Dr Clam said:
Not relevant to this post at all, of course, but isn't all the most recent news from Israel/Gaza, Syria/Lebanon, and Australia-Japan/Iraq just bluebird-on-my-shoulder top-of-the-morning excellent? Happy Fun WorldTM, here we come!
Well, yes, it is very exciting that Australia is going in just when Iraq needs some Country like ours with extremely good hearts and minds credentials. I also think that 450 of our soldiers is worth at least 1400 of the Dutch soldiers we are replacing - with the extra benefit of being a third of the possible targets.
I'm not sure what good things are happening in Syria/Lebanon except for the recent assassination meaning that the US will feel more empowered to snoop around and crack down on Syria's activities? I'll have to look at Syria more closely - it is a critical country in my Game theory model as the most likely spoiler entity of Israel-Palestine diplomacy. As far as Israel/Gaza is concerned, there are some positive signs, but as far as the overall issue all the current activites are "posturing" for possible advantage when there is a possibility of peace in a future with subdued spoiling entities. Of course I'm happy with Israel getting any advantage in that respect (eg. connecting settlements their side of the wall etc.) because they are inherently more capable of moral and magnanimous behaviour than either the neo-state of palestine or the neighbouring Arab influences.
As far as the overall Israeli-palestine model goes, the "spoilers" definitely want the Iraq conflict contained in Iraq, while Israel (and Palestine) would gain advantage if the conflict spread to Syria and/or Iran in a way which the US could control the money flow to terrorist organisations attacking Israel, as this would create the possibility of Abbas controlling *all* militant factions in Israel.