Saturday, April 17, 2004

Operation Foment Death and Destruction Continues Wrongly connect the Iraqi Baath Secularist Dictatorship with Al Qaeda -- Check Wrongly claim that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction -- Check Pull troops out of Afghanistan against Al Qaeda so as to invade Iraq -- Check. Invade Iraq without substantial international sanction -- Check Neglect to occupy Iraq with enough troops and hope for best -- Check Dismiss all of the police and armed forces of Iraq -- Check Give Sanction to Likud hardliners in Israel -- Check Refuse to condemn Israeli attacks on Sheik Yassin -- Check Allow Iraqi Shi'a and Sunni to unite against the United States -- Check Give Likud more than it hoped in terms of land vis-a-vis Palestinians -- Check Refuse to talk to Arab world about it -- Check Say Israel's fight against the Palestinians is equal to Al Qaeda -- Check Say the Iraqi insurgents are equal to Hamas -- Check Piss off entire Arab World -- Check As the emerging multimedia star Professor Juan Cole stated in Salon, Despite U.S. denials, many Arabs and Muslims concluded that Yassin's assassination was green-lighted in Washington, and Hamas itself briefly threatened revenge on the United States -- a virtually unprecedented departure from its position that its war is only with Israel. Israel's right-wing Likud government, headed by Sharon, came into office in 2001 determined to undo the Oslo Accords of the early 1990s, which required Israel to give back all or most of the Palestinian land it occupied in 1967. Israel had militarily occupied the West Bank and Gaza ever since, and had systematically colonized large parts of them, expanding Israeli territory at the Palestinians' expense. Sharon wanted to permanently annex about half of the West Bank, and appears to have decided that this action might be made palatable to the U.S. and some European states if he, at the same time, withdrew from Gaza altogether. Gaza is a vast slum. It is the most densely populated place in the world, burdened by a poverty-stricken, angry population that has suffered through nearly 40 years of military occupation. The 7,500 Israeli settlers in Gaza, who are difficult and expensive to protect, would be removed to the West Bank, which has much better real estate values, and Israel would be seen to be voluntarily relinquishing Palestinian territory. In the process, it would permanently acquire much of the real prize, the West Bank, and make it almost impossible for a Palestinian state to emerge -- despite continued empty promises on that score from Sharon and Bush. (In fact, Sharon has made his intentions quite clear: He told the Israeli press that his plan would "bring their [Palestinians'] dreams to an end.") At their joint news conference on April 14, Bush blessed Sharon's plot. Of the "existing major Israeli population centers," (i.e. settlements) on the West Bank, Bush said it is "unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final-status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949." Bush also hailed Sharon's plan to withdraw from Gaza and move its settlers to the West Bank as "historic." Translated, what Bush really said was that there would be no return to the 1967 borders and that Israel's policy of annexing occupied territory and planting large settlements on it -- actions forbidden by the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Geneva Convention of 1949, which forbid permanently acquiring territory by war -- had now received the stamp of approval from Washington. Moreover, Sharon was authorized to take further steps unilaterally, without negotiating with the Palestinians. Combined with the American military assault on Fallujah, Bush's embrace of Sharon's position succeeded in making America, in Arab eyes, virtually indistinguishable from Israel. The Egyptian daily al-Jumhuriyyah spoke for many Arabs when it observed in the wake of the Bush-Sharon accord, "the victims being killed daily in Palestine and Iraq are due to the continuation of the occupation ... Violence and extremism have increased as a natural response to the brutality of the occupation." On a personal note, the name Attaturk, has nothing to do with my particular heritage or inclinations. I am decidedly not Turkish, or in any fashion middle eastern in origin. Rather, it is Attaturk because the original bearer of that name was one of the great men of the 20th Century, the fact he was an Islamic Secularist is but one of his virtues (he also possessed substantial blemishes as well). I put that as an aside, my origins are as Norman Rockwell as they come, German/Norwegian from the midwest. Now that I've got that out of the way, I'll add I am a strong supporter of the State of Israel. Something that in the United States is obligatory everytime you criticize the state. I am decidedly not a supporter of the fringe of the Likudnicks and, of course, I am no supporter of the neo-Cons in America, nor have I any love for murderous cretins like the leaders of Hamas. But the dogs of Hamas survive and thrive because the Palestinians are treated like dogs by the Israelis -- and like pawns by their nominal Arabic allies. But in the United States we hear little of this inequity, and much of the suicide bombers. By throwing even nominal even-handedness out the window, Bush has unleased something that is a pending disaster. ...Meanwhile, one last thing on the checklist Hell to Pay for at least a generation in pursuit of "The Rapture" -- Pending.
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