Monday, July 17, 2006

Israel, Iran & Iraq: A crisis point in the war on terrorism

It has become evident that Iran and--to a lesser extent--Syria are behind the current war waged against Israel by Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Iran has been emboldened by the Bush Administration's unwise invasion of Iraq and the quagmire it has created there. With the defeat of its enemy, Saddam Hussein, Iran has been able to assume the leadership role in the Islamist jihadi war against Western democratic society.

Israel is the most convenient target of the Islamist terrorists because the Iranians recognize that only the U.S. is displaying any understanding of Israel's current plight. The European Union seems more concerned with Israel's "disproportionate" defense against Hezbollah and Hamas rocket attacks on civilian communities and territorial incursions than in Israel's right to defend itself. The obvious question is how Great Britain, France, Italy, and the others would react against similar foreign attacks on their lands.

Saddam Hussein's secular but tyrannical Iraqi regime was a horrendous government. But it served as a barrier against Iran and other Shiite jihadis. Saddam's defeat brought a Shiite-dominated government into power in Iraq.

For the moment, some of its leaders appear to be pro-American. But they are threatened not only by Sunni insurgents but by fellow Shiites eager for an alliance with Iran's Shiite regime. Polls have shown that most Iraqis want the U.S. to get out now.

According to an American general's recent assessment, our forces in Iraq are now tied down in civil wars between Sunnis and Shiites and between different Shiite factions. He said that this communal strife is now more responsible for the violence that has brought chaos to Iraq than the fight against the Sunni insurgency. This is a formidable argument for redeploying U.S. forces out of Iraq and basing some of them in nearby friendly Arab states.

It is extraordinarily ironic that after defeating an Iraqi army three years ago, the U.S. is now training and equipping a new Iraqi army. The new force is dominated by the Shiites, many of whom were recruited out of anti-American militias. They are apparently more loyal to pro-Iranian interests than to the Americans who liberated them from Saddam.

It is conceivable than in any U.S. confrontation against Iran, the new Iraqi army could turn against us. Once American influence in Iraq is weakened, it is also conceivable that Iraq's new army would join the Islamist jihadi war against Israel.

The only positive element in the current Middle East crisis is that the so-called moderate Arab countries of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states have surprisingly criticized Hezbollah and Hamas for heating up the situation. Amazingly, some of these Arabs have even shown more understanding of Israel's plight than many Europeans.

All of which underscores the fallacy of the Bush Administration's naive obsession to "promote democracy" in the Arab world. Were open elections to be held in these nations friendly to the U.S., the bad guys--the Islamist terrorists--would undoubtedly acquire considerable new influence or even complete control. This was demonstrated in the recent elections in the Palestinian Authority, where Hamas was triumphant, and in Lebanon, where the Hezbollah members were elected to the parliament for the first time.

In assessing the Middle East, it is striking that Israel is a tiny sliver of land, populated with only slightly more than 5-million Jews--virtually all of them refugees or descendants of refugees from European and Muslim countries. Nevertheless, as outnumbered as they are, the Arabs and even some Europeans depict Israel as the villain in the Middle East and as a menace to world peace.

Yet the Israelis are surrounded by more than a billion Muslims in 22 Arab nations and more than a dozen other Islamic countries, most of them historically dedicated to Israel's destruction because of the alleged mistreatment of the Palestinian people.

The Palestinians have indeed suffered because of the establishment of Israel in 1948. But the Palestinians suffer from self-inflicted wounds. As history shows, they have passed up opportunity after opportunity to have their own independent nation, largely because they are unwilling to accept compromise. Their primary objective is to destroy the tiny Jewish state.

Note that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was organized three years before the 1967 war. Only after that war did Israelis take control of the West Bank and Gaza. With no Israeli territory recognized by international law as "occupied" land before 1967, the PLO's obvious goal was to "liberate" the state of Israel itself.

The result is that Israel, contrary to historic Jewish traditions and values, has been forced to become a garrison state, constantly forced to defend itself--as no other nation in the world does--to simply survive.


Blogger saz said...

Good post Mort.

Monday, July 17, 2006 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Victor Barnaby said...

Outstanding commentary on the crises in the Mid East

Monday, July 17, 2006 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Very well written words making a difficult situation a bit easier to understand.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 9:28:00 AM  
Blogger Treifalicious said...

"The result is that Israel, contrary to historic Jewish traditions and values, has been forced to become a garrison state, constantly forced to defend itself--as no other nation in the world does--to simply survive." - Octogenarian

Actually, I would say that Israel's situationis very in line with Jewish history, as Jews have constantly had to live under attack in various countries around teh world. The difference now is that Israel, as a Jewish collectivity, is more likely to hit back and do so successfully.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

BRILLIANT, my dear! This is so wonderfully written and explains Israels plight perfectly! I wish everyone in the blogworld could read this, Mort...! I am going to add a link to your blog to my current post in the hopes that a few more people will come and read this. Thank You Mort!

Thursday, July 20, 2006 2:51:00 PM  
Blogger tony flaig said...

Isreal has all the smart weapons of a first world nation, this it uses to deadly effect, in an unequal struggle between two peoples fighting their corner, wouldn't it be great if america and europe could adopt an even handed approach to both parties. Its a tragedy that, the west feeds the Israeli military without questioning Israels acquisition of territories belonging to other nationals.

Simply put Israel uses helicopter gunships with sophisticated misslies, terrorist and some might say Palestinians defending their interests have home made fireworks to defend themselves.

Ive no problem with defending yourself but bullying a whole region and keeping the spoils of war is another matter.

You'll probably put me down as anti-jewish but the fact is those of us in so called western democracies would like a free debate and assistance to thousands of innocent civilian victims in Lebanon today.

Forget Jews and Muslims face the facts, nations are at war not religions, once people cut the crap and face the facts with less emotional baggage maybe a solution could be found.

Just as an afterthough, America leads the world and Israel leads america?

Palestine is controlled by Israel its economy in a strangelhold, is it any surprise that this nation forments terrorists.

Finally I am no apologist for terrorism I view them in same contempt as I would any other coward.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM  
Blogger Mortart said...

In response to Tony Flaig"s comment above, it is hard to see how a nation of only slightly more than 5 million Jews is "bullying" an Islamic world of billions of people, virtually all of them, dedicated to Israel's destruction.
Moreover, as for "occupying" other peoples'lands, Israel holds no Lebanonese territory, and Palestine's West Bank and Gaza were acquired only in a defensive war, not through aggressive action as had been undertaken by Egypt and Jordan which lost those territories in its aggressive action.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 4:47:00 PM  
Blogger tony flaig said...

The point is Israel has more fire power than all the other middle east countries collectively,more nuclear weapons than you can shake a stick at.

Israeli military power would make most european countries feel inadequate with the exception france, briton and russia as these are the only ones with a nuclear capability.

I remember the Isreali six day war on that occaison Israel had no choice, and took the right action Egypt and Jordan nearly 40 years later have civil relations with Israel, is to much to imagine that Israel gives up the homes,the farms and the land that belongs to palestinian families.

For thirty years Northern Ireland was subject to terrorism from Catholic and Protestant bigots and gansters maybe not on the same scale I'm not sure, but one things for sure nobody in Briton ever considered bombing Dublin or Suburbs of Belfast where terrorist may have had there bases or homes.

I can imagine the conflict between Israel and Palestine resolved and if you can imagine something it can be done.

The plain and simple fact is Palestinians have nothing to bargain with all the chips are with Israel. Because america have taken side with Israel, they are not in a position to broker any deals until they adopt an unequivocal fair and honest approach to both sides.

Perhaps Israel could stop farming its ''defensive land'' as a good will gesture. Still what do I know, I'm only a railway worker not a politician, I suppose Mr Bush knows what to do, not many could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like he's done in Iraq.

Anyway good blog

Thursday, July 20, 2006 5:57:00 PM  
Blogger Observer said...

Ich habe auch gesagt:
Morton, a wonderfully complete and clear analysis of the Middle East situation (never mind that Tony Flaig fellow). How come we cannot find anything like it in the main media ?

My compliments.
Warum sind die Titel der Kommentaren in Deutsch ? Why are the headings of the comments in German? A new blog twist?

Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:48:00 PM  
Blogger Observer said...

My apologies to all about my comments regarding the German titles.

Something went haywire at this end, in MY computer.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

re: the Tony Flaig comments --

The people victimizing the Lebanese are the Hezbollah terrorists, who store weapons in private homes, and who use the Lebanese infrastructure to transport and fire missles. The Israelis are attempting to deal with the machinery of war which Hezbollah has stockpiled among Lebanese civilians with the assistance and encouragement of Iran and Syria.

If Mexico were to become passive hosts for a group of Muslim extremists who then lobbed missiles at cities in Texas, hitting homes in the suburbs of San Antonio (like the homes in the suburbs of Tiberias) and a hospital in Tucson, Arizona (like the hospital in Safed), we would do everything in our power to make the bombing stop. So would any other sovereign nation.

Friday, July 21, 2006 1:13:00 AM  
Blogger saz said...

Hi Mort - I may not agree with Tony F. but I appreciate his comments. This is the great thing about blogging in general and your blog in particular....your posts and all the comments that follow make us think. I want to hear the other side of the argument and am glad he took the time to read your post and respond to it. I also visited his blog and enjoyed some of his posts as well.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 3:43:00 AM  
Blogger Observer said...

Sunday evening.
Morton:You know my background and that I am not a jihadist sympathizer. I understand what the Israelis are trying to do in southern Lebanon and why.--- The IDF/IAF methods are crazy. They are a bunch of idiots from the younger, spoiled, semi-educated generation.Their genes and brains are diluted through the admixture of Ashkenazi,Maghreb and Ethiopian blood. Not one Ben Gurion, Dayan, Golda or Abba Eban among them. To antagonize the whole world and to show so little positive result for all that effort, carnage and destruction. I feel sorry for all those Lebanese civilians. This will go down in history. This will overshadow Guernica, Coventry, the Warsaw Ghetto, Dresden and similar symbols. Unbelievable as it sounds but what I see and hear is about to drive me into the Noah Chomsky camp. (Perish the thought.) I am afraid that all Jews should get ready for a real worldwide hatred.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 8:30:00 PM  
Blogger goldenlucyd said...

Yes. If Mexico, certainly no match for the US in arms or military capacity, kidnapped our soldiers and fired hundreds of missles at our cities there would be hell to pay. As for Jew-hatred, almost any excuse will do for the rest of the world.
Super post, Mort.

Monday, July 24, 2006 2:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The destiny of the Jewish people is so difficult---maybe there is a better word .Isreal was created because Jews were not safe in the diaspora (sp)----now the most unsafe place for a Jew is to live in the holy land.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 7:49:00 AM  
Blogger Norma said...

Blaming Bush again. Wow. Was he in office in 1996?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 5:44:00 PM  
Blogger trev said...

Another brilliantly-written post. Made me see -- and understand -- things in a slightly different way.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 12:53:00 AM  

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