Middle East ceases firing, starts typing

Ahmadinejad Blog
Well, we’ve got our ceasefire. (Even if it was violated after only four hours.) And Hezbollah is busily claiming victory, the logic of which escapes me. (Not that that’s a first for Hezbollah’s actions.) Unless you define not being completely pummelled into oblivion as a military triumph – much as Saddam did after the ‘Mother of All Wars’ – it seemed to me like Lebanon got rather the worst of it.

The President of Iran, Mamdouh Ahmadinejad, was among those claiming victory, saying that “”God’s promises have come true” and the United States’ plans to reshape the Middle East had been ruined”, according to the SMH. Well, the latter part’s true, but not because of Lebanon or Hezbollah. The US stuffed it up all by themselves.

The region hasn’t seen so much positive spin put on a disaster since President Bush declared “mission accomplished” aboard that warship. Still, as irritating as the parades must be for Israel, at least they’ve stopped launching rockets. Momentarily.

Ironically, many Israelis (I’d say correctly) perceive that they haven’t exactly been huge winners out of it either, and have called for “the army chief’s head”, as the headline puts it. I’m sure Hezbollah would be more than happy to be involved in removing it. The General sold $36,000 worth of shares on his way to the meeting that recommended war – surely a situation even Rene Rivkin might admit raised insider trading concerns.

The battle for the region’s hearts and minds has continued on the Iranian President’s new blog, which has been almost ubiquitously reported in the media since it started, presumably because we’re fascinated that the conservative leader of a country whose religious attitudes seem so regressive could embrace new media. That’s corollary is a furphy, of course – Al Qaeda are clearly very net-literate, for example. They’ve been distributing amateur video around the world since well before YouTube ever existed.

The site’s a bit disappointing, to be honest – just some biographical details so far. (The same seems to apply for the Farsi site as well.) He’s pretty keen to boast about his academic prowess, interestingly, but just about the only amusing thing is the poll, which asks “Do you think that the US and Israeli intention and goal by attacking Lebanon is pulling the trigger for another word war?” (I assume world war is what he means – a word war would be a welcome respite.) It’s running about lineball at the moment.

You can leave a comment, interestingly. After all, Iran is a democracy – at least as far as its secular leadership goes. Funny how America doesn’t ever give Iran a thumbs up when it talks about bringing democracy to the Middle East. Although the Islamic state’s free speech record isn’t exactly awesome.

In the interests of balance, though, I should point out that the Iranians aren’t the only ones using the internet as a tool during this conflict. The Israelis have set up a charming programme where you can shout the boys out on the Lebanese border a pizza or a burger. It’s only US $189 to buy burgers for an entire platoon! How considerate!

Here’s how it works:

We deliver your burger order right up to the soldiers out in the field: jeep and foot patrols, roadblocks, army bases and on guard duty.

Sounds dangerous? No!

All our deliveries are coordinated with the security forces

and thus pose no security risk.

In fact, it may even be lower than the security risk of just walking down the street.

With your order, we include your personal message to the Israeli soldiers. Our soldiers love to know that they have support from all around the world. We have included a selection of messages that people have written to the soldiers. Please read them and we are sure that you will be inspired as much as we are! It is without doubt as tremendous an experience for us to give out the burgers and soda as it is for the soldiers receiving them, in the knowledge that people everywhere support them.

And if the pizza doesn’t come in 30 minutes, Hezbollah rockets will heat it up for you.

Dominic Knight