Sunday, January 21, 2007

Paragraphs I Feel Like Writing

Not every thought on the Middle East merits an entire post.


As'ad AbuKhalil of Angry Arab once said that the summer 2006 war in Lebanon is better thought of as a continuation of Israel's continuous state of war with the Arab world since its inception in 1948 than as an isolated conflict. Fighting became more continuous in 1948, but the war was actually declared in 1895 when Herzl, and the European Jews Herzl represented, declared that a territory that they knew at the time to be over 95% Arab would be a Jewish homeland regardless of the wishes of the inhabitants. The Zionist War was declared in 1895 and low level fighting had begun by at latest 1935. AbuKhalil is right that the 2006 conflict is part of the Zionist War, but the starting date of that war was not really 1948. [Note: If I ever expand this to an entire post, I'll make sure Herzl's declaration was really 1895 and not 1894 or 1896.]


I am really annoyed that Abbas of Palestine is rejecting Hamas proposals himself. Why should he not present these proposals to Europe and have them reject them officially, then go back to Hamas? Why should he not force the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to publicly say, for example, that a Hudna is not acceptable, instead of Abbas saying it for them. I am happy that Abbas does not seem inclined to militarily confront Hamas at least for now. I am disappointed that he would rather be a spokesperson for Israel confronting Hamas than be a spokesperson for Hamas confronting Israel.

I mean Hamas, you know, won the election. I should say Abbas is a spokesperson for Israel confronting the Palestinian people rather than a spokeperson for the Palestinian people confronting Israel. Abbas could be worse, and throughout history traitors worse than Abbas are far from unusual, but I still find him very disapointing in this issue.


Guerillas, insurgents and militias in Iraq could have a lot more shoulder fired ground to air missiles than they do. Iran produces these missiles domestically. I can think of three helicopter downings since 2003. If the US really wants a confrontation with Iran, we will certainly be seeing three downings a month by summer 2008. US voters would not tolerate that and the US would be out Saigon style by March 2009. From the US point of view, it would be much better to talk it out.


In 2003, I thought it was immoral for the US to invade Iraq, and cause the damage to civilians that is inevitable in such an invasion when the aim of the invasion was indirectly to make the Middle East more safe for Zionism. Today, I still think it was immoral. I still think the purpose of the war was to directly eliminate a threat to Israel and indirectly to ensure that Iraq does not threaten the pro-US authoritarian governments that are relatively non-hostile to Israel.

Specifically in the case of Saudi Arabia, a nationalist government could still sell oil to the US, and could well still have closer ties with the US than anyone else. But it could not refrain from funding Hamas and other Palestinian groups and could not even tacitly ally with Israel.

But now I see that the best reason not to invade was that it can't work. I didn't realize that then. A hostile population is very difficult to put under a friendly government by force. It becomes impossible if the country has neighbors like Iran and Syria that are willing to help the population fight back. If I had known in 2003 that defeat for the US in Iraq was inevitable, I still would have opposed the invasion.


A major reason democracy is an advance is that a group that becomes more powerful than its rivals has a non-violent way of attaining control of government - and does not have to wage a war that it probably could win.

When pro-Iran elements won the elections - even though Iraq was under direct US occupation and the US was flooding Iraq's electoral system with money, free television and other resources - the whole point of democracy is that now the pro-Iran elements don't have wage the war they probably could win.

America is now saying it wants to fight the pro-Iran elements even after the pro-Iran elements won the elections. That defeats the entire purpose of elections, and the pro-Iran elements are probably (definitely) going to win anyway, just like they won the elections.

Somebody should teach the United States about democracy. It sounds ironic but it is not a joke. US ideals about democracy are consistently put to the test in the Middle East and the US consistently, not just Bush but consistently for over 50 years, demonstrates that it does not understand or accept the theoretical underpinnings or consequences of democracy.

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