DR. FATIMA SHAHNAZ discusses the mess US has indulged itself in Israel and advices India to avoid getting entangled While the American attempts to foment a civil war between Palestinian factions have failed after the Mecca agreement initiated by Saudi Arabia on Feb.8-9, the European Union, U.S. and Israel continue to withhold funds from the Palestinians. And despite the U.S. drive to make Hamas break its “truce” to prevent terrorism against Israel, the National Unity government was finally voted in by the Legislative Assembly on March 17. 41 members, imprisoned in Israel, were unable to vote. President Mahmoud Abbas swore in the new Palestinian government headed by the Hamas Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh. Saudi King Abdullah phoned the Palestinian leaders with hopes the new government “would work for achieving a settlement based on UN resolutions and the Arab peace plan (passed in Beirut, in 2002). The Israeli foreign ministry issued a statement saying the Palestinian government “platform … does not accept recognition of Israel’s right to exist, elimination of terror and the dismantling of terrorist infrastructure,” so that “Israel will not be able to work with the Government or any of its ministers.” By the same token, Israel agreed to cooperate with Abbas on “improving the quality of living of the Palestinians.” However, the U.S. consul in Jerusalem declared America would not lift sanctions on the Palestinian government; the EU tacitly supported both the U.S. and Israel stating full financial support would be withheld until the Palestinians accepted the demands of the Middle East Quartet, although individual countries, such as Norway, could possibly give some immediate financial support.
On the Arab front, King Abdullah II of Jordan and the Saudi king met in the Saudi kingdom on March 22, considering reintroducing the Arab peace plan at the March 28 Arab summit. Iraq, Palestine Lebanon and Sudan were also on the summit’s agenda. With the recent Saudi diplomatic initiatives, the topics of the summit would focus on the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the Shi’a-Sunni conflict, and socio-economic and educational development. A greater Arab Free Trade Zone and a report on an Arab customs union were also in the pipeline.
But the predictable meddling from the U.S. by the end of March pressured three Arab countries to manipulate the Arab League. The goal was to change the original Saudi peace proposal of 2002. According to the Jerusalem Post (March 23) unless the Arab League ‘retooled’ the plan so “it would be acceptable to Israel and the international peace brokers,” Israel would start a diplomatic campaign against the Arab regimes themselves as obstacles to peace.
The Israeli propaganda campaign has already escalated in the U.S. itself. According to a former CIA counterterrorism expert Philip Giraldi, the offensive against Iran is “absolutely parallel” to that preceding the Iraq war. “They’re using the same dance-steps – demonize the bad guys, the pretext of diplomacy, keep out of negotiations, use proxies. It is Iraq redux.” Part of the Bush disinformation campaign against Iran is the accusation of Iran’s nuclear production (a threat to Israel) and sponsoring terrorists in Iraq against American forces. While the American media and public are more skeptical in believing this new war-drive waged by the neo-cons in Washington, the newly elected Democratic Congress is equally compromising. Giraldi states, “The recent formation of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus should … be noted as well as AIPAC’s highlighting of the threat from Iran at its 2006 convention in Washington, an event that featured Vice President Dick Cheney as keynote speaker.” Senator Hillary Clinton recently addressed a gathering of AIPAC (the American-Israel Political Affairs Committee, the second most powerful political lobby in the U.S.) in New York. Both agreed with AIPAC’s aggressive stance toward Iran, so the option of military strikes “must remain on the table’ (when dealing with Iran) and has been repeated like a mantra by numerous politicians and government officials. This is unsurprising as AIPAC “writes the briefings and position papers that many Congressmen unfortunately rely on,” continues Giraldi. In other words, AIPAC is “the main political force urging – indeed, demanding – U.S. action,” according to Gary Leupp.
The inconsistency in Congress and the American attitudes arises from the fact that AIPAC itself is under investigation for several Israeli espionage scandals and passing on classified intelligence from the Pentagon to Israel, to monitor U.S. plans to attack Iran. But as the neo-cons themselves lose credibility, AIPAC and Israel are pushing the U.S. even more aggressively into war. ..” An American strike in Iran is essential for [Israel’s] existence,” an Israeli artillery officer, Gen. Oded Tira, said, “we must help pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and the US newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iran issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure.”
From pressure, the Israel Lobby has grown arrogant enough to virtually blackmail American politicians, to “potential presidential candidates… so that they support immediate action by Bush against Iran.” These are the same advocates of war on Iraq, who feared Saddam Hussein might use (non-existent) nuclear weapons against Israel. The American public and political machinery is clearly hamstrung by the Israel lobby, Giraldi adds. “Knowing that to cross the Lobby is perilous, Congressmen from both parties squirm and become uneasy when pressured by AIPAC to ‘protect Israel,’ even if it means yet another unwinnable war for the United States. The neo-cons know full well that if a war with Iran were to be started either inadvertently or by design, few within America’s political system would be brave enough to stand up in opposition.”
Even though the U.S. political myopia toward Israel could prove fatal in its Iraq adventure – alienating its ‘client regime’ of the Shiite majority in Iraq (allied with Iran), or the escalation of attacks on American troops by Shiite militias, or even a deadly enlargement of the theatre of war in Southwest Asia, the Zionists at the State Department persist in their suicidal course. The well-rehearsed fascist strategies of the Israeli police-state in the heart of the Middle East are dragging the U.S. into a war alienating the entire Islamic world, while dissent at home is being gagged by increasing crackdowns on civil liberties in the U.S. itself.
The paradox metastasizes, looming like a Greek tragedy. The Israeli Deputy Prime Minsiter Shaul Mofaz visited India, stating at a conference in Delhi sponsored by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on March 21 that the Israeli government hopes to participate with Indian Railways and private sector companies in Israel’s infrastructure development. Israel would in return share expertise in road safety infrastructure. Research and development projects were discussed along with infrastructure investment between the two countries. Israel is allegedly in the process of preparing a master plan for infrastructure development. According to Gideon Siterman, director general of the Israeli Ministry of Transport and Safety who also visited Delhi, India presented a ‘gateway’ for Israel into the South Asian market, while the Jewish state could be a channel for India into European markets.
While India, Russia and China are ostensibly the greatest threats to Western supremacy, getting entangled in the Middle East may find the Indian giant in as big a mess as the United States.