Monthly Archives: December 2008

Great Miscalculation By Hamas

The history of the Israel-Palestinian conflict has been characterized by a constant stream of miscalculations by Palestinian leaders who have a unique ability to snatch victory by blundering into defeat. Hamas had witnessed Israel depart from Lebanon after encountering the missiles of Hizbullah and concluded the best strategy was to continue firing missiles until it forced Israel to accept its ideas about how to deal with Gaza. In the week prior to the air assault, Hamas leaders challenged, no, they dared Israel to attack them and promised any attempt would be met with massive resistance by Hamas forces. Their assumption was that Israel had become a paper tiger who could be goaded and teased and humiliated. Hamas leaders enjoyed posing as heroic fighters for the rights of Palestinians and concluded what better way than to fire missiles until Israel caved into their demands.

Hamas leaders today hover in shelters still expressing the rhetoric of defiance even though there is scant prospect they can respond in other than defiant tones. Israel has been under tremendous pressure to halt the bombings but now insists there will be no cease fire until Hamas accepts the reality it can not allow rockets to hit Israel towns. Of course, the question now facing Hamas is whether they even have the power anymore to reign in small groups of so-called fighters for Palestine who insist they will not cease firing rockets. In a sense, the attitude of so many “leaders” in Gaza is, “apres mois, le deluge.”

The Palestinian people have never been blessed with a Nelson Mandela type leader. Their plight calls for the emergence of figures who are shrewd negotiators and able to bargain for a solution that would enable the intelligent and hard working Palestinian population to obtain opportunities for economic and political success. Perhaps, it is time to ask Nelson Mandela to become the temporary advisor to Palestinians on how to negotiate for peace and prosperity.

Pakistan In A Quandary-East Or West?

The Pakistan army is confronting a quandary as to which way it should be facing–to the east against India or to the west against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. There are reports Pakistan forces have been moving away from the northeast frontier and shifting over to eastern regions in order to face up against the Indian army. The Pakistan military insisted Indian troops had been moved close to the border, but the Indian army insists there has been no such movement. As uncertainty grows concerning the effort Pakistan will place on dealing with the Taliban, Coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan may soon face a problem if there supply routes are blocked by Taliban insurgents. There may be need to make arrangements with nations to the north of Afghanistan in order to ensure safe supply routes.

Militant attacks on supply routes and destruction of trucks parked in cities demonstrated the precarious situation of Coalition forces in Afghanistan. US military sources insist they have plenty of supplies but as roads become blocked and insurgents step up the pressure, the departure to the east of Pakistan troops will only make the situation even more complex and dangerous.

Turkey Maintains Close Israel Ties

The Israel air force continues to bomb Gaza, but the Turkish government, which has close military ties with the Israel army, will not take any action to curtail its working relations with Israel. A high source in the Turkish military commented to the newspaper, Zaman: “Though there have been ups and downs in the political relationship between Turkey and Israel, military ties are not expected to be affected due to the depth of that relationship and because it serves Turkey’s national interest.” Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek also made clear his government will not break off relations with Israel or take retaliatory actions for the Gaza bombings.

The realism of Turkey is a lesson for other Arab nations. If Arab leaders could cease their rhetoric and address issues of poverty and unemployment, a solid relationship with Israel could transform the Middle East into a vibrant economic giant given the intellectual abilities of Palestinians and Israelis. But, realism has never been a quality that has marked Arab leadership.

Seek Ban On Topless To Protect Muslim Sensibilities

A Conservative Australian MP is proposing to ban topless bathing in order to protect the sensibilities of Muslims and Asians who are not accustomed to being on beaches where people are nude. “Our beaches should be a place where no one is offended, whether it’s their religious or cultural views.” He argued Muslims and people from Asian societies come from countries where women do not engage in topless bathing and most women wear a lot of clothing. ” MP Fred Nile said: “I don’t want to have any provocations or disturbances on our public beaches.” He argued if topless bathing is allowed what is to prevent women from going around in the nude.

There is always a thin line between respecting the cultural views of minorities and allowing national norms to be operational. The problem with Mr. Nile’s proposal is that most Muslim societies would not allow bikini bathing suits or the showing of cleavage which is so common on most Australian beaches. Or, is he arguing since many Muslim women wear heavy clothing than all Australian women have to wear heavy clothing on beaches? Frankly, fundamentalists whether Muslim or Jewish or Christian will always be offended by the current bathing attire displayed on many beaches in the world.

If one chooses to live in a multicultural society then one must accept certain national norms. In the United States army I ate ham, pork and bacon despite being a Jew. One adjusts to the reality of life in a multicultural society. All views in reality can not be respected or accommodated. That may not be fair but it is reality.

Cry The Beloved Country Of Zimbabwe!

The silence of African leaders regarding the tragedy of Zimbabwe is deafening but it can not block out the screams and agony of thousands of innocent victims of the Robert Mugabe tyranny which has transformed a vibrant economy into a desert of treeless desolation. While the pseudo defender of democracy rants on and on about colonialism, thousands are dying of starvation and the cholera figure has now passed 1,500. Lawyers for dissident leaders who have been imprisoned by Mugabe are asking the Zimbabwe High Court to declare the president in contempt for destroying the nation. Dozens of opposition leaders and activists have been jailed for daring to oppose Mugabe’s dictatorial regime and there are even reports of a two year old in jail. His crime, undoubtedly, was crying without permission of the one and only leader.

Naturally, Mugabe is trying to prove opponents have plotted to overthrow his government. Of course, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai actually won the only free election only to have it voided by Mugabe.

At this point in time, there are no more words to describe the horror of Zimbabwe under Mugabe. Thousands are currently marching to protest Israel attacks on Gaza, but who is marching for the people of Zimbabwe? Silence….

Egypt Refuses To Open Gaza Crossings

President Hosni Mubarak told the Egyptian people in a televised address that the Rafah border crossing will remain closed until Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas regains control of Gaza. “We in Egypt are not going to contribute to perpetuating the rift (between Hamas and Fatah) by opening the Rafah crossing in the absence of the Palestinian Authority and EU observers in violation of the 2005 deal.” Egypt has been severely criticized across the Arab world for denying Palestinians the right to cross over into Egypt to escape Israel bombing. In Yemen, protestors stormed the Egyptian consulate the destroyed property and demanded action to protect the people of Gaza.

There are reports of protests by Egyptian students against Mubarak’s refusal to open the crossing and end diplomatic relations with Israel. Mubarak is a realist and knows allowing Hamas to gain further power will lead to an explosion of violence that might suck in Egypt and result in war with Israel. He most probably is disgusted with the actions of Hamas in refusing to halt rocket attacks in order to attain peace in the area. For him, Hamas is the region’s worst nightmare since it represents the forces which seek war and destruction.

New American Afghan Plan Is An Old Plan

A year ago, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested a plan that would arm local militias in order to get ordinary citizens involved in fighting the Taliban. The idea was dismissed by US military officials who believed such a plan would take away responsibility for local peace from the National Police. As always, the Bush administration dismisses ideas that are not their own and finally after their continual blunders gets around to understanding ideas from non-American sources might actually have some merit. Yesterday, the United States military unveiled a NEW plan which calls for arming local militias in an effort to replicate the success of arming Sunni groups in Iraq. The NEW PLAN undoubtedly will be hailed as another example of the brilliance of General Petraeus.

Naturally, the British who originally had the plan were not provided information about the PLAN since in the Bush administration, secrecy and deceit are what is most prized. Local people will now be trained, equipped, and provided support from coalition forces in order to fight the Taliban.

At points, an outside observer would welcome for once the Bush administration actually coming up with a successful idea on their own or acknowledging they get ideas from other sources.

British Missionaries Sentenced For Criticizing Muslims

Two British missionaries pleaded guilty to the charge of sedition in hope the court would be lenient since their “crime”consisted of sending emails describing the horrific conditions in the nation of Gamia. However, the judge sentenced them to a year of hard labor in an atrocious jail which fails to provide necessary food or medical assistance to inmates. David and Fiona Fulton, who have three children committed a terrible crime by sending an email which contained the comment the nation was fast sinking “into a morass of Islam.” The judge was furious and said, “I found the offenses of the accused party to be very shocking. They have shown no respect for the country, the government and the president of the republic. I will send a clear message to the offenders.”

In the beautiful Muslim nation of Gambia to make comments about the government suggests one is prepared to actually do something violent. The only violence these two humans did was to express a view that, most probably, is accurate concerning a backward government run by individuals for whom human rights is a stranger who has never knocked on their doors.

Why is it that those concerned about human rights tend to ignore human right violations in many African nations?

Japanese Apology In 1972 Angered Arab Nations

Recently released documents reveal that in 1972, the Japanese government offered an apology to Israel after members of the Japanese Red Army attacked Lod airport in Tel Aviv and killed 24 people. The act of apologizing because people from one’s nation killed innocent humans might be viewed as a generous act of humanity, but to Arab nations in 1972, the apology was viewed as support for Israel and threatened to endanger Japanese relations with Middle Eastern nations. A Japanese diplomat met with Prime Minister Golda Meir, apologized and offered $1.5 million as compensation to families of the dead. This simple act of decency aroused fury in Arab capitals. Syria sent a blistering telegram saying: “the weak point for Israel arising from its inhumane actions(invading Arab nations) will be erased by he Japanese apology.”

The Egyptian government inquired “is there a need for the Japanese government to make such an apology for the actions of three Japanese?” The reality is Arab nations invariably stand by the actions of terrorists when it comes to killing Israelis and are infuriated when Israel kills Arabs. In a sense, this attitude is one piece of the puzzle as to why there is no peace in the Middle East. Perhaps, if Arab nations accepted responsibility for the actions of terrorists, and were as concerned for the deaths of any innocent civilians, the Middle East might be a safer region today.

Afghan Bombings Double In 2008

William Wood, American Ambassador to Afghanistan offered a review of what happened in that nation over the past year, and from his perspective there was both good and bad news. the number of roadside bombs increased from 1,000 in 2007 to about 2,000 in 2008 while kidnappings went from 150 to 300. He saw progress in curbing the growth of poppy and believes its production declined by about 20%. He admitted the Taliban is moving into many rural areas of the country where the government is unable to establish a presence, and said there would be new programs in 2009 that arm local militia to combat terrorism.

Actually, over a year ago, British authorities in Afghanistan urged arming local villagers, but the American military shot down that idea only to finally come around to supporting such an effort. The Ambassador claims as a positive a decline of poppy production, but there is no mention of how poppy farmers feel about having their fields destroyed. Did such actions make it more or less likely they shifted support to the Taliban? There is no question the Taliban benefits from poppy production because those fields help them get money to purchase weapons. However, over a year ago, the British mentioned purchasing the entire poppy crop in order to maintain good relations with farmers and persuade them to support the Afghanistan government.

Seven years have passed and finally someone in the American government gets the idea there must be a strong armed presence in villages. This simply reflects the retarded ability of Bush officials to figure out how to conduct war against guerrilla forces.