cliffs notes

if you're looking for a quick & dirty version re: what could happen with this israel/lebanon thing, see this.

and since when is diplomacy standing behind your buddies at all costs and offering the other side jackshit? from truthout:

American officials are very good at vernacular descriptions, but lousy at history and political reality in the Middle East. As U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sets off Sunday on her short trip to a Middle East that is increasingly engulfed in violent confrontations and political turmoil, she has described the massive destruction, dislocation and human suffering in Lebanon as an inevitable part of the "birth pangs of a new Middle East".

From my perspective here in Beirut, watching American-supplied Israeli jets smash this country to smithereens, what she describes as "birth pangs" look much more like a wicked hangover from a decades-old American orgy of diplomatic intoxication with the enticements of pro-Israeli politics...

Short term, the United States would like Israel to wipe out Hizbullah, allow the Lebanese government to send its troops to the south of the country, ensure the safety of northern Israel, cut Syria's influence down to size, and apply greater pressure on Hizbullah-supporter Iran. The United States opposes a ceasefire, therefore, because, Rice says, "A ceasefire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo."

This diplomatic position to support Israel's attacks on Lebanon, coupled with rushing sophisticated precision bombs to Israel from the U.S. arsenal, indicates that Washington seriously aims to fundamentally redraw the political and ideological map of the Middle East in the longer term. If this means yet another Arab land goes up in flames and war, so be it, Washington seems to be saying...

Washington is engaged almost exclusively with Arab governments whose influence with Syria is virtually nonexistent, whose credibility with Arab public opinion is zero, whose own legitimacy at home is increasingly challenged, and whose pro-U.S. policies tend to promote the growth of those militant Islamist movements that now lead the battle against American and Israeli policies. Is Rice traveling to a new Middle East, or to a diplomatic Disneyland of her own imagination?

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