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1. Iraqi Government
Roznama Siasat (The Politics Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 19 August 2010, Thursday
The phase of American short sighted and aggressive actions in Iraq has not come to an end yet and the issue of withdrawal of American forces is in the spotlight again, due to the recent attack on Iraqi military recruitment camp. The US has reached the last stage of taking off its military forces from Iraq but, through these bomb blasts, it is trying to prove that the Iraqi forces are not yet capable of facing the militants all alone. Earlier, it was decided to keep standing forces in Iraq till general elections. The Iraqis have failed to achieve much required peace but one of the reasons for the uncertain future of American military in Iraq is that America is unable to get the desired result here. Now, even if America wishes to come clean out of Iraq in order to wash the stains of aggression from its hand, it would not be an easy task. This is because the devastation brought about by its military during its stay in Iraq would always haunt them in future. The suicide bombing that occurred on Tuesday was the most dangerous in recent times. The month of July has seen the highest number of bomb attacks in last two years. Such attacks show the prevailing conditions in spite of American military presence. These attacks on Iraqi military recruitment centres have become a tool of creating a kind of frustration among Iraqis, as far as employment is concerned. This is not at all a sectarian violence, rather a militant activity and to protect the occurrence of such acts should be the responsibility of American forces, in which they failed. There is no sign of improvement in the situation in Iraq. But the peaceful picture, which President Barack Obama has tried to portray recently in US, is nothing but a futile effort to give a clean chit to his predecessor George Bush’s mistakes and aggressive policies. The conditions in Iraq are not improving as expected and this can be made an excuse to extend the American military stay in Iraq. The puppet Iraqi government is also not ready for complete withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. A large section of Iraqi authorities have not welcomed the return of American military, which means that it is being emphasised upon that it will take another ten years for Iraqi forces to control their country. The elections that were held in Iraq to create peace and democracy have not brought very affirmative results. The political gap prevailing in Iraq has helped Al-Qaeda to strengthen its roots there. However, the Al-Qaeda and its activities are no more a priority of Western governments and media and this is the reason they do not find place on the front pages of Western newspapers any more. But the conditions in Iraq are still bad. The problems created by American actions may not be resolved in the near future. America has lost 4415 soldiers in Iraq since March 2003, which is just a conservative account. 31,911 American soldiers were injured during the war. Many millions of dollars have been spent on defence budget. It won’t be possible for the US to take a rest after killing such a huge number of Iraqi population, however, it intends to end its active military combat by the end of this month to get away from this devastating war. More than deaths, the kind of life people in Iraq are forced to live, is a proof of American inhumanity. Killings are a daily affair in Iraq. There are daily attacks on Iraqi forces and traffic police in Baghdad and Al Anbar provinces. 30 people died in attacks in the first two weeks of August. The escalating violence has also prevented Iraqi forces to pledge full control of Iraq to America. Another disturbing fact is that no government has been formed even after five months of general elections. The group that won the March general elections is shying away from sitting on the discussion table for formation of government. Such a situation has created a political vacuum and insecurity about governance in Iraq. The situation is getting worse and Iraqis are finding themselves in more problems due to killings in the name of Al-Qaeda network. Increasing unemployment and insane killings have further devastated the Iraqi psyche. The elected political parties should take steps for restoring the faith of people and fulfil their duties.
Roznama Sahafat (Journalism Daily), Delhi
Editorial, 20 August 2010, Friday
Any ethical person would have been enraged to see the shameless pictures, which show a former woman soldier of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) smiling with three Palestinians of different age groups in the background. These Palestinians are blindfolded and handcuffed. It seems that the woman soldier, Eden Abergil, thought that everyone who would see these pictures on her facebook account would appreciate the strength of IDF and would laugh at the helplessness of Palestinians. But she was completely wrong. The American officers who indulged in inhuman behaviour with the Muslims arrested in the name of terrorism at Guantanamo Bay prison also had similar opinion, but nobody appreciated the American power and did not laugh at the prisoner’s helplessness. However, people got to know the real face of America that was very proud of its culture and traditions and its democratic and humanitarian credentials. Israel also tries to portray itself as the lonely oasis of democracy in the deserts of Arabia. This photograph clearly shows what kind of democracy Israel nurtures. And if this insane woman thinks that Jewish people around the world would appreciate her courage then she is living in the paradise of fools. This may be appreciated by Zionist terrorists, but human rights organisations in Israel itself have condemned this behaviour. Some former commanders of IDF have termed this act as “shameful, extremely shameful”. Formally, the IDF spokesperson has also condemned the act and said that such things take a toll on Israel’s image in the world. Some Jewish intellectuals have expressed apprehensions that such brazen display of hate can cause the re-emergence of anti-Semitism in the world. They said that it may be a fact that Israel is very powerful and safe inside its boundaries but it is home to only 6.4 million Jews. However, total population of Jews in the world is expected to be around 18 million. Thus, two-third of Jewish population is spread all over the world. If anti-Semitism re-emerges then Israel can protect only those Jews who are in Israel but it is pushing others into dangerous risks. A famous historian and Jewish religious leader (Rabbi), who has authored a number of books on Judaism, its history and Jewish people and their identity, had said some years back in London that, “it is high time Judaism disassociate itself from Zionism as whatever Israel is doing in the name of Zionism is nothing but imperialism”. It is a fact that what Israel is doing today has nothing to do with the Shariah of Moses. This can, however, be compared to ‘Pharaonic Ways’, which is a sign of decline of a nation. The Jewish history is full of ups and downs, but this history itself tells that most of the time the surge has remained short termed while the decline has always been longer. This is the second instance after the Flotilla raid, when the Indian media, which usually likes to praise Israel, has condemned Israel. Palestinians for sure are helpless, because Israel is laced with weapons from head to toe and Palestinians are unarmed. But Israel shall not forget that in spite of all its strengths Israel has failed to defeat the Palestinians and dampen their courage. It should also not forget the defeat it faced at the hands of Hezbollah recently in Lebanon. Israel is inciting Hezbollah with these acts.
Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (National Sahara Daily), New Delhi
Editorial, 23 August 2010, Monday
It would be difficult to measure the satisfaction among the people of the Middle East on the news that Israel and Palestine have agreed for direct negotiations. Because such efforts have been made earlier as well and there have been speculations that the Palestine issue will soon be solved. But such efforts have been ruined by Israeli actions which always sabotage the efforts and make the situation worse. A number of times the construction of new Jewish settlements by Israel in occupied areas have played the role of spoil sport in such situations.
So, not much hope can be associated with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement and the expected talks. However, this is also a fact that the issue can only be solved through negotiations and the Israeli and Palestinian move to enter into direct negotiation is indeed a welcome step. Hillary Clinton announced that the two parties will finalise the modalities for the establishment of the Palestinian state in September. As per Hillary Clinton, the Palestinian Authority has accepted the American proposal in this regard. She also announced that the US President Barack Obama will invite the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordanian King Abdullah II to Washington on 1 September for inauguration of direct talks. According to Hillary Clinton, all the issues including the status of occupied Jerusalem, return of Palestinian refugees and the borders of a proposed Palestinian state would be discussed and may be finalised within one year.
How much success the expectations of Hillary Clinton achieve and to what extent the Palestine issue gets resolved would be determined by time. But it is important to look into the doubts raised by Palestinian negotiator Sa`eb Erakat. He has said that if the Jewish settlement is revived he will walk out of the negotiations. It is important to know, why Sa`eb Erakat is saying so? In fact, Israel has halted the settlement activity for the last ten months and can now restart the work on 26 September. In the current coalition government of Prime Minister Netanyahu majority of ministers are those who favour settlements, even though a group of minister are very much ready to have an understanding with Palestinian Authority. The settlement issue could be the most dangerous roadblock for direct negotiations. In case of start of settlement construction again, the Palestinian leaders would have no option but to walk out because the people are already not very appreciative of PA’s entering into talks with Israel in spite of settlement construction.
The second problem is keeping Hamas out of the talks. Both the US and Israel want to keep Hamas away from negotiations by terming it as a terrorist organisation. The reason behind this is perhaps that the US and Israel would not be able to bully Hamas as they can do with Al-Fatah. However, the fact is that Hamas is the true representative of people of Palestine and a solution that does not include Hamas may prove fragile in the long run. It is very much understandable that both Obama and Israel want to resolve the Palestine issue on their conditions and so Hamas has not been included in the talks. Likewise, the issue of occupied Jerusalem is also complicated and does not need to be mentioned here. So, it may look a very strong and positive step on part of PA to enter into direct talks with Israel, but there is very little chance that Israel will go back on its long term policy. In such a situation it would be a miracle if the negotiations can be wound up in one year with a concrete result as said by Hillary Clinton.
Source: Roznama Rashtriya Sahara
Roznama Siasat (The Politics Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 24 August 2010, Tuesday
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has invited the Palestinian President, Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington D.C. on 2 September to initiate the Mid-East Peace Talks. There have been many efforts to bring peace in the Middle East. Palestinian and Israeli leaders have entered into talks many a times but Israeli unilateral policies have always failed these negotiations. It is the US and Israel who are responsible for the current situation in Middle East. The lack of intellect and planning on part of the Islamic world, and particularly the Arab world, has played its role in the failure to bring an end to Israeli oppression of Palestinian people. Now this US sponsored initiative is again an exercise in futility. The Arab League has expressed its doubts about the success of these negotiations as well as has worries about the Israeli stand. These are genuine doubts as the Israeli stand may not be helpful in success of the negotiations. If this initiative to bring peace to Middle East also fails, like the earlier initiatives, then the Palestinian people will be waiting for peace. It is the Israeli policies and actions that have pushed the people of Palestine to hunger and inhuman conditions, which is part of a conspiracy. America seems to be very much interested in bringing peace to the Middle East, but it also has not put pressure on Israel to change its policies and actions. To facilitate the current negotiations, the quartet of Russia, US, UN and EU have put pressure on both the sides to show constraint and work with patience. No doubt the Palestinian people have showed constraint and patience till now. But it is also important to put pressure on Israel for restrain from oppressive policies and put serious efforts for peace. It should stop its new settlements and end its expansionist policies if it is really interested in peace. An open atmosphere for the people of the Middle East would be a step forward in itself. But the ongoing oppression by Israeli forces may not be helpful for peace. PM Netanyahu has shown interest in the talks but he also has expressed his doubts about getting any concrete results out of it. PLO also has expressed similar sentiments. If such is the situation before talks then what results can be expected? The world powers cannot do anything until Israel and Palestine come on the negotiation table for talks. There is no point, however, to enter into talks without clearing the Palestinian inhibitions about Israeli policies. The December 2008 negotiation between Israel and Palestine were left in between when Israel attacked Gaza Strip. 1300 Palestinians were killed in this Jewish onslaught. Palestinians are of the opinion that no talks could be successful until the Israeli settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem are stopped. But the world powers have not exerted any pressure on Israel to do so. Any such talks would not be of much help. The Arab League gave its consent for direct talks on 26 July, but no efforts were made to stop Israel from its oppressive behaviour. If these talks remain centered around American wishes and Israeli conditions then there is no chance of improvement in the condition of people of Palestine. America does not seem to be an objective mediator. It won’t be of any use if only Palestinians are pushed for talks while Israel continues with its aggressive policies. The US and other world powers should take a written promise from Israel that it would stop its expansionist policies in the Middle East, and only then better expectations can be attached to these talks.
Md Muddassir Quamar is a research student at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
As part of its editorial policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spelling and date formats to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND: P R Kumaraswamy.