Prelude to War!

I have long come to believe that the cause of national liberation and independence, upon which we were raised and never weaned, has served more as an instrument for our continued enslavement by the ruling regimes than anything else.Indeed, the national discourse and the constant calls for mobilization against a declared enemy were at best a diversionary measure meant to postpone any serious consideration of our developmental problems and our ruling regimes’ corruption and inherent authoritarian predilections.

For this reason, I never really believed in the conflict against Israel, except when it came to the Palestinians and their internal leadership. For the PLO and other Palestinian groups have, since the very beginning almost, been more an instrument wielded by various Arab governments to further their own agendas than true representatives of the Palestinian people. In time, the various leaders, too, ended up developing their own private agendas and interests, and corruption became the main rule of the game. Naturally, the Palestinian Diaspora paid heavily for this state of affairs. The First Intifadah could have paved the way for something much better than what Palestinians ended up getting, had the leadership of it remained in the hands of internal figures, and did not pass squarely and virtually unchallenged into the hands of Arafat. Arafat should not have become more than a figurehead.

Be that as it may, the issue ahead of us if that of Hezbollah and Hamas being wielded as instruments of provocation by Syria and Iran to stir up another national liberation conflict and mobilize us all for the march to hell, with many of us applauding all the way. In this regard, the Assads’ success in imposing this new round of conflict upon us all is going to doom us all. I have, up until this moment, entertained some hope that we can somehow save Syria the kind of mayhem we are witnessing in Iraq, I can now see that this may no longer possible.

The Assads are intent on having a replay of the 80s, the different geopolitical context notwithstanding and despite the fact that they survived that period only through a series of unfortunate miracles. Well, they will soon find out that they have learned nothing from those forgone lessons of that “miraculous epoch”, while the Israelis, I bet, have learned a lot, tactically at least.

All wishful thinking aside, I just don’t think that Israel is going to lose this round, and I think that the going-ons in Lebanon are only a prelude for the eventual and now inevitable confrontation with Syria, with all sorts of disastrous implications and consequences for our people.

Some people see this differently I know, they see that the Assads and Mullahs have emerged as serious contenders in the arena once again, and that they have embarrassed the US and Israel. I kindly disagree. But, be that as it may, the winner of this round notwithstanding, we, the people, are the ones who will get screwed.

12 thoughts on “Prelude to War!

  1. Not totally sure who will emerge victorious. Regardless of that though, what I see happening is: -On the short run israel will keep bombing lebanon and suffocating its economy. -On the medium run they will negotiate for the return of the 2 captured soldiers. On the long run one of two things will happen, the lebanese may be able to reign in Hizballa and even send the army to the south, in which case lebanon might gain some stability and the syrian regime would lose an important card. The other option ofcourse, is that Hizballa’s latest adventure forces lebanon into the heart of the confrontation with israel, especially if the israelis establish a buffer zone, in which case the syrian regime would be celebrating and the lebanese would be screwed. Its all very unpredictable the way I see it and very dependent on a lot of internal and external factors, but it doesn’t seem to me that the Israelis are willing to directly confront or shake the Syrian regime at the moment.

  2. Ammar, you have hit the nail on the head. Living in Israel and believing in the course of peace between us and our Arab neighbours, it pains me to see how the situation between Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinians has deteriorated into war. Israel is now fighting on two fronts. Hamas and Hisbolla are determined to goad their supporters into a frenzy by not recognizing Israel’s right to exist. This problem now goes further than the occupation. Israel is not perfect and her behaviour in the past towards the Palestinians has not been correct at the best of times. This is a factor that gave rise to Hamas. However, the strange alliance between Hisbolla and Hamas is disturbing. It goes beyond the occupation (which I oppose vehemently). There is a trend, unfortunately, amongst Islamist extremists including Hamas, Al Qaeda, Hisbolla, Islamic Jihad and many other extremist Islamist groups who are highly motivated against Western civilization. They view Israel and the US as an obstacle to their world view which is basically “the Sword of Islam”,which is conversion to Islam by the sword. Anybody who does not hold that view must be destroyed in their view. All that remains for us moderate people, Moslems and non-Moslems alike, is to find each other, unite and plead for greater understanding in stressing our common humanity for the good of all mankind.We must reach out to each other by all means possible to fight extremism and fanaticism no matter from where it comes.

  3. I see a nice shift here that is unprecdented.For the first time tha two strong leaders in the Arab world,Mubarak of Egypt,and Abdullah of Saudi Arabia,are distancing themselves fro the Assad regime.First was Mubarak comment about the negotiation in Gasa ,that he said was going well untill some outsiders intervened.Here no question ,the outsiders would be Iran Or Syria or both.Then came King Abdullah comment about the hizbullah operation.He said that the party that did that and whoever is behind it should be responsible ,and not the Lebanese Gov.This to me is a clear shift from the past stances of those important leaders.What would that translate int,still remain to be seen.At any rate its a shame that Lebanon is burning for the sins of others.

  4. Ammar, you are my HERO, your post is so well written. I am so ashamed of Syrians justifying the regime actions to burn up Lebanon.I don’t see any hope for anything in the area, it seems all so out of control…and no solution except to become emotionless…Fuck Assad, Najjad, Nasrallah, they belong to another era somewhere in the dark past…They are worse than Holako and Jenkiz Khan…

  5. Unfortunately I don’t think this will end in anything less than a war involving Syria and Iran, and inevitably the US or possibly NATO. The reinvigoration of civil society is at stake here, and it will be the most lasting casualty. Or will this be that watershed that saved Europe from the chains of the past in the 1940s, but now for the Middle East? I am not so hopeful for this second prospect because it relies essentially on beating the people and (there can be no isolation here) their misleaders to a pulp.This will not be a fun era.

  6. I guess we can all throw your idea of “peaceful, grassroots change” out the window.I wish Israel would level all Assad’s homes in one fell swoop… They might just get lucky and find him in one of them having dinner with the Hamas leaders!

  7. The mullahs cannot be victorious in the long run because they do not have any viable vision to offer. Their appeal to martyrdom, religious zealotary and nationalism will only serve so much. As time goes on it will become clear that such a rigid construct is not compatable with a modern society based on individual rights, technical progress and inclusivity. The Mullahs are backward looking and thus they do not have an appreciation of how history unfolds. Their vision cannot successed no matter how hard they try. I would like also to make an observation concerning the Palestinian Israeli conflict. Again I am in total agreement with you (Ammar)regarding the fact that the issue has been used for purely selfish political purposes all along. The real bright spot was the first intifada but that was not allowed to bear fruits and was eventually coopted by the PLO leadership. A good case in point is the total Lebanese commitment for the “right of return”. It would be naieve to think for a moment that the Lebanese position has anything to do with the rights of Palestinians since the position is essentially based on the premise denying the Palestinian rfugees equal rights in the Lebanese society (Refugees after sixty years???).No one with the possible exception of Abbas has had the courage to state that when we sell the Palestinians on the idea of the right of return then we are selling an illusion. I presented a lengthy paper about the history of the Palestinian Israeli conflict some years ago in which I used time line charts. I no longer have the study but I recall that one of the most interesting elemnts of the conflict was the fluidity of the positions on both sides. The official positions in 1948 placed the Israelis in the camp of accepting the UN mandated division while the Palestinians were total rejectionists. As time went on positions evolved and started moving towards each other. Unfortunately the positions passed each other as two ships in a sea of fog sometime in the late seventies and the evolution continued until the Palestinian position was that of accepting a two state solution while the Israeli position hardened to become one of wanting practically the whole land. As of the 1990s the positions appear to be reversing again. The hard line Palestinian position is that of wanting the one land for two people solution which in effect is a rejection of partition while the Israeli position including that of the right is based on a two state solution. After almost sixty years we are back to square one and unfortunately not many are aware of the fact that not a single square inch of land has been liberated by the use of force. If we are to allow the Assads and the Mullahs to lead us down that path again then we have nobody to blame but ourselves. It is time to resolve this issue once and for all by recognizing the humanity of both parties and by not pedlling the schemes of total return and by selling the idea that the injustice visited upon the Palestinians is the only inconsolable act in history.

  8. A number of writers from the United States have written comments to The Arab News suggesting that the people in the West Bank and Gaza use the non-violent strategies of Gandi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.After 60 years of conflict between the people of Israel and the people of the Palistinian Territories, and with help from the United States and the United Nations, it seems that the problems should have been solved a long time ago!It is sad that there are so many people in that area of the world who are misguided.

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  10. This war must go on and come to a definite conclusion. Either Israel may be destroyed by the Arabs or the Arabs may be destroyed by the Israelies. The two cannot live in harmony,simply because religion, beliefs and practices and their gods are different. Its simple as that. History shows civilization become extint after a period of time or get absorbed by others. This will happen in this region as in all other areas of the world. A new power will consolidate the in the warring countries and possibly beyond. Its only a question is of time – 5 years, 50 years or a 100 years. A particular ethnic group may go extint or merge into the stronger grouping. This is life. So dont worry. There are plenty more people in the world, a few thousands or millions dead make no great difference in the scheme of life. What is important is that human beings as a species need to survive. Not individuals or groups or races. If your dont agree, see the progress of civilizations over the last 30,000 thousand years.

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