Hebrew soon at website: gush-shalom.org :????? ?????
A GERMAN poem
the giant's daughter, who found a peasant plowing his field and brought
him home in her handkerchief to show to her father. But the father said
gravely: "The peasant is no toy!" and told her to put him gently back
where she had found him.
reminds me of the giant's daughter. Unfortunately, she has no
grandfather to tell her that nations are not toys.
WHEN GEORGE W.
Bush became president, he brought with him a bunch of Neo-Conservatives
who believed, in their incredible arrogance, that it is possible to
overturn nations, change their regimes at will, and take control of
intended to put Iraq, Iran and Syria in their handkerchief. Iraq and
Iran because of their oil, Syria because of its strategic location.
Quite incidentally, these three countries were also considered a
strategic threat by Israel, and the neo-cons, most of them themselves
Jews, were glad to do the "Jewish State" a favor.
of the three to conquer first, and the choice fell, as we know, on
Iraq. Since the neo-cons were sure that their army would be received
there with flowers (how else?) and the war would be over in a jiffy,
the next question was who would come next, the eastern or the western
one can wonder which was the greater: the ignorance of the neo-cons or
their arrogance. They had no idea about Iraq, and it seems that this
did not bother them. After all, they knew that one stroke would suffice
to finish the job and allow them to move on.
If they had
their British allies, they might have learned something about the
country they were about to attack, for example that Iraq had never been
a real state. It was composed of three distinct regions which had been
joined together by the British Empire to suit its interests. It always
needed a dictatorship to keep the package intact: first the British
rulers themselves, later on assorted local dictators. Saddam Hussein
was only the latest in the series.
When the US
destroyed the power that held it together, the whole thing fell apart.
Today, two parallel wars are tearing the poor country into shreds: the
Sunni rebellion against the American occupation, and a three-fold civil
war. In Washington, politicians blabber about the new Iraqi army that
will, at any moment now, take over responsibility for security and
allow the withdrawal of most American forces. In practice, there is no
real Iraqi army at all, only separate militias of Kurds, Shiites and
Sunnis, each of them ultimately loyal only to their particular leaders.
like to withdraw most of their forces from Iraq and leave behind only a
small garrison, to secure their hold on the oil resources. This is a
rapidly fading dream. The end will probably be like Vietnam. American
public opinion will come to detest the hopeless war and the army will
withdraw with its tail between its legs, and leave behind a general
state of anarchy.
AS FOR the neighbors:
have already dispersed in all directions, and military action against
Iran and Syria is out of the question. Iraq is eating up the American
military, which is composed of mercenaries, and already a shortage of
soldiers is becoming acute. So what to do? Well, one can try to
undermine the two states in other ways, turning Clausewitz's famous
dictum on its head: "Politics is nothing more than the continuation of
war by other means."
At this moment,
world-wide American campaign is under way, aimed at overthrowing the
Syrian regime by non-military means. The General Secretary of the
United Nations, who has become His (American) Master's Voice, is
playing his role, together with many governments which are dependent on
the mercies of the United States.
The murder of
al-Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, is being exploited for
this purpose. I don't remember Washington ever getting so excited about
a political murder in another country, whether of a progressive Bishop
in Central America or a Muslim Sheikh in Gaza. This sudden urge to see
the murderers brought to justice is really quite touching.
government is one of the most active partners in this campaign for the
demolition of Syria. It renders assistance in a hundred ways. Syria is
blamed for the actions of Hizballah in Lebanon, for helping Palestinian
"terrorists", and what not. The Chief of our military intelligence
department, who frequently voices almost infantile opinions in our
media, is floating all kinds of conspiracy theories.
On the face of
is logical. In return, Washington has wiped the occupation of the Golan
Heights from the international agenda. Condoleezza Rice is active in
Gaza and the West Bank, but never utters a word about our occupation of
the Golan, an area of sovereign Syrian territory. The acquisition of
territory by war is, of course, a severe violation of international law
and the UN Charter, but George and Condi couldn't care less.
In spite of
would suggest that our government think twice whether we are really
interested in destroying the Syrian state. If this happens, how will it
affect our northern border?
I REMEMBER a
conversation with Rabin in 1976, when the Syrians were invading
Lebanon. Nowadays it is generally forgotten that it was the Christians
who invited them in and requested their help against the PLO and Muslim
approaching the Israeli-Lebanese border, all hell broke loose in
Israel. Defense Minister Shimon Peres and his minions clamored for a
"red line" in Lebanon to stop the Syrian advance well away from the
border. Prime Minister Rabin saw it quite differently. "That's
idiotic," he told me. "On our border with Syria on the Golan Heights
there are no problems. If the Syrians take hold of the Galilee border,
quiet will reign there, too."
Rabin was, of
quite right. Unfortunately, he gave in to Peres and the public
hysteria. The Syrian army was stopped by our threats at a distance from
the border. The vacuum thus created between it and Israel was filled
first by the PLO, and later by Hizballah.
Much the same
can happen now on the Syrian border, if the present Syrian regime
collapses and anarchy takes over.
Syria is a very
state. True, this is not a case of three different peoples, as in Iraq,
but there are profound, ancient rivalries between Damascus and Aleppo,
Arabs and Kurds and many different religious denominations. The Syrians
have resigned themselves to the dictatorship of the Assad family
because they are afraid of anarchy.
one of the smallest sects, the Alawites, who are followers of Ali, the
son-in-law of the prophet. This reminds one of the Biblical story about
the selection of the first Israelite king. When Saul was invited by
Samuel, he asked in wonderment: "Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest
of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of
the tribe of Benjamin?" (1. Samuel 9). When the largest and strongest
tribes cannot agree on a candidate, they often prefer to pick one from
the smallest and weakest, who poses no danger to them.)
For 33 years
have been no problems on our border with Syria, in spite of the
unresolved conflict over the Golan. Who knows what will happen if Syria
falls prey to anarchy? OK, that's no problem for America. But it
certainly is for us.
IRAN IS a very different matter.
united and strong. They may produce a nuclear bomb. Many believe that
this is a nightmare: a fanatical Islamic state, hating Israel, in the
possession of the ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction and the means to
I am less
extreme anti-Israeli slogans of Iran have not prevented it from
engaging, quietly, in business with Israel, and not only in the
Iran-gate affair. In practice, the terrible Ayatullahs do behave in a
very sober way.
But if we want
a nuclear Balance of Terror, there is only one way: to use the time
left, while we still have a monopoly in this field, to make peace -
first with the Palestinian people, and then with all the nations of the
region. In the framework of peace, a nuclear-free zone with mutual
inspection can be established.
The trouble is
is impossible to discuss this issue here, as long as the matter is
classified "top secret". I propose opening it up for debate and finally
getting to grips with the problem. The time has come.
As for the
giant's daughter, it is time to tell her: Leave the nations of this
region alone! They are not toys!
Gush Shalom ad in Haaretz, Friday Dec. 2,
The mask is off
is the one
brought the Labor Party down low
is the one
led the party out of the peace camp
is the one
all over the world campaigning on behalf of Sharon
!get on your way
????? ??? ???? ?'????' 2.12.05
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