August 13, 2006


Israel willing to discuss prisoner swap: report (Reuters, 8/13/06)

Israel is willing to discuss a possible release of Hizbollah prisoners in exchange for freeing two Israeli soldiers abducted by Lebanese guerrillas last month, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Sunday.

THE BATTLE FOR LEBANON: Has Israel’s assault weakened Hezbollah—or made it stronger? (JON LEE ANDERSON, 2006-08-07, The New Yorker)

[A]li Fayyad, a Hezbollah strategist,] is a burly man in his forties. As a member of the Hezbollah politburo, he is close to the group’s supreme leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, and everything he told me at Lina’s, about the cross-border abduction of two Israeli soldiers and the killing of eight others on July 12th, and the all-out armed conflict that followed, was an authorized version. “Our aim is to get Israel to return Lebanese lands”—he meant Shebaa Farms, a small strip of land occupied by Israel since 1967—“and to release three of our prisoners,” Fayyad said. “One of the prisoners has been held for almost thirty years.” He was referring to Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese man who, in 1979, killed an Israeli man and his four-year-old daughter. (Another daughter, who was two, was accidentally smothered when her mother tried to keep her quiet in the crawl space where they were hiding.)

“We’ve made many efforts to have them returned, and have tried everything, including diplomacy, with no results,” Fayyad said. “So we were left with no other choice but to kidnap Israeli soldiers. The idea was ‘prisoners for prisoners.’ And we have exchanged prisoners with Israel in the past.”

If that really was Hezbollah’s plan, it went wrong from the beginning.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 13, 2006 12:51 PM

"We're not going back to the status quo ante in Lebanon."
- John Bolton 8/12/06

A good and wise man.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 13, 2006 3:00 PM

Though he likely didn't envision a two state solution.

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2006 3:06 PM

So say that Hezbollah was granted their own state in South Lebanon. How would that change their behavior? They wouldn't have any political opposition, so they would always win any elections. They would still depend upon Iran and Syria for arms and support. I don't see how making a de facto situation into a de jure one would change anything.

Okay, Nasralluh would live in South Lebanon instead of Syria. But I'll bet he'd head for Damascus the instant any trouble starts.

Posted by: Brandon at August 13, 2006 4:47 PM

An opposition would develop, just as the Federalists split up. People would focus on internal affairs.

Syria would oppose them once they had a state.

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2006 4:51 PM

Has it ever crossed your mind, oj, that you are advocating the nation-state equivalent of Libertarianism?

Posted by: ghostcat at August 13, 2006 5:53 PM

Shia are just like Christians ...naahhh, but moving to a subject that I respect your opinion is this Julia or Eric..or both.

Posted by: h-man at August 13, 2006 5:56 PM


I don't advocate it--it's a mistake. But it's a mistake we're responsible for and it's an inevitability in the world we created.

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2006 6:00 PM

What do you think all those shepherds in the Bible were doing if not banging the flock?

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2006 6:02 PM

Just like Palestine...

a state with no infrastructure, no economy to speak of, and no visible means of internal support (financially speaking)...

How is this considered a nation?

Posted by: Bartman at August 13, 2006 6:20 PM

It's not, but it is one. Time to start treating them like nations.

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2006 6:23 PM

By that I am supposing you mean to start holding them accountable for their actions? If yes, I agree with you.

Posted by: Bartman at August 13, 2006 7:48 PM

But they won't be held accountable for their actions. If they start trouble with as the Republic of South Lebanon instead of Hezbollah, the world will react to Israel's retaliation the same way - all out efforts to save the Arabs.

Posted by: Brandon at August 13, 2006 8:32 PM


Posted by: oj at August 13, 2006 8:42 PM

Agree with Brandon. OJ's notion that giving the terrorists their own state will calm them down sounds good on paper but won't work. Look at North Korea, Cuba, Iran, etc. - countries that are basket cases internally but certainly capable of causing trouble outside their borders.

Posted by: AWW at August 13, 2006 10:56 PM

No, they aren't.

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2006 11:22 PM

Then you are an advocate, oj, for not resisting evil tendencies. My irony detector just exploded.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 13, 2006 11:52 PM


Don't forget that OJ similarly argues that the Nazis were a failed state that couldn't succeed in the long run.

But in the short-run, they stirred up quite a lot of evil, no? Most totalitarian states do. In fact, only Albania and Zimbabwe come to mind as ones that did not. Probably because they were too weak to even be proxies.

Hezbollah should have kidnapped some Philadelphia police officers and demanded the release of Mumia. It would have been as effective.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 14, 2006 12:12 AM

Evil should be destroyed, not resisted. Regime change Cuba and North Korea because we should, not because they're a threat.

Posted by: oj at August 14, 2006 8:07 AM

Balkanization sure worked out well in the Balkans, so why not try it out in the Middle East. A bunch of little statehoods each about the size of a suburban gated community and representing a slightly different interpretation of the Koran and none of which has an economy to speak of, or anything else for that matter, unless you count a media types good at faking videos and kids who run around shooting guns in the air.

Better Israel annex them one by one and turn them into states of Greater Israel where religion and state are separate. Force them into the 21st century.

Posted by: erp at August 14, 2006 2:05 PM


And when the Arab majority votes itself into power and Jews out? Or are you proposing that Israel become a dictatorship?

Posted by: oj at August 14, 2006 3:55 PM

Vote Jews out of political power? That's how democracy works, those with the most votes get elected into office. Are you saying that non-Jews aren't capable of governing within the framework of the law?

Posted by: erp at August 14, 2006 7:28 PM

Okay, as long as you're willing to concede Zion then your plan makes sense.

Posted by: oj at August 14, 2006 7:42 PM

Concede Zion? I'm no scholar of Judaism. Please elaborate a bit on what you mean, so I can make a more informed choice.

Posted by: erp at August 15, 2006 9:48 AM

Israel wouldn't be a Jewish state any longer, just an Arab state with a number of Jews living in it.

Posted by: oj at August 15, 2006 9:27 PM

That would be fine. Israel was founded as a "mecca" for displaced Jews. Is there still a need for that? Maybe the next step should be a bright beacon where Arabs and Jews could live as well as Catholics, Orthodox and other Christians and those who practice other religions. Ya know, kinda like here.

I think separation of church and state works much better than a theocracy.

Posted by: erp at August 15, 2006 11:21 PM