Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Israelis should learn from the Indians

The Indians have done things right. In response to the terrorist attacks, which were horrific, they didn't immediately condemn Pakistan and start bombing it. That would have made matters worse, and in fact erased all of the hard earned peace advances that had been made between the two nations. Additionally, this strategy gives India considerable moral credibility. To be attacked in such a violent manner, only to turn the other cheek, is quite commendable. Certainly, such restraint will garnish enormous respect from more moderate Muslims in both Pakistan and India.

When you consider that the Pakistani government doesn't have complete control of all of the Islamists, India's response looks even more intelligent. And yet the situation is very similar in the Middle East. The Lebanese State certainly doesn't have complete control over its more extreme elements. The Israeli over-reaction to a terrorists' groups provokation is a huge mistake. They should have done nothing, instead turning to the international community and said "See, look what Hizbullah has done? We are the victim!".

The Israeli reaction recently to Palestinian provokation has also been too elaborate. When Palestinians fire Qassam rockets into Israel, the Israelis should respond by targeting the launch site with heavy artillery bombardment, nothing more, nothing less. Sending tanks, airstrikes, etc is simply an over-reaction.

And now, the Israelis have painted themselves to the world as the aggressor. There is a time and a place for massive military action; a knee jerk response to extremists is not that time. If nothing else, Israel should have issued Lebanon an ultimatum demanding the return of their soldiers.

These recent weeks, the Israelis have lost much of the moral credibility that they had gained recently in my eyes. It was exactly the same with the USA. After 9/11, the USA was the victim; Afghanistan was justified. Iraq was an over-reaction, and thus the USA became the aggressor. If there is anything the West needs to learn in fighting terrorism, it is the folly of an over-reaction in response.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A partner for negotiation?

According to this article by Al Jazeera, there are 11 insurgency groups that are willing to negotiate with the new Iraqi government. I don't know ultimately what their intentions are, but it is a relief of sorts to see that the insurgency has some order and structure to it. You couldn't hope for much improvement if the insurgency was just hundreds of tiny cells working independently; but larger groups (possibly only 20 or so) can be negotiated with.