This piece was reprinted by OpEd News with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.
After the recent Israeli attacks against Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, the Middle East has found itself in the midst of undeclared war.
Almost everyone in Lebanon appears to agree. "This time Israel went too far. In just two days, it bombed three countries," I am told by a local UN staffer based in Beirut.
The same day, my local barber was talking like he saw it all, his voice full of sarcasm and determination:
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing tough elections at home, while his wife is on trial for fraud. A bit of excitement during the evening news can only help his chances of regaining attention from his electorate. But we here have had enough; we are ready to fight for our countries."
But 'fighting for their countries' could prove lethal, as Netanyahu threatened to attack Lebanon as a whole, if Hezbollah decides to retaliate.
My barber is not just a barber. He is a Syrian engineer, exiled in Lebanon. The entire region is dispersed, derailed and intertwined, after NATO and Israeli attacks, occupations and destabilization campaigns.
On August 25, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, put it bluntly during his televised speech in Lebanon:
"The dawn suicide attack is the first act of aggression since August 14, 2006. The Lebanese state's condemnation of what happened and referral of the matter to the Security Council is good, but these steps do not prevent the course of action to be taken. Since 2000, we have allowed Israeli drones for many reasons but no one moved. Israeli drones entering Lebanon are no longer collecting information, but [carrying out] assassinations. From now on, we will face the Israeli drones when they enter the skies of Lebanon and we will work to bring them down. I tell the Israelis that Netanyahu is running with your blood."
President of Lebanon Michel Aoun went even further, calling the drone attack against his country a "declaration of war."
Meanwhile, a powerful block in the Iraqi Parliament the Fatah Coalition insists on holding the US "fully responsible" for the Israeli attacks, "which we consider to be a declaration of war on Iraq and its people." The Fatah Coalition wants all US troops to get out of Iraq, as soon as possible.
There is no doubt that Mr Netanyahu, with his recent combat-drone incursions and bombings, has thrown the entire region into great and unexpected turmoil.
Israel has been regularly attacking Syria and bombing Palestine for decades. But Lebanon is a totally different story: only its airspace has been habitually violated by the Israeli jets flying towards the Syrian targets. Bombing Iraq is also clearly an escalation of Israel's bellicose strategy. A bizarre escalation, considering that Iraq is still de facto a state occupied by Israel's closest ally the United States.
Everything that is Shia short of Iran itself (for now) suddenly became a 'legitimate target' for Israel. For many years, Shia Islam has been synonymous with the ideological resistance to Western imperialism in the Middle East: Iran itself, several factions inside Iraq, and Hezbollah, among others.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).