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The Truth Of British Premier’s "Urgent Diplomacy"

by : Robert Fisk
Saturday July 29, 2006 - 20:20
1 comment

http://www.arabnews.com/services/pr...

The Truth Of British Premier’s "Urgent Diplomacy" Robert Fisk, The Independent Saturday, 29, July, 2006

I dropped by the hospital in Marjayoun this week to find a young girl lying in a hospital bed, swathed in bandages, her beauty scarred forever by some familiar wounds; the telltale dark-red holes in her skin made by cluster bombs, the weapon we used in Iraq to such lethal effect and which the Israelis are now using to punish the civilians of southern Lebanon.

And, of course, it occurred to me at once that if George Bush and Condoleezza Rice and our own sad and diminished prime minister had demanded a cease-fire when the Lebanese first pleaded for it, this young woman would not have to spend the rest of her life pitted with these vile scars.

And having seen the cadavers of so many more men and women, I have to say - from my eyrie only three miles from the Israeli border - that the compliant, gutless, shameful refusal of Bush, Rice and Lord Blair of Kut Al-Amara to bring this bloodbath to an end sentenced many hundreds of innocent Lebanese to death. As I write this near the village of Blat, which has its own little list of civilian dead, it’s quite clear that many more innocent Lebanese are being prepared for the slaughter - and will indeed die in the coming days.

What was it Condoleezza Rice said? That “a hasty cease-fire would not be a good thing”? What was Blair’s pathetic excuse at the G-8 summit? That it was much better to have a cease-fire that would last than one which might break down? Yes, I entirely understand. Blair and his masters - we shall give Rice a generic title to avoid the obvious - regard cease-fires not as a humanitarian step to alleviate and prevent suffering but as a weapon, as a means to a political end.

Let the war last longer and the suffering grow greater - let compassion be postponed - and the Lebanese (and, most laughably, the Hezbollah) will eventually sink to their knees and accept the West’s ridiculous demands.

And one of those famous American “opportunities” for change - i.e. for humbling Iran - will have been created. Hence, in the revolting words of Lord Blair’s flunky yesterday, Blair will “increase the urgency” of diplomacy. Think about that for a moment.

Diplomacy wasn’t urgent at the beginning. Then I suppose it became fairly urgent and now this mendacious man is going to “increase” the urgency of diplomacy; after which, I suppose, it can become super-urgent or of “absolutely” paramount importance, the time decided - no doubt - by Israel’s belief that it has won the war against Hezbollah or, more likely, because Israel realizes that it is an unwinnable war and wants us to take the casualties.

Yet from the border of Pakistan to the Mediterranean - with the sole exception of the much-hated Syria and Iran, which might be smothered in blood later - we have turned a 2,500-mile swath of the Muslim world into a hell-disaster of unparalleled suffering and hatred. Our British “peacekeepers” in Afghanistan are fighting for their lives - and apparently bombing the innocent, Israeli-style - against an Islamist enemy which grows by the week. In Iraq, our soldiers - and those of the United States - hide in their concrete crusader fortresses while the people they so generously liberated and introduced to the benefits of Western-style democracy slash each other to death. And now Lord Blair and his chums - following Israeli policy to the letter - are allowing Israel to destroy Lebanon and call it peace.

Blair and his ignorant foreign secretary have played along with Israel’s savagery with blind trust in our own loss of memory.

It is perfectly acceptable, it seems, after the Hezbollah staged its reckless and lethal July 12 assault, to destroy the infrastructure of Lebanon and the lives of more than 400 of its innocents. But hold on a moment. When the IRA used to cross the Irish border to kill British soldiers - which it did - did Blair and his cronies blame the Irish Republic’s government in Dublin? Did Blair order the RAF to bomb Dublin power stations and factories? Did he send British troops crashing over the border in tanks to fire at will into the hill villages of Louth, Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal? Did Blair then demand an international, NATO-led force to take over a buffer zone - on the Irish, not the Northern Ireland side, of the border?

Of course not. But Israel has special privileges afforded to no other civilized nation. It can do exactly what Blair would never have done - and still receive the British government’s approbation. It can trash the Geneva Conventions - because the Americans have done that in Iraq - and it can commit war crimes and murder UN soldiers like the four unarmed observers who refused to leave their post under fire.

And what of the Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah? I have long believed that its attack across the Israeli border was planned months in advance. But I’ve now come to realize that Israel’s assault on Lebanon was also planned long in advance - as part of the American-Israeli project to change the shape of the Middle East. The idea that Nasrallah is going to kneel before a NATO general and hand over his sword - that this disciplined, ruthless, frightening guerrilla army is going to surrender to NATO - is a folly beyond self-delusion.

But Blair and Bush want to send a combat force into southern Lebanon. Well, I shall be there, I suppose, to watch its swift destruction in an orgy of car and suicide bombings by the same organization that yesterday fired another new longer-than-ever range missile that landed near Afula in Israel.

The Lebanese government - democratically elected and hailed by a US administration which threw roses at its prime minister after the US State Department claimed a “Cedar Revolution” - has just caught the Americans off guard, producing a peace package to which the Hezbollah has reluctantly agreed, starting with an immediate cease-fire. Can Washington ignore the decision of a democratic government? Of course it can. It is encouraging Israel to continue its destruction of the democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza and the West Bank.

So stand by for an “increase” in the “urgency” of diplomacy - and for more women with their skin torn open by cluster bombs.



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> The Truth Of British Premier’s "Urgent Diplomacy"
Sunday July 30 - 23:04 - Posted by 74cf986c43c8d25c...

Your description of the awful wounds of the innocent young girl is terrible, tragic and horrifying to all civilized people everywhere - except, of course, to Nasrallah and Hezbollah, who practice the barbaric strategy of using civilians as human shields precisely so that they can be targeted by Israeli rockets. In fact, I will not be in the least surprised to discover that the building housing the innocent civilians in Qana turns out to have been a Hezbollah armory, and that the secondary explosion of Hezbollah munitions killed more people by leveling the building than a precision rocket attack by the Israelis.

But of course in today’s world, so-called liberal intellectuals can only lament the tragedies befalling innocent civilians in Muslim countries, and do not spare even one line of one paragraph for Israeli losses. I certainly didn’t read one line in your article lamenting the loss not only of innocent Israelis including Arab Israelis who are most assuredly not Zionists by any means, nor did I read one line lamenting the loss of life or permanent injury of innocent Jewish women in Seattle targeted by an angry Muslim shooter. Ever since the Danish cartoon incident and all the very publicly photographed protests and violence, the West has been saturated with the reality of what the Religion of Peace actually represents - total annihilation of Israel first, followed by total annihilation of Western Civilization.

I realize it’s been the policy of the British Foreign Office to sympathize with its former Muslim colonial states, but we in the United States of America are under no such historical constraints. It gives me great joy that liberal American Democrats have joined hands with conservative American Republicans to support Israel’s right to defend herself and to completely utterly condemn Hezbollah guerilla actions against Israel’s security and safety. It gives me great joy to watch Kofi Annan admitting that Hezbollah has behaved unacceptably, and that the rules of law governing situations in which rogue militias hiding behind civilian shields are engaged with legitimate state military organizations must be rewritten.

It gives me great joy to hear U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton describe Hezbollah tactics as an immoral disregard for human life and a barbaric practice of embedding themselves among civilians. Talk about speaking Truth to Power! Bolton’s statement is the truth of it, and all your bias toward Muslims as opposed to true concern for the lives of ALL persons affected by this conflict and the insanely fascistic religious agenda of fundamentalist Muslims just tells me what a real hypocrite and Islamist sympathiser you are. And because that is what you are, and because you cannot see for one moment the real threat to world peace instigated by fundamentalist Islamists who would just as soon remove your freedom to write your opinion, dress your wife, sister, mother or daughter in a veil and completely remove her autonomy and equality, and decapitate you if you are an Infidel as they would look at you, I cannot take a word you write seriously except for the first paragraph, describing the terrible losses of war when a human being, any human being, regardless of nationality, religion, race, gender, age or politics, is wounded or killed in the name of fanaticism, hatred and conquest.

Fanatical Islam is the real enemy here, as are those such as yourself who defend those who practice it by condemning those in the West who are trying desperately, if imperfectly, to battle it.







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