SOMETIMES there is a danger that the wider picture can become just that bit too broad. A classic example is what is happening in the Middle East at the moment. This latest crisis was caused by the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah terrorists or freedom fighters (depending on your outlook) which has resulted in Israel's classic over-reaction or defensive necessity. Let's not be naive, Hezbollah has been fighting the Israeli army for decades and Israel's reaction will have come as no great surprise to them. What concerns me is why they decided to take this action (the kidnapping of the soldiers) when they did, perhaps Israel is right and Iran is playing a leading role in the whole affair. The only victims is this miserable saga are the people of the Lebanon and Israelis who live on the border who are being bombarded by the opposing forces. Lebanon has been a powder keg for as long as I can remember, let's not forget that until last year Syria had thousands of troops deployed across the country. While things may have improved dramatically in the Lebanon over recent years we are certainly not dealing with a stable country; the fact that there are hundreds of Hezbollah guerrillas camped across Beirut underlines the fact that all is not well in what was once called the Paris of the Middle East. But returning to the broader picture, what is happening in Lebanon at the moment has its origins further afield which makes the whole situation even more worrying. The time has come for careful diplomacy and not knee-jerk reaction.
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