Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is it the U.S. and Israel Against the World?

International Leaders, U.N. Secretary General Condemn Latest Move Against Gaza, While U.S. Remains Silent

By Ibrahim Abdil-Mu'id Ramey
MAS Freedom Civil and Human Rights Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MASNET) Oct. 31, 2007 - World leaders and major international organizations have been issuing statements this week condemning the latest Israeli plan to cut off the supply of electricity to the population of Gaza.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, the European Union (EU), and other major figures, condemn the planned action by Israel as a display of the collective punishment of a civilian population that would bring almost certain economic devastation and hardship to the 1.4 million isolated and economically-stressed people of the territory.

While the world condemns Israel's actions as violations of the basic human rights of Palestinians, the State of Israel and the United States, remain silent - a dichotomy that is, indeed, a dangerous one.

This is not a matter of calling for the "destruction" of a nation-state, or advocating for the persecution of the Jewish people.

It is not a demand, even, for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, or an expression of support for the Palestinian right of return to the lands and homes confiscated by Israel throughout the past 59 years.

It is not a claim for universal support of Hamas, or the particular forms of armed resistance that Hamas employs.

The world simply calls for an end to the actions of economic warfare that, if taken to their logical conclusion, will lead to no other result than the unnecessary and continued loss of life in the region - the 'world' – excluding Israel itself, and the United States.

It is worth noting here, that America's traditional European allies also want an end to the cycle of violence that embroils both the Palestinian and Israeli population.

Ending the cycle of violence is certainly a necessary pre-condition of a just and enduring peace in the region – a position shared by the majority of the worldwide population; including those living in Palestine and Israel.

Yet, if the Israeli's pull the power plug in Gaza - and they provide 60 percent of the electricity used in the territory - the consequential damage would be catastrophic. Food refrigeration would fail, agricultural irrigation would stop, and hospitals would be without the electricity required to sustain life-saving medical equipment.

In short, more Gazans would die – and, ironically, the armed Hamas resistance in Gaza would find new and more fertile ground for recruitment.

Regrettably, the role of the United States in this ongoing conflict remains that of the superpower that guarantees that Israel military and economic actions will be backed, at any cost - despite any world consensus of opposition to Israel's policy of collective punishment.

This myopic and amoral position will only encourage the pro-militarist forces in Israel (and Gaza), and make the possibility of peace and stability less and less likely. Moreover, both the United States and Israel will become even more isolated in the international community, and more at odds with their traditional allies.

Cutting off electricity to Gaza would be a tragedy for the people of Palestine. But supporting this Israeli action further isolates the United States, and creates a situation where, literally, the U.S. and Israel oppose the clear moral consensus of virtually the rest of the world.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Turkish Invasion of Iraq Would Only Bring More Tragedy to the Region

By Ibrahim Abdil-Mu'id Ramey
MAS Freedom Civil and Human Rights Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MASNET) Oct. 18, 2007 - Some of us who are old enough to remember this episode in American history will recall the decision by the Pentagon, in 1970, to invade Cambodia in the height of the war for national liberation in Vietnam. Ostensibly, the U.S. military invasion was carried out to dislodge North Vietnamese Army and National Liberation Front troops from their sanctuaries in Cambodia. However, the real effect of the American incursion was to bring more fervor to the U.S-and global-anti-war movement.

Three years later, in 1973, U.S. forces withdrew in defeat from Vietnam. A much more recent, but similar fate, befell the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006.

It's unfortunate that the war planners in Ankara are apparently not very astute students of recent military history, because the Turkish parliament is now apparently ready to approve an incursion by Turkey into Northern Iraq, with the purpose of routing Kurdish militants from the PPK from their Iraqi staging areas. The proposed invasion, much to the dismay of Iraq (but with the approval of Syria, which has its own problems with a Kurdish minority) would bring heightened war to the one region of Iraq that has avoided much of the carnage that grips the southern part of than nation. And it would likely result in untold deaths and casualties, not only among armed resistance fighters, but primarily among innocent civilians as well.

But an invasion of Iraq would hardly mean the end of the armed resistance by the Kurds, or the desire for an autonomous Kurdistan favored by the Kurdish minority in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. Armed resistance movements are mobile, and resilient; many of them would simply withdraw from some areas and regroup in others. And widening the war could possibly increase the militancy and resistance of the Kurdish population in Iraq to Turkish military forces. Moreover, it could poison the already-strained relationship between Turkey and its southern neighbor.

For the sake of human lives and the hope of an end to bloodshed, we urge the government of Turkey to resist any pressure to invade Iraq. The centuries-old issue of the political status of the Kurdish people must be resolved in some other way.

In the final analysis, history has a way of demonstrating that these cross-border military incursions, for whatever reason they are executed, almost always come back to harm the invading nation more than those whom they attack.

Support Wanes in House for Genocide Vote
Turkish MPs Back Attacks in Iraq