Tuesday, May 11, 2004

A Lesson in Complexity

To demonstrate how complex the Middle East is, let's take a common, even mundane occurrence and unpack all the different players and motives.

Hezbollah shells or fires rockets into northern Israel. It's so common that it hardly makes the news. I know what you're thinking, 'another guerilla attack on Israel, how freaking complicated is that. Aim and shoot. Done deal'

Hezbollah isn't just a terrorist group. It's a Shiite religious movement and "the largest and most prominent political party in Lebanon." (Imagine if the Republican Party merged with the Baptist church and fired rockets into Canada.) Why is Hezbollah attacking Israel, when a May 2000 U.N. report certified that Israel had withdrawn entirely from Lebanon (in compliance with U.N. Resolution 425)?

Syria has occupied Lebanon since the 1970s. The Lebanese government is a puppet of the Syrian dictatorship.
By the year 2003, approximately 30,000 Syrian troops and 25,000 intelligence members were deployed in Lebanon (that is 1 Syrian soldier for every 50 Lebanese).
The Syrian regime is passively approving if not actively encouraging Hezbollah in the intermittent shelling/rocket campaign against Israel.

But wait, there's more. Where does Hezbollah get it's money and supplies? Iran. Iran created Hezbollah in the aftermath of the Lebanese civil war and Israeili invasion in the early 1980s and continues funding and supplying the group to this day. Hezbollah receives “substantial amounts of financial, training, weapons, explosives, political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran and Syria,” the State Department reports.

So every time Hezbollah shells Israel it is with the support and approval or on the outright orders of Syria and/or Iran. This is just one little example of one type of event, and a rather simplified example at that. Stay tuned.

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