Thursday, July 20, 2006

There's no grand plan

Again and again I keep hearing about the close connection between Iran, Syria and Hizbollah. This connection is there, to be sure, but the heavy emphasis we keep listening to our oh-so-knowledgeable American pundits go on and on about makes me more and more certain that Bush and Co.'s grand scheme to take on Syria and Iran has been an easy sell over here. My only solace is that I can't imagine how on earth this government would give a green light to start up more wars at the rate of debt we're accumulating in Iraq. Well, perhaps Israel will do the job for us (heh heh).

Anthony Shadid of The Washington Post had it right on NPR yesterday, when he said that Hizbollah's engagement with Israel has nothing whatsoever to do with taking orders from Iran or Syria. It's pretty plain and simple: everyone in the Arab World is fed up with Israel's apartheid state and the horrific treatment of Palestinians on a daily basis. Hizbollah considers itself at war with the Israeli state and so capturing a few "Defense Force" soldiers in no way differs from the acts of war Israel engages in daily against Palestinian civilians.

I just came across a great piece by Tariq Ali in the Guardian that's worth a read. Here are a few bits and pieces:

In his last interview - after the 1967 six-day war - the historian Isaac Deutscher, whose next-of-kin had died in the Nazi camps and whose surviving relations lived in Israel, said: "To justify or condone Israel's wars against the Arabs is to render Israel a very bad service indeed and harm its own long-term interest." Comparing Israel to Prussia, he issued a sombre warning: "The Germans have summed up their own experience in the bitter phrase 'Man kann sich totseigen!' 'You can triumph yourself to death'."

In Israel's actions today we can detect many of the elements of hubris: an imperial arrogance, a distortion of reality, an awareness of its military superiority, the self-righteousness with which it wrecks the social infrastructure of weaker states, and a belief in its racial superiority. The loss of many civilian lives in Gaza and Lebanon matters less than the capture or death of a single Israeli soldier. In this, Israeli actions are validated by the US. . .

. . . I was in Beirut in May, when the Israeli army entered and killed two "terrorists" from a Palestinian splinter group. The latter responded with rockets. Israeli warplanes punished Hizbullah by dropping over 50 bombs on its villages and headquarters near the border. . . A protracted colonial war lies ahead, since Hizbullah, like Hamas, has mass support. It cannot be written off as a "terrorist" organisation. The Arab world sees its forces as freedom fighters resisting colonial occupation.

There are 9,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli gulags. That is why Israeli soldiers are captured. Prisoner exchanges have occurred as a result. To blame Syria and Iran for Israel's latest offensive is frivolous. Until the question of Palestine is resolved and Iraq's occupation ended, there will be no peace in the region. A "UN" force to deter Hizbullah, but not Israel, is a nonsensical notion.


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