11 January 2009

A word on Gaza

I make no pretenses about knowing anything at all about the Middle East. I find that the conflicts there are both ridiculously intractable and feel that they probably get more than their fair share of airtime vis-a-vis other nasty, brutal conflicts going on in the world at any given time. This infuriates me. While I believe that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, I often believe that particular tactics employed by the IDF are simply indefensible, and sometimes constitute breaches of international humanitarian law. Fighting rocks with helicopter gunships or rockets with infantry invasions blows any concept of proportionality to pieces. That said, certain Palestinian actors also need to learn/realize that violence clearly gets them nowhere except bombed back into the stone age. Should either side ever demonstrate the possession of a lick of common sense, I'll pay closer attention. This concludes my oversimplification.

Over the past day or so, I've read a few items that have put the conflict in perspective.
  • This post argues that this particular conflict has greater geopolitical implications for the region that will most likely require some sort of new dialogue between the United States and Iran. Worth reading.
  • Here we see the idea advanced that Israel's political leaders may lack the brainpower necessary to execute an effective strategy, and may not even have a strategy. They continue to count tactical advances as victories, when is a pretty low threshold of success.
  • Then, the IDF's narrative about how/why the UN school in Gaza was bombed earlier this week continues to shift, and in highly dubious ways.
  • And finally, let's bear in mind that Gaza has a higher population density than Los Angeles. We need to recognize that an all-out ground and air war is taking place is what is effectively one big city where the inhabitants are forbidden from leaving.
I'm now going to return to things I know a bit more about.

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