It is obscene. Graphic images of people being killed in Lebanon and Israel are being shown all over the world’s media. Who hated who’s Grandfather first? I don’t know. But after a bunch of knuckleheads captured a couple of Israeli soldiers everybody seemingly is getting killed. The war in Lebanon has captured the world’s attention.
Meanwhile in the Democratic Republic of the Congo elections are being held. Supporters of incumbent President Joseph Kabila and presidential hopeful Jean-Pierre Bemba have clashed in the streets of Kinshasa. Other groups have done the same thing all over the DRC. French planes have been buzzing he capital. The election was July 30th. 33 candidates were running for DRC president.
Surely you know where I’m going with this. Why do we have minute-by-minute media coverage when the Israeli’s and Arab’s are involved, but the DRC election doesn’t get any play. The DRC has been a caldron of turmoil since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960. In 1998 the war with Rwanda and Uganda involved six different African nations. In essence it was Africa’s world war.
Still to put a new spin on one of my old axiom, people in the Middle East bleed too. I often make the statement that what difference does it make where people are hurting. War is war and it doesn’t make any difference within the annals of this column where it is. If grandpa wait back when didn’t like you, we’re going to remember that.
The question is where does the west have more strategic interest? It is the age-old question. With the Middle East being a tinderbox of hate and just happening to be near the world’s largest oil reserves, we’ve got a problem. Add in a little bit of “terrorism, politics and poverty” and you have a brew, which is constantly causing the world pain.
Some might say there is a lot of diamonds and crude oil in the DRC, so why doesn’t that get on the world stage like Israel and Lebanon? Who knows? I might be interested but when you are dealing with a war-torn African country, which has had until recently had negative economic growth, the world seems to be yawning. It is what it is.
Take a couple of world leaders for example. President George W. Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. When Hezbollah captured those two Israeli soldiers and Israel responded these western leaders found themselves in St. Petersburg Russia at the G-8 summit. What is usually a lavish photo op for western leaders concerning economic policy suddenly turned into a dance about the Middle East. Bush and Harper were falling all over themselves to back Israel. It seemed many of the other leaders were aghast.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper initially said Israel’s response was a measured one against terrorism. Then an Israeli bomb killed 7 Canadian family members from Montreal who were vacationing in Lebanon. Then on July 26th Major Hess-von Kruedener of the Canadian forces was killed when an Israeli bomb was dropped on a UN observer outpost in southern Lebanon. Harper is backtracking because Canadians are outraged. Blanket support for Israel now drives too big a wedge in Canada’s political environment. Harper is retreating.
The fighting between Israel and Hezbollah continues. Hezbollah (The Party of God) morphed out of the resistance to oust Israel from Lebanon. It represents Lebanon’s Shia Muslims, which is the countries single largest community. It now has a presence in the Lebanon parliament and provides important health and social services within Lebanon. With widespread support through the region, Israel is fighting Santa Claus. It’s bloody, gritty and hateful. More grandfathers are being jilted everyday.
That’s true for the Congo as well. The problem is with this Israeli/Hezbollah regional grudge it has far wider implications for the greater global economy. Iran and Syria support Hezbollah. The U.S supports Israel. The U.S is occupying Iraq. Everybody lives in that neighbourhood. Oil is too close to all the troublemakers.
Lebanese People playing Whose Card?
A. K. Enamul Haque Ph.D.
“People in Congo bleed too” this is one of Phil’s favorite line when we talk about the Middle East. This is a tough question to answer but we do not often answer his question. There is a significant difference in the war in the Congo. First, there is no religious flavour to it like that of Darfur. So it is not a sexy item for the commentators. You cannot blame a religious or an ethnic group and so it is like a story about the Mafia. Warlords fighting each other to capture resources. Second, it is not a fight either fuelled by or participated by foreign powers. Third, it does not matter who captures the resources in the Congo because the West will get it. They will sell and the West will buy.
Given this it is useless to discuss the Congo. Let us be fair. When is Bangladesh on the Western media? When there is a natural disaster. Why? Clearly the world’s media is fixated during this time when people suffer.
Now, coming back to Lebanon. This country wanted this war! Now they have it! Why? When the Syrians killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Harari allegedly, I could feel the writing on the wall. The Israeli-West network has been wanting Syria out of Lebanon. Since Hezbollah is powerful in politics it was difficult. The strategy was to create a case for a quick exit of Syria from Lebanon. So my strong hunch is that Israel did it at the advice of Western powers.
Let me explain why I say so! Syria knows that if they kill the PM of Lebanon then they have to leave Lebanon. If you argue that Syrian intelligence is not that smart then by now the investigation by the Lebanese and the UN and others should’ve established the Syrian link to the killing. Anyway once Mosad did the job of killing, the western press did the finishing touch. They told the world that Syria should be out of Lebanon!! Why? So that Israel can enter into Lebanon and eliminate Hezbollah. So, I was expecting this. The Lebanese people wanted this war and they got it. I do not want to comment any further.
What next? There will be a ceasefire and the objective is to install another Hamid Karzai type of government in Lebanon. The US will not send troops but other western nations will. It is also possible that some Muslim nations will participate to legitimize the Western takeover of Lebanon. This is scenario number one.
Any alternative? To me there is another remote possibility. Syria will reenter but this will happen if a) Israel enters deep inside Lebanon and stay there b) if the Lebanese people wake up and reevaluate the scenarios leading up to the withdrawal of Syrian troops. Both Israel and the Western media are well aware of this. So this is a very remote possibility. The killing is part of the master plan and the Lebanese have no choice but to experience it. They played the wrong card to begin with.
The third possibility is to end bombing once the plan one is no longer feasible. For the Lebanese this is a better option! But can they play their own card?