Thursday, July 19, 2007

This, as they say, is an opinion piece:

What happened in northern Lebanon, according to the simplest interpretation, is that the Hariri/Saudi group and its allies in the Bush administration, which had previously supported a salafi group called Fatah al-Islam, decided to pull the plug, with Hariri abruptly ending monthly payments to group-members. This was followed by expressions of displeasure including a bank-robbery, and then a couple of months of reports about the heroism of the Lebanese Army in reducing the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp to rubble. The result is a new strategic importance for the Lebanese Army, previously considered an institution with a nationalist core, now part of the Hariri- and US-led alliance. This simplifies and escalates the "moderate versus extremist" road-map for the Americans and their allies. Having groups like Fatah al-Islam put pressure on Hizbullah was one stratgegy, but using the Lebanese Army for that is a much simpler and more powerful one for the long haul.

In Gaza, where Fatah leaders fled rather than defend the Dahlan organization, we are asked to believe in a David versus Goliath miracle-victory for Hamas against the US-armed Dahlan group, when a much more plausible explanation would be that the US decided to pull the plug on that corrupt former cats-paw as well. The result here is also a new strategic configuration, isolating Hamas in Gaza, and thus escalating and simplifying the pressure on the "extremists". Having groups like the Dahlan gangs put pressure on Hamas was one strategy, but isolating Hamas in Gaza and using an overt Fatah-Israel coalition to do that seems to be much simpler and more powerful in the long haul.

In both cases, the facts we know are more consistent with the hypothesis of this kind of a strategy-development in Washington than they are with the kind of freakish and unexplainable sequence of events that have been reported in this weirdly unquestioning way by the media.

In Baghdad, where the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) was declared last October...

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