Hamas rockets continued hitting targets in Israel resulting in operations by the Israel Defense Force to launch air and ground assaults against Hamas militants. Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that “Israel must brace itself for Jihad’s response” while Hamas leaders warned of a “wave of martyrdom operations” against Israel targets. The current approach to dealing with Hamas and the approach used by Hamas to deal with its hostility toward Israel consists of attacks and counter attacks. Neither side can point to any real success other than citing the number killed or the destruction caused by bombing. It is seemingly a tit for tat approach that simply is not getting at real issues such as how to resolve Palestinian and Israel disagreements. One obvious casualty in the seemingly nonstop attack/counterattack is the road map for peace that supposedly was to emerge from the Annapolis conference.
Albert Einstein supposedly once said the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again without any apparent change resulting from these actions. The Hamas/IDF exchange offers no apparent benefits for either side. A mistake at Annapolis was not inviting Hamas. The Hamas leaders would not have been able to engage in their violent rhetoric when in the company of the Arab world that seeks an end to the Palestinian/israel conflict. Negotiations in which important Arab nations– who also help support Hamas–insist on an end to violence is the best bet to set in motion concrete steps to halt the rocket bombing and counter attacks. One might argue that it is impossible to negotiate with those who practice violence. However, both Israeli and Palestinians who are currently engaged in negotiations were at one point in their pasts using violence to achieve end goals. There is need for Arab leaders to join with Palestinians and Israelis in getting Hamas to the negotiating table if there is to be an end to the Gaza violence. Escalation of the violence will only doom any opportunity for peace.
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Palestinians, rocket attacks, violence
The American media is reporting dramatic success as a result of the Bush Surge, but there are indications while the city of Baghdad is quieter, serious problems remain in the nation. Most of northern Iraq is without light because its plants are idle due to lack of gasoline. The Kurdish government is engaged in a clash over oil in regions of northern Iraq it claims belong to the Kurdish authority. Supporters of al Sadr’s Mahdi army claim the United States is taking sides in a dispute between two rival Shiite groups and is backing their enemy, the Badr Corps. In the meantime, the weekend was interrupted by new bombings in Baghdad.
A factor in making difficult ascertaining the success or failure of the Surge is the lack of criteria by which to gauge what really has happened in Iraq. There is no question fighting has died down in Baghdad, but is it the result of a temporary movement away from directly responding to American attacks by insurgent groups or have they really been crushed? It is yet to early to reach any definitive analysis as to what had taken place in terms of violence. However, it is clear the government of Iraq is divided, confused, and hostile to other elements.
Posted in George Bush, Human Rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Muslims, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged al Sadrm Badr Corps, Iraq, Mahdi Army, Surge, violence
The newspaper, Azzaman, over the past three days reported several stories about fighting and killing in Iraq cities far away from Baghdad. The American press focuses mainly on large cities and tends to ignore the situation in the provinces. In the cities of Diwaniya and Karabala, there has been virtually non-stop fighting between several different factions, none of which are connected to al-Qaeda although Bush insists that group is responsible for violence. Unauthorized gun men belonging to groups associated with the Shiite cleric, al Sadr engaged in fighting with unruly militants connected to the Supreme Islamic Iraq Council. In the midst of their fighting another group appeared on the scene which goes by the name of Kataib al-Hussein and no one is aware of connections between this new faction and any existing group.
These fragments of stories continually appear in Iraq newspapers like Azzaman. Men are fighting for power or religious reasons or because they hate America or because it is a lucrative occupation. The American press reports about the “surge” and ignores the daily lives of Iraqis which are filled with terror, violence and death. A top scientist, Dr. Mohammed al-Attabi was killed this week, because he was a scientist. Such is life in Iraq.
A high level summit was held last night in Turkey as its top leaders and military officials met to discuss a response to the latest Kurdish attack on Turkish forces. At least 12 turkish soldiers are dead and a reported ten have been taken as hostages by PKK rebels. According to Prme Minister Recep Erdogan, “we will make a decision at the end of our discussion about what sort of step we will take.” Although he said Turkey would act in a “cool manner,” the president made it clear whatever action is taken would not be influenced by what others feel regarding an attack across the border into Iraq. President Gul said Turkey “has no eye on Iraq territory but it is Turkey’s right to stop this as long as Iraq harbors terrorists.”
The ironic aspect of the current Turkish-Kurdish controversy is that any Middle Eastern expert in 2003 knew an invasion of Iraq would result in establishment of a virtually independent Kurdistan and such a creation invariably would result in conflict with Turkey. This is a fall out of the Bush invasion of Iraq which was emotional rather than cooly logical and diplomatic. The one consistent pattern of the Bush administration is its angry, threatening rhetoric which panders to right wing extremism in America, but only incites anger and violence in the remainder of the world. Bush claimed the right to invade nations in the name of dealing with “terrorism.” His rhetoric is now echoed in Turkey by leaders who also want to resort to violence in dealing with terrorism.
Posted in George Bush, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Peace, Politics, Turkey, War, World News
Tagged Bush, Erdogan, Gul, Iraq, Kurdish rebels, Turkey, violence
Nobel Prize winner James Watson told The Independent in an exclusive interview that he had been misunderstood concerning his remarks about Africans lacking the intelligence of people in other parts of the world. “To those who have d rawn the inference from m y words that Africa as a continent is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly. That is not what I meant.” he intended to express the view that genes play a role in shaping human intelligence and help explain variance in behaviors such as why some people are more violent or engage in criminal activities. His comments have caused several organizations in England to consider canceling his scheduled appearances.
Mr. Watson is still confused about issues of criminality and violence. The definition of crime stems from social and economic views, not from inherent intelligence. If a society decides driving 70 miles an hour is to be defined as criminal or that using marijuana is a criminal act, it reflects a social interpretation that has nothing to do with genetic makeup. For example, in the Netherlands I can smoke marijuana and be considered as engaging in a legal action, but the same behavior in the United States results in me being placed in prison. A society gives a young man a weapon and tells him to shoot “the enemy” but there is no thought the shooting constitutes an act of violence. Watson appears to believe there is such a thing as “crime” and “violence” acting apart from societal norms. He forgets that Europeans have killed more people than humans from any other area of the world — does that suggest Europeans have genetic factors that compel the use of violence?
The official newspaper of the Myanmar military junta, the New Light, offered the world a rather unusual explanation regarding recent events in Burma. According to New Light, “People in Katha and Mutinmi townships held mass rallies on 7 and 9 October with the concept that recent protests staged by some monks and NLD member had undermined the community peace and stability.” Unlike those terrorists monks and protestors for democracy, these decent people made certain to get “permission from the authorities concerned in accord with law.” As over 15,000 marched they waved banners announcing, “We oppose violence,” and “ward off the danger of internal and external destructive elements.” They also strongly believe “We don’t want terrorists.”
The military junta of Myanmar undoubtedly is familiar with George Orwell’s “doublespeak” in which one uses correct words for incorrect ideas. Burmese troops fired into peaceful demonstrators but somehow the pacifist monks have become “terrorists’ and advocates of “violence.” One can only wonder how these 15,000 people decided to march with their banners.