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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

 

Conflict Of Conscience Or Something Rotten In Denmark
By Karen Nakamura

The liberal-left in the United States is going through a crisis.
On one hand, they're thrilled to see people moving towards democracy in
Iraq, Afghanistan, the Ukraine, Palestine and Lebanon. Liberals have worked long and hard to help spread democratic principals throughout the world. In fact, the One World/Family of Man ideal is based on the equality of all people.
On the other hand, the hard working liberal-left is horrified that President George Bush and Secretary of State Condi Rice could click their heels and generations of oppression would fall away with the neocons seen as The Great Liberators.
Suddenly, the Republican right wing that have backed Israel's right-wing and its spokesman, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for decades, think they can buy/own/dictate to Palestine and Lebanon by "bringing democracy" to the region. Suddenly, they are the Palestinians' "Great Friend." Or are they?
Many experienced civil rights activists smell something rotten in certain aspects of these democratic strides. For example, is that all it's ever taken, for the president of the
United States to order freedom and it's done? Why wasn't it done long ago then?
In August of 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced proposals to extend covert missions on a global scale under the Defense Department's Special Operations unit. Not only would it seek out terrorists, it could also become involved in "preparation of the battlefield." Is that what this election fever is all about, preparation of the battlefield?
An important aspect is the similarity of the protest movements in both the
Ukraine and Lebanon. The Ukrainian election was widely reported to have the financial backing of the United States and the expulsion of Syria has been high on the Bush Agenda. It also follows the Richard Perle/Paul Wolfowitz plan to take over the Middle East for American and Israeli interests.
As Noah Chomsky stated March 4 of this year, "Where democracy appears to fit in well with US security and economic interests, the
US promotes democracy. Where democracy clashes with other significant interests, it is downplayed or ignored."
Kicking the Syrians out of
Lebanon could be seen as a move to create a vacuum that Israel and the US intend to fill. After all, the Syrians were in Lebanon to establish stability when the Israelis withdrew and to ensure they wouldn't return.
Speaking about
Palestine, Chomsky went on to say "The only substantive element [in current Palestinian/Israeli negotiations] is that Palestinians, even against the occupying army must cease resistance. Nothing could delight US-Israeli hawks more than complete peace which would enable them to pursue, unhindered, the policies of takeover of the valuable land and resources of the West Bank and [continue] huge infrastructure projects to break up the remaining Palestinian territories into unviable cantons."
Despite
Israel's false statements that it's the only democracy in the Middle East, Lebanon has had a thriving democracy since at least the 1970s. Its parliament has a number of parties with representatives ranging from Maronite Christians, Phalangists (the actual perpetrators of the Sabra/Shatila refugee camps massacre), Druze and Hezbollah. It has an important election coming up in May in which the Christian wing is a minority but represented.
Palestine also has a representative government and would hold more elections if its citizens could get to the voting booth without being shot by the Israeli military. The Palestinian parliament meets regularly and had a working infrastructure until the Israeli's bombed most of the record centers to smithereens.
Conservative columnist and CNN Crossfire host, Robert Novak, expressed a possible problem with far-flung implications, in the administration's scenario. Talking with other reporters about who assassinated former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri, Novak scoffed at the consensus the Syrians were responsible and opined it was just the Israeli's up to their old tricks.
This perspective was bolstered by the support shown the Syrians by demonstrators in
Beirut and reinforced with the re-instatement of Prime Minister Omar Karami. In a Zogby/Information International poll taken in Lebanon right after the assassination, 3/4s of the participants want May's elections to continue with large numbers planning to vote for those candidates close to Hariri. About half of the Druze community feel the Lebanese government and Syria were involved while 17% of the Maronites (conservative Christian opposition) thought the Syrians were responsible. In contrast, only 3-5% of Shiites thought it was the Syrians and while 53% thought the Israelis were responsible, 19% felt it was the US.
That the conservative Christians faction or some other pro-western element could have taken matters into their own hands to speed western domination is almost never considered as a possibility among possibilities by the American press.
A large percent of the demonstrators wanting the Syrians out are conservative Christians from various parties. While the greater Lebanese public undoubtedly wants all foreign elements to get out and stay out, the faction closer in ideology to the Bush administration is not surprisingly, Christian conservatives. One of these, opposition leader Michael Aoun exiled for 14 years, intends to return in time to run for office in the coming elections.
Mustafa Barghouthi, president of the Palestinian National Initiative organization, spoke on the subject on C-SPAN's Washington Journal in March. "The presence of the Syrian Army is the outcome of old conflicts but the Lebanese have the right to govern themselves." He went on to say the real problem is the Israel/Palestine conflict and
Israel's previous invasion of Lebanon in the 1980s. The Syrians helped get Israel out and have been there on the numerous occasions when Israel has tried to re-occupy the country.
Is this the beginning of another Israeli/American campaign to gobble more land and resources? It's worth a deeper examination.
 

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