Sunday, January 23, 2011

Arlene Kushner: US Pushes Refuted Claim That Mideast Peace Depends On Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

This excerpt from Arlene Kushner's post deals with the US insistence on pushing the narrative that has already been debunked--that the resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the key to Middle East peace.

The claim was refuted in Wikileaks, but elsewhere as well.

Bernard Lewis writes in The Crisis of Islam:
In his pronouncements, bin Ladin makes frequent references to history One of the most dramatic was his mention, in his videotape of October 7, 2001, of the "humiliation and disgrace" that Islam has suffered for "more than eighty years." Most American--and no doubt, European--observers of the Middle Eastern scene began an anxious search for something that had happened "more than eighty years" ago, and came up with various answers. We can be fairly sure that bin Ladin's Muslims listeners--the people he was addressing--picked up the allusion immediately and appreciated its significance.

In 1918 the Ottoman sultanate, the last of the great Muslim empires, was finally defeated--its capital, Constantinople, occupied, its sovereign held captive, and much of its territroy partitioned between the victorious British and French Empires.
Lewis wrote this back in 2003. But the lesson that the West in general is the enemy is ignored.
January 23, 2011

"Fighting That Persistent Lie"

We might have expected WikiLeaks exposure to kill it: the Obama claim that cooperation with Arab states was dependent upon an Israeli-Palestinian negotiated peace.

But here we have it again, in somewhat different, and more outrageous, form:

A former CIA officer, Bruce Riedel, has just given a talk at a Middle East Policy Council event on Capitol Hill. The fact that legislators and their aides were privy to his "expert" words make them that much more damaging. What he said was that:

"American lives are being lost today because of the perpetuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." (Emphasis added)

Frank Anderson, also a former CIA official, and president of the Policy Council, reiterated this sentiment, saying "we are paying an increasing price in blood for their [Israeli and Palestinian] failure and refusal to reach an agreement."

Riedel explained -- if you can call what he said an explanation -- that:

"The Arab-Israeli conflict is at the heart and center of Al-Qaeda's ideology and its narrative." (Emphasis added)


This is so offensively distorted, so far removed from the reality of the situation, that it cannot be allowed to pass without rebuttal.

Al Qaeda's -- and Bin Laden's -- quarrel is with the US and the West. It is a clash of civilizations, within which Israel plays a decidedly minimal role. Were Israel and the PA to forge an agreement, it would not affect Bin Laden's attitude towards American civilization.


I cite here from a Congressional Research Service Report for Congress that was released by the US Navy Department of History:

"Osama Bin Laden's experiences as a logistical coordinator and financier for...resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan during the 1980s are thought to have provided the backdrop for his belief that Muslims could take effective military action inspired by select Islamic principles. His exposure to the teachings of conservative Islamist scholars in Saudi Arabia and his work with Arab militants in Afghanistan provided the theological and ideological basis for his belief in the desirability of puritanical Salafist Islamic reform in Muslim societies and the necessity of armed resistance in the face of perceived aggression -- a concept Al Qaeda has since associated with a communally-binding Islamic principle known as 'defensive jihad.'

"In the early 1990s, Bin Laden emphasized his desire to secure the withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops from Saudi Arabia at all costs...Bin Laden was expelled from Saudi Arabia and his ire increasingly focused on the United States. Following a period of exile in Sudan and Afghanistan in which his radical views sharpened, Bin Laden issued a declaration of jihad against the United States in 1996 that signaled his emergence as an internationally recognizable figure...

"Following his declaration of jihad on the United States, Bin Laden released a series of statements that expanded the vision and scope of his self-declared conflict with the United States...Echoing U.S. academic Samuel Huntington's theory on the impending clash of civilizations, Bin Laden repeated his characterization of a so-called 'new crusade led by America against the Islamic nations,' and emphasized his belief that an emerging conflict between Islam and the West would be fought 'between the Islamic world and the Americans and their allies.'"

The report mentions two audiotapes released in 2005, which identify the bases of Al Qaeda's political ideology:

An Islamic state governed solely by sharia law is primary. Secular government is unacceptable and deemed contrary to Islamic faith. Muslims must resist and overthrow rulers who violate Islamic law and principles.

Then there must be a liberation of Muslim lands "from every aggressor." Israel is mentioned in this context, of course, but not only Israel: included are all Western forces, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. And where Israel is concerned, the goal is most certainly not an Arab-Israeli peace, but the eradication of a Jewish presence on the land.


And where is all of this going? Why, the US government has to lean harder on Israel, of course. Israeli positions should be more in concert with American efforts to forge a deal.

Riedel suggested that a positive approach might be most effective: "Israelis need that hug. Implicit in the hug can also be, you'll get a cold shoulder if we're not moving in the right direction."

With "friends" like these...

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution

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