With regard to the Middle East situation, the treachery of Syria and Iran in using Hezbollah as its proxy in a military effort to damage Israel defies description, much less understanding. According to U.S. News & World Report of 31 July, Syrian and Iranian resources together include 836,000 active military personnel; 6,213 main battle tanks; and 683 attack aircraft. Compare those numbers, respectively, to those of Israel: 168,000; 3,090; and 399. Syria and Iran, besides having a combined population 23 times that of Israel, have almost five times the active troop strength, more than twice as many main battle tanks, and 284 more attack aircraft than Israel. Indeed, Syria, alone, has more than Israel in each of these categories.
Yet and even though Syria shares an open border with Israel of some 45 miles over which it can easily move men and equipment, Iran and Syria armed/supplied Hezbollah and allowed it and southern Lebanon to be decimated rather than risk their far superior forces. Notwithstanding all claims to the contrary in the propaganda spread throughout the Middle East and though unprepared both militarily and with poor intelligence, Israel was the hands-down victor in the recent conflict and, given another two weeks or so, would have annihilated Hezbollah as a military threat. More to the point, Israel has 200 nuclear warheads and Patriot missiles. There can be no doubt that if and when conventional fighting fails Israel, its government will resort to whatever is necessary for survival, not as an aggressor but in defense.
For its part, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Hezbollah at the beginning of the conflict had up to 5,000 fighters; 10,000 to 15,000 rockets (of which it used about 4,000), and 30 missiles. The Lebanese government had 72,100 active troops (though strangely not useful for much more than police duties), 310 tanks, and 24 helicopters. None of Lebanon’s armed forces were used either to control Hezbollah, despite the fact that it is also a political party represented in the Lebanese government and therefore subject to both national and international law, or to defend its own nation in the fighting. Instead, the Lebanese government watched the military buildup in southern Lebanon for six years after Israel pulled out for good in 2000. The Syrian Army left Lebanon only last year. So…Lebanon’s government sat on its hands and became a laughingstock to the world while Lebanese people suffered and died. In other words, Muslims from three countries knowingly treated other Muslims as cannon fodder.
Syria and Lebanon, both having borders with Israel, have been stung in the past by attacking their common neighbor. In 1948, just after Israel established its democracy and became a member of the United Nations, they joined Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia in invading Israel, only to be soundly defeated. Iran watched. In 1967, it was Egypt, Syria and Jordan that attacked, with Egypt initiating the action by closing the Gulf of Aqaba and cutting off most of Israel’s oil supply. The three nations were badly defeated, and Iran watched.
Iran watched in 1973, when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel again and were beaten back. The point: Both Syria, by experience, and Iran, by observation, had no stomach for attacking Israel, so they sacrificed Hezbollah, knowing full well the carnage its members would experience, as well as the massive obliteration of Lebanese infrastructure, but perhaps hoping for…what? No one doubts that the eight Israeli soldiers killed and the two kidnapped by Hezbollah started the conflict, but the simple return of the two who were kidnapped would have foreclosed the bloody action. If Iran – the spectator until now – was attempting to make a point, along with Syria as the gofer, what was it? If it was, as mentioned by Senator McCain on NBC’s Meet the Press of 20 August, to take attention from Iran’s nuclear program, it failed, merely remarking indelibly the treachery with which atomic bombs would be used by Iran.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan condemned Hezbollah. By treaties signed in 1979 and 1994, respectively, Egypt and Jordan ended their wars with Israel. All three nations can thank the U.S. for its Kuwaiti action in 1991 that kept the murderous Saddam and his 400,000-man army (armed with WMD) from taking the entire Arabian Peninsula (and its oil) and holding the Middle East hostage until another war freed it. Instead of making Israel look bad in the Middle East and the rest of the world (in few of which places they ever look good anyway), Iranian “strongman” Ahmadinejad and Syria’s Bashar al Assad made themselves look like dopes and exposed their cowardice. They kept shoving the hardware while fellow Muslims died and had their houses blown away, but were AWOL themselves.
Muslim apologists point to the United States and scream about its favoritism toward Israel, and it’s true that Israel exists only because of this country’s protection and help. What folks don’t realize often is the fact that, according to the State Department, the US provides Egypt with $1.3 billion a year just in military aid. All told, Egypt has received well over $50 billion in US largesse of one kind or another since 1975. According to the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, in FY 2004 these Mid-East countries received U.S. aid: Israel, $2.62 billion; Egypt, $1.87 billion; Iraq, $18.44 billion; Afghanistan, $1.77 billion; Jordan, $560 million; Pakistan, $390 million; and Turkey, $150 million.
Putting both its blood and treasure on the line, this country has tried to be a stabilizing force in the Middle East, but the treachery, exemplified by Syria and Iran and carried out by Hezbollah, that Muslims perpetrate against each other, much less all other infidels (everyone who isn’t Muslim, such as the victims of 9/11), makes the task seem hopeless.