I have been thinking about various issues this week, but I had too little time to write even a semi-coherent post about them. So I am sharing my musings with you in the raw – just as they came to me.
Uncle Shmuel is just so predictable:
Israel and the USA agreed to the format for an investigation of the storming of the Mavi Marmara and the other ship. Really? No kidding?! What a surprise. The Israelis will investigate themselves, with one US observer and one European “Shabbez goy’. And what does the rest of the planet have to say? Do you hear screams of outrage? Or even maybe hysterical laughter? Nope. Silence. Everybody is looking away.
I say the Nazis should have investigated themselves at Nurenberg too
“Agent provocateurs” on the Mavi Marmara?
I am getting more and more stuff in my mailbox suggesting that the Israelis somehow fell for a carefully planned Turkish “provocation”. For example, check out the essay Israel gets Serbed by Gray Falcon. Frankly, all those articles come from authors who either have a bone with Turkey or dislike Islam, or both. The comparison with what happened in Bosnia is ridiculous. There is absolutely no doubt who killed whom on the Mavi Marmara: the Israelis murdered 9 passengers. This is not a false flag like the Markale bombings in Sarajevo or the fake Racak ‘massacre’ in Kosovo. Simply because Muslims and Turks were on the wrong side of the war in the Balkans does not at all mean that they are wrong in this case. We should not judge parties, much less so side with them, but we should look at each case on its inherent merits. For example, what Turkey does in Kurdistan is appalling. But that does not mean that Turkey is wrong in its outrage about the latest Israeli lunacy. In the future, we might even see a situation in which the USA or Israel are on the right side of some issue, and in that case we should not pull out a laundry list of all the past or current wrongs of these two regimes. To side “with Turkey” in this case is not to side with Turkey, much less so endorse its politics, but only to side with international law, decency, and common sense.
“Agent provocateurs” on the Mavi Marmara? – part 2
Clearly, some folks on the Mavi Marmara had improvised weapons and they resisted the Israeli assault. So?! What is wrong with that? I personally wish that ALL ships headed for Gaza would actively resist any Israeli force attempting to seize them. Let’s face it, it is ONLY the fact that some passengers resisted which forced the Israeli to show their ugly and inhuman face to the rest of the world. I say – well done, resisting passengers! Keep up the good work. First, why should anyone NOT resist when being boarded by de jure and de facto pirates in international waters? Why do Somali pirates get one treatment, and Israeli pirates another one? So let’s cut the hypocrisy here and openly say what should be obvious to all: violently resisting with improvised weapons was an excellent idea. The only possible argument against that is that this resulted in deaths. Well, guess what, Israelis kill Palestinians in Gaza every damn day! If I remember correctly, 4 of 5 Palestinians were killed the very day the Mavi Marmara was taken to Ashdod. Sure, nobody should be forced to risk his/her life, but the guys who chose to take that risk did not do so in vain. In fact, their deaths were far more useful than the deaths of the thousands Palestinians in Gaza since the so called Israeli “withdrawal” from Gaza.
Iran really has only one real and trustworthy friend and ally: Hezbollah
I have been lurking on various Arab and Palestinian websites again and again I get a sad, really discouraging feeling: Arab tribalism and anti-Persian bigotry is alive and well. There is a constant flow of anti-Iranian propaganda on Arab websites. No matter what the Iranians say or do, they are always accused of “using the Palestinian cause” for their dark and mysterious motives. The fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran never did anything against any Arab state, or the fact that Iran did more for the Palestinian cause than all the Arab states taken together matters little here. I suspect that some Arabs have a deep seated sense of inferiority since, after all, they have never been able to effectively stand up to Israel – nevermind Uncle Sam – whereas Iran has done just that, and successfully. The ONLY Arab force which managed not only to stand up to Israel, but to actually whoop it was Hezbollah, which is openly and totally allied to Iran. Of course, the vast majority of Arabs are either secular or Sunni, and both of these groups are still deeply infected with the virus of tribalism which the Baathist ideology always promoted. So for these neo-Baathist secularists or Sunnis to see a Shia and Persian power do more and better for the Palestinians than what they ever could is humiliating. And to deal with this humiliation they do a truly Orwellian double-thinking trick: they support and take pride in Hezbollah, while hating and badmouthing Iran. They dismiss Hezbollah’s consistant and central message that Hezbollah is deeply grateful to Iran, and fully and totally allied with it. Our confused neo-Baathists simply see all the systematic statements of Hezbollah about Iran as “pragmatic propaganda” to keep benefiting from Iran’s support. How they totally mis-read Hezbollah is really amusing to me. But then, I even heard these secularist dismiss the centrality of the Shia faith and piety to the Hezbollah movement….
Some will just never “get it” I suppose
Brazil and Lula:
I have to admit that I was very impressed by Lula’s role in the negotiations with Iran. Not so much because of what these negotiations actually achieved, but because Lula openly defied the USA and Israel by even engaging in such negotiations. Could it be that I underestimated Lula and that he is far more principled that I had given him credit for? I sure hope so. The signs are encouraging.
So what’s the deal with Erdogan?
Good question indeed. What the hell is going on with the Turks?! They used to be Israel’s and the USA’s most faithful ally, and yet they seem to be really seriously breaking these ties. One interesting theory that I heard is trying to replace Iran as the #1 defender of the Palestinian people (poor Arab nationalists… first they have the hated “Persians” as the biggest defenders of Palestinians, and now the no less hated “Ottomans”…). Could it be that Erdogan is trying to become so popular in Turkey as being “un-overthrowable” by the Turkish military? Listening to Erdogan and Assad standing next to each other at a press conference I was left marvelling at the ability of the Zionists to piss off absolutely everybody and, in the process, turn former enemies (like Turkey and Syria) into allies against it.
Have a great week-end everybody!
“I have been lurking on various Arab and Palestinian websites again and again I get a sad, really discouraging feeling: Arab tribalism and anti-Persian bigotry is alive and well. There is a constant flow of anti-Iranian propaganda on Arab websites. No matter what the Iranians say or do, they are always accused of “using the Palestinian cause” for their dark and mysterious motives.”
I usually do not mention on blog posts that I’m Egyptian born, though living in the US since the age of two. However, I had some good news regarding that topic.
I was visiting Egypt this past November and spoke to some relatives about Iran and Hezbollah. What I found was an almost universal affection and admiration for both. Iran can’t get nukes fast enough as far as they were concerned. They were absolutely disgusted by Mubarak’s open support for Israel in 2006 and 2008. One of them even paraphrased Nassrallah: nobody is asking Egypt to fight, or even help. But at least they can just shut up. I did not sense any animosity towards Shiism, which most considered a perfectly valid form of Islam.
Sadly, your point about an Arab sense of inferiority is true. But the relatives I spoke to were quite open about it. Their attitude was, we have failed. Maybe we need to step aside and let someone else a try.
The attitude was similar during a 2004 visit. It has only been solidified since then.
Of course, that is hardly a scientific sample. But I still view it as an overall positive.
@Lysander: thanks for your very interesting and encouraging comment. My comments being based only on what I read on various websites I am happy to year that the latter do not always reflect the opinion of many or most Arabs.
I just have such a dislike for tribalism/nationalism in all its forms (and origins) that I might be making a moutain out of a mole. I do that sometimes :)
Re Lula and Erdogan: Turkey was actually in consultation with the US for signing the agreement between Brazil, Turkey, and Iran.
Turkey again was in consultation with the US about Mavi Marmara.
NATO wants Turkey to be the major regional power which means reduced influence of Iran in the region. Turkey is actually trying to play the role it’s been assigned. No more, no less. If Turkey can gain some people in the Hizbullah or Hamas, then Iran’s influence will weaken. Turkey knows this and Iran knows this. Syria, on the other hand, is playing them against one another.
It’s only fair to ask why Erdogan is worried so much about Palestinian kids while his own government either kills or puts over 4000 kids into prison for decades under terrorism charges.
Zerkes, if that is NATO’s plan for Turkey, it really isn’t a very good one. Iran can point to a solid record of resistance since Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Turkey has a long way to go to develop that kind of record. I can assure you, the Arab world sees that. So for sure does Hezbollah. Hamas is in such a weak position that it will take whatever help in can get.
However, the reason I’m more hopeful about Turkey’s change of heart being genuine takes me back to 2003. While under enormous pressure, and while being offered massive bribes to allow the US to invade Iraq from Turkish territory, they refused. Also, if you are paying attention to the US media, the whole neocon comentariat is on the attack against Turkey. Superfluous if the intent is to manipulate Arab opinion, since they are not read much there. Of course, we have to wait and see. Turkey and Israel could kiss and make up at any moment.
Regardless, none of this is to paper over Turkey’s numerous crimes against the Kurds.
@Zerkes: Rather than repeat it all, let me just say that I completely agree with Lysander, word for word, including, of course, when he writes that none of this is to paper over Turkey’s numerous crimes against the Kurds