Friday, July 21, 2006
The Arab street's resounding silence
The biggest mystery of this conflict so far is the reaction of the Arab street ... the Arab leaders. The silence resounding around the Middle East is deafening. For the first time, there is no phalanx of Arab leaders lined up to condemn Israel.

Rather, word is gradually being leaked in Israel that something different is afoot. A leading Israeli newspaper reports one moderate Arab leader with no relations to Israel sending the government a secret message to carry on, wipe-out Hezbollah for us once and for all. They are all mostly Sunni, and they would say that about the powerful Shiite resistance group tied to powerful Shiite Iran.

A senior western diplomat with intimate knowledge of the efforts to find a solution tells me that Lebanese and other Arab leaders privately are asking, "How could Hezbollah have incurred such Israeli wrath if it genuinely is a domestic movement?" In other words, they are worried about Iran. They are worried that an early ceasefire would not only make Hezbollah much stronger in Lebanon, but their patron --Iran -- much stronger in the Middle East.

They are also worried about the U.S. administration's hands-off policy giving the green light to Israel to go ahead and weaken what both call a terrorist organization. But it's a gamble with potentially dangerous consequences -- the mounting Lebanese casualties, the potential disaster that a full-scale ground invasion by Israel could turn the whole region into a raging cauldron. The United States is the only nation with the clout and credibility to stop this and help hammer out a real political solution to resolve this particular tinderbox.

Hezbollah may cry uncle ... Then again, it may not.
Posted By Christiane Amanpour, CNN Senior Correspondent: 2:38 PM ET
  48 Comments
"The United States is the only nation with the clout and credibility to stop this and help hammer out a real political solution to resolve this particular tinderbox." You think Hezbollah has any interest at all in following the political lead of the U.S.? I'd like to know what gives you that impression.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Richmond, VA : 2:55 PM ET
Fact is that the Lebanes conflict will escalate and I have the bad feeling that the Israelie goverment and the US (like in Irak) will realise that they made a wrong calculation. At this stage it is to late for both sides Hezbollah and IDF to back off. The result will be destruction and death on both sides on a level which both did not expect and at the end nobody wins.
Posted By Anonymous Ramsi Hashash, Willmar MN : 3:01 PM ET
Lebanon seems unable or unwilling to put an army in the South, to keep the peace there. If that is the case, they need to either accept some armed 3rd party to occupy the South or they need to accept the status quo (i.e., bombs dropping in their streets). Hezbollah shouldn't be allowed to make these kind of decisions for all of Lebanon.

And, yes, the rest of the Arabs are treating it like the standard Sunni-Shi'ite problem. Things are great as long as Shi'ites are getting killed.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Vernal, UT : 3:02 PM ET
The Arab worls is fearful of a terrorist gtroup that has no respect for ANYONES life. Lest one forget they did kill 251 marines and a "few" Frenchman.
Posted By Anonymous steve lakewood pa. : 3:06 PM ET
Dear Christiane, I do not agree that the US is the ONLY nation with the clout to stop this...Iran/Syria COULD say 'release the captured soldiers' and other things but have not said ONE helpful WORD.
Roger Malstead
E. Wenatchee, WA
Posted By Anonymous Roger Malstead, E. Wenatchee, WA 98802 : 3:08 PM ET
I know this sounds crazy but the Hezbollah people, religion or whatever they are are used to fighting. They have been fighting for years and generations. That is what they do. Wouldn't want capitalism and democracy to take hold. Might have to get a job instead of kill. Go get them Israel. It doesn't matter if it is 2 or 200 soldiers, give them back or pay the price. Don't negotiate with terrorists.
Posted By Anonymous B. Taylor Nashville, TN : 3:09 PM ET
As a regular American, it never ceases to amaze me how much I learn about the world as each conflict unfolds on the world stage. How many Americans can honestly claim to have known, before 9/11, that there were 2 main Islamic groups - Sunni's and Shiite's. Yet, without this knowledge, how can one even begin to understand why a problem exists and what solutions may be available.

The depressing thing is that our leaders, who we charge with the responsibility to make critical decisions in our place, usually seem to lack these basics as well. Maybe it is time for all citizens to reconsider the qualifications for holding elected or appointed office in the USA.
Posted By Anonymous Ben Magoun, Naples,Florida : 3:10 PM ET
The leaders of these countries may side with the US & Israel in the fight against Iran (and Hezbollah) not because they like either but because they fear growing unrest among their own populace. As I recall most of the hijackers as well as Osama are Saudi. Egypt too has it's "internal" problems.
Posted By Anonymous Bill Boyd Tampa Fla : 3:11 PM ET
Christiane - excellent reporting as always. Thank you for your continuing clarity and courage Unfortunately the death of innocent civilians is part of every war, but wars are a NECESSARY evil when groups like Hezbollah and their sponsor Iran clearly state their intention to eradicate another nation and its inhabitants. A cease-fire would only give Hezbollah a respite in which to regroup and restock materiel. Why would the US want to intervene via cease-fire to give them that opportunity and advantage? It's heartbreaking, but Israel is fighting for its very existence. I say battle on. Freedom is not free.
Posted By Anonymous Leslie R, Los Angeles CA : 3:11 PM ET
Very interesting, Ms. Amanpour.

While on an earlier blog, I noticed Americans (mostly) were whining about the use of US taxpayer money to buy Israeli weaponry while few seemed to give much care to the fact that the Hezbollah is a terrorist organization which was responsible for killing all of those US Marines in the early 80s in... wait for it... LEBANON. How soon we forget, eh?

It is certainly easy for some to criticize as they sit on their ever-increasing backsides in places like Boulder, CO or Calgary, Alberta. Had they spent a day in Tel Aviv or Madrid or Mumbai and witnessed the carnage that groups like this have caused among TRULY innocent civilians, they might get a clue. Then again... they may not.

The fact is that it is in AMERICA'S best interests to kill off the Hezbollah as it is in the rest of the world's best interests to do so. Now is the time.
Posted By Anonymous Sam - Tigard, OR : 3:14 PM ET
"Hezbollah may cry uncle..." That would be a very interesting precedent. When has any terrorist organization ever "cried uncle?" You can be sure these zealots will fight until the last of them has breathed his final breath. Until that day any "cease fires" or "crying of uncle" is merely a ruse to allow the terrorists to regroup, plan a new strategy, and come straight back.
Posted By Anonymous Steven Battle; Atlanta, GA : 3:14 PM ET
Hats off to Israel. They have every right to protect and defend their country. Hezbollah has not lived up to any agreement ever made with Israel.
Posted By Anonymous Cady No. Virginia : 3:14 PM ET
The Arab reaction should be a surprise only for those looking at the Muslim world as a monolithic block. There are two words that account for the muted Arab response: Shiite domination.

Since the neutralization of Hussein's regime nothing stands in the way of an oil-supercharged and rocket-rich Iran. For the first time in recent history the possibility of Shi'ite ascendancy bankrolled by a buoyant Iran has transformed from a theoretical political fantasy into crude reality. Hizbollah is a fantastically powerful Shi'ite militia that influences the balance of power in the region while serving the long-term political and religious interests of Iran. The worst nightmare for the Saudi regime is for an Irani-led uprising in the Saudi eastern seabord where Shi'ites and the world's largest oil reserves co-exist. Hizbollah would be a pivotal component in a Shi'ite uprising in that region by providing trained cadres, weapons' conduits, and plausible deniability to Iran.

No wonder the Arab world waits in muted hope for Israel to destroy or severely impair Iran's regional proxy. For the Sunni Arabs it would be the sweetest of win-win scenarios: regional stability and retrenching of the Persian enemy on the tab of the secular Jewish enemy.

There's no surprises here. Except for those obdurate enough to believe that all Muslims dance to the same geopolitical and religious tune.
Posted By Anonymous Jorge Galva, Northville MI : 3:15 PM ET
First I would like to say that I am a big fan of yours Chistiane--it's so great to see your posts here. Thank you for the extensive reporting.

Israel wants us all to believe that they have destroyed half of Hezbollah's arsenal. If this is true, why are rockets continuing to launch into Israel?
Also, isn't there something like 1 million Shiites in the south that support Hezbollah? Not to mention the 100 million dollar support they get a year from Iran(according to the U.S reports I've read). It seems to me that this group will be able to survive for many years to come.
Will Hezbollah cry uncle? I say no way-not yet, perhaps not ever.
Posted By Anonymous Sheri S. Toronto, Ont. Canada : 3:15 PM ET
If Arab countries in the region are concerned about Hezbollah, Iran, etc then why don't they get off their butts and DO SOMETHING!!! Why do they allow these entities to have free reign in their own backyard? Why is it always up to Israel to have to defend itself? Why is it always Americas's responsibility to solve the problems the Arabs already know exist? Why don't these same Arab countries step-up take the lead and do what needs to be done. That way, service members like myself don't have to put our lives on hold for months at a time to help solve their probelms.
Posted By Anonymous Dan, Misawa Air Base, Japan : 3:16 PM ET
Former Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's two books, "A Place Among the Nations" and "Terrorism: How The West Can Win" may explain why there is silence from the rest of the Arab world at this time. A free and democratic Israel is surrounded by hostile dictatorships and terrorist groups that want to see the nation of Israel removed from the map. Those who oppose democracy and freedom should be thankful western governments have not stepped in more publicly to help Israel eliminate the evil of Hezbollah once and for all.
Posted By Anonymous S Powers, Arlington, TX : 3:16 PM ET
Christiane,

Beyond the Sunni/Shiite animosity, do you think that many Arab leaders are also uncomfortable with the democratically elected government of Lebanon and the popular mass appeal that Hezbollah seems to be enjoying?

Thanks to you and the CNN team for posting your blogs. While crisis in the Middle East is not new, it is interesting to see the way in which this one is being reported, discussed and analyzed.
Posted By Anonymous Rebecca, San Francisco, CA : 3:37 PM ET
I disagree that the US is the only nation with enough clout to hammer out a peace accord in the region. We've been there, done that...a couple times. The region is fueled by hate and you can't fix that with signed pieces of paper and a lot of chit chat. Both sides of any conflict have to want peace. I mean look at the IRA--not on the same level, I grant you. But, they came to the table wanting to make peace and they succeeded. I don't think Lebanon is of the same mind; especially since the leader came out and said last week that he has no interest in removing the head of Hezbollah. This is not a guy looking out for the best interests of his people and how can the US or anyone else work with that?
Posted By Anonymous Heather, Washington, DC : 3:38 PM ET
I don't think its as much of a Shii' or Sunni problem. The corrupt Arab leaders are only concerned about their own regimes. Why stick your head out and endanger your own regime when US has decided to whole-heartedly support Israel in the destruction of a country?

If any one has an ounce of compassion then they would not stand for the death of civilians no matter what they are faith-wise or race-wise. I believe that people in US would also be opposed to this if they knew the extent of lifeloss and suffering in Lebanon right now... No one can be so heartless.. At least I hope so
Posted By Anonymous Nasir, Berkeley, CA : 3:50 PM ET
Christiane,

By defiition, Hezbollah is most certainly a terrorist organization. They are wholy to blame for this latest situation and, while I feel for Lebanese citizenry being affected by the fighting, Israel has no choice but to force Hezbollah out of the buffer zone they occupied up until 1970.

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud's proclamation today that the Lebanese Army is ready to defend its land is an unwelcome development indeed. Where was he when the southern region of his country was being over-run by Hezbollah?? What was he doing while Hezbollah was moving in the mobile rocketry and other sophisticated military hardware that is now being used to fire indiscriminately on Israeli border towns and cites?? Unfortunately, no one in the Lebanese government was all that concerned in the defense of their country at that point in time. If they had been, perhaps this border conflict could have been avoided. Allowing a terrorist organization sworn to the death of Israel to take residence alng its southern border is simply inviting trouble.
Posted By Anonymous James Boyes, Westfield, NJ : 3:50 PM ET
I'd forgotten this. If I remember correctly, Shi'ite Muslims are a minority in Lebanon, compared to their Sunni neighbours. Hezbollah is, at least in propaganda, dedicated to protecting Shi'ite interests. So... this is a really important point to remember and should be brought through in the reporting. It's not just the (to be blunt) Jews fighting the Arabs as the casual observer may be lead to believe.

Thanks for this, Christiane.
Posted By Anonymous Catherine, Vancouver, B.C. : 3:51 PM ET
The American public holds the solution in their hands to all the middle east problems when they go to the polls and exercise their votes and tell their elected official they do NOT want to support Israeli state terrorism. They do not want to send Israel 3-5 billion a year to occupy and oppress a whole race of people to maintain the status quo. They do not want their tax dollars and American made weaponry to be responsible for the innocent loss of life. Americans need to force their leaders to negotiate fairly with all sides. Americans need to educate themselves and not buy into this nonsense/propoganda that our current leadership and Israel puts on the airwaves. We need to ask ourselves what do we acheive by our unrelenting support of Israel? Is the rest of the world wrong when they condemn Israel and we continue to stand by their side as they destroy a people, a country??? Is the 60 year old occupation of Palestine, the right thing? We need to know that the American/Israeli lobby controls our elected officials. We need to know that our elected officials are not acting in our best interests and are creating a dangerous world. As Americans we need to take action, question our elected leaders and stop the insanity of unquestionable support for Israel.
Posted By Anonymous Rima, Riverside, CA : 3:55 PM ET
Umm... Gee, did I miss something? Like the part of Christiane's report that examines how the destruction of the civilian infrastructure and the 'collateral' killing of scores of 'non-hezbollahan' (many of them children) Lebanese has advanced the struggle against radical Islamic fundamentalism in a fragile democracy emerging from decades of civil war. Is someone planning to "let the story reveal itself" on that topic? Curious minds want to know...
Posted By Anonymous Winston Smith, Huntsville, Alabama : 3:58 PM ET
U.s. clout is not the issue here. You cannot negotiate peace with a terrorist organization like hezbollah. Terrorism is their life. These are cowards who hide behind civilian population, and then if it serves their agenda...kill the same civilian population.To them terrorism is the end not the means for peace. All peace loving nations should isolate and get rid of these terrorst groups once and for all.
Posted By Anonymous Lem, Springfield, Virginia : 4:04 PM ET
Long lasting peace? I am far from racist or biased but when ones religion and life is based on the destruction of another there will never be peace, thus there never has been in this region and ultimately never will be.
Posted By Anonymous David Winn, Alexandria Virginia : 4:08 PM ET
watching US media coverage of this conflict gives me an impression that Israel is being favored. Try watching international coverage and you can see the difference. I just want to see a balance view(reporting) on this conflict.
Posted By Anonymous Paul Rodriguez, Glendale : 4:14 PM ET
How did all these mid-east countries come into being with diverse populations that can't seem to get along? British colonialism. They don't have borders based on natural physical or racial or curtural lines. They were created as such to keep them in constant friction with each other while they were dominated by foreign powers for oil and geoplitical reasons. Creation of Israel was the most explicit example of this. Today the British are replaced by the U.S. and it's proxy Israel, backed by American weaponry. The mantle has been handed from the British to the U.S. They want "peace and stability" to perserve the status quo. It's power politics, plain and simple. Israel had become the regional bad cop while the us played the good cop routine. However the masks are coming off after 9/11 and the ascendant neo-cons in power. Resurgent Islam is throwing a monkey wrench into the whole thing. Unfortunately so many sides have vested interests that the realities that underline these conflicts are unknown by the vast majority of people, especially in the US.
Posted By Anonymous kyle, Paramus, NJ : 4:26 PM ET
Too often, world leaders have failed to address the source of the Middle-East crisis, preferring instead to treat the supperficial issues such as the one that provoked the current round of hostilities. Both Israel and its Arab neighbors brim with intense hate toward one another. They've all conducted acts of terrorism against one another. The Israelis have kidnapped palestinian leaders before and have violated more UN resolutions than any nation on the face of the earth. And in the same vein, Arab extremists have indulged in provocations of wanton proportions. If we truly want to get to the bottom of this matter, we must see things and call them as they are, not manipulating and shading the truth. And the truth is - Israel and its nieghbors do not respect one another's right to exist. It takes two to make peace, and niether Israel nor its Arab neighbors seem willing to show the courage to embrace peace. And leaders who stand by and fan the embers of this engulfing inferno lack the courage to moderate the affairs of men. They are simply tangled in the web of a degenerating world in which violence begets its kind. Let's not forget that the measure of hate we express today may fester to be tomorrow's cycle of enduring violence.
Posted By Anonymous Bobby, Houston, Tx : 4:27 PM ET
None of you seems to know anything about what is Hizbollah, just heard it on CNN or read in newspaper and decided it's a terrorist group like Alqeda. That is simple not true. Only Israel and USA have called Hizbollah a terrorist group. In the rest of the world, they are known as freedom fighters. As a matter of fact, that is the sole reason of their existence. When Israel ATTACKED Lebanon in the past. Hizbollah was created to fight them out of their country. After loosing, Israle cried to USA about Holocaust and we supported them blindly. Now Israel is back at what it wanted to do, capture more area for the "promised land". Kill many of your soldiers, to save 1 who is probably not even alive anymore. That is not really a smart war tactic.
Posted By Anonymous Tim Doran, MD, USA : 4:29 PM ET
Hello Christian;
Thanks for bringing this subject up. To begin with, all those people who are judging the crisis based on one incident, are or can only convince themselves only. Do we agree that we can not judge a basketball game based on the first or two last minutes? I think we all do, so why are we trying to judge who is evil and who is good based on the last incident (The kidnapping of two Israelu soldiers). This conflict is a 6 decades long conflict and in order to have a solid judgment based on facts and not emotions or political reasons, we should look at the conflict as a whole, since the day it began up until now. Did you asked yourselves, that why Israel has no problems with Egypt or Jordan? The answer is simple, they returned back the lands invaded from Egypt and Jordan. Now, why on earth, Israel can't do the same with all of it's neighbours? Isn't it peace with their neighbours what they want? Then return the lands occupied from Syria, Lebanon and Palestine and this problem is over, but to tell you the truth, this is not what they want, especially the the superpowers, cause they will find no one to buy their weapons anymore. They must keep this part of the world in crisis, and i bet anyone, that this will go on forever.
Now some people are starting to talk about Sounnis and Shiits, ans some people even proposed to kill all those Shiits, really? Did you forget 9/11? or did you forget AL Zarqawi? now these people who are describing the sounnis as the good people, you are either ignorants, or you have no brain at all, cause Americas most notorious terrorists that are on the wanted list are all sounnis,like Bin Laden, Ayman Al Zawahri, AL Zarqawi, Saddam and the list goes on and on.
Please take a moment and go to the roots of the conflict and stop kidding yourselves and everyone around you. The solution is simple, but is there anyone willing to do that?
Posted By Anonymous Harout, Montreal, Canada : 4:32 PM ET
As always, thank you, Christiane, for your reporting. It seems clear that the "silence" from the Arab street results from fear of a newly empowered Iran. The Gulf states feared Saddam, but they always feared revolutionary Iran more. And now, the US has gone and won the Iran-Iraq war for Iran twenty years after the ostensible conclusion of that conflict, and Iran is fast on its way to becoming the dominant power in the middle east! The one upside to the current situation is that Hezbollah may be overplaying the card given it by its chief patron's waxing influence. Yet I suspect that, due to their peculiar ideological rigidities, the US and Israel will probably miss yet another opportunity to obtain some constructive results from this unfortunate situation. Hezbollah presents a dreadful political problem for the Lebanese government. It is both a popular political party and an armed faction which the government cannot control. The current unilateral bombing campaign may destroy some rockets and kill a few Hezbollah fighters, but -- by itself -- it will only serve to weaken an already weak Lebanese government, which has everything to lose while Hezbollah hardliners have everything to gain. We need to be helping the Lebanese solve the Hezbollah problem themselves, so that they can continue to solve it in the future. Yes, a few members of Hezbollah are in the Lebanese parliament, and yes, we may have to treat with people who we find very distasteful, and given our current leadership deficit it is unlikely that we will do it. But the only long-term solution (short of genocide) will be to strengthen a democratic government and free institutions in Lebanon, not simply leave behind a bunch of rubble. Christiane has observed some really hopeful developments; let's hope we have leaders with the sense to capitalize on them.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Madison, WI : 4:32 PM ET
How is it that those posting on this blog have forgotten that it was the Hizbollah that attacked the US Embassy in Beirut killing hundreds of US soldiers? Was it that it was more than 20 minutes ago and doesn't fit into a brain crammed full of pictures of Janet Jackson's nipple? Oh wait... that was more than 20 minutes ago, too.

What were we talking about again?
Posted By Anonymous Sam - Tigard, OR : 4:38 PM ET
To everyone that is blindly saying Go Israel Go, consider a few things:

I toally agree that Israel should have the right to defend itself and its citizens when attacked. However, there is such a thing as a proportionate response. ISrael's current tactics remind one of those used by the oppressors of WW2. Civilian populations and infrastructure punished when soldiers are attacked. Let's not forget that Israel still occupies Lebanese land and holds lebanese captives, and that Hezbollah started this whole thing by attacking and also kidnapping Soldiers (not civilians); anyone who says otherwise should look at the news records. An appropriate response would have been going directly after Hezbollah leadreship and military positions rather than shelling homes and killing entire families, destroying bridges, milk factories, food warehouses, etc.

It is mind boggling to see that a people who suffered so much, have learned the wrong lessons from history; they have learned to use the tactics of their former oppressors. More than 300 people killed in Lebanon, and more than 1000 injured, a third of all of these are children, more than 500,000 people displaced; more than 30 people killed in Israel, hundreds injured, tens of thousands displaced. How is the kidnaping of two soldiers any of their faults?

It is ridiculus that some people do not take that into consideration when they post their comments. This i s not a move or a video game, we are talking about real, innocent, life loving people here!

The right thing to do would have been to go after the terrorist leadership, and even before that, leave occupied land, return all detainees, and help democracies flourish in neighbouring countries to prevent terrorist and fundamentalist thought from flourishing. Israel's current actions, and hezbollah's current actions, are ionly engendering more hatred on both sides.

So many things to say, so hard to do in a blog, so hard to even structure my thoughts on this issue amid all teh emotion. I just cannot believe that anyone can sit idly by when innocents are dying, let alone encourage destruction and death! Simply mind boggling.
Posted By Anonymous Marc, Philly, PA : 4:43 PM ET
An interesting side bar on the fighting. But I think it's a bit light headed to suggest that the United States can give a "green light", or for that matter a red light to Israel in this situation. Sometimes a sovereign country must act without worrying about how other friendly countries may feel. Would people in the United States allow Israel to control it's response if say, Canada started lobbing hundreds of rockets into Chicago and Detroit? I think not. And in this case, the terrorists in south Lebanon are getting exactly what they deserve. Let Israel crush these terrorists for the Lebanese government. And then maybe Lebanon can begin to exercise control over their entire country.
Posted By Anonymous Dan, Green Bay, WI : 4:45 PM ET
Christiane:

I would like to see a primer on the Muslim faith and the different sects. I know that besides Sunnis and Shias, there are Sufis (the Whirling Dervishes). Could you and CNN make this one of "CNN Presents".

I know that Iran is not an Arab country, it is what we read in history as Persia. I would like to see the United States become more informed about the Muslim faith, it is as different as the Christian faith.
Posted By Anonymous Donna, Bremerton, WA : 4:47 PM ET
I think people should study their history, do research, stop watching Fox then they can have a better understanding what is going on. We are so lazy that we turn on a TV or newspaper and believe what we see or read. Go to a library and do a lot of research. Don't believe what you WANT to hear.

Now a days there are a Billion side to a story.
Posted By Anonymous AA, Portland, OR : 4:51 PM ET
Silence...Enjoy it now. The minute the United States makes it decision to take part in this conflict,I believe our response will involve Syria, the silence from other Arab communities will cease. The only time the Arab communities are vocal is when the great american democracy has boots on arab soil.
The elimination of a state or people should not be allowed and any country that can not keep these terroristic factions needs to relize they are sleeping with the serpant.
Do you think Lebanon would have accepted our help in removing Hezbollah early on? I doubt it.
Posted By Anonymous Doug Jacksonville,FL : 5:11 PM ET
To Donna (the post above).

The Whirling Dervishes are not accepted in most of the Arab world. Most of them think it's unIslamic to dance or twirl for God. It would be so cool if "CNN Presents" does a story about them. I think in Afghanistan the Taliban banned and killed Sufis who practiced Sufism.

Rumi was born in what is known now Balkh, Afghanistan. I think if he were alive today, he'd be just dancing to peace and writing love poems to God. I'm not sure if that would help today's situation, but it may make others feel better.

If we opened our minds and hearts to others' beliefs then we would be more tolarant. Peace is near because it's too late. With so many killings, I don't think anybody is going to forgive.

If the U.S wasn't starving for oil, the Middle East might have peace. Yes U.S. has a big responsiblity. Money is power, the military is power, and freedom is power. The U.S has all three but yet we still have proverty in the U.S, Deaths of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and nobody has the right to speak against the war or the president.
Posted By Anonymous Miriam R. San Deigo, CA : 5:32 PM ET
"real political solution"
That sounds great to our minds because we are oriented toward peace and reconciliation. Let's not be fooled into thinking that the Iran-Hizbolla Islamic holy war machine cares about peace and reconciliation. They want to destroy Israel. They want to destroy all the infidels. That means all of Western Culture. This is not about land. It's not about politics. It's a clash of civilizations. We in the west need to wake up and take notice. They Islamic Extremists are patient, calculating, and unafraid to create massive death and destruction to gain their aims.

I've been a peace lover and peace maker my whole life. And as I've educated myself about the Iranian regime, it becomes clear. They will not stop unless they are forced to stop.

Please wake up before it's too late!
Posted By Anonymous richard, Boston, MA : 6:03 PM ET
It's not just a Sunni/Shiite thing. When shove comes to push, a Muslim wil always support a fellow Muslim. Please ask yourselves some questions (1) why are more & more people hating America? (2) why are Muslim moderates pushed towards a more hard-line stance? (3) why is the world silent on Israel kidnapping & jailing countless Arabs & not following some age-old UN resolutions?
Posted By Anonymous Danby, Kuala Lumpur : 7:10 PM ET
Christiane,

You are the only person I actually go out of my way to watch on CNN. Your dignity, intelligence, and no nonsense attitude are utterly refreshing at times like this. Tell me what is really happening and not the white washed bunk the white house wants me to hear, and I will tune in to watch you forever.

Brava to you for holding your own out there. Keep it coming!
Posted By Anonymous Kathy,Los Angeles CA : 7:27 PM ET
Great article until I read this comment, "The United States is the only nation with the clout and credibility to stop this and help hammer out a real political solution" When did we get clout & credibility?
Posted By Anonymous Bonnie, New York City : 7:44 PM ET
The U.N. could end this right away, simply by enforcing the 2003 Resolution 1559. Send forces in there and shut down Hezbollah. The U.N. had better act now. It is said that Iran is supplying Hezbollah. The same Iran that is after nuclear weapons? After all this, do you really think Israel will allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons? They will do as they did with Iraq's nuclear reactor, by a preemptive strike. Writing is on the wall!
Posted By Anonymous Gearld Reeves, Warren, Michigan : 7:51 PM ET
Any individual who supports peace knows that violently attempting to destroy opposition will lead only to growth of more violence and opposition, from the very suffering it has caused.

Why then is the world continuing to promote violent clamping of such mushrooming resistance?

In this case, had Israel and Lebanon been in reverse positions, the response would have been entirely different and the west would not have kept repeating a weak justification for Israel: the justification for the deaths of hundreds of lives and thousands of people being displaced due to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers!

Blind retaliation by conflicting sides and the world at large is futile! Israel unjustified in this war and US foreign policy continues to be deplorable!
Posted By Anonymous Aurora, Colombo, Sri Lanka : 1:23 PM ET
Arab leaders are not the Arab street. The near silence on the part of Arab leaders should not surprise given their silence in the past on other crises. As for the Arab street, it is not completely silent. In addition to Martyr's Square and outside UN House in Beirut, there have been vocal demonstrations in Cairo and in Amman. These seem to draw little coverage from the Western media. Perhaps CNN might balance its coverage by exploring more of the civil society response in Lebanon itself, where NGOs such as CRTD.A, Greenline and Arab Network of NGOs for Development are taking on relief work and organizing peaceful demonstrations calling for a ceasefire.
Posted By Anonymous Asmaa Donahue, New York, NY : 1:55 PM ET
How exactly can the US resolve it? by asking Hizballah to be quiet? by agreeing to Hizballah terms? who can they talk to? the Iranians, that control the Hizballah and arm them, and that wish to wipe Israel of the map? the Syrians, that support weapons to the Hizballah and encourage them to hit Israeli cities?
first they should learn their lesson, then Israel will stop the fire, and we'll see if they will hand over the 2 soldiers, and leave the border zone.
Posted By Anonymous Asi, Haifa, Israel : 5:30 PM ET
Maybe the Arab street and Arab leaders are finally waking up to the self-destructive forces of radical islamists. More likely, Christiane is right, they're just acting out of self-interest to prevent Iran from becoming the nt power in the Middle East. Ultimately, Arabs don't want to be manipulated and pushed around by Persian Shi'ites.
Posted By Anonymous BST, Atlanta, GA : 12:41 PM ET
America may have clought but it no longer has credibility since no one around the world respects or fear America. Such a shame!
Posted By Anonymous Sam , Kingston Jamaica : 3:42 PM ET
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