This Is Getting Ridiculous

Anyone remember how the First World War started?

[tweetmeme] Hezbollah has announced that it would come to the defense of Iran and Syria if either were attacked by Israel.  This follows Lebanese PM Hariri saying that the LAF would stand with Hezbollah if Israel attacks Lebanon, Hamas saying it would stand with Iran, Syria saying it would back Hezbollah and Syria saying it would back Iran.  It needs to be noted that all of these new defensive pacts are, well, defensive pacts.  Israeli and American hawkish belligerence clearly has tensions running high in the region.  What is perhaps most concerning, though, is the fact that an isolated incident (ahem… the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand) could easily create a region war that engulfs Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iran and Israel – as well as the US.  Such a war would destroy any possibility of a peace deal in the region for years if not decades…

Time to racket down the hate rhetoric?

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3 thoughts on “This Is Getting Ridiculous

  1. WWI is a very useful analogy for the Mideast, and your enumeration of the alliance structure is well done. Continuing with the analogy, my recall of WWI history is that, first, no one really wanted war, but their binding agreements got them into it. Second, no outsider was around trying to figure out a way to provoke a war. Yet, a war still occurred – and was vastly nastier than anyone had anticipated.

    In the current Mideast, plenty of people appear to want a war because they expect to profit from it personally or can knock off an enemy. I guess anyone can make the obvious list as well as I can. Second, one can presume that jihadi groups interested in provoking war are also watching the situation. So, the situation seems even more serious than the European scene on the eve of the archduke’s assassination.

    I argued recently in “Palestine and Global Security” that five near-term solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict exist, of which one is Catastrophe. I can’t imagine how to estimate which is the most likely, but your post makes me wonder if Catastrophe might be more likely than I was willing to admit. (My other alternatives are Two States, Secular Democracy, Palestinian Bantustan, and Jordan Becomes Palestine.) Whatever the relative likelihood of the various alternatives, the likelihood of Catastrophe does seem to be rising, given not just the warnings of the chorus of regional leaders but the Obama Administration’s parroting of Netanyahu’s anti-Iran rhetoric.

    Any ideas on how to estimate the probabilities of one alternative vs. the others?

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