Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Perspectives on Terror

The world has seen two very different responses to acts of terror in recent days. While Israel sought to attack Lebanon to recover its kidnapped soldiers, India has thus far maintained a much less aggressive tack after the Mumbai blasts that killed 200, at last count. Till earlier this evening, I wished India would adopt Israel's aggression, striking militant camps in Pakistan rather than waiting for its neighbor to seek them out. Over dinner, watching the Newshour gave me another perspective.

I would encourage you to listen to or read the comments of Hisham Melhem, the Washington bureau chief for the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar, and host of a weekly program on the Arab satellite channel Al-Arabiya on the Newshour. He made a lot of sense about how retaliation pushes the moderates out of the political space. For example, in the Lebanon case, he argued that the Lebanese government is not in a position to do anything about Hezbollah, not because they don't want to, but because Hezbollah is militarily more powerful than the government itself. The Lebanese government then has to try to coax the militant group to lay down its arms, something the recent offensive makes a lot more difficult.

Postscript Soon after I posted this, I read this column by Saisuresh Sivaswamy arguing for a aggressive response, just as the US had done in the days after 9/11.

No comments: