Thursday, August 10, 2006

Who started it?

Just my 2 paise worth on the crisis in the middle-east. This is an excerpt from an email I shared with some friends.

As the original article suggested, there is no way we can say who started it all. Was the kidnapping of 2 soldiers the final straw? Very unlikely. Ever thought that this could be a proxy war the west is waging on Islamic terrorism via Israel ? Does anyone think an attack of this nature on a friendly nation of the US would go on for so long?? For e.g. We(India) have similar grounds to attack LeT hideouts in Pakistan. Would the US sit quite then, even though we would be fighting whom they have deemed as terrorists? Not a single nation in the middle east will listen to the US and their only hope is Israel. Hence Israel will get all the money and support they need, either through US action or US inaction.

Israel will attack anybody in sight who seems remotely hostile. They don't care how many civilians die in the process as long as they hit their intended targets. They are a rogue state in a very hostile region. They are not prone to peaceful negotiations and are trigger happy. Offence can be a good defence, but not all of Israels offences are to defend itself. On the other hand, Hizbollah is a militant organization. They need to be brought under control or killed or whatever. But, Hizbollah will survive no matter how much of an offensive Israel plans, because this is decentralized terrorism and not the will of a nation. Israel wants to finish off Hizbollah, its more than welcome to do so. Any country which has faced any kind of terrorism will be more than happy with the outcome, BUT DON'T USE THE LEBANESE LAND TO SOLVE THIS DISPUTE!

This in my opinion is the crux of the problem and the apathy of the west towards these innocent civilians is appalling. No point turning to The UN, its a joke!

All said and done, it is a sad state of affairs. Once of the recepients of the above mail I sent happened to be a friend of a friend who is an Israeli. He states that if nothing significant happens in the next couple of days, there is going to be a ground assault by Israel. This can only make things worse in the region! cry

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sanjay said...

i understand that you are lamenting the fact that innocent lebanese civilians are being killed by Israel, but really, the country doesnt have any choice. The international community and the UN should definitely be blamed, but not for doing nothing now, they should be blamed for not doing anything in the last 6 years since israel vacated lebanon completely. UN resolution 1559 calling for disarming of hezbullah was never implemented and the UN force has been doing nothing there. The lebanese government is also to blame having done nothing in the last 6 years. Meanwhile the Hezbullah has become a state within a state, killing and kidnapping israeli soldiers and lobbing rockets with impunity across an international border.

Really, israel has no choice. By responding the way they have, i agree lots of innocent lebanese have been killed, but so have israelis. Assuming that a ceasefire is achieved, the ferocity of the israli attack will deter the hezbullah from such rogue attacks in the future, and the lebanese people and government will in future try to rein in the terrorists themselves rather than face the "might" of israel all over again.

At the end of the day, israel has to protect itself, or face extermination in the arab world.

Check out the article from Time that was written just before this crisis. It pertains to the Israel-Palestine issue, but nevertheless is a fantastic read and equally applicable to the Israel Hizbullah issue. I am pasting the contents below.

Remember What Happened Here

Gaza is freed, yet Gaza wages war. That reveals the Palestinians' true agenda

Jul. 10, 2006
Israel Invades Gaza. That is in response to an attack from Gaza that killed two Israelis and wounded another, who was kidnapped and brought back to Gaza ...which, in turn, was in response to Israel's targeted killing of terrorist leaders in Gaza...which, in turn, was in response to the indiscriminate shelling of Israeli towns by rockets launched from Gaza.

Of all the conflicts in the world, the one that seems the most tediously and hopelessly endless is the Arab-Israeli dispute, which has been going on in much the same way, it seems, for 60 years. Just about every story you'll see will characterize Israel's invasion of Gaza as a continuation of the cycle of violence.

Cycles are circular. They have no end. They have no beginning. That is why, as tempting as that figure of speech is to use, in this case it is false. It is as false as calling American attacks on Taliban remnants in Afghanistan part of a cycle of violence between the U.S. and al-Qaeda or, as Osama bin Laden would have it, between Islam and the Crusaders going back to 1099. Every party has its grievances--even Hitler had his list when he invaded Poland in 1939--but every conflict has its origin.

What is so remarkable about the current wave of violence in Gaza is that the event at the origin of the "cycle" is not at all historical, but very contemporary. The event is not buried in the mists of history. It occurred less than one year ago. Before the eyes of the whole world, Israel left Gaza. Every Jew, every soldier, every military installation, every remnant of Israeli occupation was uprooted and taken away.

How do the Palestinians respond? What have they done with Gaza, the first Palestinian territory in history to be independent, something neither the Ottomans nor the British nor the Egyptians nor the Jordanians, all of whom ruled Palestinians before the Israelis, ever permitted? On the very day of Israel's final pullout, the Palestinians began firing rockets out of Gaza into Israeli towns on the other side of the border. And remember: those are attacks not on settlers but on civilians in Israel proper, the pre-1967 Israel that the international community recognizes as legitimately part of sovereign Israel, a member state of the U.N. A thousand rockets have fallen since.

For what possible reason? Before the withdrawal, attacks across the border could have been rationalized with the usual Palestinian mantra of occupation, settlements and so on. But what can one say after the withdrawal?

The logic for those continued attacks is to be found in the so-called phase plan adopted in 1974 by the Palestine National Council in Cairo. Realizing that they would never be able to destroy Israel in one fell swoop, the Palestinians adopted a graduated plan to wipe out Israel. First, accept any territory given to them in any part of historic Palestine. Then, use that sanctuary to wage war until Israel is destroyed.

So in 2005 the Palestinians are given Gaza, free of any Jews. Do they begin building the state they say they want, constructing schools and roads and hospitals? No. They launch rockets at civilians and dig a 300-yard tunnel under the border to attack Israeli soldiers and bring back a hostage.

And this time the terrorism is carried out not by some shadowy group that the Palestinian leader can disavow, however disingenuously. This is Hamas in action--the group that was recently elected to lead the Palestinians. At least there is now truth in advertising: a Palestinian government openly committed to terrorism and to the destruction of a member state of the U.N. openly uses terrorism to carry on its war.

That is no cycle. That is an arrow. That is action with a purpose. The action began 59 years ago when the U.N. voted to solve the Palestine conundrum then ruled by Britain by creating a Jewish state and a Palestinian state side by side. The Jews accepted the compromise; the Palestinians rejected it and joined five outside Arab countries in a war to destroy the Jewish state and take all the territory for themselves.

They failed, and Israel survived. That remains, in the Palestinian view, Israel's original sin, the foundational crime for the cycle: Israel's survival. That's the reason for the rockets, for the tunneling, for the kidnapping--and for Israel's current response.

If that history is too ancient, consider the history of the past 12 months. Gaza is free of occupation, yet Gaza wages war. Why? Because this war is not about occupation, but about Israel's very existence. The so-called cycle will continue until the arrow is abandoned and the Palestinians accept a compromise--or until the arrow finds its mark and Israel dies.

Ajay said...

After 9/11 there has been a marked difference in the worlds attitude towards terrorism. We no longer wait for the attack and then defend ourselves, rather we attack and decimate before the terrorists even realize what hit them. This is something that has been advocated by US, the most powerful nation in the world and now Israel is doing the same. I am not in support of Hizbollah at all and they do attack and kill Israeli civilians, but see the magnitude of killings. Hizbollah fires some rockets and what falls on the lebanese people are countless air missiles. Lebanon cannot rein in Hizbollah as long as Syria and Iran are ready to fund and fuel. Lebanon is more like an unlucky pawn in the whole game.

Israel as a state tends to support violent means to resolve conflicts. Hamas was born because of Israeli violence, else PLO could have done the job. For e.g. a minister(dont remember name) of the state of Israeli has these words. "We know where he is and we will kill him." I have read such statements coming from israeli ministers many times before. What about the time when they killed some senior Hamas leaders in typical commando operations? one with a rocket on a moving car!

They are like the Iraq of early 90s just that its does stuff in the gard of defence and is supported by the west. Israel doesnt like a choice even if they have one.

And take a Rs.100 bet that Israel will not be able to wipe out Hizbollah. :-)

sanjay said...

True, Israel will never be able to wipe out Hezbollah and my guess is that they dont intend to. I am sure they are very eager to see a "sustainable" ceasefire themselves. But from their perspective they send a message to Hezbollah that they wont take any future "incidents" lying down. Israel cannot influence Iran and Syria, but by giving an aggressive response, they also send a strong message to the lebanese people and the government that as long as they support hezbollah and allow it to grow within their country, it is they who are at loss and no one else. By allowing the Hezbollah to arm themselves and operate out of south lebanon from the midst of civilian localities, what can be expected when israel retaliates ?

After this incident, which has supposedly resulted in $2 billion estimated damages and innocent civilian lives, Mr. Nasrallah will hopefully be reigned in by the ordinary citizens and get limited support from the until now supportive arab countries, and will not be as "adventurous" as he has always been

Its unfortunate that innocent civilans pay the price, but thats the way wars are. Its either innocent israeli civilians being killed on purpose versus lebanese civilans being killed accidentally as part of "collateral damage". Nothing surprising about the decision facing israel.

I agree that israel can be seem to be aggressive at times, but i guess when you live in a tough neighbourhood, aggression is the only language that works.

I am thoroughly against what is currently happening in lebanon, but i wonder what choice israel has. The choice lies with lebanon, and if it is not possible for them to do anything about disarming hezbollah, they either get some help or face the music. I know its not that black or white, but i guess thats the sad reaity.

Ajay said...

I agree with what you have said partly, in that Hizbollah needed to be reigned in and Israel is atleast making a fight of it. Lebanese people are collateral damage, and only because the US is backing Israel, else this war wouldn't have started or would have ended real fast. I wish US had the guts to do the same with LeT or Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan, which apparently they don't.

Sometimes I wish USSR was still around to challenge the unilateral decisions or US and the blind backing of UK. We had a cold war, but we had lesser "real" wars.