Tide of Arab Opinion Turns to Support for Hezbollah - New York Times
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
DAMASCUS, Syria, July 27 ? At the onset of the Lebanese crisis, Arab governments, starting with Saudi Arabia, slammed Hezbollah for recklessly provoking a war, providing what the United States and Israel took as a wink and a nod to continue the fight.
Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for more than two weeks, the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group?s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements.
The Saudi royal family and King Abdullah II of Jordan, who were initially more worried about the rising power of Shiite Iran, Hezbollah?s main sponsor, are scrambling to distance themselves from Washington.
An outpouring of newspaper columns, cartoons, blogs and public poetry readings have showered praise on Hezbollah while attacking the United States and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for trumpeting American plans for a ?new Middle East? that they say has led only to violence and repression.
Even Al Qaeda, run by violent Sunni Muslim extremists normally hostile to all Shiites, has gotten into the act, with its deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, releasing a taped message saying that through its fighting in Iraq, his organization was also trying to liberate Palestine.
We had a chance to look like heroes with the Arabic peoples, but letting Israel be our attack dog and continue killing civilians indescriminately has given that same opportunity to the terrorist groups we are supposed to be fighting. Not calling for an immediate ceasefire was a mistake that keeps being repeated every time there is a camera or microphone near Bush or his cronies. Let's not forget that back in 2000, there was almost an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, but Bush took over before Clinton could close the deal and left it to rot in the sun. And now the U.S. and its allies are only making things worse.
The Saudi royal court has issued a dire warning that its 2002 peace plan — offering Israel full recognition by all Arab states in exchange for returning to the borders that predated the 1967 Arab-Israeli war — could well perish.
“If the peace option is rejected due to the Israeli arrogance,” it said, “then only the war option remains, and no one knows the repercussions befalling the region, including wars and conflict that will spare no one, including those whose military power is now tempting them to play with fire.”
The Saudis were putting the West on notice that they would not exert pressure on anyone in the Arab world until Washington did something to halt the destruction of Lebanon, Saudi commentators said.
American officials say that while the Arab leaders need to take a harder line publicly for domestic political reasons, what matters more is what they tell the United States in private, which the Americans still see as a wink and a nod.
There are evident concerns among Arab governments that a victory for Hezbollah — and it has already achieved something of a victory by holding out this long — would further nourish the Islamist tide engulfing the region and challenge their authority. Hence their first priority is to cool simmering public opinion.
I don't know about anybody else, but I'm getting sick and tired of the whole world situation brought on by greedy, self-centered, dogmatic conservative bullshit and its collateral damage to everything from the environment to civilization as a whole. They are turning everything into crap in the service of their ideology and short-sightedness. It's disgusting and depressing and I'm getting to the point where I really am beginning to hate them for what they do to this world and its creatures. They are a blight that needs to be stopped before it consumes everything and everybody in a cataclysm of, if you'll excuse the expression, biblical proportions. They want this to happen! The bastards can't think of anything else being more important than their own agrandisement. They need to lose, and lose big so that people finally learn the lesson that we all have to learn to live together or it's over. Period.
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