Wednesday, September 6, 2006

The People's Struggle in the Middle East: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud

By Joshua Frank
Guerrilla News Network

Ramzy Baroud is a US author and journalist, currently based in London. He is the author of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, 2006). He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Here Baroud talks with Joshua Frank about the latest crisis in the Middle East and how it threatens the US and Israel’s international prowess.

"The tide quickly turned when Hizbollah exhibited steadfastness never displayed by entire Arab armies of well-armed legions with extensive political and material support. Every Arab I know watched in disbelief as events folded in Lebanon. The best they’ve hoped for is nominal resilience from Hizbollah, enough to thwart Israel’s overall objectives. A few went as far as predicting an Israeli defeat. Needless to say, Hizbollah’s victory has managed to help most Arabs and Muslims rise above their religious and sectarian divides, and has helped the group re-establish itself as a formidable political power and a military force not to be reckoned with.

That said, it’s important not to underestimate Arab factionalism, but especially Lebanese factionalism and its feasible role in helping Israel and the US achieve what they’ve failed to achieve through war.

In Lebanon, a redoubtable elite, representing various sects is greatly alarmed that the balance of power -- struck in Lebanon through years of civil wars and subsequent treaties (fair to some, utterly unfair to others) -- might be hindered with the re-rise of Hizbollah.

At one point, it was hoped that by removing the Syrian factor from the Lebanese equation, and weakening Hizbollah militarily, a pro-American Lebanon would effortlessly emerge: the old neoconservative calculation. That is yet to happen. However, Saad Hariri, son of former prime minister Rafik Hariri’ condemnation of Syria, calling it a greater threat to Lebanon than Israel, just a day after the end of the Israeli onslaught, speaks volumes regarding the nationalistic priorities of this crowd."

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