Tag Archives: peace agreement

Government Forces In Philippines Attack Islamic Militants

It is now thirty years since Islamic groups in the southern Philippines launched a rebellion against the government. During these past thee decades there have been truces, promises and one agreement after another that was broken by either side. A cease fire once again has broken down and government forces are fighting elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front(MILF). At least 55 government or rebel troops died in the latest fighting. Eid Kabalu, a rebel leader, claims “Government soldiers are torching houses owned by Muslims” while government spokesmen insist the Muslims violated the truce by entering a Christian village and killing people. The Philippine army says it killed more than 100 Muslim fighters over the past week of fighting.

Fighting apparently broke out when Muslim soldiers violated the agreement and attacked dozens of Christian villages. The Muslims want their own nation which, most probably, will not be granted by any Philippine government. Undoubtedly, some sort of local autonomy is the best road to peace. A basic issue is which areas actually fall into the category of being “Muslim” or “Christian.”

Syria And Israel Reportedly Reach Agreement

There are reports Syria and Israel have reached agreements on a series of proposals which hopefully will result in an end to their conflict and resolution of all outstanding issues between the two nations. According to a report in Maariv, both nations informed Turkish mediators who have been working for peace between the nations, they have agreed to bite the bullet and bring peace to the region. The agreement includes: (a) ending the state of war between Syria and Israel, and (b) exchange ambassadors and establish diplomatic relations. Israel promises to withdraw all troops from the Golan Heights and the area will be demilitarized. Syria agrees to reduce the number of its troops which are currently stationed near the area. An early warning station manned by international forces will be placed on Mount Hermon.

Terms of the proposed agreement include Syria cutting off its close ties with Iran which most probably would include forbidding Syria from supplying terrorist groups such as Hizbullah. If hopefully, the agreement is finally signed and goes into effect, it once again demonstrates the importance of getting third party nations like Turkey involved in peace negotiations within the Middle East and having Condi Rice and Americans remain out of the picture. The United States as this point in time is simply not regarded as an impartial nation in any negotiations dealing with the Middle East.

Third Intifada In Sight?

During the past few years there have been repeated efforts to mediate the dispute between Israel and Palestinians. Norwegians, Germans, British, Turks, South Africans and a host of Arab nations seek an end to the conflict. Ghazi Hamad, former spokesperson for dismissed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, claims “the Hamas movment conveyed its vision of a comprehensive agreement to several foreign diplomats so they could convey this vision to Israel. Yet all indication show that Israel has not exhibited any enthusiasm for trting this vision in a positive manner.” Among the points submitted to Omar Suleiman, chief of Egyptian General Intelligence is the following:

A mutual cease fire in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on which basis Israel must halt assassinations, invasions, and arrests, and resistance movements must halt firing rockets on Israeli settlements near the Gaza Strip.

A lifting of the siege imposed on the Gaza Stip since mid-June of last year, including reopening of border and commercial crossings.

Completion of the prisoner swap deal by which Israel soldier Gilad Shalit would be released in exchange for therelease of Palestinian prisoneers named by Hamas.

Hamas has met with all resistance groups in Gaza and obtained their agreement to these conditions. Israel’s usual responmse to such proposals is to insist they are attempts to buy time to obtain more weapons. Hamas proposals indicate the gulf between parties can be bridged by people of good will. Why not invite Kofi Ananan, who recently brokered a peace agreement in Kenya, to serve as a mediator in this dispute? He could be assisted by Nelson Mandela to add even further weight to the necessity of resolving the dispute before it escalated into an Israel invasion of Gaza and the end of peace talks.s