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Monday, January 5, 2009

India, Israel and Terrorism

Posted by: danish Ahmed 1:41 AM

Anyone who has read my last few posts would know how profound and regrettable influence Mumbai attack has been for a lot of Indians including myself but at the same time we shouldn't forget that in another part of this very world, similar attacks are being carried out on a daily basis. Yes, I'm talking about Israel, and Israeli leadership in particular, for carrying out the bloody assault on innocent Palestinian people since nearly 2 weeks. It is shocking how the world community is allowing the Jewish state to use its military might on helpless women and children.

If terrorism is defined as an act of violence to create terror in furtherance of a political or social agenda, Israel's action certainly makes it the greatest terrorist group to exist. Indeed, if Israel is not restrained from bombing UN run schools and refugee camps, then we lose the moral right to criticize any other political actor. In the sub-continent it is the non-State actors (in connivance with some elements in the administration?) who are carrying out ghastly acts and the sovereign against whom the attacks are directed is unable to hit back solely because as a civilized and responsible state, it cannot stoop to the level of these terrorist. In middle-east, the situation is just the opposite, an artificial nation-state that has the full support of the West, is attacking civilians with fighter-planes, missiles and tanks. Shouldn't the militants attacking civilian infrastructure inluding hospitals, schools and even UN institutions be considered terrorists even if they are in IDF uniforms and are accompanied by tanks and armoured vehicles? If the magnitude of the attack, the number civilian casualities, damage to property and instilling fear and panic are the immediate objective,had Israeli military and political leadership seem to be the biggest terrorists around.


(Times)

Ironically, Israeli spin doctors in American media have already started exploiting the situation by equating the LeT with Hamas. While the Lashkar-E-Taiba has been declared terrorist organization and has been banned even in the country to which it belongs, Hamas is seen by most of the world more as an armed resistance movement by Palestinians and not a terrorist organization. It might do well to remind that even UK does not hold the entire group as terrorists only its military wing has been declared as a terrorist organization. Many of us may not agree with the projected objective and methodology of Hamas but the fact remains that it had been elected to power democratically and thus has more legitimacy than many of governments in neighbouring Arab countries. Equating Hamas with LeT is a highly malicious and motivated by the need to desensitize world opinion on carnage being carried out in Gaza by the Israeli military. Indeed, if we start talking on Hamas we are actually ignoring the immediate issue which is Israel's horrific attacks on Gaza. Evil but cunning, eh?

Jews always had the smartest genes but this time around Israel will have to share the spot with Pakistan for cunningness. As India and the world community charged Pakistan for allowing its soil and resources to elements waging war against the country, the latter has been indulging in similar tactics by creating war hysteria and thereby pushing investigation into the Mumbai attacks down the list as the findings are likey to point towards its own backyard! Interestingly, some sections of the Indian media have tried to draw parallels between India and Israel but the fact is that Israel has a higher degree of commonality with Pakistan than it has with India. For instance, both of them are artificial nation-states created after the end of the Second World War as geo-strategic bases for neo-colonialist agenda of the Anglo-American axis. Both Pakistan and Israel have a disproportionate defense budget and state-of-art war equipments supplied by the US. If Pakistan depends on the US for survival in every sphere, Israel has an equal dependence on the US for survival . Indeed, both Israel and Pakistan have never really cared for ethics, morality, world opinion and consensus as long as they have had the tacit support of the West. In fact, it is the conviction in their own military might and unflinching US support that have turned these nuclear armed nations into terrorist states.
However, there have been developments recently which suggest that these actors may indeed have to cut themselves to size or risk their very existence. I have already talked on existential issues that are faced by Pakistan, let us now look at Israel. I am really amazed how leaders drunk with power are blinded to basic issues which in Israel's case is its geographical location. True, for 60 years Israel has been able to not just survive but also intimidate its Arab neighbors through its military might but the military strategies are changing fast and resources considered valuable in conventional warfare might become ineffective in this new form of warfare - 4GW. Israel already has an experience of 4GW, its defeat at the hands of Hezbollah in 2006 has emboldened Israel's foes. The last time Israel defeated combined Arab armies was in 1967, its Arab neighbors have since developed considerably but most of them are not in confrontationist mode. However, Iran and Syria still are as opposed to Israel and Iran at least is quite developed militarily. So nobody would want a repetition of the previous wars, and would instead want to localize the conflict which should be similar to the present situation except for the fact that civilians and civilian infrastructure, UN institutions etc should be spared but Israel has before in the Lebanon conflict displayed a disdain for civilian lives and property. Anyway, if this conflict turns out the way Israel-Lebanon did in 2006, it would be in Israel's interest to rethink its strategy and accept the roadmap that calls for Israel to withdraw from territories it acquired in 1967. Another reason that is forcing Israeli leaders to rethink its strategy is the fact that inclusion of Gaza into Israel would bring about a demographic catastrophe for the latter as population ratio would start dipping in favour of Arab majority! A TIMES analysis can be found here. Can Israel Survive Its Assault on Gaza?

Israel has to realize that a problem like their's cannot be solved through force. It has displaced an entire nation out of their own homes and has forced them to live in refugee camps for more than half a century. Unleashing dogs of war on a people already driven upto the wall is akin to forcing them to retaliate. Israel justifies it action, calling it necessary to wipe out Hamas but in effect i t is creating lot more militants from the surviving Palestinians who have lost their families and loved ones in this assault.

(BBC)
It is likely that Israel would be unable to achieve its objective of wiping out Hamas which would amount to a poliltical and strategic defeat for the Zionist state. Hezbollah's victory over Israeli forces in 2006 had some very important consequence, both within Israel and in the international community. A similar Hamas moral victory would weaken the Jewish state further and hardliners on both sides would emerge powerful. Lets not forget that this is assymetric warfare. Assymetric warfare can be compared to the Biblical tale of David's batle with Goliath. Ironically, this time David represents Palestinian while Israel can be seen as Goliath. The Palestinians driven upto the wall have little left to loose by fighting but at the same time Israel has a lot on stake. The prestigious TIME magazine published an article Analysis: How Hamas Wins by Losing - TIME which analyzes how Hamas gains from Israeli attacks even if its workers are being massacred.

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