You would think Churchill was alive today and talking about the current situation in
“There is something very sinister to my mind in this Mesopotamian entanglement […] Week after week and month after month for a long time we shall have a continuance of this miserable, wasteful, sporadic warfare marked from time to time certainly by minor disasters and cuttings off of troops and agents, and very possibly attended by some very grave occurrence."
Winston Churchill, August 1920.[1
Some weeks ago, Condoleezza Rice greeted the conflict between
“War has always generated unintended consequences and high levels of social and political chaos. But in the post-Cold War era, new ways of conceiving of the usefulness of violence fused war and chaos in what turned out to be a particularly grim fashion. First, in the mid-1990s, policy-makers began to think of chaos as having an important role in the functioning of the emerging "dominate or die" global economic system that went under the rubric of "neoliberal globalization" (or as it was euphemistically known, "free market democracy"). "Creative destruction," an old term that gained a new life in these years, also came to be seen as an apt way of understanding and justifying the violence and chaos that planners believed would be necessary to transition from the old Cold War world of superpowers, dictatorship, and poverty to a new globalized order of progress and democracy. Second, neoconservative strategists in the U.S. began to imagine that wielding the dazzling military power of the world's sole remaining superpower would be the easiest path to creating a global Pax Americana - or is it Bellum Americanum?”
Mark LeVine, ‘101 Uses of Chaos’
“The one, at least partial, exception has been Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice whose State Department, a bastion of realism, has been under almost constant attack since the outset of the Lebanon crisis by the same coalition of neo-conservatives, assertive nationalists, and Christian rightists led by Vice President Dick Cheney that led the drive to war in Iraq.”
Jim Lobe, New Middle East" Out of Control
“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks of building a "new Middle East," but the Bush administration construction plan seems to begin with setting the old
Eugene Robinson, The War Bush isn’t fighting
“"To talk about the 'new
Middle East' or, before that, the 'Greater Middle East', ignores the real problem in the region, which is the suspension of the peace process. […] That leads to a rise in feelings of despair, frustration and extremism”
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Terrorists: all the same!?
Just as the west does not act and speak as one, there are fundamental differences with ‘terrorists’ (a terrorist to one is a freedom fighter to another). And the Bush government does no one justice by lumping all terrorists together under the overall ‘global war on terrorism’.
“Bush two weeks ago likened Hizballah militants to the terrorists who last summer bombed
Such black and white, with-or-against us, friend-or-foe perception of world affairs and the current crisis underlines the short sightedness (and self-interestedness) of the
How misguided, just as I was writing about this, Bush links the London plane bomb plot to Hezbollah! And then there are suggestions this bears “the hallmarks of Al Qaeda” too. Which one is it?
“[…]counterterrorism experts said Saturday that the focus of government officials and the public on Al Qaeda, a term today with deep connotations but elusive meaning, may be misplaced.”
And inflammatory remarks calling for “war with Islamic fascists” do not help, Mr Bush.
“What would the people of
say about fascism if asked? But then they haven't been asked, have they - they've been liberated, of course. What would our founding fathers say about detention without due process, without end? Electronic surveillance of all Americans, without regard for the law? What is democracy if the citizens have no confidence in the integrity of their elections? Our military hurls five-hundred pound bombs all day and all night. They land on whom they land on. It is not an isolated act of madness, it is a coordinated act of state. All the while private corporations profit wildly. Iraq
Fascism, Mr. Bush, is not your strongest card. You should change the subject again.”
Marc Ash, Fascists of All Varieties
It only underlines how fundamentalist his administration is, and how in spite of their attempts to differentiate themselves in action and words from the ‘fascists’, both sides of the ‘war on terror’ are all too similar.
If anything, name-calling and lumping terrorists as one encourages ‘terrorists’ to band together, under the banner of pan-anti-Americanism and pan-anti-Semitism, now that the behaviour of the
“By failing to make distinctions between groups--differentiations that are clear to people who actually live with these various conflicts--Bush feeds Muslim paranoia that his war on terrorism is just a cover for a war on Islam.”
“"Peace will come only by defeating the terrorist ideology of hatred and fear," the President said recently about the
crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But there is no one ideology among terrorists. And terrorism isn't even an ideology. It's a tactic. The President would be better off leveling with the American people. The Lebanon U.S.has interests in the Middle East, such as protecting . Some of them are subtle and require explaining, like resisting Israel 's efforts to expand its influence. And many of them have nothing to do with global terrorism.” Iran
Israel was already planning attack on Hezbollah, well before the kidnappings
“According to a Middle East expert with knowledge of the current thinking of both the Israeli and the
“The Israeli plan, according to the former senior intelligence official, was "the mirror image of what the
They say the path to peace between
The way things are going for the Israelis and Americans indirectly, does not bode well for plans to take out Iran.
"The actual experience on the ground makes clear that the original expectation in Washington has backfired in a remarkable way. If Israel had succeeded in its aerial "shock and awe" campaign against Hizbollah, this would in principle have undercut Iran's ability and opportunity to respond to an attack on its nuclear facilities by encouraging action by its Hizbollah surrogate against Israel. The Bush administration would therefore have solved one of its key problems, thus diminishing too Iran's wider prestige across the region.
Instead, the opposite has happened and Israel's failure to disarm Hizbollah is in consequence also a failure of United States policy towards Iran [...]"
Disproportionate! “Israel Asks US to Ship Rockets With Wide Blast”
“ Last month, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch said its researchers had uncovered evidence that Israel had fired cluster munitions on July 19 at the Lebanese village of Bilda, which the group said had killed one civilian and wounded at least 12 others, including 7 children. The group said it had interviewed survivors of the attack, who described incoming artillery shells dispensing hundreds of cluster submunitions on the village.”
“Additional Protocol I of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions has some internationally accepted legal standards to assess the problems caused by those weapons. Although that protocol recognizes the inevitability of some civilian deaths, it also says states cannot legally target civilians or engage in indiscriminate attacks.
Cluster munitions have the potential to be indiscriminate because they cannot be precisely targeted. In that regard, Article 51 (4) (b) specifically prohibits attacks "which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective."
“Figures compiled by the city morgue indicated Wednesday that the number of killings in the Iraqi capital reached a new high last month […]”
This is real progress.
- If you’re unsatisfied with the west’s response to the current crisis, perhaps you should write to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his new blog.
- And peace at last
Finally! A resolution…after 4 weeks of fighting, hundreds of casualties, and immeasurable suffering on all sides of the conflict. Enough of the words, now for the action. How crazy: peace tomorrow, at a set time, while today, the fighting and killing continues.
“'We will continue to operate until we achieve our aims. We are fighting Hizbollah and will continue to fight it until a ceasefire is decided, but more than that, until it is decided what the mechanism for implementing [that ceasefire] is,' [Dan Halutz, Israeli officer commanding the campaign]”
“We must not make a mistake - not in the resistance, the government or the people - and believe that the war has ended,' added [Hezbollah leader, Hassan] Nasrallah in a television interview. 'The war has not ended. There have been continued strikes and continued casualties. 'Today nothing has changed and it appears tomorrow nothing will change.' ”
And a resolution may not mean the end-all solution. Who is going to implement it? Who will send the troops?
"The Security Council will take very seriously any action in defiance of it," [Alvaro]
de Soto[U.N. special envoy for the Middle Eastpeace process] said. "We fully expect full compliance." said the United Nations has already lined up several governments to send troops to join the expanded U.N. force. The Security Council empowered the force, known as UNIFIL, to "take all necessary action" needed to perform its duties. De Soto is expected to lead the force. Western diplomats said France Italy, Spainand were expected to send contingents. Although the resolution authorizes 15,000 international troops, a senior diplomat said: "It may be difficult to get them. Forces for this kind of operation aren't easy to come by." Turkey
If anything, the resolution:
“[…] buys a period of calm, at best, and sets the region up for the next war with Hezbollah, critics said. The truce will be "a time-out until the next confrontation, and maybe not even this […]”