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The bigots at work
No sovereign nation can exist with unsafe boundaries and missiles in the hands of uncontrolled militia 20 miles south of Haifa


July 23, 2006

PARIS -- Hezbollah conscience and Hamas's political pragmatism should take lessons from 1948, 1967 and 1973. All wars have only helped in making Israel a bigger and stronger nation and left them to live in squalid conditions. Palestinians and Lebanese do not deserve it. And what does Iran have to do with it? Iran is only using the Palestinians and the Shiites in Southern Lebanon for harboring their own agenda in the Persian Gulf.

If Iran thinks it can get away with this kind of irresponsible attitude just across the border in the South of Lebanon, then it is wrong. This kind of aggression has not paid before and it will not pay now. These are the kinds of self-defeating aims that Arab warriors, like Saddam, claimed as a great victory, which is nothing but opiate-induced slogans.

In every Middle Eastern war the so-called triumph is achieved through tremendous loss of life with a ratio of 1 to 1000 against the Arabs and 1 to 1 billion in terms of economic losses, what kind of success is this, what breed of loser mentality is this? Lets not spill innocent blood in Palestine and Lebanon in name of Jihad! Enough is enough; this lunacy has to stop somewhere.

The politics of decreasing returns is a part and parcel of the Middle Eastern politics. The return to 1967 borders has now become a legitimate call, whereas in 1967, these very people in search of total victory had helped grow Israel by four times through a war imposed to wipe out Israel. When are they going to understand that taking on an enemy that has far greater firepower than them is stupid? Much as the spirit of the sacrifice in the name of Allah can be longed-for, how much more blood needs to be shed to realize that one who has more power and more authority shall prevail in this outlandish battle of lopsided wills.

Today the same bigots who thought that they could wipe clean Israel in 1967 or in 1973 are taking on a war they can never win; the same bigots, if they had nuclear weapons, will use them to wipe out their archenemy. Knowing all this background of Iranian- Syrian involvement in the crisis, it is definitely beyond abduction of few soldiers; it is about captivating the attention away from the main crisis of enrichment. Israelis have been given a golden chance on a platter to clean the irritants that can threaten their security.

The idea that Israelis will overlook these attacks as something to worry about later is nothing but the imaginings of idealists. Hezbollah, given a chance, will use nuclear tipped missiles to bomb the cities they are now bombing with some silly toy missiles. This shall open the eyes of the peace lobby, the greatest friends of withdrawal from occupied territories, by being belligerent to the last extent; new battle lines that are 'we' or 'them' have been drawn.

And finally we have an explosion on our hands! Hezbollah are a proxy of Iranian intentions in ME. Iranians have a clear message, 'You stop our enrichment we will instigate trouble in southern Lebanon.' By letting Iran become a nuclear power and giving into Hezbollah 'Haifa' threats now, Israel thinks that they shall unbolt an access that compromises its future security. That scenario would not come to pass; Haifa bombing achieved what Saddam 'scuds' could not in 1990.

No sovereign nation can exist with unsafe boundaries and missiles in the hands of uncontrolled militia 20 miles south of Haifa. If anyone has any doubt that Haifa bombing will go unnoticed, they are simply underestimating Israeli zeal. Israelis are sons of Isaac and like sons of Ishmael shall go by the book, an eye for an eye, and this time Hezbollah may have to be routed out of southern Lebanon much more drastically than 1993 and 1996 operation grapes of wrath. Iran and Hezbollah have totally misjudged and underestimated Israeli resolve. This is self-defeatism at its peak.

In the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Nasrullah explained that "death to America is not a slogan. Death to America is a policy, a strategy and a vision."

Despite all this, Washington has wisely decided not to press its "zero tolerance" terrorism policy in Lebanon...yet. The problem with the policy is, of course, the implication that zero terrorism will be tolerated. While an admirable notion, the practical application of zero tolerance is a decidedly tricky thing, especially in the ever-ready-to-explode environment of the Middle East.

Heroic fighters to some, dangerous militia to others. The bloody fight that Hezbollah* picked with Israel has deepened a longtime divide in Lebanon. While Hezbollah supporters celebrated in the streets, other Lebanese were furious at being dragged into a costly confrontation with the Jewish state.

Throughout the 1980s, the nation of Lebanon had a number of deeply complex and storied problems worthy of a 400,000-word explanatory thesis, condensable to four words: There was no government.

Lebanon had hosted thousands of Palestinian refugees in the 1970s. At the end of the decade, Israel invaded Lebanon to get at Palestinian terrorists. They decimated the country before withdrawing under heavy U.N. pressure. In the ensuing power vacuum, virtually every religious and ethnic group in the country formed its own gang, clique or terrorist cabal.

Hezbollah was one of those cabals. Backed by Iran and Syria, Hezbollah's original goals were to end the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and to institute a Shi'ite Islamic theocracy. The group later expanded these goals to include liberating the Palestinian territories and dropped its theocratic aspirations in favor of participating in a parliamentary government.

Hezbollah used terrorist tactics to push its political agenda, which slowly but surely drove Israel out of Lebanon, inch by bloody inch. It became famous as an innovator in suicide bombing, as well as kidnapping Westerners, hijacking aircrafts, and other terrorist activity. A 1983 terrorist bombing in Beirut that killed 241 Marines has been tied to Hezbollah and Iran (although it's also been tied to half a dozen other groups as well). This attack is widely considered to mark the dawn of the modern age of terrorism. After a similar attack in 1984, the tough-talking Reagan Administration got the hell out of Lebanon, an embarrassing retreat that most Americans don't like to talk about or even remember.

We worry about the disproportionate response of the Israelis, but it is clear they will not give up. They continue to protect their own and act to ensure their safety. They respect the dead bodies of their soldiers even if they were selling hashish. With the hindsight of history, if the body politic does not realize Israel's resolve, then it is wrong. Crying about civilians and the destruction of their own infrastructures only is nothing but denial of ground realities. T

his has to be a wake up call. Religious bigotry is killing the nations, both the Palestinian and the Lebanese. Who will wake them up? Bombs have destroyed electrical power supplies in this summer heat of 100ºF. Do they realize how it feels to be without basic necessities in scorching conditions and having to make do with contaminated water? It is a shame. It is like a current carrying children to the killing fields.

Far reaching brunt of attack on Haifa will be soon felt all across the Middle East. The story of 'war of dogs' being unleashed does not begin with the abduction of two soldiers who were selling hashish to the Lebanese; there is definite history of injustice. On that count Syrians and Lebanese officials are right. It dates back to 40 years of 'illegal occupation.' However the most surprising part of the language is the final admission of only 40 years of illegal occupation, not decimation of an illegitimate entity. The war of 1967 was imposed to free Arab land from the occupation by an illegitimate entity since 1948. Finally the legitimate entity is recognised, albeit diplomatically, but after what a colossal loss!

Hamas and Hezbollah's self-destructive policies have not helped the Middle East. Their inability to threaten or annihilate Israel's existence only succeeds in making Israel's cause and action more justifiable. It is a well-known established norm of society to not take up fights against someone stronger and more powerful than themselves; it is a sheer exercise in futility.

In the wake of 9/11, one should take care of their self-interest. How is any self-interest served by getting the infrastructure and electricity of Gaza and South Lebanon knocked out? To embark on such an aggressive self-destructive course every few years cannot and is not helpful to the Palestinians. This exercise does not help in this modern day and age. The Iranian armoury of Akatusha-122 or Fajr-5 or C802 will not tip the balance of power in the Middle East; it will only ensure total destruction of the Hezbollah and along with it the innocent civilian populations.

Attacks on Haifa have taken the crisis to a new level; a crisis that threatens nuclear blackmail down the line in Middle East. To avoid that scenario, the stage has been set to wipe out Hezbollah. The Hezbollites with their absurd and futile decisions have signed their death warrants in South of Lebanon. It is either going to be 'them' or 'Israel' who will be triumphant and any pragmatic strategist would recognise that. It is going to be most probably the former and not the latter that will pay a very heavy price for this adventure.

The international community will not be a fool to intervene, nor will Israelis allow these toy missiles to play havoc with their citizens' safety. Israelis will not be a fool to let these snakes prevail in their vicinity. All this shall be forgotten soon. The story of missed opportunities is the story of Middle Eastern political saga but the massive price that poor Lebanese civilians and Palestinians pay for the outrageous and pointless politics of Hamas and Hezbollah are too precipitous.

Take a lesson from Qaddafi. After Lockerbie, see how he conducts himself. He paid a price and donned on a not-seen-not-heard cloak. Take lessons from 1990 or the occupation of Golan Heights or Gaza or the West Bank. The way to get back occupied lands is through love and peace, and diplomatic negotiations. The Lebanese South is embracing the era of diminishing political returns with renewed enthusiasm under Hezbollahs.

Palestinian or Lebanese nations cannot be made hostage to whims and sloganism of extremist ideological leadership. One should not forget that the Palestinian liberation is a secular cause; same is the case with Lebanon, a secular constitution. Not everyone has an ideological war with Israel. Iranian-backed Hezbollites have hijacked and taken part of nations, who don't agree with them, as hostage, and this is the kind of agenda that has to be rejected.

Look at the banality of arguments. They say the whole story of the crisis does not start from the kidnap of Israeli soldiers; it has history. According to their convoluted logic, the soldiers would not have been kidnapped had they not jailed thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese. So, let's work it this way. The "logical" line of action would be that Israelis should unilaterally release all prisoners, then they should withdraw to 1973 borders. When that happens, ask Israelis to go back to 1967 borders. When that is agreed, go back to 1948 borders. Demands since the last 58 years of Israel's existence has been to annihilate Israel, and then that changed to some kind of acceptance to 1967 positioning.

But, had they accepted the 1948 borders, the '67 war would not have happened, nor the 1973 war. By rejecting the state of Israel, they have lost more areas, more territory and become subservient to Israel as a nation. And today, it is Israel that has nuclear armoury in its possession. And today, Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollites proved once again, as they have demonstrated to the world time and time again, that Arabs are incapable of being a responsible nation and thus not to be trusted with any nuclear prowess.

The sad irony is that when things go out of hand, who do they run to? The "Great Satan." What kind of politics or intelligence is this? After getting their entire infrastructure and electricity knocked out, they are going back to square one. Do they realize that this costly gamble and "gainsmanship" only helps the so-called "great satan" companies who supply the turbine and economic facilities?

This nonsensical struggle is nothing but self-destruction feeding their own suicidal streak; sacrificing an entire nation and using them as "suicide bombers." This cannot be overlooked. Every sensible and reasonable person should condemn it. Be realistic. Don't do things that force one to beg the "Great Satan's" help. Let's not multiply the conflicts to a level where the infrastructure in Damascus or Tehran is taken out which is possible within thirty minutes.

By continuing their policies, they are ensuring a comprehensive destruction. By taking out a few people in Haifa or Tel Aviv will not weaken Israeli resolve, but only strengthen them to take these future threats out of the equation. This is the death of pragmatism within the bird-brained megalomaniacs ruling Iran and the Hezbollites.

The victory that Hezbollah seems to strive on is through death warrant strapped around the neck of a entire nation, this is collective 'suicide bombing' of an unwilling nation of Lebanon is achieved through Lebanon being taken as a hostage. This lunacy, idiocy and imprudence should be strongly condemned and resisted. Lebanon needs to be freed form the suicide belt strapped around their necks!

For letters section
Iqbal Latif

Iqbal Latif



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