Towards the brink and over it

July 13, 2006

It seems the Middle East has got the war it wanted and was waiting for. The Middle East, that is — not Israel, not Lebanon, not Syria, not the vast majority of Palestinians. The Middle East itself, place of scorpions.

It’s hard to see what else Israel could have done. And it’s as hard to see that Hamas and Hizbollah wanted anything else. War has its own inexorable logic and it’s operating now, in the treads of the rolling tanks, the air strikes, the rocket attacks.

The Mediterranean littoral is playing out its ancient memories. For millennia warring armies used it as the footbridge between the ancient empires of Egypt and Mesopotamia, witnessed by the region’s sacred texts and indelibly marked in its archaeological record. Egyptians, Assyrians, Israelites, Babylonians, Romans, Christians, Turks, Jews and Arabs all made it their battleground. The blood and ash sunk deep into the sand and the rock, and into the soul of each passing century.

This region doesn’t seek a peace it never liked and never wanted. Its unhappy people will get war whether they want it or not. Israel’s Foreign Minister has said: “We will fight back, in order to fight for peace.” The logic of war; the language of scorpions.

Update: I’ve been waiting for Lisa to post on this at On the Face and it’s been worth it. Great post and links.

An early wrap-up from Pajamas Media. Live blogging from Carl in Jerusalem. From Lebanon, Lebanese Bloggers. On the other front, From Gaza, With Love. Strong words from Sabbah, and some more measured ones at From Beirut to the Beltway.

Not much from the Ozblogos on this that I have seen so far.

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