Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Missed that Suez moment

Yesterday, I noted how absurd it was to talk about Suez and conclude that we should back Israel. Well, Marc Lynch (Abu Aardvark) says that the US should really, really have taken the opportunity to pull a Suez - meaning, calling for a cease-fire and reining in Israel. (In case you've lost track, that would be the reasonable interpretation of a Suez-like response.)
America is totally alone on this. And more than most Americans might realize, America is being blamed for Israel's actions. The shift in Arab public discourse over the last week has been palpable. For the first few days, the split between the Saudi media and the "al-Jazeera public" which I wrote about at the time. Then for a few days, horror at the humanitarian situation, fury with the Arab states for their impotence, speculation about the endgame, and full-throated condemnation of Israeli aggression. But for the last few days, the main trend has been unmistakable: an increasing focus on the United States as the villain of the piece. (That the Israeli bombing of Beirut stopped just long enough for Condoleeza Rice's photo op certainly didn't help.)
And, ominously, the rhetoric from the Arab media is getting pretty strident:
While there's disagreement as to whether Israel acted on behalf of an American project, there is near-consensus about American responsibility for not stopping what al-Jazeera is now calling "the sixth [Arab-Israeli] war".
Oh goody.

Elsewhere, AA says that Rice's now-infamous remark that Israeli bombs were the "birth pangs" of the New Middle East will go down as at least as callous a remark as Madeleine Albright's famous decision that 500,000 dead Iraqi children were "worth it" to keep Hussein bottled up.

Not a good thing.

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