Tuesday, July 25, 2006

wacky theories about the war

This is from The Free West blog, part of the German paper, Die Welt. The recent focus of the blog is almost entirely on the Israel Lebanon conflict and coming from Germany, it offers an interesting and almost unexpected perspective.

I found this entry to be particularly provocative.

Wacky theories about the war

Mohammad Tabaar, writing for the BBC, has found a bunch of experts to quote, each giving a different perspective on the latest Lebanese war, whether 'this is an Iranian trap, Israeli pre-emption, or simply Hezbollah's miscalculation ... Trita Parsi, a Middle East specialist at the Johns

Hopkins University, said that Israel sees Iran as its main strategic rival in the Middle East and is looking for an excuse to weaken its new geo-political enemy. "Israel knows that it is now much stronger than Iran, but the current balance [of power] between Iran and Israel will probably shift in Iran's favour" if Tehran achieves nuclear capability - not even necessarily nuclear weapons - within the next few years, he said. Mr Parsi contends that the current conflict could be seen as Israel's pre-emptive strike against Iran: "From Iran's perspective, it is better to confront Israel in the future. But from Israel's point of view, this can be seen as pre-emption."'

It's no secret that anti-globalisation campaigners include some of the world's oddest characters. One of these is Prof. Jorge Hirsch who goes for the Armageddon approach: 'Iran draws no benefit whatsoever from the current turmoil in Lebanon. Neither does Syria. Consequently the rhetoric from the US and Israel suggests a deliberate attempt to draw Syria and Iran into the conflict ... If Iran enters the conflict and shoots a single missile against Israel, the US will step in and destroy the military infrastructure of Iran by aerial bombardment [which] is likely to involve the US use of nuclear "bunker busters" ... Think about the current disproportionate response of Israel, applied in a conflict where the contenders have nuclear weapons. 10 to 1 retaliation, starting with a mere 600 casualties, wipes out the entire Earth's population in eight easy steps. Who will be willing to stop the escalation? The country that lost 60,000 citizens in the last hit? The one that lost 600,000? 6 million? As the nuclear holocaust unfolds, some will remember the Lebanon conflict and subsequent Iran war and blame it on Israel. Others will properly blame Americans, for having allowed their Executive to erase the 60-year old taboo against the use of nuclear weapons, first in doctrine and then in practice, despite having the most powerful conventional military force in the world. Others of course will blame "Muslim extremism". And then the blaming will wither away as a three-billion-year old experiment, life on planet Earth, comes to an end.' That is unless the world pays him ... one million dollars.

What about Noam Chomsky? Hassan Nasrallah showed him around a few weeks ago, remember? Surely he'll have something interesting to add. Well leave it to arch chump Chomsky to turn up the treble and cut out the base on this one. Apparently it all started with an Israeli arrest of a Palestinian that was noticed only in Turkey. Moreover, by placing kidnapping in "quotation marks" he completely undermines the argument that the "abduction" of Corporal Gilead Shalit, and also his comrades up north was in any way suspicious. It turns out that the war is about natural resources and stuff like that. 'The arguments, accusations and vows, all serve as a distraction in order to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation. This has to be said loud and clear for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognised for what it is and resisted.'

Denial hardly describes it. Projection doesn't cover it either. They'll have to invent a new syndrome for this man.

For a more traditional Mohammedan view, Khalid asked Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal Nadvi, Imam of Al-Falah Islamic Center in Ontario, 'Some people blame the resistance fighters for the deteriorating situation in Lebanon and Palestine saying that by their activities they bring only destruction and suffering to their countries; what is your comment?' His reply: 'As a Muslim ummah we are supposed to condemn and object to all forms of aggression and oppression. As a Muslim, we are not allowed to attack others but at the same time we are not supposed to remain an 'easy target' for others. So what is going on has not been initiated by Muslims because Muslims did not occupy any nation or drive their people away. It is the legitimate right of people under occupation and aggression to resist and defend their own lands and families.' The proverbial blank cheque.

Meanwhile cries for a cease-fire are echoing around the globe: Egypt's Hosni Mubarak points out that the details of the armistice can be worked out after the shooting stops; French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy on a whistle-stop tour of the region called for a cease-fire along with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah; Pope Benedict wants an immediate cease-fire; Tony Blair wants talks about a cease-fire and Condoleezza Rice wants a cease-fire, but "we believe that a cease-fire is urgent, it's important, however, to have conditions that will make it sustainable." So not quite yet.

And why does none of this have any significance? Because Hassan Nasrallah is simply not interested in stopping his killing spree. 'In an interview with As-Safir Lebanese newspaper, Nasrallah said there can be no political gain for Israel as long as it does not succeed in stopping the resistance's shelling of settlements. This was not and shall not be achieved, he stressed. He pointed out that Israel was unable to realize this goal in the April 1996 attack although it had then occupied the whole border-strip and although the resistance had possessed more modest resources. The resistance forces are currently trying to stop the attacks on Lebanon, and when time is ready for serious dialogue, we will be ready to present our opinions.'

Nasrallah believes Israel is showing signs of weakness: 'The Israeli media is talking about Maroun Al-Ras as if it is "the conquest of Stalingrad." What actually happened there, according the number of martyrs and the Israelis killed and wounded, is a reflection of the weakness of the Israeli Army.'

As long as this is Hizballah's assessment the war will continue, and that is the surest indication of who actually started it and who wants it to carry on.

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