Thursday, May 8, 2008

Another sad episode

So they're fighting.

In Lebanon.


Michel Aoun, who is the last person who would ever want to see Hizbullah rule Lebanon, does not blame Hasan Nasrallah.

My gut tells me that, so long as everyone's favourite occupying power doesn't get (overtly) involved, that this will not go to into a full-blown war. I get the vibe from the BBC's coverage that they're almost hoping for more blood. By trying to shut down Hizbullah's communication network, Hariri has instigated the crisis. He probably thinks that he will get the support of the Arab monarchies, terrified of yet another popular and successful republican movement in the Middle East. They can't really help him, though, and anyone who's relying on the Lebanese Army to save them should give up politics right now.

Now, to help inflate my credibility a bit more, those of you who heard me saying last year that the so-called "Shi'a-Sunni Divide" in the Muslim world was not widening can continue to have faith in my prognostications. As I predicted, Hasan Nasrallah is the most popular leader in the Arab world.* This is what happens when you fight a completely legal war against a vastly superior aggressor and manage not to lose.

The only "Shi'a-Sunni" divide that is widening in the Middle East is between governments, with the Arab monarchies and despots terrified of the popularity and populism of Iranian-sponsored Shi'a movements who oppose both them and their American patrons. Amongst the regular folk, it's a non-issue.

God-willing, this will be over before the news networks have put their graphics packages together.

*And reading that article, I am pleasantly surprised at how intelligent the respondents to the poll were!

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