By Fareed Zakaria
“Hizbollah has committed several thousand men to the fighting in Syria. After Iran’s reversals in Iraq, it needs to defeat Syrian rebels in Qalamoun, in that way consolidating the territory controlled by President Bashar al-Assad between Damascus and the Syrian coast, the regime’s heartland,” writes Michael Young in The National.
“The Lebanese army, by design or default, may become a part of this project. That’s worrying, because it could heighten sectarian tensions that undermine the army’s unity, since a substantial portion of soldiers in the army are Sunnis.
“Hizbollah must also beware. If Lebanon collapses into a new civil war, Hizbollah would have to abandon Syria to fight at home. In other words, it would effectively have to give up on the Al Assad regime at a time when the latter’s capacities to remain in power are already doubtful. This may not only mean that Iran, Hizbollah’s sponsor, could lose Syria; it would mean that Hizbollah suddenly finds itself trapped in a civil war that it simply cannot win.”
“From start to finish, the latest Gaza conflict has largely been a man’s war,” writes Elana Maryles Sztokman in The Atlantic. “The Israeli negotiating team in Egypt does not include a single woman–not even Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, whose condition for joining the current governing coalition was that she head Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instead appointed his own (male) representative, Yitzchak Molcho, to represent him in the delegation. Livni sits on Israel’s security cabinet, the small committee that has made most of the major decisions about this war, but, tellingly, she is the only woman at the table. The story is the same on Israeli television and in the country’s newspapers. According to a study by The Marker, fewer than 10 percent of all experts interviewed on news programs during the war have been women.”
“The sexism underlying women’s exclusion from security and military leadership has found expression in some particularly troubling statements by senior officials and commentators.”