Helen Thomas, the veteran journalist who covered the White House for fifty years, and who was serving as a columnist for the Hearst newspapers, was forced to resign from her job for saying on camera that the Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to where they came from: Germany, Poland, and America. She apologized for saying that and rightly so. She was wrong in her opinion, but being wrong should not be a deadly offense.
Dealing with Iran’s Exercise of “Smart Power”
The Financial Times, a right of center but highly respected newspaper, could not resist about coming up with a sensational headline: “Hizbollah confirms broad aid for Hamas.” The Hizbollah-Hamas connection is not exactly an unknown variable, only its specifics are. Even after the admission of Hezbollah’s deputy leader that his organization is providing military assistance to Hamas, the issue still remains murky and unconfirmed by other sources. Why, then, is there so much hoopla about Hezbollah’s admission of support for Hamas? Because that reality only underscores the effective exercise of “smart power” on the part of Iran–Hezbollah’s chief backer–in the Sunni Middle East. That is also worrying the United States, which, under the Obama administration, is relearning to come up with its own smart power-related maneuvers towards Iran.
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The Making of a New Global Strategy
The administration of President Barack H. Obama has started the highly intricate process of developing its own strategy with a bang in different regions of the world. Here are the ingredients of that strategy: multilateralism, looking for a fresh start–which promises to be substantially different from the preceding administration–search for common ground involving Russia, invitation of negotiations with America’s traditional adversaries like Iran and North Korea, and at least the initial hope that approaches toward Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are likely to be radically different than the one the Bush administration pursued unsuccessfully. This is a huge agenda. But Obama’s administration has the enormous characteristic of freshness, metaphorically as well as substantively, in the sense that it is not carrying any baggage that had so infamously bogged down George W. Bush in an ostensibly endless inertia.
Thinking about Israel’s Unthinkable Image in Palestine
dispatch reads: “Tony Blair makes his first trip to the Gaza Strip.” In the growing global economic meltdown, the world has forgotten the suffering of the Palestinians who became victims of Israel’s “war” against Hamas. How can there be a war between the most well equipped military of the Middle East and a state which does not even have an armed force of any credibility. But this is the era of asymmetric war, and Hamas did launch rockets or missiles on Israel. Those terror weapons did not cause much damage, but they provided a “justification” for Israel to let loose its military wrath on the civilian Palestinians.
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“Hell” Must be Where Extremism Mushrooms
Looking at the tepid global reaction to the massacre of the civilians in Gaza, one wonders whether the conscience of the international community is half asleep or is suffering from something called sympathy fatigue. Hundreds of civilian casualties, incessantly escalating human misery, and with no end in the Israeli military action in sight, even God seems to have abandoned them. At the same time, it should be said unequivocally that Hamas’ indiscriminate firing of missiles on Israeli cities is a repulsive act. One U.N. official involved in rescue attempts stated that Gaza has turned into hell. That, alas, seems to be the fate of Muslims in many places.
Impasse-Oriented Conventional Politics Only Empowers Militants
The United States never understood one feral rule of the Arab Middle East and Muslim South Asia: there is little hope left that the conventional politics will resolve the Muslim misery or problems of liberty either from domestic tyrants or from the tyranny of occupiers. That leaves only those who despise the U.S. and all it stands for in the Middle East and South Asia to attempt to resolve things their way. They are known as Islamists and terrorists in the West. But they appear to be doing their utmost to destroy the status quo. It seems that the conventional way of doing business or resolving conflict holds little promise in the aforementioned areas.
It has been happening in the occupied Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The same types of actors appear to challenge whatever political order exists in Lebanon. North Africa may not remain peaceful or stable for too long. Gaza has emerged as the most recent place of acute turbulence, and a place where the militants’ way of doing business will have the upper hand. .
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