Violence has flared in the Middle East once again with the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah guerillas in Southern Lebanon. Israel’s response has resulted in the destruction of much of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and hundreds of civilian casualties, while Hezbollah has launched daily barrages of short-range rockets aimed toward Northern Israel in an effort to terrorize the local population. While it’s easy to see this latest round of violence as yet another round of tit-for-tat attacks, many have cautioned that there is much more at play in the current situation than meets the eye.
Hezbollah, drawing support from Iran and Syria, is a powerful organization of Shiite Muslims in Lebanon, with political, military, and charitable activities that span the globe. Many analysts of the current conflict have noted that Iran retains tight control over the group, and have suggested that the timing of the kidnapping, as the G-8 contemplated sanctioning Iran for its nuclear activities, was not coincidental.
Israel’s response has significance beyond the current conflict, as well. The Israeli military justifies its attacks upon the civilian infrastructure as necessary to prevent the transportation of the kidnapped soldiers and military supplies. Many see it however as an attempt to punish the local population that is largely sympathetic to Hezbollah. As the conflict has dragged on, both Israel and the United States have resisted calls for a cease-fire, insisting that any peace that leaves Hezbollah armed is unacceptable.
Where does a solution to this situation lie? Is the disarming of Hezbollah necessary for peace to exist on Israel’s northern border? And what exactly is Iran’s role in all of this? Are we seeing a territorial clash between Israel and Hezbollah? Is Hezbollah endangering the lives and livelihoods of innocent Lebanese to show the world at large the dangers of taking a hard line with lran?
Come to Cafe Society to learn more about Hezbollah, discuss what started this recent escalation, and work with an engaged community of your peers to muddle our way toward a solution to this crisis.
- Council on Foreign Relations – Hezbollah
- Hezbollah and Iran are to blame
- Failed U.S. policies caused the mess in Lebanon
- Lebanese ‘Have Little Faith’ in Rice’s Show of Support
- America’s honey trap
For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.