting Israel and doing what we can to contain Ahmadinijad and his crazy ilk. Not a pleasant prospect.
Photo: Agency Presse France
Related Tags: Middle East, Politics, War, Israel, Lebanon, Islamist, Ahmadinijad