Posts Tagged ‘EGYPT’
There can be peace–for the United States--in the Middle East.
But to achieve this, Western Europe and the United States will have to make radical changes in their approach to that part of the world.
First, the United States must embark on a crash program to develop alternatives to oil.
The Islamic world offers only one reason for American concern: oil.
Yet its consumption threatens the future of the world through global warming. And it keeps America tethered to regimes that are fundamentally unstable and hostile to the West.
Second, once the United States weans itself from its dependency on fossil fuels, it can safely end its relationship with such regimes.
That means putting an end to spending billions of dollars every year to prop up regimes like those in Iraq and Egypt. And it also means stopping the supply of big-ticket military hardware (like fighter planes and missiles) to Islamic regimes.
When the Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979, he was probably the best-armed Islamic leader in the Middle East. His army and air force bristled with sophisticated American weaponry he had bought with billions of dollars in oil revenues.
Shah of Iran
But he had thoroughly alienated his people. Liberals thought him a tyrant, and conservatives thought him a traitor to Islam. So when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini flew to Iran from his self-exile in Paris, no one in the Shah’s army and air force raised a hand in his defense.
Third, the United States should end its “Permanent Bodyguard” relationship with Israel.
Every nation--including Israel–has the absolute right to defend itself from aggression. But no nation–including Israel–should have the right to expect another nation to act as its permanent bodyguard.
Millions of Americans believe they are morally obligated to defend Israel owing to the barbarism of the Holocaust. But America was never a party to this, and has nothing to atone for.
But there is another reason many Americans feel committed to Israel. And it has nothing to do with concern for the fates of Israelis.
It lies in the mythology of the Christian Right: Many fundamentalist Christians believe that, for Jesus Christ to awaken from his 2,000-year slumber, Israel must first re-conquer every inch of territory it supposedly held during the reign of Kings David and Solomon.
Right-wing Christian fantasy: Dead man hovering
After Christ returns, they believe, the Jews will face a choice: Become Christians or go to hell. For evangelical Christians, Jews remain the eternal “Christ killers.”
And if Jews must assume temporary control of the Middle East to bring about the return of a man who died 2,000 years ago, so be it.
This is the view of many Right-wing members of the House of Representatives and Senate. Obviously, people who hold such totally irrational views shouldn’t be allowed to hold public office.
Unfortunately, such unbalanced views are shared by millions of equally irrational evangelical Christians.
Fourth, the United States and its European allies should erect a “Sand Curtain” around the Middle East.
For 44 years–1947 to 1991–the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a Cold War. Essentially, the United States drew a ring around the Soviet Union–including those nations its armies had seized following the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.
The United States said, in effect: “We can’t liberate the countries you’re now occupying”–because trying to do so would have triggered a nuclear World War III. “But we won’t allow you to occupy and enslave any other countries. And if you try to do so, it will mean total war.”
That’s why the United States did nothing to aid Hungarians when they rose up against their Soviet occupiers in 1956. That rebellion was quickly and brutally crushed.
And that’s why America stood by when Soviet tanks rolled into Prague in 1968 when Czechoslovakia dared to relax controls over its citizens.
Fifth, a “Sand Curtain” around the Middle East would work as follows:
America would withdraw all of its forces from the Middle East–but keep a good portion stationed in Europe.
It would then publicly announce: “From now on, you are the masters of your own destinies–so long as what you do affects only those of you living in the Middle East.
“We recognize that barbarism and violence have always been a part of life in the Middle East. And we don’t expect this to change.
“So go ahead and destroy as many of your own citizens as you wish–either because they’re Jewish or Christians, or because Sunni Muslims hate Shiite Muslims and Shiite Muslims hate Sunni Muslims.
“Just don’t do anything that poses a threat to those living outside your barbaric lands. In short: Europe and the United States are strictly off-limits to you.
“And if you aim your aggression at either, we will consider this an act of war and use all the weapons at our disposal–including nuclear ones–to wipe you from the face of the Earth.“
The United States cannot enforce peace between Islamics and Israelis. Nor between Christians and Islamics. Nor between Islamics and Islamics.
But it can impose an embargo to confine such barbarism to only the Middle East.
Sometimes your worst enemies aid you in ways you could never help yourself.
From July 10 to October 31, 1940, hundreds of badly-outnumbered pilots of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) fought off relentless attacks by Germany’s feared Luftwaffe.
But Adolf Hitler wasn’t prepared to give up. He believed he could so terrorize Britons that they would demand that their government submit to German surrender demands.
From September 7, 1940 to May 21, 1941, the Luftwaffe subjected England–and especially London–to a ruthless bombing campaign that became known as The Blitz.
The undamaged St. Paul’s Cathredal, December, 1940
More than 100 tons of high explosives were dropped on 16 British cities. During 267 days (almost 37 weeks):
- London was attacked 71 times;
- Birmingham, Plymouth and Liverpool were attacked eight times;
- Bristol was attacked six times; Glasgow, five; Southampton four; and
- There was also at least one large raid on another eight cities.
Between 40,000 and 43,000 British civilians were killed. About 139,000 others were wounded.
Clearly, what Great Britain desperately needed most was a miracle.
Exactly that happened on June 22, 1941.
With 134 Divisions at full fighting strength and 73 more divisions for deployment behind the front, the German Wehrmacht invaded the Soviet Union.
German tank commander
Joseph Stalin, the longtime Soviet dictator, was stunned. The invasion had come less than two years after Germany had signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union.
Now they were locked in a fight to the death.
People in England were also surprised–but also suddenly hopeful. Britain now had an ally whose resources might tip the balance against Hitler.
Fast-forward to 2015.
On February 18, news reports surfaced that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) may have burned to death 45 people in the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi.
Al-Baghdadi lies just five miles from an air base stafffed by several hundred U.S. Marines. The victims might have included members of the security forces that clashed with ISIS for control of the town.
This latest atrocity comes only days after ISIS released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.
And still earlier this month–on February 3–ISIS released a a video showing the barbaric “execution” of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kasaesbeh.
Al Kasaesbeh, locked in a steel cage like an animal, could only watch stoically as an ISIS member ignited a trail of flammable liquid leading directly to him. The pilot stood upright throughout the ordeal until the flames at last consumed him.
In response to the beheadings of the 21 Egyptians, Egypt carried out a series of airstrikes against ISIS militants in Libya.
And two days after the murder of its pilot, Jordanian fighter jets launched airstrikes against ISIS training centers, arms and ammunition depots.
“This is just the beginning and you shall know who the Jordanians are,” the armed forces said in a statement on state TV.
Today–just as England was saved by the misjudgment of Nazi Germany in attacking the Soviet Union– the United States faces just such an opportunity.
The Islamic world–which has been at war with the United States for 36 years–is now at war with itself.
In Syria, it’s Hezbollah (Party of God) vs. Al-Qaeda (The Base).
United Nations officials estimate that more than 191,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war since conflict began on March 15, 2011. The trigger: Protests demanding political reforms and the ouster of dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Hezbollah is comprised of Shiite Muslims, who form a minority of Islamics. A sworn enemy of Israel, it has kidnapped scores of Americans suicidal enough to visit Lebanon and truck-bombed the Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983, killing 299 Americans.
Flag of Hezbollah
Al-Qaeda, on the other hand, is made up of Sunni Muslims, who form the majority of that religion. It is intolerent of non-Sunni Muslims and has instigated violence against them. It denounces them as “takfirs”–heretics–and thus worthy of extermination.
Al-Qaeda has attacked the mosques and gatherings of liberal Muslims, Shias, Sufis and other non-Sunnis. Examples of sectarian attacks include the Sadr City bombings, the 2004 Ashoura massacre and the April, 2007 Baghdad bombings.
Flag of Al-Qaeda
While Islamic nations wage war within their own borders, they will lack the resources–and incentive–to launch attacks against the United States.
Every dead Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda member makes the United States that much safer.
Every dead supporter of Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda makes the United States that much safer.
Every dead ISIS member makes the United States that much safer.
And every ISIS victim stirs up greater hate against ISIS.
No American could instill such hatred against Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah or ISIS. This is entirely a war of religious and sectarian hatred. A war where each fighter is convinced that “Allah is on my side.”
These conflicts could easily become the Islamic equivalent of “the Hundred Years’ War” that raged from 1337 to 1453 between England and France.
When Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, then-Senator Harry Truman said: “I hope the Russians kill lots of Nazis and vice versa.”
As Congress and President Obama move ever closer to committing American forces to yet another Middle East conflict, it’s well to remember Truman’s words.
That should be America’s view whenever its sworn enemies start killing off each other. Americans should welcome such self-slaughters, not become entrapped in them.