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.
Libyan leader, Moamer Kadhafi, made it clear to members of the African Union he would turn his back on the black portion of Africa and redirect his money elsewhere– to Europe or to the Mediterranean area. The upcoming Addis Abba African Union summit “must mark a decisive step in the eastablishment of African unity” and “anyone who blocks the unity project is part of a conspiracy to sell Africa to the highest bidder.” Kadhafi wants a federal African government among the continent’s 53 member nations. He believes the African Union commission is a dead letter “without any power and ought to be replaced by an executive cabinet.”
A key aspiration of Kadhafi is enabling the Arab portion of Africa to assume greater control over the African Union. Kadhfi noted the Arabn states have been deprived of assuming leadership of the AU “even though they represent two-thirds of the continent and contribue 60% of the African Union’s budget.” The Libyan leader charged “if this situation persists, it will be tantamount fo racism against Arabs.”
There is scant hope any form of federal government will be initiated for the African continent. At the southern tip of Africa lies a powerful and ever wealthier South Africa, towards the north lies Nigeria which will probably become the most populous nation on the continent and is divided between Muslims and Christians while to its east lies the military power of Ethiopia, another basically Christian nation with strong ties to the United States. None of these powerful nations will allow the Arab portion of the continent to assume leadership.
Salah Nasrawi, writing in the Turkish Daily News, emphasized the growing concern among Arab nations regarding the increased power of Iran in the Middle East. many share America’s anxieties, but regard a military option an an invitaton to disaster. Among there greatest fears is an American-Iran military confrontation could set the Middle East ablaze and give rise to violence and insurgency. Iraq and Lebanon are major concerns among Arab leaders since both nations are suseptible to Iranian influence, particularly, since Iran is funding insurgent groups. Even befoe America got into the picture, Arab leaders have been attempting to curtail Iran’s influence over what happens in Lebanon and trying to hedge in Hizbullah which is closely linked to Iran.
Many Middle East experts like Steven Cook at the Council on Foreign Relations, are warning that Arab leaders are probably hedging their bets rather than lining up behind the United States. Bush has confused most Middle Eastern nations, and they still wonder if he is serious about an Israeli-Palestinian peace or whether he simply lacks a copherent approach to dealing with the problem. That underlines the importance to Bush of being decisive and working to ensure both sides in the conflict are ready to accept compromise and move on rather than remained paralyzed in rhetoric.
Posted in Emerging Issues in the World, Human Rights, Iraq War, Islam, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, United States, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Arab nations, Iran, Iraq, Israel-Palestinians, Lebanon, Middle East, US