Saturday, August 19, 2006

War is Peace

Got a lot of stuff to catch up on, a full inbox, and some posts, comments and links to sort out, but I'm going to be busy for most of today so it'll all have to wait. Just a quickie for now then.

So, Steve Irwin. Strange man. I remember watching one of his programmes a while back and it went something like this:
"Oh, look at this, look at this. This is the Very Dangerous Snake, one of the most poisonous snakes in the world. One bite'll kill ya in ten seconds. You really don't wanna get this fella ticked off."

(Picks up stick and gives it a good poke. Then, lies down on his stomach with his face inches from the snake.)

"Don't bite me in the face fella, don't bite me in the face."
As I said, he's a very strange man.

This programme came to mind when I was watching the news this morning. When faced with a dangerous or fragile situation, most people will refrain from poking it with a stick.

Militarily, a raid like that is essentially worthless. Officially "the Israeli army said the raid was to prevent arms being delivered to Hezbollah by Iran and Syria." But, as Juan Cole pointed out the other day, the idea that Israel or indeed UNIFIL could seal off the Lebanon/Syria border and stop weapons being transfered across it is ridiculous. Have a look at his map halfway down that post to see what he's talking about. The Israeli government and military undoubtedly know this as well as anyone.

So what are they up to? Symbolic measures designed to prop up Olmert's standing at home? Or a deliberate provocation in an attempt to restart the conflict? You've got to wonder.

(It's worth pointing out that Olmert's position has come under intense pressure since the ceasefire with most Israelis believing that the ceasefire resolution was not good for Israel.)

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