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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 7-Sep-2014
7-Sep-14 World View -- Israel preparing for 'very violent' war with Hezbollah

Web Log - September, 2014

7-Sep-14 World View -- Israel preparing for 'very violent' war with Hezbollah

Ebola pandemic may mean the end of the 'Africa Rising' dream

This morning's key headlines from

Israel preparing for 'very violent' war with Hezbollah

Screen grab from TV show showing potential Hezbollah rocket fire on Israel
Screen grab from TV show showing potential Hezbollah rocket fire on Israel

In a series of articles in the last week, we've been highlighting the Mideast realignment following the Gaza war and the effect of the rise of ISIS on Saudi Arabia as well as rise of ISIS on India. I used a Generational Dynamics analysis to outline how the Mideast is realigning itself around a growing fault line separating Israel plus Egypt plus Saudia Arabia versus the Palestinians plus Qatar plus Turkey, with vitriolicly anti-American Iran increasingly aligning itself with America and the West.

The terror group Hezbollah, which is funded and controlled by Iran, is not facing the same kind of schizophrenia that its puppetmaster Iran is experiencing. Iran's attitudes towards Israel are greatly split along generational lines, where the older generations talk about destroying Israel, and the younger generations like the West and don't have anything particular against Israel.

The same cannot be said for Lebanon's Hezbollah. I've seen no signs that there's any split at all in Hezbollah's attitude towards Israel, which is a desire for its destruction.

The new story that, just a few days after the end of the Gaza war, Israel's Defense Forces (IDF) are preparing for a "very violent" war with Hezbollah highlights the situation.

In Israel's 2006 war, Hezbollah's rockets did not reach far into Israel, and they were poorly aimed. The same was true of Hamas's rockets in the Gaza war. But today Hezbollah has an estimated 100,000 rockets and missiles, many with precision guidance systems and large warheads, able to target all of Israel.

In the 2006 war, Israel targeted Lebanon's infrastructure, in order to inhibit the transportation of weapons. In a new war, Israel would target homes in villages across Lebanon from which Hezbollah is launching rockets into Israel. Israel received a great deal of international condemnation for those actions in the Gaza war, and they would be stepped up in a new war with Hezbollah. In addition, it's believed that Hezbollah has build tunnels that travel from homes in Lebanon deep into Israel, and these tunnels would be targeted.

There's a real question whether Hezbollah's puppetmaster, Iran, would hold Hezbollah back from this war. Despite anti-Zionist rhetoric, Iran has little to gain from a Hezbollah attack on Israel, and Israel could retaliate by carrying out its long-time threat to bomb Iran's nuclear installations. Times of Israel

Sierra Leone announces three-day Ebola lockdown across entire country

For the three days of September 19-21, people will be forbidden from leaving their home, in an attempt to stop the spread of Ebola. During this period 21,000 volunteers, including police and military personnel, will fan out across the nation to talk with people about how to protect themselves from the disease, as well as identify Ebola cases.

The idea is that people who are infected with Ebola will have three days to develop symptoms, and so will not then go out and accidentally infect others. Funerals have been a particularly important source of transmission, and in fact the current outbreak has been traced to a dozen individuals who attended the same funeral of an Ebola patient in Guinea in March. A dead Ebola patient is particularly infectious, and relatives touch victims during traditional funeral rites in west Africa, resulting in a rapid spread. Now, with the number of Ebola deaths surging, the number of funerals is also surging, and it's hoped that the three day lockdown, combined with education by the 21,000 volunteers, will prevent accidental transmission at funerals and by other means.

However, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF - Doctors without Borders) is saying that the idea is folly. According an MSF statement:

"Large scale coercive measures like forced quarantines and lockdowns are driving people underground and jeopardizing the trust between people and health providers. This is leading to the concealment of cases and is pushing the sick away from health systems."

Objections are also being raised to the use of 21,000 volunteers, most of whom would lack the high levels of expertise required to diagnose and deal with Ebola cases. According to MSF, "It will be extremely difficult for health workers to accurately identify cases through door-to-door screenings as this requires a certain level of expertise. And when cases are identified, there will not be enough Ebola management centers to care for them." Guardian (London) and CNN

Ebola pandemic may mean the end of the 'Africa Rising' dream

After decades of war that were so brutal that Liberia's president Charles Taylor was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, West Africa finally seemed to be booming. Investment in had been booming, and the middle-class burgeoning. Democracy seemed to have taken root. The "Africa Rising" narrative seemed to be coming true.

But the Ebola pandemic has changed all that. There have been nearly 4,000 Ebola cases so far, cases are increasing exponentially and there is a potentially vulnerable population in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea in excess of 20 million. There have been over 2,000 deaths.

Health services throughout the region are completely overwhelmed. And the various lockdowns and quarantines are making matters worse. Airlines have canceled flights to and from the region, making it impossible to fly in health workers. Even simple things like rubber gloves are in short supply because transporting supplies to different regions is becoming impossible. The shortage of these supplies means that health workers are more vulnerable, and the shortage of health workers means that little can be done for Ebola patients except to just let them die.

That's true for more than just Ebola cases. This is malaria season in West Africa. A person infected with malaria will be afraid to go to a hospital filled with Ebola victims, and health workers will be afraid to treat the malaria victim, who might have Ebola instead. So malaria victims will just be permitted to die, like Ebola victims. Even women just giving birth may die for lack of medical care.

The economic consequences are severe. The epidemic is causing labor shortages that are endangering harvests and pushing up food prices.

Ebola was first encountered in 1976, named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), where the first known outbreak occurred. That outbreak, and outbreaks since then, have all occurred in small villages and rural areas, where health workers were able to contain them quickly. The world has had no experience dealing with an Ebola outbreak in large, crowded cities.

The fear is growing that this Ebola outbreak will never be contained, and that it will just have to run its course, until every person in West Africa is exposed, and either dies or doesn't die as a result. The fear is also growing that the epidemic will spread to other countries, in some cases with the same result. Independent (South Africa) and BBC and Economist

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Sep-14 World View -- Israel preparing for 'very violent' war with Hezbollah thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Sep-2014) Permanent Link
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