Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hezbollah scared, Arabs annoying posh London, Bombing in Iraq, Israel West Bank operation, Chicago violence

1) Hizballah is freaking out because their buddy Assad is screwed. By allying themselves with his regime, Hizballah is suffering serious damage to their brand. IE - The group is suffering from a profound degradation of their carefully cultivated (albeit false) image as a cross-sectarian liberation force. Nasrallah understands that when Assad falls, Hizballah will not only have lost a key ally, by supporting his brutal crackdown, the group will be politically weakened in Lebanon and beyond. I expect that Hizballah will attempt to increase tensions with Israel in 2013, in an attempt to reconstruct their 'defender' image. Regardless, in the long term I believe that the organization will share Assad's fate. By using murder and intimidation as primary political tools and by supporting authoritarians who deny basic freedoms to their people, Hizballah will find it increasingly difficult to win legitimacy and corresponding popular support. True, Hizballah retains strong sympathy among poor Lebanese Shia, but in order to maintain its considerable power base the group must attract a wider base of interest.

2) Posh Londoners are upset because Arab playboys are driving super cars late at night. Although the noise might be annoying, I'm going to venture that these visitors make a rather positive contribution to the UK's economy. But I guess its a question of priorities - posh Londoners getting relaxing sleep, or poorer Londoners having jobs (in the clubs, bars, restaurants and stores that the playboys visit)... Ah the complexities of the British class system!

3) Around twenty people were killed in an explosion in Iraq today. The cause - a terrorist attack that was probably conducted by the Islamic State of Iraq. This organization is attempting to ignite sectarian war in the country. An ISI strategy that has elevated in momentum over the past year. As I argued back in July, the US must provide the Iraqi Government with the intelligence support that it may need in order to confront the terrorists. We must not allow extremists to erase the security successes that our military worked so hard to achieve in Iraq. Having said this, we also need to pressure PM Maliki to build cross-sectarian consensus in his country.

4) Chicago is suffering the impact of a terrible gang war. As in many American inner cities, the Democrats have failed Chicago. Conservatives can and should re-engage with these citizens to offer solutions.

5) Unless the Israelis were A) seriously concerned about leaks, or B) had imminent actionable intelligence, their raid on a West Bank apartment was a serious error. These kind of actions make President Abbas look weak and delegitimize his leadership in the eyes of Palestinian voters. The Israelis should be working to empower Abbas and isolate HAMAS, not vice versa.

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