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imperialism & war | legacies

The Bankruptcy of the Hawks

The pictures of victims among the civilian Lebanese population and the heroic Mudschahedin play into the hands of the Jihad-rhetoric of Al-Qaida.. The war against terror can only be won when the ideas of Al-Qaida are discredited and a global norm against terrror is created.

"Moderates fall silent, liberals are marginalized and radical forces and Islamists are strengthened"

by Thomas Pany

[This article published in the German-English cyber journal Telepolis, 7/29/2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,  http://www.telepolis.de/r4/artikel/23/23215/1.html.]

In a radio discussion [1] on the Lebanon conflict last week, a representative of the German-Israeli association said the conflict between Israel, Palestinians and Arab neighbors was an ideological conflict around Israel's existence, not first of all a territorial conflict. He emphasized the demand now propagated and constantly repeated by Iran's president Ahmadinedschad that Israel should disappear because the land has no place in the utopia of a Kalifat from Spain to Iraq. Israel is stylized as an undesirable speck that has to be wiped out. Israel's existence is endangered, particularly when this ideology is echoed in neighboring Arab countries.

To the question of the moderator whether Israel treated Palestinians very harshly in the last years, he replied that many dissenting Palestinians were not heard.

A related question would be whether there is a Palestinian opposition to the Israeli occupation policy that is not aligned with radical camps and does not follow the logic that refuses Israel's existence and supports this with force of arms or strikes against civilians.


The war reinforces friend-enemy thinking and camp pressure. According to a poll of the Beirut Center for Research information, 87 percent of the Lebanese [2] support the struggle of Hezbollah. This represents an increase of 29 percent over a similar poll in February.

At the moment, "liberal" Arab intellectuals, writers and journalists who had distanced themselves from radical groups are moving on a line with Hezbollah and its "heroic acts." In a "Statement by Workers in the Public Cultural Sphere in Lebanon," several dozen Lebanese intellectuals declared their solidarity with Hezbollah: [1]

We the undersigned declare:
1) Our conscious support for the Lebanese national resistance as it wages a war in defense of our sovereignty and independence, a war to release Lebanese imprisoned in Israel, a war to safeguard the dignity of the Lebanese and Arab people.
2) Our unambiguous refutation of the logic that accuses Hezbollah of having provided the "pretext" for the Israeli invasion. Israel did not invade Lebanon, destroy its infrastructure, displace and murder its populace because of the heroic operation carried out by Hezbollah

In a posting [3] of American specialists for Arab affairs, Marc Lynch [4] says the one-sided policy of the US in the present conflict has opened a gulf between the West and the Arab world in which "moderates fall silent and liberals are marginalized while radical forces and Islamists are strengthened."


At the beginning of his blog commentary yesterday, Lynch [5] quotes the Lebanese journalist Hazem Saghiye who writes for the Arab newspaper al-Hayat in London. Saghiye is one of the "wisest and most insightful Arab liberals out there." Lynch presents this disheartening summary of the present situation:

"With the atrocities committed by the Israelis, the gulf between us and everything great from the West like democracy and liberalism becomes greater. How can we speak about them? We liberals must pay the price for this combination of stupidity and violence.

Since September 11, 2001, this has been a common "refrain" among many Arab reformers and liberals. The foreign policy of the American president has damaged the milieu on which Bush set his reform visions. According to many commentators in the last two weeks, the American position on the war in Lebanon seemingly sets the "final killing touches."


Like members of the expert blog "Aquoul" for the Middle East/ North African region (MENA) [6], Lynch sees the essential problem in the "framing" of the Bush administration and supporters of the Israeli military operations in Lebanon for this war. It is interpreted as part of the Great War on terror. This could striker back in dangerous and direct ways as manifest already in the Iraq war. The hawk approach to the "global war on terror" is demonstrably bankrupt.

The unreserved support of the Israeli military operation by the US also supports "the narrative of Al-Qaida" in the war of ideas. To interpret the video by Sawahiri on the Lebanon war [cf. "The Whole World is a Battlefield" (7)] as merely jumping on the bandwagon of Al-Qaida is shortsighted. Al-Qaida's leadership has long concentrated on work in the "war of ideas." Definitional power on the "common sense" of Arab and Moslem politics is sought:

In their measuring system for success, the number of dead westerners counts less than the number of Moslems who have strengthened their identification with Islam or with key elements of the political narrative of Al-Qaida. Key elements include the idea Israel and America are partners in the crusade-alliance against Islam, the idea that the West has no regard for the life of Moslems, the idea that the West has never allowed Islamic parties to win elections, the idea that Islam and the West are caught in an eternal battle decided more by "power" and less by dialogue or diplomacy and that peaceful coexistence is impossible.

Such thoughts and ideas seem like common sense today more than a month ago in the Arab and Moslem world.

Even more than the Iraq war, the pictures of victims among the civilian Lebanese population and the "heroically fighting Mudschahedin" play into the hands of the Jihad-rhetoric of Al Qaida, Lynch says... An alliance of Shiite and Sunni forces is possible.

The war against terror can only be won when the ideas of Al-Qaida are discredited and a global norm against terror - against the use of force against civilians as political targets - is created. A positive narrative that can counter Al-Qaida is necessary.


Statement by Workers in the Public Cultural Sphere in Lebanon, July 25, 2006
We the undersigned declare:
1) Our conscious support for the Lebanese national resistance as it wages a war in defense of our sovereignty and independence, a war to release Lebanese imprisoned in Israel, a war to safeguard the dignity of the Lebanese and Arab people.
2) Our unambiguous refutation of the logic that accuses Hezbollah of having provided the "pretext" for the Israeli invasion. Israel did not invade Lebanon, destroy its infrastructure, displace and murder its populace because of the heroic operation carried out by Hezbollah. Israel has never needed a pretext to breach the sovereignty of Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, or other nations. Rather, the recent Israeli aggression is the latest in a long series extending back to the founding of the Zionist state and motivated by both historical ambitions vis-à-vis Lebanese territory and waters and by a racist supremacist ideology that denigrates the indigenous population, their culture, and their very existence. The most recent aggression is, more specifically, the realization of a long-standing, openly professed desire of Israel to avenge for its humiliation at being driven out of most of Lebanon by the resistance operations that began in September 1982 and had their fruition in May 2000. Israel's very avowal of intent to implement by its own powers UN Resolution 1559 is itself proof that its invasion of Lebanon today surpasses any mere response to the above-mentioned operation and serves an American policy that aims at annihilating all viable opposition in the world at large, and at direct control of the Arab world and its resources in particular. How strange that Israel should wish to be the policeman in charge of executing UN Resolution 1559 when it has not yet executed any of the previously issued UN resolutions addressing its own actions, with the exception of the partial implementation of Resolution 425, which resulted essentially because of strikes inflicted by the armed Lebanese Resistance.
3) Our staunch condemnation of official American support for, and contribution to, the Israeli aggression. The war crimes Israel is currently committing, as well as those it committed in the past and will commit in the probable future, would not have occurred or occur yet without America's political and military support for Israel, that which is unmitigated by its allegedly unswerving espousal of Lebanese freedom, sovereignty, and independence.
4) Our utter rejection of the Lebanese government's decision to "not adopt" the Lebanese Resistance operation, thereby stripping the Resistance of political credibility before the adversarial international powers, when it behooved that government to deem the said operation as consistent with its Ministerial Proclamation in support of the liberation of the Lebanese prisoners in Israel, of Shebaa Farms, and of Kfar Shuba.
We the undersigned, in declaring our intentions, also therefore, call upon:
1) The Lebanese government, which we want to see leading a sovereign, democratic state for all Lebanese, to realize its full responsibilities, especially in terms of embracing the Lebanese Resistance in diverse ways, and particularly after the clarification of Israel's plan to destroy the infrastructure, institutions, and political entity of Lebanon.
2) Arab intellectuals to stand beside the Lebanese Resistance, to expose the Zionist racist, supremacist impetus, and to document Israel's crimes against Arabs since its founding. Likewise, we ask our Arab colleagues to confront the continual calls for capitulation (wrapped in the cloak of "realism"), and to expose both the American bias towards Israel and the complicity of the majority of "rational" Arab governments against the Lebanese Resistance. We, also, ask that you take a stand against all kinds of normalization with Israel, by closing down the Israeli embassies and government offices located in Arab countries, and by boycotting products of Israeli and pro-Israeli companies, whatever their nationality.
3) Lebanese intellectuals, in particular, not to be swayed by the (il) logic that accuses Hezbollah of having destroyed the Lebanese economy, but instead to hold Israel fully responsible for its age-old policy of destruction and war crimes. The principle of the Lebanese Resistance is to be a deterrent force against Israel's ability to pursue that policy with impunity.
4) Free-thinking intellectuals the world over, and advocates of justice and peace, to publicize the history of Israeli aggression and to pressure the American and European governments to halt their military and material maintenance of the Zionist killing machine. Similarly, we call upon our peers in the world to announce a boycott of Israeli products, and of Israeli academic and scientific institutions that do not condemn the Israeli aggression against Lebanon. Furthermore, we invite intellectuals the world over to visit Lebanon in order to stand by the side of their Lebanese
colleagues and to view first hand the results of Israeli war crimes against civilians, schools, infrastructure, humane institutions (foremost among them the Lebanese Red Cross), and media (which, in addition to sustaining hits on its press convoys and aerial transmitters, most recently lost to Israeli fire the reporters Layal Najib and Sulayman Shidyak). The solidarity of world intellectuals with the Lebanese people, press, and culture-workers, in such direct terms, would constitute an international declaration of the refusal to permit Israel to treat Lebanon as a mere "military target" for its airplanes, warships, tanks, and "smart" bombs.
Resistance is an intellectual act par excellence. That is because the goal of intellectual activity, like resistance, is to defend the values of justice and equality of all people. For this reason we, the undersigned, consider, regardless of our varying intellectual inclinations, cultural and critical activity an integral part of Lebanese national resistance, indeed of resistance to injustice anywhere in the world.
Initial Signatories:
Samah Idriss (PhD, Al-Adab Magazine), Joseph Samaha (Al-Akhbar Newspaper), Talal Salman (Al-Safir Newspaper), Muhammad 'Ali Shamseddin (Poet), Mai Masri (Film director), Kirsten Scheid (Asst. Prof in Anthropology, AUB), Omar Nashabeh (PhD in criminology), Rania Masri (Asst. Prof, Fac. of Science, University of Balamand), Jean Cham'oun (Film director), Wasef 'Awadah (Journalist), Amin Qammuriyyeh (Journalist), Sa'dallah Mazra'ani (Journalist & Media Commentator), Hilmi Mousa (Political Analyst), Adonis Al-'Akra (Phd, philosophy, Lebanese Univ.), Ibrahim Al-Amin (Journalist), Graziella Kallab (Psychotherapist), Laila Al-Khatib (Phd, Literary Criticism), Zaynab Yaghi (Journalist), Jihad Touma (Phd, AUB), Husayn Ayyoub (Journalist), Najib Nasrallah (Journalist), 'Imad Marmal (Journalist), Nasri Al-Sayigh (Writer), Pierre Abi Sa'b (Journalist), Fatima Sharafeddine (Children's Author), Khalil Zahreddin (Geologist & Cultural Activist), Hanady Salman (Journalist), Camille Dagher (Writer), Walid Sharara (Journalist), Khalil Harb (Journalist), Hala Bajjani (Al-Akhbar Newspaper), Hanna Al-Hajj (Phd, Sociology), Nabil Haytham (Journalist), Hashim Qasem (Journalist), Sa'd Mehio (Journalist), Adel 'Ammous (Publisher), George Haddad (Writer), Ranwa Yehya (Coordinator of an Arab Youth program), Adnan Al-Sahili (Economist & Journalist), Mousa Al-Hindi (Cultural Activist), Imad Haydar (Journalist), Ahmad Dallal (Prof. of Islamic Studies, Georgetown Univ.), As'ad Abu Khalil (Prof. of Political Sciences, Univ. of California at Stanislaus), Rabi'a Salman (Journalist & Teacher), Nada Al-Qara (Cultural Activist & Health Worker), Firas Al-Amin (Writer), Sulayman Bakhti (Literary Critic), Tareq Ghaddar (Prof. AUB), Pascal Lahhoud (Phd), Jumana B'albaki (Journalist), Khalid Saghiyyeh (Asst. Prof., AUB), Sa'da 'Allaw (Journalist), Sahar Mandour (Journalist), Nader Sabbagh (Journalist), Juhayna Khalidiyyah (Journalist), Madonna Sam'an (Journalist), Ghada Ali Kalash (Writer & Journalist), Mundhir Sulayman (Phd, Political Analyst), Husayn Nasrallah (Journalist, Al-Kifah Al-'Arabi Newspaper), Gabi Abou 'Atmeh (Journalist), Salwa Ba'lbaki (Journalist), Fatin Qubaysi (Journalist), Rana Nawfal (Publisher), Maysa 'Awwad (Journalist), Ali Salman (Journalist), Wafiq Qansoh (Journalist), Omar Al-Ayyubi (Writer & Translator), Sharif Al-Rifa'i (Architect), Saqr Abu Fakhr (Journal of Palestine Studies), Jacques Al-Aswad (Art Critic & Lexicographer), Michel Riyachi (Cultural Activist), Zeinab Sharafeddine (Journalist), Dr. Nicolas Abou Mourad (Doctorat en Théologie, Prof. à l'Université de Balamand), Ahmad Bazzoun (Journalist), Ghassan Nasser (Architect & Cultural Activist)...
In addition letters of support from workers in the public cultural sphere outside Lebanon were received from Dr. Nasr Hamed Abu Zayd & Dr. Ibtihal Younis (Egypt), Nasser Rabbat (Agha Khan Professor of Architecture, MIT), Khodor 'Awarika (Novelist & Political Essayist), Ziad Mona (Writer & Publisher, Syria)...Beirut, July 25, 2006
(1)  link to www.br-online.de
(2)  http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0728/p06s01-wome.html
(3)  link to abuaardvark.typepad.com
(4)  http://www.williams.edu/PoliSci/lynch.htm
(5)  link to abuaardvark.typepad.com
(6)  http://www.aqoul.com/archives/2006/07/skillful_assyme_1.php
(7)  http://www.telepolis.de/r4/artikel/23/23205/1.html
(8)  link to abuaardvark.typepad.com
Telepolis Artikel-URL:  http://www.telepolis.de/r4/artikel/23/23215/1.html

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