Hezbollah gaining strength where democracy once dwelt

Rashid Khalidi in the Chicago Tribune:

Khalidi_rashid_1Hezbollah’s rocket attacks on Israel, initially condemned by some Lebanese, are now seen as a justified response to Israel’s offensive against Lebanon. For the Lebanese, the fact that most of their casualties were civilians, a third of them children, and that the bombing has created a million refugees, severely damaged the environment and systematically destroyed the country’s infrastructure–from bridges and power plants to airports, milk factories and lighthouses–substantiates this belief.

The idea that this or any other Lebanese government will act against Hezbollah after the fighting ends is therefore perfect fantasy. The “successes” of American and French diplomacy over the last year in driving a wedge between Lebanese and isolating Hezbollah, a futile exercise in any case, have gone up in the smoke of Israeli air raids on every part of Lebanon.

In their place is bitter anger at the United States, which has once more shown that neither Lebanese democracy nor Arab civilian casualties, nor anything else in the Arab world, counts in American calculations when Israel’s perceived interests (and President Bush’s “war on terror”) are at stake.

More here.