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Who's to blame?

Some online polls in the Middle East suggest Arabs are not quite as united behind Hezbollah as coventional wisdom would suggest and the media portray them.

Online surveys by two Middle East news sites offer different answers [to the question of 'Who's to blame?'].

Israel, said a slight plurality of 93,000 plus readers who responded to a poll done by Aljazeera.net, Web site of the Arab TV channel based in Dubai. Thirty percent said Israel was "mainly to blame," while 24 percent cited Hezbollah and 22 percent cited Syria and Iran. Twelve percent said the United States was mainly to blame.

Hezbollah, said a slight plurality of more than 6,500 readers responding to an online survey by Beirut's Naharnet News. Forty-two percent agreed the Shiite militia was to blame for the conflict, while 37 percent faulted Israel. Eleven percent named Iran and 10 percent cited Syria.

Though the Washington Post might like to spin these results as 'different answers', to me they are pretty much the same: about 40% blame Israel (and the US), and about 50% blame Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.

Compared to Quebec, where 57% percent say Israel is unjustified in it's actions (different question, I know), that's pretty good. True, online polls skew towards the more educated and weathly, and can be manipulated; but I think they at least show that there is no broad consensus against Israel. Most Arab countries will be content to sit back and let the Israelis do their thing.

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