It is very easy to overplay the news that some Al Qaeda sympathizers have joined the ranks of the Libyan rebels–as Drudge, who leads with it, does this morning–but that doesn’t diminish the irony: the same sort of Islamic extremists who were our “freedom-fighters” against the Russian puppet regime in Afghanistan (and later became the Taliban) are now our “freedom-fighters” against Gaddafi. That’s not to say they’ll form the post-Gaddafi government, but they may demand a role in what comes next–the point is, who knows?
This has been a quiet first day for me in the Holy Land–it’s the Jewish Sabbath–but I’ve got to say, sitting here with rebellions bubbling in two adjacent countries, Syria and Jordan, as well as in Yemen, Bahrain and an incredibly important, but unresolved situation in Egypt, our Libya intervention doesn’t make any more sense here than it did back home. Indeed, if a major Sunni people-power movement develops in Syria, it will be news to rival Tahrir Square–news that would shake both Iran and, especially, Lebanese Hizballah, who count the Assad government as a crucial ally, a movement that could precipitate a major Sunni-Shia confrontation in the region.
I’ll be spending the next few days talking to Israeli and Palestinian politicians to see what they think about all this.