EU postpones Syrian accord; Ignatius on Syria; Butters on Beirut

EU postpones Syrian accord

BRUSSELS, Sep 11, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) — Diplomats from the European Union have temporarily postponed a decision on whether to sign an association agreement with Syria, a Netherlands diplomat says.

The delay is the result of Dutch objections that the accord does not allow for suspension in the case of gross violation of human rights, the diplomat told the Brussels-based EUobserver in an article published Friday. The Netherlands indicated it wanted to wait until after the United States, Israel and the Palestinian authorities hold talks at the end of September, the diplomat said.

EU diplomatic sources also revealed that the European Union is likely to restart debate on upgrading relations with Israel should the summit result in a deal halting Israeli settlement building in occupied Palestinian territories.

The European Union has made no official link between an agreement with Syria and upgrading relations with Israel but the two policies are entangled for all practical purposes, observers say.

Security From Iraq’s Neighbors
By David Ignatius
Sunday, September 13, 2009

How can America help a fragile Iraq as U.S. troops and influence there decline? The Obama administration should revisit one of the good ideas proposed by the 2006 Baker-Hamilton commission — namely an “international support group” that can draw together the neighboring countries to keep Iraq from blowing apart.

The Baker-Hamilton recommendations are mostly forgotten, swept away by President George W. Bush’s 2007 surge of U.S. troops. That certainly improved security, but the recent bombings in Iraq are a reminder that the surge didn’t usher in a new era of peace and love. Political reconciliation is still more slogan than reality — and the neighbors are more a lurking menace than Baghdad’s partners.

This is where America still has the leverage to help, by drawing together all the volatile powers on Iraq’s borders — Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and, yes, Iran. A regional security framework will aid Baghdad, but it can also reduce tensions in an area that resembles a ticking time bomb.

In the “be careful what you wish for” department is Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. For several years, the United States has wanted him to be a strong leader who could assert Iraqi sovereignty. But Maliki’s erratic behavior in recent weeks has complicated the regional dynamic. Rather than working to solve problems with his neighbors, he’s making new ones — despite U.S. efforts to mediate.

An example of the tricky regional dynamic is Syria. The Obama administration has been working carefully to rebuild U.S.-Syrian relations. Representatives of Central Command made two visits to Damascus this summer to discuss security cooperation on Iraq. This led to a tentative agreement that U.S. and Syrian military representatives would meet Aug. 20 on the Iraq-Syria border. U.S. officials proposed including Iraq, as well.

Not so fast, protested Maliki. He warned Chris Hill, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, that policing Iraq’s border was an issue for Iraq, not America.

When Maliki visited Damascus on Aug. 18, he told President Bashar al-Assad that he opposed the Syrian-American plan to discuss Iraqi security and would boycott the Aug. 20 session. Maliki also demanded that Assad turn over Baathist leaders who were living in Syria. Assad refused, saying that these Baathists had opposed Saddam Hussein’s regime and posed no threat. The Maliki-Assad summit meeting “was a failure,” says one Arab official.

Then things exploded, quite literally. On Aug. 19, terrorists in Baghdad attacked the Iraqi Foreign and Finance ministries, killing more than 100 and wounding at least 500. Maliki’s government quickly blamed Damascus, and Iraqi TV broadcast the alleged confession of a Sunni Baathist named Wisam Ali Khazim Ibrahim, who said the attack was planned in Syria. On the morning of Aug. 20, the U.S. Embassy in Damascus informed Syria that the planned meeting that day was canceled. Maliki has since demanded an international tribunal to assess Syria’s alleged complicity.

But several senior U.S. officials say that the evidence doesn’t support Maliki’s charges. Instead, they say, the Aug. 19 bombings were most likely the work of al-Qaeda in Iraq. “Given everything that we know, it seems very unlikely the plot was hatched in Syria,” says one U.S. official.

Why is Maliki picking a fight with Damascus?
The most likely answer is Iraqi domestic politics. With parliamentary elections scheduled for January, Maliki wants to show that he’s a tough guy — and it’s easier for him to stand up to Syria (and Washington) than, say, to Iran. His anti-Syrian blasts are also said to have earned him grudging respect from other regional powers, such as Saudi Arabia.

U.S.-Syrian bilateral relations are still moving forward. U.S. officials have given Syria intelligence about terrorist cells operating inside the country that allegedly are moving “foreign fighters” into Iraq, and the Syrians have indicated they will take action. Meanwhile, the two countries are discussing a gradual relaxation of existing sanctions against Damascus.

What’s missing is a regional security framework that would allow postwar Iraq gradually to regain its place with Syria, Iran and the rest as a power player. Building such an architecture would be the diplomatic equivalent of a three-cushion shot in billiards — drawing all the fractious neighbors into a constructive dialogue.

This is the kind of game-changing diplomacy that is possible only for a superpower such as the United States. It’s the last big thing that America can do for Iraqi security as the United States withdraws, and, mercifully, it doesn’t involve any troops. Henry Kissinger would be on the plane already. Any takers in the Obama national security team?

Breakdown in Lebanon: A New Round of Brinkmanship
By Andrew Lee Butters / Damascus Friday, Sep. 11, 2009

Lebanese parliament majority leader Saad Hariri addresses the media at the Élysée Palace in Paris on Jan. 2, 2009

Lebanon is an eternal exception to the maxim that all politics is local. With so many foreign powers meddling in the country’s perennially sectarian struggle for control, Lebanon functions as a kind of political barometer of the Middle East. And that’s why the news Thursday, Sept. 10, that Prime Minister–designate Saad Hariri had given up trying to form a consensus government three months after his ruling coalition won the country’s parliamentary elections is a sign of a more general unease in the region: Lebanon’s political crisis — and the broader Middle East cold war of which it is an expression — is far from over…..

[My own hunch is that the Lebanese paralysis is not so much about Syria, Saudi Arabia, the US, or international politics this time around. Rather, it is homemade and local. Syria could have lived with the Hariri cabinet as he proposed it. It certainly didn’t present a threat to Syria. But why would Syria want to lean on Aoun or Hizbullah to get such a government if their allies are not happy with it? ent that they aren’t happy with? Syria is fine with Lebanon without a government. It would not be worth expending important capital to help Hariri. Damascus would contemplate such an effort if such pressure would win Syria important concessions from the US, but perhaps American officials are not so keen themselves to expend political capital on Lebanon. They did so to get free elections and Syria stayed scrupulously out of them. But there aren’t any American officials visiting Beirut this days. They aren’t making grand statements about Lebanon. Anyway, why would the US expend capital to form a Lebanese government that cannot change the status quo in any meaningful way?  Why would the US government fight for a Hariri government that is bound to be paralyzed from inception? The Obama administration is not interested in Bush’s forward agenda of freedom or democratization of the Middle East.  It wants to nudge Lebanon off center stage as much as Syria does. Lebanon was Bush’s fixation; why would Obama want such a headache? Perhaps a bit of benign neglect is just what Lebanon needs? ]

Comments (15)


1. t_desco said:

Joshua, I wrote this before you posted the Butters article, so I could not respond yet to your very interesting comments. This is my take:

Instead of “Is this where all those “September 15″ rumors were coming from? (a new STL report later this month)”, I should have said “all those STL indictment rumors”. Only one, in fact, had a precise date (“September 15”), which caught my attention. There was a sudden flurry of reports a few days ago, apparently coming both from March 14 and March 8 sources. Ibrahim Al-Amin even developed a whole theory (similar to what I called the ‘civil war option’): Hariri could be playing for time because he is waiting for a major event (like an indictment by the STL) that would change the balance of forces on the ground (unfortunately, Saad Hariri’s latest move would fit perfectly into that plot).

On the other hand, there are reports that the indictment will come in spring 2010 and that any publication of names would not make sense before the next Interpol General Assembly in October. One would also expect to see additional security arrangements before any indictment that could challenge the balance of forces in a meaningful way.

Having said that, the refusal to reappoint Basil seems completely arbitrary and looks like a mere pretext in order to gain time. I understand that March 14 wants to control the telecommunications ministry, it has strategic value and there is potentially a lot of money to be made, but why not offer him a different ministry then? Of course, in reality this was a move directly targeting Gen. Aoun, designed to make him ‘lose face’ and weaken him, trying create divisions within the FPM.

That does not stop our beloved journalists, in this case Andrew Lee Butters and Michael Young, to make the silly argument that Gen. Aoun insisted on Basil as minister not because he is his son-in-law, but… because he is doing Syria’s bidding! Yes!

Young: “Aoun, sensing Syria’s displeasure, decided to take advantage of this by pushing for Gebran Bassil as a minister…”.

Butters: “Given the petty nature of the dispute, it’s tempting to see the breakdown as a result of a regional game of brinkmanship. Syria…”

Notice that Hariri’s arbitrary rejection of Basil (or his strange move to present names to the president without discussing them with his coalition partners first) is beyond any suspicion and receives no attention at all.

However, speaking of regional brinkmanship, I couldn’t help but notice that the US was the only country seemingly unconcerned by Hariri’s latest move (even the Saudis allegedly wanted him to postpone his resignation, according to what Jumblatt told the press). As if they were expecting it. Honni soit…

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September 12th, 2009, 6:40 am

 

2. norman said:

The only way for Iraq to get out of it’s deep hole is political conciliation , until then they will continue to kill each other and the extremists there will use the selfishness of it’s leaders who want to have power for themselves as an excuse to continue the killing .

And that is my take,

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September 12th, 2009, 8:45 am

 

3. norman said:

This is interesting take on Syria and Iraq problem,

Iraq’s spat with Syria backfiring on PM (AP)

12 September 2009, 7:59 PMIraq’s PM is feeling a backlash over a bitter fight he picked with Syria, which he accuses of harboring Saddam Hussein loyalists suspected in deadly bombings in Baghdad.

Critics say he just wants to divert attention from his own government’s security failures.

Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, a Shia, is trying to shore up his position ahead of January parliamentary elections after the increase in violence in recent months deeply hurt his security credentials and after the Shia coalition that once backed him split.

But the spat with Syria has only isolated him among Iraqi politicians. It also could set back US efforts to improve Iraq’s relations with its Arab neighbors and normalize its own ties with Syria after years of tension.

Significantly, the United States, which has 130,000 troops in Iraq, has remained largely silent about Al Maliki’s accusations. That, say analysts, could suggest that it too does not fully support the charges or his handling of the dispute.

Another explanation for US wariness is that it does not want to appear to be meddling in Iraqi affairs after Al Maliki was angered when the Obama administration sent officials to Syria last month to discuss security on the Iraq border without inviting the Iraqis.

Al-Maliki has blamed two Syria-based senior members of Saddam’s now-outlawed Baath Party, along with Al Qaeda, for planning massive bombings on Aug. 19 in Baghdad that killed more than 100 people. Syria says the Iraqi government has failed to provide proof, rejecting its requests for their extradition.

A US military spokesman in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Stephen Lanza, said the attacks bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda, but declined to be drawn into whether Syrian-based Baathists were also involved.

‘It’s important to note that Iraq’s Ministry of Interior continues to investigate the bombings. It would be purely speculation on my part to comment now on the investigation’s findings,’ he said.

Michael W. Hanna, an expert with the Century Foundation in New York, argued that the Syria-Iraq tiff created a ‘less than ideal’ situation for the United States.

‘If there was a serious belief that these bombings were in fact masterminded in Damascus, I think you would have seen a more overt US role,’ said Hanna. He also held out the possibility, however, that Washington’s reluctance to speak publicly on the Syria-Iraq dispute may have been out of a desire to avoid the appearance of meddling in Iraqi affairs.

Many Baath loyalists fled to Syria after the 2003 fall of Saddam, including several who are widely thought to be financing or planning attacks in Iraq. The US and Iraq have long accused Damascus of not doing enough to prevent them and Al Qaeda militants from crossing the border to carry out attacks in Iraq.

Ties had markedly improved between Baghdad and Damascus over the past year.

But with Al Maliki’s accusations, they quickly fell apart again. The two countries, which had until Saddam’s ouster been ruled by rival factions of Baath, withdrew their ambassadors and Iraq stepped up security on its porous border with Syria. An Arab and Turkish attempt to mediate at a Cairo meeting on Wednesday failed, with the Syrian and Iraqi foreign ministers angrily hurling accusations back and forth.

The bombings — which targeted the buildings of the finance and foreign ministries — took place a day after Al Maliki returned from a visit to Damascus during which he gave the Syrians a list of Iraqis wanted in connection with violence. His visit followed the separate U.S.-Syrian meeting to discuss security at the Syria-Iraq border.

An Al Qaeda in Iraq front group claimed responsibility for the attacks, while a Syria-based faction of the Iraqi Baath party denounced the bombings

Al-Maliki may have calculated that turning up the heat on Syria — usually a safe political bet, especially among his Shia constituents — would boost his weakening chances of retaining his position in the parliamentary election.

His status as prime minister once seemed a sure thing, after an alliance he led scored major victories in provincial elections last January. But his allies in the Shia coalition that dominates parliament recently dumped him and his Dawa party, deeply hurting his chances of keeping a majority behind him after the upcoming vote.

Last month’s attacks discredited his claims that Iraqi forces were capable of handling security after US forces pulled out of Iraqi cities in June. Increasing violence has undermined his carefully manufactured image as the leader who oversaw the insurgency’s defeat.

Now his rivals may be taking his spat with Syria as a further opportunity to erode his standing.

Shia Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi issued a statement this past week pointedly saying that blaming others for failures while taking credit for successes was not the ideal way to deal with Iraq’s problems.

Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, and his two deputies — Abdul-Mahdi and Tariq Al Hashemi — took the unusual step of publicly scolding the prime minister over the dispute with Syria, counseling calm and complaining that he was not consulting them on issues of national interest.

Still, Al Maliki has persisted. He called on the UN Security Council to create an international tribunal to investigate the attacks, a move likely meant to touch a raw nerve in Damascus. President Bashar Assad’s regime has for years feared being implicated by a U.N.-appointed court investigating the 2005 assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister.

Iraqi analyst Hadi Cahlou said Al Maliki has to divert attention from the security failures, and Syria was the perfect target. ‘Al-Maliki was smart to export his problems,’ said Cahlou. ‘I think he will push this all the way because he needs Syrian concessions in order to defuse the anger of Iraqis.’

But veteran Arab affairs commentator Hoda Al Husseini saw Al Maliki’s tactic as a risky gamble. Blaming Syria wins Damascus the sympathy of Sunni heavyweights Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two close US allies that have always distrusted Al Maliki.

‘The problem Al Maliki has is that he doesn’t have proof of Syrian involvement in the bombings,’ she wrote in the newspaper Asharq Al Awsat. ‘Al-Maliki is all alone in this standoff.’

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September 12th, 2009, 3:00 pm

 

4. why-discuss said:

Are the Israelis operatives in Iraq? Are they behind the current attacks that are disrupting the relations among arab countries?

I would not be surprised that Israel has operatives in Iraq who are working to break Iraq relations with Iran and Syria in favor of a stronger relationship with Jordan and Egypt. An Iraq too close to Syria and Iran may mean an anti-Israeli Iraq. Until now Iraq has been silent about its position towards Israel, probably because of the US support and presence. The imminent withdrawal of the US troops may be a source of anxiety for Israel as Iraq may decide to join the ‘rejection’ countries.
Another source of anxiety for Israel lies in the growing interest shown by the US to mend its relations with Iran. Now that the US has lost the convenient use of Pakistan for its operations in Afghanistan, they have no other choice that make some deals with Iran. This is displeasing the Israelis and they will do what they can to disrupt any rapprochement with Iran. I expect provocations, rumors and media campaigns on Iran ” Rigged elections’, ‘nuclear threat’, ‘human rights abuse, I also expect media, ponctual alerts and rumurs on Iran’s allies, Syria and Hezbollah.
If Iraq and Iran joins their forces and if Iran-US relationships warm ups, Israel is in trouble and will be forced to accept conditions on Palestine they have long rejected . Therefore it is for them a matter of survival and they are probably actively working so this never happens, at any cost.

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September 12th, 2009, 4:20 pm

 

5. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Why-Disgust,

Do you really believe that Israel would load a truck with TNT, and
blow it in a Shi’i mosque ??
Norman argues that the Arabs have a leadership problem, and that
reconciliation is needed.
I think that this has nothing to do with the leaders.
The problem lies with the Arabs always blaming others for their backwardness
and failures.
When you start to take responsibility, the lives of all of us will look better.
.

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September 12th, 2009, 5:56 pm

 

6. norman said:

WD,

I do not doubt that Israel is trying to sabotage the relation between Syria, Iraq and Iran ,and that they have operatives there , the question is , Why are we so stupid to fall for it , What Iraq did in the last 4 weeks shows that we are not mature enough to solve our problems quietly , Syria and Iraq are essential to each other and Syria can help Iraq tremendously to advance the security of Iraq , for Iraq to do what Maliki did is so shortsighted ,

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September 12th, 2009, 6:13 pm

 

7. Off the Wall said:

Amir
your rightuous indignation rings hollow
why don’t you start by taking some responsibility you poor victim

WE
good hypthesis. Mosad agents have been operating in Iraq for a while now. Anything is possible

where is Jad?

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September 12th, 2009, 9:34 pm

 

8. why-discuss said:

Amir in Hell aviv

“Do you really believe that Israel would load a truck with TNT, and blow it in a Shi’i mosque ??”

YES I DO conveniently using proxies.
Israeli Mossad could have very easily paid poor and brain-washed iraqis or plain mercenaries to do it. Hiding behind known ‘terrorists’ is a strategy that has always been used by States who want to look ‘innocent’ and respectful of international laws. I have no doubts that israelis have infiltrated several layers of the iraqi security apparels.
They are far from stupid and this kind of methods usually pays very well: Look at the results. One or two simple operations can create the kind of chaos and antagonism among arabs that serve well Israel divisive plans
In any case you will not convince me that with the threat of Iraq moving too close to Iran, Israel is not damned worried!!! If I was at the place of Israelis I’ll try anything to prevent it. You are simply idealistic and naive.

Norman

Arabs are far from mature… They are very easily manipulated by ambitions, money, religious and leadership competitions. That’s the problem of the Arab world and Israel has an easy game.

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September 12th, 2009, 10:30 pm

 

9. Shai said:

Amir,

“When you start to take responsibility, the lives of all of us will look better.”

I agree with OTW. Is Israel any less “an expert” at blaming everyone around us? We’re on the Golan, because Syria wants to destroy us. We’re in Lebanon, because the PLO wants to destroy us. We’re occupying the Palestinian Territories, because the Palestinians want to destroy us. Our children score today amongst the lowest scores in education, because our defense budgets are proportionally amongst the highest in the world, because everyone around us wants to destroy us. We kill 1,500 Lebanese, because Hezbollah wants to destroy us. We kill 1,300 Gazans, because Hamas wants to destroy us.

Did I miss any excuses? Come on Amir, Excuses is one of Israel’s favorite pastimes. The U.S. has professional baseball, we have professional excuse-making.

If you think about it, even your comment to WD was a type of excuse.

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September 13th, 2009, 12:17 am

 

10. t_desco said:

And what if the US is precisely trying to get a Lebanese government that can “change the status quo in any meaningful way”? A ‘government of technocrats’ or a even a ‘government of the majority’? Of course, such a government would in itself already constitute a breach of the status quo. BTW, what was May 6 about? What were they trying to achieve then?

Or perhaps, in a more benign scenario, the US is simply trying to prevent that Lebanon joins the Security Council, preferring a country like, say, Saudi Arabia instead, (btw, the Saudis have now denied Jumblatt’s claim) with the important Obama-chaired session and possible votes against Iran coming up? No government in Beirut obviously means no seat for Lebanon on the SC.

Or is it all about telecommunication surveillance?

“The FPM leader said that the reason why the majority was clinging on to the telecoms ministry was “because they are no longer able to provide embassies with security data, as they used to do before Basil was appointed to the ministry.” (…)

March 14 sources saw Aoun’s remarks as a “sign of fear” from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon “because the U.N. investigation committee had been provided with all the data related to the assassination of (ex-Premier) Rafik Hariri.””
Naharnet

(my emphasis)

Senator McCain was so kind to indirectly confirm this:

“Cabinet “talks have broken down over the demand by a Hizbullah-allied party that it retain the telecommunications ministry,” McCain said in his speech about the Free Patriotic Movement’s demand to keep the telecommunications ministry with Minister Jebran Bassil.

“This may appear to be a small and insignificant point of contention, and surely not one that would prompt an incoming prime minister to abandon his post, until we consider that Hizbullah badly wants to retain control over telecommunications and surveillance in Lebanon,” the senator said.”
Naharnet

This obviously means that they are trying to do what he is accusing Hizbullah/the FPM of doing.

The claim by March 14 sources quoted above makes no sense, of course, because the U.N. investigation committee should already have received and analyzed all relevant data (unless those phone records have been tampered with, e.g. the kind of manipulation necessary, in my view, for the Follath scenario).

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September 13th, 2009, 7:27 am

 

11. Akbar Palace said:

Clear and Present Danger, including factual evidence, now considered Excuses

I agree with OTW. Is Israel any less “an expert” at blaming everyone around us?

Shai,

The only difference is, Israel has the data and the history to back up their concerns:

We’re on the Golan, because Syria wants to destroy us.

True. Syria was at war with Israel BEFORE Israel was “on the Golan”. Syria often fired into Israeli towns BEFORE Israel was “on the Golan”.

We’re in Lebanon, because the PLO wants to destroy us.

BEFORE and AFTER Israel occupied Lebanon, Lebanon has always amassed troops and armament along the border with Israel as well as fire missiles into Israel.

We’re occupying the Palestinian Territories, because the Palestinians want to destroy us.

Again, BEFORE Israel occupied a square millimeter of the “Palestinian Territories”, Palestinian terrorists have continuously attacked Israel.

Moreover, the rejectionist governments in Syria, Lebanon, and the PA have not recognized the legitimacy of Israel, and continue to support terror groups who are opposed to ANY State of Israel.

Shai,

It would only be an excuse if the history didn’t match.

We kill 1,500 Lebanese, because Hezbollah wants to destroy us. We kill 1,300 Gazans, because Hamas wants to destroy us.

No Shai,

We kill 1,500 Lebanese and 1,300 Gazans because they pose a serious threat to Israel’s population centers and continually disrupt normal life there. This is a fact.

Did I miss any excuses?

They are not excuses. They are real, factual events.

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Palestinian+terror+since+2000/Missile+fire+from+Gaza+on+Israeli+civilian+targets+Aug+2007.htm

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September 14th, 2009, 8:21 am

 
 

13. Shai said:

Akbar,

“The only difference is, Israel has the data and the history to back up their concerns:”

I think it is a legitimate concern of my nation’s when missiles are lobbed at our population centers. We’ve gone to war when nations have attacked us and I, as a soldier, would fight to defend my nation if ever its existence was threatened.

But there are two “small issues” that we tend to conveniently ignore. First, the issue of resistance against Israeli Occupation (be it the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, or the Golan Heights), and second, the issue of proportionality in our response.

Unfortunately, we Israelis and the Palestinians are locked in a deadly bear-hug that only seems to be getting worse. We cannot separate, apparently, because we distrust one another too much. So the fighting goes on.

We can adopt terminology and labels that make armed groups and parties and individuals seem less legitimate than, say, an enemy army fighting in a war might be. We can refer to Hamas or Hezbollah as Terrorists, instead of Resistance-Fighters, and hope this label would make legitimate also our hugely disproportionate response. We buy it, but the world doesn’t.

When thousands of $10 rockets are fired at Israel, 99.9% of which land in open fields (not even on populated centers), over a period of 9 years, and achieve a total of 30 deaths, does Israel have a right to respond? Of course. Does Israel have an obligation to protect its own citizens? Absolutely. Does it have the legitimate right to turn parts of Gaza into Dresden of WWII? Absolutely not. Does it have a right to kill 1,300 Gazans, in merely 22 days? Absolutely not. Proportionality must be exercised, against any and all enemies. We cannot kill 1,500 Lebanese, when Hezbollah kidnaps and kills 3 Israeli soldiers.

But the only way Israel can “get away with it”, is with excuses. The only way it can convince 94% of all Israelis to support Operation Cast Lead, is with excuses. The only way you, Akbar, have been turned into a blind Israel-supporter, is with excuses. We wrote the Book on excuses, and we can pull them out faster than Palestinians can dream of freedom.

Do you think the thousands of families of those dead Palestinians and Lebanese accept any of our excuses? If they don’t understand why Israel is behaving this way, why is it that you do?

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September 14th, 2009, 1:55 pm

 

14. Akbar Palace said:

More Trick Questions from Shai

When thousands of $10 rockets are fired at Israel, 99.9% of which land in open fields (not even on populated centers), over a period of 9 years, and achieve a total of 30 deaths, does Israel have a right to respond?

Shai,

Uh, yes.

You can rest assured that when thousands of $10 rockets, hundreds of $100 mortars and tens of $1000 grad rockets are fired into Israel, Israel will have the right to respond.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1049820.html

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1050940.html

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September 14th, 2009, 2:34 pm

 

15. Shai said:

Akbar,

Are you pretending NOT to understand comment 13, or are you attempting to shift attention from HOW Israel responds, to its general right to defend herself (which few would ever argue).

You said: “We kill 1,500 Lebanese and 1,300 Gazans because they pose a serious threat to Israel’s population centers and continually disrupt normal life there. This is a fact.”

That you can utter those words so easily is bad enough, but can you please enlighten us HOW those 1,300 Gazans and 1,500 Lebanese “posed a serious threat to Israel’s population centers…”, when FACTS are that mortar shells, and Qassams have killed, over a 9 year period, only 30 people! How many of those thousands of dead Arabs fired those mortar shells that ended in open fields? How many deserved to die? Is there no limit? Please tell us.

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September 14th, 2009, 3:21 pm

 

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