Saturday, August 12, 2006

The proxy war in the middle east

The proxy war in the Middle EastK
TemocAug 11, 06 3:05pm
Malaysiakini.com

Some of your readers have provided a grossly simplified and non-contextual account of the current Israeli-Hezbollah/Hamas conflicts. He described the kidnaping of the Israeli soldiers as if those had occurred in a vacuum, avoiding mention of the historical context which brought about those events, and that kidnapings have been perpetrated by both sides for years.
In fact, contrary to Israeli-US propaganda, the recent conflict started with a failed Israeli cross-border raid resulting in Hezbollah capturing two of the Israeli soldiers.


Many Palestinians and Lebanese had 'disappeared' after being kidnaped by Israelis, or if they were 'lucky', detained and tortured in Israeli prisons. In fact in 1997, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal was victim to Mossad poisoning in a failed assassination attempt. It was only after Israeli agents were caught by Jordanian security forces, that Israel was forced by the Jordanian King, in exchange for the spies, to provide the antidote to the poison to save Meshal's life.
Some have criticised Hezbollah and Hamas for terrorist suicide bombings but failed to describe the Israeli bombings of Palestinian and Lebanese innocents in the same terrorist category. Israeli artillery or air bombardments have killed many Palestinians including women and children so much so that the world has become blasé to those horrible and senseless killings.

Even then, the Israeli strafing of a vehicle, thus incinerating more than a dozen Lebanese children near the Lebanese village of Shamaa, followed by the horrendous massacre at Qana shocked the world. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned that war crimes might have been committed in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

Article 51 of the First Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions prohibit the targeting of civilian population. And Kofi Annan has just voiced his concerns about a pattern of war crimes committed by both sides of the conflict.
Hezbollah was born in 1982 as a Lebanese patriotic movement in the wake of an Israeli invasion, to rid the country of foreign troops. It is deeply respected by the Lebanese because it succeeded in making the Americans, French and Israelis leave. Just because the US, Israel and their allies described Hezbollah as a terrorist group doesn't necessarily make it so for other nations.

The Hezbollah is also a legitimate political party in Lebanon which holds almost 20 percent of the parliamentary seats. Likewise, Hamas is a legitimate political organisation and the elected government of Palestine that has one sole aim - the restoration of Palestinians to their own land.
It would seem that the US has effectively abandoned its previously proclaimed intention to bring about democracy in the Middle East by acting against the only two truly democratically-elected Arab countries in that region, Lebanon and Palestine. It has encouraged the Israeli pulverisation of Lebanon. Amidst the world's clamour for a ceasefire to the senseless and indiscriminate attacks of Lebanon, the US has instead rushed additional consignments of precision guided munitions to Israel.


But in reality, the current Israeli attacks against Lebanon are the manifestations of a proxy war between the USA and Iran, with Israel being more than a willing proxy. The Americans have deliberately blocked off all European and UN attempts to bring about a ceasefire, to enable Israeli attacks and incursions into Lebanon to continue, because it wants to send a 'hands off this neighbourhood' message to Iran.

Ironically, it has been the US stern warnings to Arab nations to maintain the financial embargo on the Hamas government that had forced Sunni Hamas to turn towards Shiite Iran. So the Americans have only themselves to blame for ostracising a democratically-elected Hamas, forcing the Palestinians into an unusual alliance of Sunni Hamas and Shiite Hezbollah and Iran.
But what has made this proxy war even worse has been the statement by US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, that the current plight of the Lebanese people must be viewed as the 'birth pangs' of a 'new democracy' in the region.


In that obscene and insensitive pronouncement, Rice showed she couldn't distinguish between deaths and births, and callously consigned the deaths of innocent Lebanese civilians, including many children, as mere 'birth pangs' that would be good for a future, though whose future, we may well ask?

Her statement also revealed that the Americans view the democracies practised by the Palestinian and Lebanese as not good enough unless those Arabs vote in governments that Israel approves of. Therein lies the root of the Middle East crisis.

Several of your readers have also lectured us on UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1559 without even mentioning that Israel has ignored more than 80 UNSC Resolutions, with the two most glaring ones being UNSC Resoluions 242 and 446.


Resolution 242 calls for the ‘withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent [1967] conflict’ while 446 condemns ‘that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East’.

Has Israel complied with those yet? Let's have a more balanced presentation.

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