Middle East; Deepening Crisis, Appalling Indifference

The crisis in the Middle East is getting worse by the day. Unfortunately, President Bush appears to think that asking Syria to stop “this sh..” will take care of the problem. So he has done little to ensure a ceasefire. G8, UN, none of these organizations are able to intervene to the extent of at least ensuring an immediate stop to the violence and killing of innocent people. Its an appalling state of affairs. It sounds like the US is waiting for Israel to beat the “crap” out of Lebanon before they intervene. Israeli justification being “Hey, they are throwing rockets at us and have kidnapped our folks, so what do you expect us to do?” (Its hard to argue with a nation surrounded by enemies. Its only natural that they press the panic button). So the US waiting game continues while innocent people get killed in Lebanon. Instead of preventing the extremist Islamic forces from around the world over gathering under Ahmedinijad’s call to “destroy Israel from the map of the world”, the current approach of the US is only going to hasten the coming together of the extremists elements. Al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas, LeT, LeQ …the list just keeps growing.

The current approach of the leading nations of the world is only going to strengthen the hold of Hezbollah in Lebanon, similar to the rise of Hamas in Palestine. If Israel thinks that the Lebanese are going to turn against Hezbollah because of this conflict, they are mistaken. The Islamic countries involved in the Middle East need to step away from the “destroy Israel” mind-set. It hasn’t worked and it’s unlikely the US is ever going to let it happen. The US for its part needs to badly reach out to the Muslim world instead of continuing to appear as a blatant Israel backer. There are no easy solutions but there is definitely a need to re-think on both sides and on the part of the US. Easier said than done, but better to attempt a solution than to let the crisis continue to linger after over five decades of Arab-Israeli conflicts.

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14 Responses to Middle East; Deepening Crisis, Appalling Indifference

  1. randomous says:

    dont believe for a moment that Israel is fighting cuz it wants to befriend lebanese…easy to see that Israel’s only intent (as it should be) is to defend itself (not only for now but also for a long lasting future w/o the threat of hezbollahs, and other such terrorists)…

    history has shown that war is an unfortunate last resort tool that has to be used to wipe out the “harmful those” who cannot be diplomatized or otherwise handled…Hezbos, as notorious as they come, fit the category…

    akin to what FDR/Churchill did for the Europeans, by wiping hitler, mussolini, etc….remember Neville Chamberlain’s attempts to appease Hitler thru out the 1930s only emboldened him to neutralize more and more innocents…

    as the only non-islamic liberal democracy in the mostly medieval Islamic mid east (exceptions being Turkey and maybe Jordan) one can only imagine the threat Israel faces….

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think I said that Israel is fighting cuz it wants to befriend Lebanese….

    I son’t disagree that the threat Israel faces is real. But by showing “disproportinate” aggression Israel might be over-doing it (while the uS safely looks the other way) and hastening the coming together of the extremists…

  3. randomous says:

    something in your post – “If Israel thinks Lebanon is gonna turn against Hezbos” is what made me say “befriend”…

    to clarify what I meant was that Israel doesnt give a hoot how the Lebanese are gonna percieve this, because Israel knows that it is doing the right thing for Israel’s national security and middle east peace (from terrorists)…

    “disproportinate” is what wins wars… winning the war is essential to establish peace…appeasement does not always work…if all the extremists come together, so be it …all can be dealt with together, similar to what happened in WWII (Nazis, Mussolini types, Japanese, etc came together against allies)

    look back on to the 1945 bombings in Japan (150,000 dead in 2 days) D-Day in France (thousands dead), and many wars before and since…

    you think the allies woulda won w/o disporportionate force, and imagine a world if the allies had not won WWII

    w/o disporportionate force, there would not be a decisive win..decisive win is critical when dealing with contemporary terrorists…

  4. Pran Kurup says:

    I guess you are firmly of the “gotta kill the terrorists and if innocent people die because of that so be it” mindset. If one group has to destroy the other group to achieve peace it is only going to spell doom for all and sundry, esp. with the nuclear weapons available today. Due to the tacit/blatant backing of extremists Govts around the world rooting out terrorism by bombing and killing isn’t going to help. Instead its only going to increase terrorism. The Iraq occupation has only made the world a more dangerous place.

    The middle east needs some fresh thinking/new leadership.

    Bill Clinton tried his best in his last days as President to broker peace. Maybe once Hillary is in the White House he might give it another go…

  5. randomous says:

    1) the main reason behind civilians dying is cuz the cowardly Hezbos and similar groups (this happened in Somalia in 1993, in Afghanistan in 2001, In Vietnam, and in Iraq currently) hide amongst women, children and regular civilians…unlike in democratic countries where armies wear a uniform and are mostly isolated when they fight…

    2) How can u believe US is more dangerous now given that we haven’t had ONE attack (*touch wood*) since 9/11 for nearly FIVE years…in the 1990s, attacks by terrorists averaged one a year.. Go figure, who is better Bush or Clinton as far as national security is concerned…

    3) Iraq has had elections, Afhghanistan has had elections, rape rooms, govt. sponsored torture chambers have disappeared…it can be argued that these places were mucho more dangerous before (except it did not make the AP/Reuters/ABC/NYT news as often)..

    3b) even Clinton wanted Saddam removed by force in 1998 and Kerry stood by him along w. Madeline Allbright, supporting him voiceferously…except like evrything Clinton he was all talk no action (and wanted a digression from monica scandal)…

    4) Clinton and Ehud Barak (of Israel) offered everything to Arafat and tried to broker peace and yet Arafat refused..Why? because Palestine (like Iran and Syria) officially believe Israel should cease to exist…Fresh thinking?..more like fresh regimes in these areas is the key..Abbas was some hope until the hamas took over…

    5) very interesting to see how the WWII analogy does’nt seem to resonate w.U at all…FDR was a big left winger and yet understood national/international security like no liberal of today…

    6) Finally, if you dont like the posting of responses that counter your opinion, let know…this is after all your web log and not a public domain…

    speakin of hillary, theres a “good” picture of her in http://www.drudgereport.com 😉

  6. Pran Kurup says:

    You are welcome to post responses. A healthy debate is always welcome.

    I hope to respond to your recent post later today.

  7. Pran Kurup says:

    I have responded to each of your comments…

    1.These are just new forms of warfare. The richer countries of the world have the power, money and sophistication to fight wars in more traditional ways. The poorer ones are just going to resort to such means to face up to the challenge. We can’t just say, “if innocent people get killed, so be it”

    2. Just not having had another attack since 9-11 is not a fair metric. There are so many more terrorists in the world today contemplating attacks, thanks to the US invasion of Iraq, its policy in the mid-east etc. Giving credit to Bush and saying he is better on National security — I just don’t buy this. He and his policies are resonsible for the rapid growth of terrorists around the world. That itself makes him far worse off than Clinton.

    3. Having elections is good thing no doubt. The truth though is that the US has tried to stuff democracy down these countries’ throats under the pretext that its good for them. Most of these countries are simply not ready for it. Iraq is close to civil war. Iraq was more dangerous before with no WMDs whatsoever, no relation to 9-11? Besides, if US is all for elections why doesn’t the US accept the Palestinian election results? Why penalize the people of Palestine just because they didn’t vote Abbas and co. back to power?

    3b. Clinton probably wanted to Saddam out too but the guy probably had a better sense of the potential implications of such an attempt and the challenges associated with developing a global coalition. So I don’t see that as all talk and no action. It just shows that the guy was more sensible.

    4. Fresh regimes have to happen from within and can’t be forced from outside, in my opinion.

    5. As for the WWII analogy — “it has happened before, the only way to put an end to this is to join forces and fight a world war again”. is a viewpoint I am strongly against. A world war in this day and age with so many mad men in positions of power!

    As for Hillary, I just think it might be the best route to getting Bill back to a stage where he can once again make a difference.

  8. Anonymous says:

    1) Why do U think countries like US are rich…? maybe because democracy with capitalism works (which is likely WHY many here in the US want to live/immigrate to here than say Lebanon or Palestine or Syria)…

    why do you think nations are poorer – tyranny and dictatorships like in Syria, former Iraq, Iran, Cuba, Haiti,etc.

    Innoncents die ony cuz of these tyrannical regimes and its consequences…

    2)Your metric is based on a hypothetical – no. of terrorists, (many of whom are being neutred continually) than on facts (no. of attacks in US since 9/11 and pre 9/11 under “Bubba of Hope, Arkansas”)… this incldues prevention of domestic terrorism by the way like Timothy Mcveigh/Oklahoma City.

    3)if you are suggesting that certain people are not ready for democracy, well whats the best time?…after more genocides/rapes (as Saddam did to kurds/Shiites or Milosevich did in Bosnia which was whats seems to be your fav. Prez. Clinton’s war by the way)…when citizens are powerless as people were in these regimes, outside help is best. Just like outside help for victims of natural distasters like Katrina/e.quakes.

    why do you want to deny the freedoms to these people in the middle east that everyone in the US here is able to enjoy??? U think freedom was won here overnite? Just ask around how long they fought for it and how many lives were lost. Cant fathom the narrowmindedness

    U misunderstand US vis a vis Hamas…US accepts Hamas as duly elected but not their officially stated posish of elimination of Israel…and the continued suicide bombings, kidnappings, etc…thats what Israel/US have a problem with..If hamas becomes a peaceful regime today, everyone can live with it..

    4)mad men lead to more mad men and mad stuff happening…which is why now is the best time to take care of mad regimes…

    if you had a killer IDed in your neighborhood, would you let him thrive and let him kill more or bring him to justice immediately?

    5) What Clinton exhibited was just an abyssmal lack of leadership…anywhich way you spin it otherwise is amusing.

    do you even know hillary voted for the Iraq war and even today is not against the continuing operations there…so why do you support her? unless you are saying she does Not mean what she says publicly (like her hubby)

  9. Pran Kurup says:

    1. I never said democracy with capitalism does not work. Just because it has worked in the US it doesn’t mean the US should go around stuffing it down people’s throats! No matter how great the US miight be it is wrong to go around with a “We know what’s best for you, we are the big bully around here, so better listen to us” view.

    2. So you actually think there are less terrorists today in the world? You think it was right to invade Iraq despite the complete lack of International support?

    3. Why should the US get to decide what is the best time for democracy for other countries? Its an internal matter that countries should decide for themselves. Didn’t Russia fall apart? Didn’t India get independence from the British? Weren’t dictators overthrown around the world? These hapened from within and not due to external forces or other countries getting involved. Why provide outside help when its not asked for?
    If US is so hell bent on democracy why it so selective? Why isn’t the US pushing for democracy in Pak, Egypt etc.?

    As regards Hamas, what do you expect? They were voted to power based on what they stood for. You want them to change their stance on Israel overnight immediately after being voted to power? If they did would anyone trust them?

    4. Several regimes think the US is mad. Why else would the US attack a country which had nothing to do with 9-11 and had no WMDs whatsoever? Iraq qualifies as being in the US neighborhood?

    5. Firstly, I think Bill Clinton was a very smart guy. He is the smartest politician this country has produced is the last 15+ years. He could forsee the challenges associated with getting together an international coalition and the stupidity of going it alone. Secondly, I have never been a big fan of Hillary Clinton (i’ll wait to see her campaign to make the call). You are right that her position on the war is very questionable. I refer to her because I know she gets under the skin of those on the right 🙂

  10. randomous says:

    1) its called leadership..does’nt always entail leaders listening to those around all the time… great leaders in history (Churchhill, FDR, Gandhi, Jobs, Gates, MLK Jr. etc.) and renowned CEOs are good examples…

    when leaders know they are doing the rite thing (obviously the right thing cuz more people want to come and live in the US than anywheres else, noone can’t deny that) Leaders follow thru regardless of what naysayers whine…

    Would U have let Hitler/Slobodan live and the Nazis decide their own future??

    2) U fallacioulsy establish moral equivalence between terrorist/tyrant entities like hamas, hezbos, Saddam, etc and those like the US…(my “killer in the neighbrhood” is an analogy) you have to come to grips w. that certain entities are bad/evil and have to be changed instead of stepping back and wondering “how they feel”, and indulging in similar trivialites…

    3) the UN passed numerous ec. council stuff over 12 years on saddam…Bush just followed thru on that which Bubba could’nt…so Iraq decish was very very multilateral..(just cus france and germany cowered doesnt mean no international support, remember Blair?)

    4) speaking of Bubba, I think he’s really dumb (i.e. from a public persona, don’t know the dude privately so cant judge): gets caught having an affair and impeached by a bunch of angry sore republicans, loses the House and Senate after 40 years of Dem rule within 2 years of becoming Prez, never gets control afterwards, his legacy was so tarnished that the (relatively speaking) “good guy” Gore could’nt win (the way situation was in early 1999 all perceived peace and prosperity, Gore shoulda beat Bush in all 50 states!! dint happen thanks to the dumb Bubba of Hope, Arkansas)

    5) actually given Hillary’s confoundedness and confusion on various issues today, she is more and more of an amusing side show…does not get under the skin at all except when she screams/screeches in speeches (some people compare her to the angry ex-wife;)

    6) if any dictators were overthrown US&England likely were involved in it…USSR collapsed thanks to Reagan…Commie east germany collapsed thanks to Regan…

    U right on egypt, Pak, China, etc should be changed as well…but I don’t believe in utopia (yet)..

    later

  11. Pran Kurup says:

    1. Leadership! And Bush?
    Bush and his neocons had planned to attack Iraq no matter what. In all likelihood they manipulated the intelligence and had the otherwise credible Powell stick his neck out in front of the UN. Besides, the US underestimated the effort and our now struggling with a complete mess in Iraq. You call this leadership? Its a gross misuse of power and a complete management failure. And best yet, nobody has been fired!

    Please don’t compare Bush to Gandhi and the like. Its insulting to say the least.

    Saddam didn’t go around attacking other countries (barring the Kuwait attack for whicch he paid the price). So the comparison to Hitler is not valid. Besides during the Iran-Iraq war the US was all chummy with Saddam.

    2. Your view here goes back to the “we know what is right/wrong, they are evil and we are good” Just as you have the right to think that you are perfect so does anyone else no matter how good or bad they are!

    3. Sounds like you are arguing that you believe that an international coalition invaded Iraq despite 90% being US troops? China, Russia, Germany, France, India etc. didn’t participate..Palau, Eritrea and the like don’t constitute an international colalition.

    4. Gore lost because he chose the moral high ground and distanced himself from Clinton. Had he actively engaged Clinton he would have stood a better chance of winning. The Repblicans were out to get Clinton from day 1 despite which he won two terms and presided over impressive economic growth. While you blame him for anything and everything at least give him credit for something!

    5. As for Hillary Clinton, as I said earlier I would wait till 2008. After the US voted George Bush to power twice (to the complete surprise of the rest of the world!). anything is possible!

    5. If the US and UK are so capable of overthrowing dictators, sure why not try something on those lines as opposed to outright war?

    6. The US foreign policy has been very inconsistent. China can get away with all kinds of human rights violations, Pak is forever under miltary rule and has been a hotbed of terrorist activities, Egypt is permanently under a one man rule etc yet the US has no plans to do anything about these.

  12. Anonymous says:

    1) all your assumptions (based on liberal media musings) and no facts to validate…the intelligence that Bush saw was seen by many Dems (including Bubba in 1998 when he ordered force and cowarded out)as well…neocon is a antisemitic slur for republican jews…dont know whether you want to use that..

    apart from Kuwait, Saddam attacked Iran which you do say and sent suicide bombers to Israel (he himself has claimed this)..Bush was’nt Prez in 1980s and morover you have to choose sides when one enemy attcks another enemy…given Saddam’s rape rooms, torture chambers, chemical attacks on kurds, and mass graves, he was one of the HITLERs of the middle east (also called bucher of baghdad)

    2) exactly…sounds like you would want to excuse “killer in the neighborhood” or characters like John Karr/Phoenix serial killers, etc cuz you wouldnt know whether they are morally wrong???!!!Incredulous

    3) sounds like in your view, countries that are small/new grateful democracies don’t matter (narrowminded?)…

    France – ever wonder why they are called surrender monkeys? now they are backing away from Lebanon peace force..go figure

    China, Russia – in cahoots with Saddam selling weapons for oil like the UN (Kofi’s son’s scandal)

    Germany had an ingrate liberal who has since been booted and now Merkel is more willing to work with W!

    4) Gore was also a big LIAR and a flip flopper..he used to oppose abortion, pro tobacco, and support guns until mid 1990s..did you know that? he did not invent the INTERNET! he had nothing to do (like he claimed) with the SUPER fund of the 1970s established to clear contaminated grounds, etc etc

    Bill Clinton’s support does not win elections contrary to what u claim…as is evident from the recent Lieberman loss (and to be Lamont loss in Nov now that Bubba has switched camps), the 2004 dems losses many of whom Bubba campaigned for, the 2002 dems losses, etc

    5) anything can happen ofcourse (thats the beauty of democracy that you want to deny many countries like Iraq, etc)…but dont hold ur breath on Hillary (she is 60 now) and her history would haunt her…the key is to have a strong republican candidate like Allen, or Guiliani…

    6a)told ya I love utopia (on egypt, pak, china etc being changed to good ol’ democracies) but am a realist…

    6b) as regards foreign policy, one size fits all??is that the way CEOs/managers run companies making deals?

    later

  13. Pran Kurup says:

    1. The Bush Govt can’t take criticism. Anyone who criticizes the Govt is promptly labeled a “liberal”. Iraq is a complete mess, created and now owned by the US for the most part and someone has to take responsibility. If attacking Iraq was based on false intelligence why not at least admit that it was a mistake t start with? Why vehemently defend a war that was started based on a false premise of WMD and links to 9-11.

    I don’t think Neocon is antisemitic slur. Its routinely used in the media. I have seen many articles in the WSJ (and others) use the word for instance. Maybe the liberal media has turned antisemetic too! http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115533973332433860-search.html?KEYWORDS=Neocon&COLLECTION=wsjie/6month
    (sub required)

    In the 80s the butcher of baghdad was cool. But later he had to be destroyed for the same reasons?

    2. Its not a question of excusing. Besides its not a fair comparison. Hasn’t the US killed innocent civilians in Iraq, etc? You can’t just write that off as collateral damage. That’s murder too isn’t it? Doesn’t the US detain people indefintely in Guantanamo and subject them to inhuman treatment?

    3. These are countries that are co-erced into supporting just to gain a few pennies of aid from the US. They can barely locate Iraq on a map, let alone believe in the so called cause!

    4. Either you are with the US, or you are a liberal, or a terrorist, or have no leadership or you are in the enemy camp! Besides the US is the “know it all”, the world’s moral police, the ultimate decider of right and wrong. Its that simple, isn’ it?

    5. I was really surprised when you momentarily appeared to be pro-Gore. That is clarfied now. 🙂

    Gore blew it big time by not involving Clinton at that time. At a min he could have increased his margin of victory!

    6. Allen! God, how you can support someone like him after his recent blantantly racist comment! (Its not a making of the liberal media. Is it?)
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/15/AR2006081500833.html

    Btw, Guiliani owes it to the same “liberal” media for giving him a larger than life image after 9/11. (I don’t mean to take credit away from him but its the same media that you conveniently criticize for a supposed liberal bias that gave him a national stature).

    Consistency in policy is a must. You don’t actively support dictators in some countries and at the same time go around attacking other countries under the pretext of spreading freedom and democracy.

    CEOs will be fired if they did that. At a min someone on their staff would be fired especially if the plan was not executed to perfection!

    I always wondered where Bush’s 30% odd approval rating came from! 🙂

  14. Anonymous says:

    1) cuz disposing of WMDs was only a part of the reason..the other was getting rid of one of the Hitlers of the mid east…speaking of the 1980s, Hitler was considered “cool” in the early 1930s too to many (know neville chamberlain?) …atleast you dont deny the butchery of saddam (read current articles on the chemical attacks on Kurds)

    The N word was not a slur before the 1960s either..what made it a slur afterwards?..the word Neocon is similar…You may wanna talk to a Jew republican…Media is not the all knowing Authority!

    2) its a fair comparison!..FDR’s and Clinton’s war killed innocent civilans in WWII and Bosnia (Hilters like Adolf, Saddam, Slobodan, and Hezbos entail wars and thus ultimately reponsible for civilian deaths)…would you want Hitler’s/Slobodan’s regime alive and thriving?

    3) presumptions presumptions!..ever heard of being grateful (U demean grateful to looking for pennies)..

    4) “killer in the neighborhhod”…if US cannot spread democracies (which Many including you and I enjoy), then according to U the police are not the authority to enforce law and order in a neighborhood….

    5)its all relative with gore vs. Bubba ;)…gore is atleast a decent Faithful family man…but, many are thanking their lucky stars Gore (or Clintons) was’nt in a posish of power on 9/11/post 9/11

    6)Hillary uttered a racial slur against an Indian in St.Louis some months ago (compared all gas station attendants to “Gandhi”), and Joe Biden (Delaware Senator) recently went to a 7/11 and mocked at “Indian accent”..U dont hear too much of that cuz of the Liberal media’s pathetic pro abortion anti republican bias (Hillary is their queen on these)…Allen is targeted cuz hes conservative and a potential candidate…go figure!

    by the way, Gingrich is also a potential R candidate with good prospects..

    7) The media has to cover Major events and ergo Guiliani shot to fame..the media bias concerns political coverages…when it comes to guiliani versus Hillary, whose side do you think the liberal media is gonna take ?(guiliani will get the rotten treatment like youve never seen)

    8) again, one size doesnt fit all…Nuance, Nuance key to diplomacy..if diplomacy fails (as it did with Saddam after 14 years or Hitler after 10 years)), war entails, unfortunately a necessary evil tool…

    regarding approval ratings, again, you bank too much on the mainstream media for your truth…the sampling is lousy (just adults it says mostly…illegals, legals, how many Rs versus Ds, none of the info is ever revealed if u read a poll closely)… also ever wonder why so many polls are being taken now and never during the Bubba years…

    also during war, historically, presidents have had dismal ratings (including FDR, and Nixon) and yet these guys won elections with ease….

    also, keep in mind that many oppose Bush on the war becuase hes not being forcefull enuff (like FDR was)…its not all who say the invasion was wrong..

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