Sunday, July 16, 2006


Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington under nine presidents and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review is an online journal and archive of alternative news. It has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents



JAMAL DAJANI, NEW AMERICA MEDIA - Far more surprising than U.S. statements of support for Israel's assault on Gaza and Lebanon are similar proclamations from Arab governments. Just before the Israeli cabinet gave Prime Minister Olmert the green light for more attacks, a spokesperson for the Saudi government called for Israeli restraint, but blamed the current conflict on Hezbollah's seizure of two Israeli soldiers. "There is a difference between legitimate resistance and miscalculated adventures," he stated.

The official for the Saudi Ministry of Information hit hard on Islamic resistance groups in Lebanon and Gaza. Those groups, he said, should "bear the consequences of the crisis they have created." Meanwhile, both King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Mubarak of Egypt warned that Hezbollah is dragging the Arab world into conflict through its misguided gambles and adventures. The majority of Arab regimes has been silent about Israel's new two-front war. . .

In a new strategy shift, the dependence of Palestinians and Lebanese on Arab regimes to confront and contain Israel politically and militarily has ended. Militant groups from Palestine to Iraq -- groups known in the Arab world as the Islamic Resistance and as "terrorists organizations" by Israel and many Western countries -- have been taking matters into their own hands. Arab masses have long realized the powerlessness of their leaders to end the conflict in Iraq or alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians. . . At the same time, as Arab regimes' influence over organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah has waned, Israel has lost a kind of buffer zone. Unlike the PLO in the past, neither Hamas nor Hezbollah is dependent on Arab state support. Syria's influence over Hezbollah takes second place to that of Iran.

Hence, the Israeli government is very concerned that any success achieved by Hamas or Hezbollah will open the way for more groups -- perhaps even Al Qaeda -- to fight Israel or terrorize Israelis.

Arab regimes are very concerned as well. The aftershocks left by the elections in Gaza are still felt beneath the seats of monarchs and leaders stretching from Riyadh to Rabat. Many Arab rulers are threatened by democracy and the rise of Islamism in the region. In Gaza, they are challenged by a democratically elected Islamist government, Hamas. In Egypt, the challenge comes from the Islamic Brotherhood, and in Lebanon, from Hezbollah, commonly referred to as a "state within a state."

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