Interviews with Daniel Pipes
Fierce Fighting Between Israel and Hezbollah
CNN: Lou Dobbs Tonight
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Israeli troops are inside Lebanon storming Hezbollah outposts and searching for Hezbollah rocket launchers. It's one of the biggest ground battles of this conflict so far. … I'm joined now by three leading authorities on the Middle East. Here in New York joining me Gary Sick, he is professor at Columbia University, serving on the National Security Council staff. From Philadelphia, Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, well-versed on radical Islamist terrorists, an expert on the Middle East. From Washington D.C., Judith Kipper, adviser to the Council of Foreign Relations for middle east programs. We thank you all for being here.
Let me turn to you first, Professor Sick. Does it appear to you that Israel is going to be successful in its determination to strike both Hezbollah and get rid of its infrastructure and its weaponry?
GARY SICK, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I think they're being quite successful at striking the infrastructure and getting rid of some of the weapons. I understand the objective is really to eliminate Hezbollah, as an issue. I don't think that's really feasible. I think because of its political background and where it stands presently, eliminating it is going to be impossible unless they go through another invasion again.
DOBBS: Is an invasion possible, Judith Kipper?
JUDITH KIPPER, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I think an invasion is possible, but a limited invasion. Israel had a very, very bad experience in Lebanon, occupied a certain part of the south for 18 years and still has Hezbollah on its border. Hezbollah is an idea and it is expressed in a political party, a social welfare organization and a highly, highly trained militia. They can get their weapons and their hideouts, but they are not going to be able to eliminate their fighters or the ideology that Hezbollah is inspired by.
DOBBS: Daniel Pipes, with those cautionary words by both Judith Kipper and Gary Sick, Israel has really no choice but to succeed against Hezbollah if it is to remain a sovereign nation, correct?
DANIEL PIPES, DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST FORUM: Hezbollah is a real challenge to Israel, a new kind of challenge to Israel, but I agree with both of the others on this panel that Israel's means are limited. I think what Israel can achieve is not the eradication of root and branch of Hezbollah, but what it can do—and this will take time—will be to convince Lebanese in general, Shia in particular, Hezbollah members especially, that they can't win, this won't go anywhere, that they have nothing to gain by continuing to attack Israel. That they're in fact going to suffer more consequences, more bad consequences by doing this.
DOBBS: Israel, Professor Sick, withdraws from Gaza, withdraws from Lebanon, is moving back in the West Bank and doing so unilaterally, an expression of good faith. And then Hezbollah, for its political reasons or for whatever, kills Israeli soldiers, kidnaps three of them. At the center of this conflict now, are we in a situation where suddenly we have to say 58 years of violence, this cycle of madness has to end? We convene the quartet and we say, there will be an imposed peace in the Middle East?
SICK: I would like to think that there's a nice silver bullet somewhere that we can pull out of our pocket and say, this is going to be the solution to the problem. It's never worked in the past. And I...
DOBBS: ... But we haven't done that.
SICK: We've never tried to impose a formal settlement on the region. We have used our influence very strongly to bring the parties along and get them to agree to something. And basically, if you look at what Israel, for instance, went into Lebanon to impose a solution on them. And in fact, they created Hezbollah in the process of doing that. And basically created a whole new set of ideologies that they had to face.
DOBBS: And when you say they created both Iran and Syria in effect...
SICK: ... Sponsors came in to help, but in fact, it was in reaction to the Israeli behavior that did it.
DOBBS: Judith Kipper, the idea of the world saying enough, two states will exist side by side, the region will adjust, will accept it. And the powers will enforce and impose settlement. Is that an approach that you would be able to support?
KIPPER: I don't think an imposed settlement is necessary because the Israelis and the Palestinians in an Egyptian resort in the year 2001 actually worked out a detailed peace agreement that is forgotten, but it's not lost. And the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians, no matter how or when you measure it, between 60 and 90 percent, not only support that arrangement, which has been published, and they also wish it to be implemented. They want the problem solved. They want it to be implemented.
DOBBS: Then how, Judith, do we make it happen? Because my guess is that the world who cares about life and whether Hezbollah or Israeli, whether Iraqi or American, it is about to say enough, this is perpetrating madness?
KIPPER: It is perpetrating madness. And all of what we see is a function of non settlement of the Israeli/Palestinian problem. What's required is for the president of the United States to take an initiative, a diplomatic initiative with the support of NATO, the U.N., the Security Council, the G8, the Arab states who have squarely blamed Hezbollah for this and who have all agreed, the Arab states, to make peace with Israel, full normal relations once the Palestinian problem is solved.
DOBBS: Daniel Pipes, your view?
PIPES: I have a different view on this one. I think the notion of imposed peace is an oxymoron, cannot happen. Peace comes when one side gives up. And either Israel are going to give up, and there will be no more Israel or the Palestinians, Hezbollah and others will give up and there will be finally a resolution of the conflict. But it can't be imposed. It can't be brokered.
DOBBS: But tonight, Daniel, there may be no more Lebanon at this rate and there may be Hezbollah. There may be Israel and there may be Hamas. Why should the world tolerate this approach? And why in particular should the United States, which has invested blood, money in Israel for 58 years doing the same. Why in the world should we not simply demand rationality and even two-state solution in the Middle East and end this sponsorship of terror by Syria, Iran, the funding by Saudi Arabia, although I must give Saudi Arabia straightforwardly credit for stepping up here against Hezbollah. I mean, why should we tolerate anymore of this predictive, conventional and tried and trashed approach that we've endured for 58 years in this world?
PIPES: I completely sympathize with your anguish, but I fear the historical record shows that wars end when one side gives up, not because we're anguished about it, because we're fed up with it. We're not about to put our troops in the way between Hezbollah and Israel. We're not about to take responsibility. Short of that, all we can do is help them broker some kind of resolution. All we can do is help the Israelis finally achieve their goal of signaling to Hezbollah, to Hamas and to others that this is futile. Don't bother with this, this is not going to work.
DOBBS: Daniel Pipes, as always, good to have you here. Gary Sick thank you very much. Judith Kipper in Washington, thank you.
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