O Financial Times: mais um pasquim desnorteado e pouco atento à blogosfera portuguesa.

Se os editores do sobrevalorizado Financial Times lessem os posts da nossa arquitecta Isaura ou do nosso gestor Francisco, talvez não proferissem os dislates que em seguida reproduzo, na edição deste fim-de-semana. Os sublinhados são meus:

Israel is on the way to defeating its aims

When Israel last went into Lebanon in force in April 1996 with the intention of crushing Hizbollah, it managed to kill precisely two members of the Shia Islamist militia in the course of a 17-day bombardment that killed a lot of civilians and turned the country into a refugee camp. This time things are going much faster.

After 10 days of shelling and rocketing, the Israeli armed forces have killed about three times as many civilians, razed whole villages and suburbs of Shia Lebanon - in the south, in south Beirut and the northern Bekaa valley - attacked Christian and Sunni areas as well, and have still barely laid a glove on Hizbollah.

Israel's strategic goal - to destroy its most effective adversary, which drove Israeli forces out of Lebanon in 2000 after a 22-year occupation - does not appear to be working.

It is incontestable that Hizbollah provoked Israel by its cross-border raid in which it killed several soldiers and seized two others. Hizbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, normally a politically sophisticated operator, seems to have misread sentiment internationally and in the region. For in the wake of the Iraq debacle, the US and its Sunni Arab allies have become profoundly alarmed about the advance of Shia radicalism under the leadership of Iran.

Israel, even under a weak and untested government led by Ehud Olmert, has understood that perfectly. It knows it has a green light from the Bush administration to destroy as much of Hizbollah - seen by American politicians of all stripes purely asan Iranian proxy on Israel's border- before Washington's dilatory diplomacy gets round to negotiating a cessation of hostilities. But, not for the first time, Israel is overplaying its hand.

Around the region and the world, people are repelled by newscasts of Israeli forces pulverising the homes and lives of ordinary Lebanese. Their leaders are being forced to react.

Israel is now massing troops on and just beyond its northern border, ostensibly for a ground invasion. It has ordered out the entire population of south Lebanon up to the Litani river. That will certainly boost Hizbollah support. That, after all, was what happened after the 1982 Israeli invasion that incubated the fundamentalist group. The Shia militia will also welcome a rematch with the Israelis on the mountainous guerrilla terrain where it beat them before.

Israel is therefore well on the way to defeating its aims, as well as dragging the sullied reputation of its American ally through the Lebanese mud.

The best chance of getting Hizbollah under control is by a large international force with a robust mandate to help Lebanon's government secure the south and the border with Israel, as called for by Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary-general.

Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, intends to travel to the Middle East next week. It is to be hoped she gets their faster than her predecessor, Colin Powell, did in April 2002. His long odyssey allowed Israel time to retake the West Bank and take apart Palestine's incipient national institutions, which helped prepare the ground for the triumph of Hamas.

There is, at any rate, unlikely to be any ceasefire before the end of the month. In the meantime, therefore, as Mr Annan and others have demanded, Israel must make a credible effort to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. It is part of Ms Rice's duty to ensure that it does.

Enfim. Os falcões portugueses deviam mostrar a estes pomadistas como funciona a política internacional.


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