Saturday, August 19, 2006

The broader implications of Israel's failure

Israel's failure to defeat Hezbollah has consequences which extend beyond the borders of Israel and Lebanon. The Agonist discusses some of the reasons for that failure, and points out that the broader implication is potentially very broad indeed: a sea-change in who counts as a major player. It isn't just nation states any longer:

It should also make people start thinking more seriously about so called non state actors like Hezbollah and the Tamil Tigers and the Islamic Courts Union and their similarities and differences from States. Such organization - with the support of a population and fulfilling most of the roles of the government, yet not internationally recognized, are likely to increase in number and efficacy over time - and as we have just seen, even now, they are a force to be reckoned with.

Welcome the new Middle East. It's not your father's Middle East anymore.

Of course, this change has been building for many decades, at least since the Taliban and other non-state groups forced the Soviets out of Afghanistan. The Tamil Tigers have been making their voices heard (sometimes at the point of a gun) for many decades too. But this is the first time that a first-world army has had its eye blackened by a non-state in open combat.

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