17 October 2017

Everyone has an opinion about what’s going on in the world. This is mine.

Middle East

Iran and U.S. elections

While everyone was concentrating on the primaries in New Hampshire, news of an “incident” with Iran nudged it’s way into the forefront of the news shows. Allegedly Iranian patrol boots threatened American war ships. Bush harshly criticized the Iranians, he made it clear that the U.S. would defend itself. Now we hear that this wasn’t the first incident with Iran.

I see this as a continuation of developments that have been intensifying for about one to one and a half years. A pattern is manifesting itself – with contradictions mind you – that seems to indicate an increase in tensions between the U.S. and Iran. There were the arrests of Iranians in Iraq by the U.S. in December 2006[1], Iranians holding British navy personnel in March 2007[2], Tightening of sanctions against Iran by the U.N. Security Council also in March 2007[3], the arrival of a second aircraft carrier in April 2007[4]. Continue Reading »

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Cease Fire Aftermath

The reaction to the cease fire in Israel and by the Hisbollah and their supporters is another indication of poor judgement by the Israeli government.

The first misstep was the conduct of the war. The indiscriminate bombardment of Lebanon and he disproportion use of force, which caused a high death toll and massive suffering amongst the Lebanese civilians. This caused the Israelis to lose support in the public mind around the world and increased the pressure from the international community to end the conflict.

Ending the conflict short of achieving their goal of disarming the Hisbollah is now costing the government support at home.

The fact that only the Hisbollah and not Israel pledged aid to the victims (which the civilians living in southern Lebanon and south Beirut truly are) after the cease-fire went into effect will cost Israel even more support. The Israelis will be facing a new generation of enemies seeking revenge for the loss of loved ones, house and home.

Israel cannot continue to disregard human rights and human life and expect to achieve peace.

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Military Action against Iran

The conflict between Israel and the Hisbollah in Lebanon may influence U.S. plans for dealing with Iran. Israel’s difficulty in destroying the Hisbollah in Lebanon shows that a similar strategy, should it be used against Iran, could fail.

On August 31 the deadline for Iran to give up its nuclear program runs out. Should Iran refuse to end work on its nuclear capabilities, action may be taken to force them to stop. The wording of the U.N. Security Council resolution does not rule out the use of military force, which the Bush administration has been openly considering. The use of air strikes, similar to those flown by Israel in Lebanon, will surely make up a large part of any military action. An Invasion by ground troops is not considered an option.

The fact that the massive Israeli air raids were not able to destroy Hisbollah’s ability to hold their position and continue to fire hundreds of rockets into Israel raise doubts that a similar strategy against Iran will be effective. In this case the war in Lebanon may have prevented a military strike on Iran, should the Bush administration reconsider.
A more extensive discourse on this theory was written by Seymour M. Hersh in the New Yorker, which I came across reading Poplicks blog.

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Cease-fire in Lebanon and consequences for Israel

The cease-fire between the Hisbollah and Israel has gone into effect and seems to be holding. This is good news for those suffering in the region. It is still does excuse the massive loss of civilian life, the destruction of a sovereign country and the suffering inflicted resulting from this destruction caused by Israel.

It is now up to the U.N. to set up an effective peacekeeping force. If the U.N. mission succeeds and a stable and lasting peace is achieved between Lebanon and Israel, the Lebanese suffering caused by the Israeli military offensive may be deemed justified. Are the thousands of innocent Lebanese lives, though, and the hardships endured by the Lebanese really a just price to pay? Is it right to let a country attack another country, kill its citizens, destroy its infrastructure, which threatens the inhabitants with famine and disease?

No.

It is essential that the international conventions set up to protect civilians but also combatants be honored with no exception. Every violation of these agreements undermines their legitimacy and, thus, their effectiveness. If these agreements are merely used to serve as excuses to start wars for other purposes (geopolitical or economic), they will hardly be honored. These conventions are not only important for international relations but for democracy itself. Democracy cannot survive in a world that does not respect and defend human rights of all citizens.

Israel clearly violated these conventions and must be held accountable for this. Consequences, which other countries would face fore these violations, should also be applied to Israel. Due to the support Israel receives from the U.S. in the U.N. Security Council and other influences Israel has, this will be highly unlikely. Regretfully in our world power (political, military and economic) protect a country’s citizens from death and suffering not compliance with international conventions and laws.

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