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Wednesday, August 16, 2006
The Architecture of Peace

Here is what the Israeli-American-Lebanese peace should have looked like.

1. Israeli reparations to Lebanon: $10bn a year for a decade

2. American aid to Lebanon: $100bn to re-equip the military and infrastructure

3. Lebanon: disarm Hezbollah, replace social services with governmental services, hold elections in November 2008, recognize Israeli-Lebanese border, drop the Golan heights issue, and normalize relations with Israel

All figures are in US dollars. Some reasoning to back it up.

Lebanon needs money to rebuild, and, the Israeli-Lebanon wars have taken their toil on the infrastructure. (Hezbollah has started reconstructing Southern Lebanon.) If Israel parts with money, it's a good way to accept responsibility and undercut some of the criticisms of the state. Olmert could credibly say: "We only intervene until such a time that terror organizations no longer threaten Israel and their own citizens. Once that has been accomplished, we want to work toward peace and prosperity for all our neighbors." Bush and Rice could credibly claim to be interested in democratic stability. Squeezing money out of Israel makes it look like a concession (rather than just good policy), shores up Olmert's support among the left-wing opposition (Labor, nominally inside the coalition, Meretz, Shas, and the Arab parties), and gives American the image that it is capable of being an honest broker.

Hezbollah's influence has to go to prevent the creation of a new weapon against Israel: the international jihad (as opposed to struggles of national liberation). Hezbollah, a non-state actor, has not been obliterated by Israeli military power. Their lack of defeat means that non-state, non-conventional asymmetric warfare represents the new phase of the struggle against Israel.

The results of a non-Israeli victory (as opposed to a defeat) will be that regional frustrations with Israel now get channeled through transnational and non-state actors. Currently, in theory, political frustrations are directed toward state institutions, who, through diplomacy and force push Israel into acceptable deals. As it stands, no states in the region, except perhaps Iran, have the military might to coerce Israel so they generally withhold international recognition to prevent a normalization of affairs. (Except for Jordan and Egypt.) Since the states are clearly impotent, why not turn to the Viagra of the transnational struggle in Hamas and Hezbollah. They are getting things done, or, at least, are not completely screwing it up. Since Israel was built to deter armies and states, why not attack them with a weapon that states have a weakness towards?

This isn't really about whether Lebanon occupies southern Lebanon or not for those are not interested in Lebanese domestic stability. This is not about how much money Iran and Syria send or whether the Syrian regime is facing Islamist insurgents. This is not about the Middle Eastern states at all. Precisely because this is not about states, Israel should be afraid. With is why my solution/ peace plan makes it precisely about states. Lebanon is manipulable; Hezbollah can only be marginalized and dismantled. It is in the United States national security interest to keep the region's problems contained inside states.

This new non-state warfare is still the politics of struggle, but, since the states are unable to continue that struggle, it moves into the domain on non-state actors. I offered that the Bush and Olmert administration, as well as Middle Eastern leaders, want to prevent non-state actors from becoming the repositories of hope for the liberation of Palestine. The should do this by re-centering the focus on an Arab state, Lebanon, and dismantling the bold Hezbollah.