Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Closing our eyes to Syrian and Pakistani ties to terror

Christopher Hitchens notes how the international media and leaders are both shutting their eyes to the connection between terrorism in Lebanon that is surely tied to Syria and the terrorism in India that came out of Pakistan. We like to preserve the comforting story that the Syrian government and elements of the Pakistani government are not directing these attacks on other countries.
The Syrian and Pakistani situations are a great deal more similar than most people have any interest in pointing out. In both cases, there is a state within the state that exerts the real parallel power and possesses the reserve strength. In both cases, official "secularism" is a mask (as it also was with the Iraqi Baathists) for the state sponsorship of theocratic and cross-border gangster groups like Lashkar and Hezbollah. In both cases, an unknown quantity of nuclear assets are at the disposal of the official and banana republic state and also very probably of elements within the unofficial and criminal and terrorist one. (It is of huge and unremarked significance that Syria did not take the recent Israeli bombing of its hidden reactor to the United Nations or make any other public complaint.) Given these grim and worsening states of affairs, perhaps it is only small wonder that we take consolation in our illusions and in comforting doubts—such as the childlike wonder about whether Jews are deliberately targeted or just unlucky with time and place. This would all be vaguely funny if it wasn't headed straight toward our own streets.