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Nasser’s Pan Arabism exits “left”, Nasrallah’s sponsored Jihadism enters “right”; a rose by any other name.

It seems that the only thing that can galvanize the Arab masses is a good fight, with a lot of bloodshed, and preferably against Israel. Is Peace in the Middle East a dream? What happens when we wake up?

In a recent NY Times article, Tide of Arab Opinion Turns to Support for Hezbollah , by Neil MacFarquhar; we are regaled witnessing the Arab governments speaking as usual with forked tongues, one in support of Hezbollah and another more privately denouncing it. We are continuously reminded that the flash point in the Middle East is always a crowd pleaser, standing up to Israel.

When will the Arab masses stop equating relevancy with winning wars; and when will they stop to consider that a better future for their children is worth keeping them alive instead of constantly putting them in jeopardy in the name of a religion or an Almighty?

The spheres of competition are open to you, you don’t need a gun to compete; so come and meet the honest challenge that is open to you, where only the gifts given to you by the Almighty are the only prerequisites to compete. Make it your destiny, instead.

So, come and join the world to eradicate diseases, to improve the human condition and to create a better life for all future generations; it is there for the taking if only …

Israel Bonan



July 28, 2006
CHANGING REACTION
Tide of Arab Opinion Turns to Support for Hezbollah
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR

DAMASCUS, Syria, July 27 — At the onset of the Lebanese crisis, Arab governments, starting with Saudi Arabia, slammed Hezbollah for recklessly provoking a war, providing what the United States and Israel took as a wink and a nod to continue the fight.

Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for more than two weeks, the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements.

The Saudi royal family and King Abdullah II of Jordan, who were initially more worried about the rising power of Shiite Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor, are scrambling to distance themselves from Washington.
An outpouring of newspaper columns, cartoons, blogs and public poetry readings have showered praise on Hezbollah while attacking the United States and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for trumpeting American plans for a “new Middle East” that they say has led only to violence and repression.

Even Al Qaeda, run by violent Sunni Muslim extremists normally hostile to all Shiites, has gotten into the act, with its deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, releasing a taped message saying that through its fighting in Iraq, his organization was also trying to liberate Palestine.

Mouin Rabbani, a senior Middle East analyst in Amman, Jordan, with the International Crisis Group, said, “The Arab-Israeli conflict remains the most potent issue in this part of the world.”

Distinctive changes in tone are audible throughout the Sunni world. This week, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt emphasized his attempts to arrange a cease-fire to protect all sects in Lebanon, while the Jordanian king announced that his country was dispatching medical teams “for the victims of Israeli aggression.” Both countries have peace treaties with Israel.

The Saudi royal court has issued a dire warning that its 2002 peace plan — offering Israel full recognition by all Arab states in exchange for returning to the borders that predated the 1967 Arab-Israeli war — could well perish.

“If the peace option is rejected due to the Israeli arrogance,” it said, “then only the war option remains, and no one knows the repercussions befalling the region, including wars and conflict that will spare no one, including those whose military power is now tempting them to play with fire.”

The Saudis were putting the West on notice that they would not exert pressure on anyone in the Arab world until Washington did something to halt the destruction of Lebanon, Saudi commentators said.
American officials say that while the Arab leaders need to take a harder line publicly for domestic political reasons, what matters more is what they tell the United States in private, which the Americans still see as a wink and a nod.

There are evident concerns among Arab governments that a victory for Hezbollah — and it has already achieved something of a victory by holding out this long — would further nourish the Islamist tide engulfing the region and challenge their authority. Hence their first priority is to cool simmering public opinion.

But perhaps not since President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt made his emotional outpourings about Arab unity in the 1960’s, before the Arab defeat in the 1967 war, has the public been so electrified by a confrontation with Israel, played out repeatedly on satellite television stations with horrific images from Lebanon of wounded children and distraught women fleeing their homes.

Egypt’s opposition press has had a field day comparing Sheik Nasrallah to Nasser, while demonstrators waved pictures of both.

An editorial in the weekly Al Dustur by Ibrahim Issa, who faces a lengthy jail sentence for his previous criticism of President Mubarak, compared current Arab leaders to the medieval princes who let the Crusaders chip away at Muslim lands until they controlled them all.

After attending an intellectual rally in Cairo for Lebanon, the Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm wrote a column describing how he had watched a companion buy 20 posters of Sheik Nasrallah.
“People are praying for him as they walk in the street, because we were made to feel oppressed, weak and handicapped,” Mr. Negm said in an interview. “I asked the man who sweeps the street under my building what he thought, and he said: ‘Uncle Ahmed, he has awakened the dead man inside me! May God make him triumphant!’ ”

In Lebanon, Rasha Salti, a freelance writer, summarized the sense that Sheik Nasrallah differed from other Arab leaders.

“Since the war broke out, Hassan Nasrallah has displayed a persona, and public behavior also, to the exact opposite of Arab heads of states,” she wrote in an e-mail message posted on many blogs.
In comparison, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s brief visit to the region sparked widespread criticism of her cold demeanor and her choice of words, particularly a statement that the bloodshed represented the birth pangs of a “new Middle East.” That catchphrase was much used by Shimon Peres, the veteran Israeli leader who was a principal negotiator of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which ultimately failed to lead to the Palestinian state they envisaged.

A cartoon by Emad Hajjaj in Jordan labeled “The New Middle East” showed an Israeli tank sitting on a broken apartment house in the shape of the Arab world.

Fawaz al-Trabalsi, a columnist in the Lebanese daily As Safir, suggested that the real new thing in the Middle East was the ability of one group to challenge Israeli militarily.

Perhaps nothing underscored Hezbollah’s rising stock more than the sudden appearance of a tape from the Qaeda leadership attempting to grab some of the limelight.

Al Jazeera satellite television broadcast a tape from Mr. Zawahri (za-WAH-ri). Large panels behind him showed a picture of the exploding World Trade Center as well as portraits of two Egyptian Qaeda members, Muhammad Atef, a Qaeda commander who was killed by an American airstrike in Afghanistan, and Mohamed Atta, the lead hijacker on Sept. 11, 2001. He described the two as fighters for the Palestinians.

Mr. Zawahri tried to argue that the fight against American forces in Iraq paralleled what Hezbollah was doing, though he did not mention the organization by name.

“It is an advantage that Iraq is near Palestine,” he said. “Muslims should support its holy warriors until an Islamic emirate dedicated to jihad is established there, which could then transfer the jihad to the borders of Palestine.”

Mr. Zawahri also adopted some of the language of Hezbollah and Shiite Muslims in general. That was rather ironic, since previously in Iraq, Al Qaeda has labeled Shiites Muslim as infidels and claimed responsibility for some of the bloodier assaults on Shiite neighborhoods there.

But by taking on Israel, Hezbollah had instantly eclipsed Al Qaeda, analysts said. “Everyone will be asking, ‘Where is Al Qaeda now?’ ” said Adel al-Toraifi, a Saudi columnist and expert on Sunni extremists.

Mr. Rabbani of the International Crisis Group said Hezbollah’s ability to withstand the Israeli assault and to continue to lob missiles well into Israel exposed the weaknesses of Arab governments with far greater resources than Hezbollah.

“Public opinion says that if they are getting more on the battlefield than you are at the negotiating table, and you have so many more means at your disposal, then what the hell are you doing?” Mr. Rabbani said. “In comparison with the small embattled guerrilla movement, the Arab states seem to be standing idly by twiddling their thumbs.”

Mona el-Naggar contributed reporting from Cairo for this article, and Suha Maayeh from Amman, Jordan.

Introduction copyright by Israel Bonan, 2006. A NY Times article Tide of Arab Opinion Turns to Support for Hezbollah, by Neil MacFarquhar, © NY Times. Please forward this article by email with this notice.


Original content is Copyright by the author 2006. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000184.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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The most wonderful aspect of war for any ruling group is that it provides an external focus for society and a reason to suspend civil rights. The enemy can be blamed for everything from the absence of toilet paper in the stores to the failure of the state to assert itself in the international political stage. "If only they (the enemy) didn't exist life would be wonderful"

Another attractive aspect of war is that it provides a distraction from the wholesale robbery the ruling group carries out of community assets.

For the ruling elites the best kind of war is of course one where no one has to die, yet everyone has the opportunity to vent their frustrations upon the enemy, and avoid taking personal responsibility for the mess the society is in.

Nazi Germany was a brilliant example of this, with the Jews, Gypsies and Slavs becoming the object of opprobrium, the suspension of civil rights and the amassing of vast fortunes by the ruling classes and the hangers-on.

The Middle East like much of the Third World faces a serious population problem. Since the 1950's and the active intervention of UNICEF, WHO, etc, there has been a dramatic fall in the mortality rate at both ends of the social spectrum. This has been so dramatic and swift that the societies have yet to adjust. Whereas the industrialised West slowly downsized the average family over several generations with medicine improving in parallel to it, this has not happened elsewhere. Thus the children who would have died en masse in infancy survived to adulthood and they too had large families, who in turn had large families. Old people, who would previously have died each winter as influenza routinely swept the land or from the myriad of todays minor ailments, began to survive these illnesses. Thus the populations grew. Unfortunately the economies could not keep pace. Under-employment became a permanent feature. So the Arab states like other Third World countries ventured into low skill industrialisation and the Western corporations poured in to exploit the cheap labour. However as more followed this path they drove down the wages. Thus, whereas in Europe in the 1970's a cheap pair of jeans would have cost the equivalent of 30 Euro's in today's values, now it is possible to buy the same cheap jeans for 6 Euro's. As we can work out the farmer producing cotton gets a lower price per tonne, the weaving mills and the machinists get less per hour and they struggle to make a living. No wonder these people are angry and confused.
Yet international financial and medical aid only serves to subsidise the western corporatations by sustaining large populations and their ability to compete against each other. But inadvertently it serves to expand the ever growing and frustrated populations. Only through radical birth control measures can equilibrium be achieved. It can be done either through the promotion of small sustainable families or through the destruction of the young adult population.
Perhaps this desire for war that we see expounded in the Arab media is merely an instinctive balancing urge. Perhaps this is a moment when the West needs to step back and allow the Middle East to experience the full horrors of modern war, with casualty rates in the tens of thousands per day. The prospect offends my sensibilities, but logically it seems inescapable that for society to progress that it must either learn from history or experience it directly.
For all those who find this vision abhorent, I would remind you that both World War 1 & 2 did more to liberate women than any element of feminism. Perhaps Islam can only reform itself, as did Christianity, through experiencing the horrors of war.

Rod Davies, Friday, July 28th


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