Israel’s air strikes on Southern Lebanon boost support for Hezbollah in the Arab world, as many lose faith in already struggling Arab democracies. Outlining the history of Hezbollah in a region prone to setbacks and violence, Middle East analyst and author Dilip Hiro predicts that the present fighting paves the way for more Arab rulers to resort to repressive measures in order to control dissent or extremism. Hezbollah’s attacks may have been just one more step in their long struggle over prisoner exchanges with Israel, but Israel’s fierce retaliation could have much wider consequences. The Israeli attacks, Hiro says, undermine the legitimacy of the moderate Arab regimes and unwittingly shore up the fortunes of the Islamist forces in the Arab world as well as those of Iran. The attacks spur anger against Israel, support for Hezbollah and repression by Arab governments, thus setting back the movement toward democracy in the region – an avowed goal of American policy.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Boosting Extremists With Bombs