Iran and the Lesson for Lebanon

Why didn’t George Galloway (Comment, August 31) notice the absence of air raid shelters in Lebanon? Why did Iran and Syria spend tens of millions of dollars on sophisticated weaponry for Hizbullah, yet not spend a penny to protect Lebanese civilians against the Israeli air force? Why is Hizbullah now offering $12,000 compensation for each of the 15,000 homes destroyed, yet there is no money available for the provision of air raid shelters? In contrast, every apartment block in northern Israel has its own shelter and this no doubt contributed to a lower number of casualties.

Galloway is also silent on Hizbullah’s desire to control events, allowing journalists to see what it wished them to see. He characterises the Lebanon conflict as the empowerment of the Arab world against Israel, yet he ignores the subtext of Arab nationalist against Islamist, and Sunni against Shia. Arafat’s Fatah, ironically, would have been happy with a more decisive Israeli performance in Lebanon, because it would have assisted it in its struggle against Hamas. Israel has many lessons to learn from this conflict, but one will be to construct quiet alliances with those opposed to Iran’s imperialist aims.

Dr Colin Shindler
SOAS, University of London

Guardian 1 September 1 2006

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