Renaissance and reaction to Islam.

  • News
  • Thread starter Schrodinger's Dog
  • Start date
  • Tags
    Reaction
In summary: Tony Blair believes that the Middle East is a battle about values, and that the US has been fighting this battle for a long time. He also believes that the values system of the Middle East needs to change in order to defeat global extremism.
  • #1
Schrodinger's Dog
835
7
What Tony Blair believes about the Middle East, I offer it up for comment and it speaks for itself so will offer no view, a short form believe it or not :bugeye: :smile: : discuss.

Feel free to read the whole thing including the PM's comments in reply to questions.

http://www.number10.gov.uk/output/Page9948.asp

Overnight, the news came through that as well as continuing conflict in the Lebanon, Britain's Armed Forces suffered losses in Iraq and Afghanistan. It brings home yet again the extraordinary courage and commitment of our armed forces who risk their lives and in some cases tragically lose them, defending our country's security and that of the wider world. These are people of whom we should be very proud.

I know the US has suffered heavy losses too in Iraq and in Afghanistan. We should never forget how much we owe these people, how great their bravery, and their sacrifice.

I planned the basis of this speech several weeks ago. The crisis in the Lebanon has not changed its thesis. It has brought it into sharp relief.

The purpose of the provocation that began the conflict was clear. It was to create chaos, division and bloodshed, to provoke retaliation by Israel that would lead to Arab and Muslim opinion being inflamed, not against those who started the aggression but against those who responded to it.

It is still possible even now to come out of this crisis with a better long-term prospect for the cause of moderation in the Middle East succeeding. But it would be absurd not to face up to the immediate damage to that cause which has been done.

We will continue to do all we can to halt the hostilities. But once that has happened, we must commit ourselves to a complete renaissance of our strategy to defeat those that threaten us. There is an arc of extremism now stretching across the Middle East and touching, with increasing definition, countries far outside that region. To defeat it will need an alliance of moderation, that paints a different future in which Muslim, Jew and Christian; Arab and Western; wealthy and developing nations can make progress in peace and harmony with each other. My argument to you today is this: we will not win the battle against this global extremism unless we win it at the level of values as much as force, unless we show we are even-handed, fair and just in our application of those values to the world.

The point is this. This is war, but of a completely unconventional kind.

9/11 in the US, 7/7 in the UK, 11/3 in Madrid, the countless terrorist attacks in countries as disparate as Indonesia or Algeria, what is now happening in Afghanistan and in Indonesia, the continuing conflict in Lebanon and Palestine, it is all part of the same thing. What are the values that govern the future of the world? Are they those of tolerance, freedom, respect for difference and diversity or those of reaction, division and hatred? My point is that this war can't be won in a conventional way. It can only be won by showing that our values are stronger, better and more just, more fair than the alternative. Doing this, however, requires us to change dramatically the focus of our policy.

Unless we re-appraise our strategy, unless we revitalise the broader global agenda on poverty, climate change, trade, and in respect of the Middle East, bend every sinew of our will to making peace between Israel and Palestine, we will not win. And this is a battle we must win.

What is happening today out in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and beyond is an elemental struggle about the values that will shape our future.

It is in part a struggle between what I will call Reactionary Islam and Moderate, Mainstream Islam. But its implications go far wider. We are fighting a war, but not just against terrorism but about how the world should govern itself in the early 21st century, about global values.

The root causes of the current crisis are supremely indicative of this. Ever since September 11th, the US has embarked on a policy of intervention in order to protect its and our future security. Hence Afghanistan. Hence Iraq. Hence the broader Middle East initiative in support of moves towards democracy in the Arab world.
The point about these interventions, however, military and otherwise, is that they were not just about changing regimes but changing the values systems governing the nations concerned. The banner was not actually "regime change" it was "values change".

What we have done therefore in intervening in this way, is far more momentous than possibly we appreciated at the time.

Of course the fanatics, attached to a completely wrong and reactionary view of Islam, had been engaging in terrorism for years before September 11th. In Chechnya, in India and Pakistan, in Algeria, in many other Muslim countries, atrocities were occurring. But we did not feel the impact directly. So we were not bending our eye or our will to it as we should have. We had barely heard of the Taleban. We rather inclined to the view that where there was terrorism, perhaps it was partly the fault of the governments of the countries concerned.

We were in error. In fact, these acts of terrorism were not isolated incidents. They were part of a growing movement. A movement that believed Muslims had departed from their proper faith, were being taken over by Western culture, were being governed treacherously by Muslims complicit in this take-over, whereas the true way to recover not just the true faith, but Muslim confidence and self esteem, was to take on the West and all its works.

Sometimes political strategy comes deliberatively, sometimes by instinct. For this movement, it was probably by instinct. It has an ideology, a world-view, it has deep convictions and the determination of the fanatic. It resembles in many ways early revolutionary Communism. It doesn't always need structures and command centres or even explicit communication. It knows what it thinks.

Its strategy in the late 1990s became clear. If they were merely fighting with Islam, they ran the risk that fellow Muslims - being as decent and fair-minded as anyone else - would choose to reject their fanaticism. A battle about Islam was just Muslim versus Muslim. They realized they had to create a completely different battle in Muslim minds: Muslim versus Western.

This is what September 11th did. Still now, I am amazed at how many people will say, in effect, there is increased terrorism today because we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. They seem to forget entirely that September 11th predated either. The West didn't attack this movement. We were attacked. Until then we had largely ignored it.

The reason I say our response was even more momentous than it seemed at the time, is this. We could have chosen security as the battleground. But we didn't. We chose values. We said we didn't want another Taleban or a different Saddam. Rightly, in my view, we realized that you can't defeat a fanatical ideology just by imprisoning or killing its leaders; you have to defeat its ideas.

There is a host of analysis written about mistakes made in Iraq or Afghanistan, much of it with hindsight but some of it with justification. But it all misses one vital point. The moment we decided not to change regime but to change the value system, we made both Iraq and Afghanistan into existential battles for Reactionary Islam. We posed a threat not to their activities simply: but to their values, to the roots of their existence.

We committed ourselves to supporting Moderate, Mainstream Islam. In almost pristine form, the battles in Iraq or Afghanistan became battles between the majority of Muslims in either country who wanted democracy and the minority who realize that this rings the death-knell of their ideology.

What is more, in doing this, we widened the definition of Reactionary Islam. It is not just Al-Qaeda who felt threatened by the prospect of two brutal dictatorships - one secular, one religious - becoming tolerant democracies. Any other country who could see that change in those countries might result in change in theirs, immediately also felt under threat. Syria and Iran, for example. No matter that previously, in what was effectively another political age, many of those under threat hated each other. Suddenly new alliances became formed under the impulsion of the common threat.

So in Iraq, Syria allowed Al-Qaeda operatives to cross the border. Iran has supported extremist Shia there. The purpose of the terrorism in Iraq is absolutely
simple: carnage, causing sectarian hatred, leading to civil war.

However, there was one cause which, the world over, unites Islam, one issue that even the most westernised Muslims find unjust and, perhaps worse, humiliating: Palestine. Here a moderate leadership was squeezed between its own inability to control the radical elements and the political stagnation of the peace process. When Prime Minister Sharon took the brave step of disengagement from Gaza, it could have been and should have been the opportunity to re-start the process. But the squeeze was too great and as ever because these processes never stay still, instead of moving forward, it fell back. Hamas won the election. Even then, had moderate elements in Hamas been able to show progress, the situation might have been saved. But they couldn't.

So the opportunity passed to Reactionary Islam and they seized it: first in Gaza, then in Lebanon. They knew what would happen. Their terrorism would provoke massive retaliation by Israel. Within days, the world would forget the original provocation and be shocked by the retaliation. They want to trap the Moderates between support for America and an Arab street furious at what they see nightly on their television. This is what has happened.

For them, what is vital is that the struggle is defined in their terms: Islam versus the West; that instead of Muslims seeing this as about democracy versus dictatorship, they see only the bombs and the brutality of war, and sent from Israel.

In this way, they hope that the arc of extremism that now stretches across the region, will sweep away the fledgling but faltering steps Modern Islam wants to take into the future.

To turn all of this around requires us first to perceive the nature of the struggle we are fighting and secondly to have a realistic strategy to win it. At present we are challenged on both fronts.

As to the first, it is almost incredible to me that so much of Western opinion appears to buy the idea that the emergence of this global terrorism is somehow our fault. For a start, it is indeed global. No-one who ever half bothers to look at the spread and range of activity related to this terrorism can fail to see its presence in virtually every major nation in the world. It is directed at the United States and its allies, of course. But it is also directed at nations who could not conceivably be said to be allies of the West. It is also rubbish to suggest that it is the product of poverty. It is true it will use the cause of poverty. But its fanatics are hardly the champions of economic development. It is based on religious extremism. That is the fact. And not any religious extremism; but a specifically Muslim version.

What it is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is not about those countries' liberation from US occupation. It is actually the only reason for the continuing presence of our troops. And it is they not us who are doing the slaughter of the innocent and doing it deliberately.

Its purpose is explicitly to prevent those countries becoming democracies and not "Western style" democracies, any sort of democracy. It is to prevent Palestine living side by side with Israel; not to fight for the coming into being of a Palestinian State, but for the going out of being, of an Israeli State. It is not wanting Muslim countries to modernise but to retreat into governance by a semi-feudal religious oligarchy.

Yet despite all of this, which I consider virtually obvious, we look at the bloodshed in Iraq and say that's a reason for leaving; we listen to the propaganda that tells us its all because of our suppression of Muslims and have parts of our opinion seriously believing that if we only got out of Iraq and Afghanistan, it would all stop.

And most contemporaneously, and in some ways most perniciously, a very large and, I fear, growing part of our opinion looks at Israel, and thinks we pay too great a price for supporting it and sympathises with Muslim opinion that condemns it. Absent from so much of the coverage, is any understanding of the Israeli predicament.

I, and any halfway sentient human being, regards the loss of civilian life in Lebanon as unacceptable, grieves for that nation, is sickened by its plight and wants the war to stop now. But just for a moment, put yourself in Israel's place. It has a crisis in Gaza, sparked by the kidnap of a solider by Hamas. Suddenly, without warning, Hizbollah who have been continuing to operate in Southern Lebanon for two years in defiance of UN Resolution 1559, cross the UN blue line, kill eight Israeli soldiers and kidnap two more. They then fire rockets indiscriminately at the civilian population in Northern Israel.

Hizbollah gets their weapons from Iran. Iran are now also financing militant elements in Hamas. Iran's President has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map". And he's trying to acquire a nuclear weapon. Just to complete the picture, Israel's main neighbour along its eastern flank is Syria who support Hizbollah and house the hardline leaders of Hamas.

It's not exactly a situation conducive to a feeling of security is it?

But the central point is this. In the end, even the issue of Israel is just part of the same, wider struggle for the soul of the region. If we recognised this struggle for what it truly is, we would be at least along the first steps of the path to winning it. But a vast part of the Western opinion is not remotely near this yet.

Whatever the outward manifestation at anyone time - in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Iraq and add to that in Afghanistan, in Kashmir, in a host of other nations including now some in Africa - it is a global fight about global values; it is about modernisation, within Islam and outside of it; it is about whether our value system can be shown to be sufficiently robust, true, principled and appealing that it beats theirs. Islamist extremism's whole strategy is based on a presumed sense of grievance that can motivate people to divide against each other. Our answer has to be a set of values strong enough to unite people with each other.

This is not just about security or military tactics. It is about hearts and minds about inspiring people, persuading them, showing them what our values at their best stand for.

Just to state it in these terms, is to underline how much we have to do. Convincing our own opinion of the nature of the battle is hard enough. But we then have to empower Moderate, Mainstream Islam to defeat Reactionary Islam. And because so much focus is now, world-wide on this issue, it is becoming itself a kind of surrogate for all the other issues the rest of the world has with the West. In other words, fail on this and across the range, everything gets harder.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
the end of his speech, well sort of:-

Why are we not yet succeeding? Because we are not being bold enough, consistent enough, thorough enough, in fighting for the values we believe in.

We start this battle with some self-evident challenges. Iraq's political process has worked in an extraordinary way. But the continued sectarian bloodshed is appalling: and threatens its progress deeply. In Afghanistan, the Taleban are making a determined effort to return and using the drugs trade a front. Years of anti-Israeli and therefore anti-American teaching and propaganda has left the Arab street often wildly divorced from the practical politics of their governments. Iran and, to a lesser extent, Syria are a constant source of de-stabilisation and reaction. The purpose of terrorism - whether in Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon or Palestine is never just the terrorist act itself. It is to use the act to trigger a chain reaction, to expunge any willingness to negotiate or compromise. Unfortunately it frequently works, as we know from our own experience in Northern Ireland, though thankfully the huge progress made in the last decade there, shows that it can also be overcome.

So, short-term, we can't say we are winning. But, there are many reasons for long-term optimism. Across the Middle East, there is a process of modernisation as well as reaction. It is unnoticed but it is there: in the UAE; in Bahrain; in Kuwait; in Qatar. In Egypt, there is debate about the speed of change but not about its direction. In Libya and Algeria, there is both greater stability and a gradual but significant opening up.

Most of all, there is one incontrovertible truth that should give us hope. In Iraq, in Afghanistan, and of course in the Lebanon, any time that people are permitted a chance to embrace democracy, they do so. The lie - that democracy, the rule of law, human rights are Western concepts, alien to Islam - has been exposed. In countries as disparate as Turkey and Indonesia, there is an emerging strength in Moderate Islam that should greatly encourage us.

So the struggle is finely poised. The question is: how do we empower the moderates to defeat the extremists?

First, naturally, we should support, nurture, build strong alliances with all those in the Middle East who are on the modernising path.

Secondly, we need, as President Bush said on Friday, to re-energise the MEPP between Israel and Palestine; and we need to do it in a dramatic and profound manner.

I want to explain why I think this issue is so utterly fundamental to all we are trying to do. I know it can be very irritating for Israel to be told that this issue is of cardinal importance, as if it is on their shoulders that the weight of the troubles of the region should always fall. I know also their fear that in our anxiety for wider reasons to secure a settlement, we sacrifice the vital interests of Israel.

Let me make it clear. I would never put Israel's security at risk.

Instead I want, what we all now acknowledge we need: a two state solution. The Palestinian State must be independent, viable but also democratic and not threaten Israel's safety.

This is what the majority of Israelis and Palestinians want.

Its significance for the broader issue of the Middle East and for the battle within Islam, is this. The real impact of a settlement is more than correcting the plight of the Palestinians. It is that such a settlement would be the living, tangible, visible proof that the region and therefore the world can accommodate different faiths and cultures, even those who have been in vehement opposition to each other. It is, in other words, the total and complete rejection of the case of Reactionary Islam. It destroys not just their most effective rallying call, it fatally undermines their basic ideology.

And, for sure, it empowers Moderate, Mainstream Islam enormously. They are able to point to progress as demonstration that their allies, ie us, are even-handed not selective, do care about justice for Muslims as much as Christians or Jews.

But, and it is a big 'but', this progress will not happen unless we change radically our degree of focus, effort and engagement, especially with the Palestinian side. In this the active leadership of the US is essential but so also is the participation of Europe, of Russia and of the UN. We need relentlessly, vigorously, to put a viable Palestinian Government on its feet, to offer a vision of how the Roadmap to final status negotiation can happen and then pursue it, week in, week out, 'til its done. Nothing else will do. Nothing else is more important to the success of our foreign policy.

Third, we need to see Iraq through its crisis and out to the place its people want: a non-sectarian, democratic state. The Iraqi and Afghan fight for democracy is our fight. Same values. Same enemy. Victory for them is victory for us all.

Fourth, we need to make clear to Syria and Iran that there is a choice: come into the international community and play by the same rules as the rest of us; or be confronted. Their support of terrorism, their deliberate export of instability, their desire to see wrecked the democratic prospect in Iraq, is utterly unjustifiable, dangerous and wrong. If they keep raising the stakes, they will find they have miscalculated.

From the above it is clear that from now on, we need a whole strategy for the Middle East. If we are faced with an arc of extremism, we need a corresponding arc of moderation and reconciliation. Each part is linked. Progress between Israel and Palestine affects Iraq. Progress in Iraq affects democracy in the region. Progress for Moderate, Mainstream Islam anywhere puts Reactionary Islam on the defensive everywhere. But none of it happens unless in each individual part the necessary energy and commitment is displayed not fitfully, but continuously.

I said at the outset that the result of this struggle had effects wider than the region itself. Plainly that applies to our own security. This Global Islamist terrorism began in the Middle East. Sort the Middle East and it will inexorably decline. The read-across, for example, from the region to the Muslim communities in Europe is almost instant.

But there is a less obvious sense in which the outcome determines the success of our wider world-view. For me, a victory for the moderates means an Islam that is open: open to globalisation, open to working with others of different faiths, open to alliances with other nations.

In this way, this struggle is in fact part of a far wider debate.

Though Left and Right still matter in politics, the increasing divide today is between open and closed. Is the answer to globalisation, protectionism or free trade?

Is the answer to the pressure of mass migration, managed immigration or closed borders?

Is the answer to global security threats, isolationism or engagement?

Those are very big questions for US and for Europe.

Without hesitation, I am on the open side of the argument. The way for us to handle the challenge of globalisation, is to compete better, more intelligently, more flexibly. We have to give our people confidence we can compete. See competition as a threat and we are already on the way to losing.

Immigration is the toughest issue in Europe right now and you know something of it here in California. People get scared of it for understandable reasons. It needs to be controlled. There have to be rules. Many of the Conventions dealing with it post WWII are out of date. All that is true. But, properly managed, immigrants give a country dynamism, drive, new ideas as well as new blood.

And as for isolationism, that is a perennial risk in the US and EU policy. My point here is very simple: global terrorism means we can't opt-out even if we wanted to. The world is inter-dependent. To be engaged is only modern realpolitik.

But we only win people to these positions if our policy is not just about interests but about values, not just about what is necessary but about what is right.

Which brings me to my final reflection about US policy. My advice is: always be in the lead, always at the forefront, always engaged in building alliances, in reaching out, in showing that whereas unilateral action can never be ruled out, it is not the preference.

How we get a sensible, balanced but effective framework to tackle climate change after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 should be an American priority.

America wants a low-carbon economy; it is investing heavily in clean technology; it needs China and India to grow substantially. The world is ready for a new start here. Lead it.

The same is true for the WTO talks, now precariously in the balance; or for Africa, whose poverty is shameful.

If we are championing the cause of development in Africa, it is right in itself but it is also sending the message of moral purpose, that reinforces our value system as credible in all other aspects of policy.

It serves one other objective. There is a risk that the world, after the Cold War, goes back to a global policy based on spheres of influence. Think ahead. Think China, within 20 or 30 years, surely the world's other super-power. Think Russia and its precious energy reserves. Think India. I believe all of these great emerging powers want a benign relationship with the West. But I also believe that the stronger and more appealing our world-view is, the more it is seen as based not just on power but on justice, the easier it will be for us to shape the future in which Europe and the US will no longer, economically or politically, be transcendant. Long before then, we want Moderate, Mainstream Islam to triumph over Reactionary Islam.

That is why I say this struggle is one about values. Our values are worth struggling for. They represent humanity's progress throughout the ages and at each point we have had to fight for them and defend them. As a new age beckons, it is time to fight for them again.
 
  • #3
Schrodinger's Dog said:
EDIT: I spelt renaissance wrong, oops; mods any chance of a spelling correction?

It's changed now.
 
  • #4
well its a nice job application :)

Hope he means at least some of it... Its all very well speaking about this stuff, its action that *WE* want to see...
 
  • #5
The point about these interventions, however, military and otherwise, is that they were not just about changing regimes but changing the values systems governing the nations concerned. The banner was not actually "regime change" it was "values change".
It is good to see Blair plainly stating that the use violence against a persons and property within Iraq was done as a means of advancing his political/ideological cause. That is, by Britian's own definition, terrorism.
...they say yes well you do have a real sense of grievance against America and its allies, but you shouldn't blow people up in pursuit of it. And my point the whole way through is we are never going to defeat this until we say actually that is wrong, you have no sense of grievance.
Denying the legitimate grievances of anyone only defeats peace by inciting moderates to embrace extremism. Until we are willing to accept our own share of the fault here and work to correct our ways, we are helping to fuel this conflict.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #6
kyleb said:
Denying the legitimate grievances of anyone only defeats peace by inciting moderates to embrace extremism. Until we are willing to accept our own share of the fault here and work to correct our ways, we are helping to fuel this conflict.

What legitimate grievances?
 
  • #7
We spoke about the most blatant and long standing example back in the "Israel steps up Strikes" thread; the nearly forty year occupation and continuing expansion onto Palestinian land.
 
  • #8
kyleb said:
It is good to see Blair plainly stating that the use violence against a persons and property within Iraq was done as a means of his advancing his political/ideological cause. That is, by Britian's own definition, terrorism.
What then, is the difference between terrorism and war?
 
  • #9
kyleb said:
It is good to see Blair plainly stating that the use violence against a persons and property within Iraq was done as a means of his advancing his political/ideological cause. That is, by Britian's own definition, terrorism.
You are misconstruing Britains actions in Iraq. "Persons and property" is talking about civilians and civilians were not the targets in that war.

Swing and a miss.
 
  • #10
Gokul43201 said:
What then, is the difference between terrorism and war?
Terrorism is violence against "persons and property" for coercion. Ie, make the population suffer and they or their government might submit to your wishes. War is militaries fighting militaries to directly cause the government to submit to your wishes (ie, conquering them).

But I'm sure you already knew that...
 
  • #11
kyleb said:
We spoke about the most blatant and long standing example back in the "Israel steps up Strikes" thread; the nearly forty year occupation and continuing expansion onto Palestinian land.
I'm going to start sounding like a parrot eventually, but you guys ignore the facts over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, so often that I have to keep repeating this:

Israel IS addressing the occupation by, among other things, beginning unilateral withdrawals from occupied territories. It cannot be claimed that Israel is not willing to remedy that grievance - they are addressing the Palestinians' primary grievance with no promise - indeed, not even any discussion - from the Palestinians that they will address Israel's primary grievance. They are going further than being "willing to address" it - they actually addressing it!

And incidentally, "continuing expansion into Palestinian Land" is intentionally misleading. Israel is not conquering/taking new land. What they are doing is building new settlements in land they already occupy. That's a legitimate grievance, so there is no need to try to be deceptive about it.
 
  • #12
Terrorism:war::William Quantrill:J.E.B. Stuart
 
  • #13
russ_watters said:
I'm going to start sounding like a parrot eventually, but you guys ignore the facts over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, so often that I have to keep repeating this:

Israel IS addressing the occupation by, among other things, beginning unilateral withdrawals from occupied territories. It cannot be claimed that Israel is not willing to remedy that grievance - they are addressing the Palestinians' primary grievance with no promise - indeed, not even any discussion


Russ, You can only convince people by proving these "facts" . Israel's
leadership doesn't help you here since the intentions they express to
their own people are very different. Again, read the interview below.

One personal statement: For me, I wouldn't like any settlers to be moved
out of their homes at all. In a normal world they should be able to stay
where they are, speak their own language and enjoy the same rights and
protection. After all, Palestinians are not forced to move out of Israel
either with the creation of a Palestinian state.


Now this is from the interview "The big freeze" (of the peace process)


In an October 6, 2004 interview with Israel’s Daily “Haaretz”,
Dov Weissglas, Sharon's chief of staff, declared about the
unilateral disengagement plan:

Weissglas said:
Maneuver of the century

I want to remind you that there will also be a withdrawal in the West Bank.

"The withdrawal in Samaria is a token one. We agreed to only so it wouldn't be said that we concluded our obligation in Gaza."

You gave up the Gaza Strip in order to save the West Bank? Is the Gaza disengagement meant to allow Israel to continue controlling the majority of the West Bank?

"Arik (Sharon) doesn't see Gaza today as an area of national interest. He does see Judea and Samaria as an area of national interest. He thinks rightly that we are still very very far from the time when we will be able to reach final-status settlements in Judea and Samaria."

Does the evacuation of the settlements in Gaza strengthen the settlements in the West Bank or weaken them?

"It doesn't hurt the isolated, remote settlements; it's not relevant for them. Their future will be determined in many years. When we reach a final settlement. It's not certain that each and every one of them will be able to go on existing.

"On the other hand, in regard to the large settlement blocs, thanks to the disengagement plan, we have in our hands a first-ever American statement that they will be part of Israel. In years to come, perhaps decades, when negotiations will be held between Israel and the Palestinians, the master of the world will pound on the table and say: We stated already ten years ago that the large blocs are part of Israel."

If so, Sharon can tell the leaders of the settlers that he is evacuating 10,000 settlers and in the future he will be compelled to evacuate another 10,000, but he is strengthening the other 200,000, strengthening their hold in the soil.

"Arik (Sharon) can say honestly that this is a serious move because of which, out of 240,000 settlers, 190,000 will not be moved from their place. Will not be moved."

Is he sacrificing a few of his children in order to ensure that the others remain permanently where they are?

"At the moment he is not sacrificing anyone in Judea and Samaria. Until the land is quiet and until negotiations begin, nothing is happening. And the intention is to fight for every single place. That struggle can be conducted from a far more convenient point of departure. Because in regard to the isolated settlements there is an American commitment stating that we are not dealing with them at the moment, while for the large blocs there is genuine political insurance. There is an American commitment such as never existed before, with regard to 190,000 settlers."

If what you are saying is correct, the settlers themselves should organize demonstrations of support for Sharon, because he did a tremendous service to the settlement enterprise.

"They should have danced around and around the Prime Minister's Office."

And Sharon himself actually didn't undergo a de Gaulle-type reversal. He didn't make a U-turn. He remained loyal to the approach of the national camp.

"Arik is the first person who succeeded in taking the ideas of the national camp and turning them into a political reality that is accepted by the whole world. After all, when he declared six or seven years ago that we would never negotiate under fire, he only generated gales of laughter. Whereas today that same approach guides the president of the United States. It was passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 405-7, and in the Senate by 95-5."

From your point of view, then, your major achievement is to have frozen the political process legitimately?


"That is exactly what happened. You know, the term `political process' is a bundle of concepts and commitments. The political process is the establishment of a Palestinian state with all the security risks that entails. The political process is the evacuation of settlements, it's the return of refugees, it's the partition of Jerusalem. And all that has now been frozen."

So you have carried out the maneuver of the century? And all of it with authority and permission?

"When you say `maneuver,' it doesn't sound nice. It sounds like you said one thing and something else came out. But that's the whole point. After all, what have I been shouting for the past year? That I found a device, in cooperation with the management of the world, to ensure that there will be no stopwatch here. That there will be no timetable to implement the settlers' nightmare. I have postponed that nightmare indefinitely. Because what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns. That is the significance of what we did. The significance is the freezing of the political process. And when you freeze that process you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion about the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package that is called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress. What more could have been anticipated? What more could have been given to the settlers?"

I return to my previous question: In return for ceding Gaza, you obtained status quo in Judea and Samaria?

"You keep insisting on the wrong definition. The right definition is that we created a status quo vis-a-vis the Palestinians. There was a very difficult package of commitments that Israel was expected to accept. That package is called a political process. It included elements we will never agree to accept and elements we cannot accept at this time. But we succeeded in taking that package and sending it beyond the hills of time. With the proper management we succeeded in removing the issue of the political process from the agenda. And we educated the world to understand that there is no one to talk to. And we received a no-one-to-talk-to certificate. That certificate says: (1) There is no one to talk to. (2) As long as there is no one to talk to, the geographic status quo remains intact. (3) The certificate will be revoked only when this-and-this happens - when Palestine becomes Finland. (4) See you then, and shalom."

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=485929


Regards, Hans
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #14
Thank you Hans, that is exactly the continuing expansion into Palestinian Land which I speak of.

russ_watters said:
You are misconstruing Britains actions in Iraq. "Persons and property" is talking about civilians and civilians were not the targets in that war.
The definition does not specify civilians; and even if they did, our "Shock and Awe" took many civilian lives and civilians property in an effort to implement our "values change" on them. Of course you can argue that they weren't the targets, but we made the chose to strike and we used big enough weapons to take many out with our goal being exactly what Blair said it was.

Gokul43201 said:
What then, is the difference between terrorism and war?
Give or take a bit given the specifics, it is the iinverse of the difference between diplomacy and peace.
 
  • #15
This is what an ex-ambassador Russia thinks of Blair, Its an interesting read, but take it with a pinch of salt...

Mr Blair should recognise his errors and go

By Rodric Braithwaite

Published: August 2 2006 19:27 | Last updated: August 2 2006 19:27

Aspectre is stalking British television, a frayed and waxy zombie straight from Madame Tussaud’s. This one, unusually, seems to live and breathe. Perhaps it comes from the Central Intelligence Agency’s box of technical tricks, programmed to spout the language of the White House in an artificial English accent.

There is another possible explanation. Perhaps what we see on television is the real Tony Blair, the man who believes that he and his friend alone have the key to the horrifying problems of the Middle East. At first he argued against a ceasefire in Lebanon. Then, after another Israeli airstrike killed dozens of Lebanese women and children, he finally admitted, in California – reluctantly, grudgingly and with a host of preconditions – that military force alone would not do the trick, and now seems to have told his people to look for something better.

ADVERTISEMENT

The catastrophe in Lebanon is the latest act of a tragedy rooted in European anti-Semitism and in the expulsion of an Arab people from their ancestral home. Both sides claim the right to self-defence. Neither hesitates to use force to pursue aims it regards as legitimate. No single event is the proximate cause of the current mayhem – neither the Israeli onslaught on Lebanon, nor the Hizbollah rockets, nor the Israeli assassination of Palestinian leaders, nor the suicide bombings. The causes go back in almost infinite regression. In the desperate pursuit of short-term tactical gain, both sides lose sight of their own long-term interests.

The Israelis remember the Holocaust and the repeated calls from within the Muslim world for the elimination of their state, and they react strongly to real or perceived threats to their existence. Whether their government’s methods can achieve their ends is for them to judge. A liberal Israeli columnist has argued that “in Israel and Lebanon, the blood is being spilled, the horror is intensifying, the price is rising and it is all for naught” – a reminder that Israel remains a sophisticated and in many ways an attractive democracy.

But whatever our sympathy for Israel’s dilemma, Mr Blair’s prime responsibility is to defend the interests of his own country. This he has signally failed to do. Stiff in opinions, but often in the wrong, he has manipulated public opinion, sent our soldiers into distant lands for ill-conceived purposes, misused the intelligence agencies to serve his ends and reduced the Foreign Office to a demoralised cipher because it keeps reminding him of inconvenient facts. He keeps the dog, but he barely notices if it barks or not. He prefers to construct his “foreign policy” out of self-righteous soundbites and expensive foreign travel.

Mr Blair has done more damage to British interests in the Middle East than Anthony Eden, who led the UK to disaster in Suez 50 years ago. In the past 100 years – to take the highlights – we have bombed and occupied Egypt and Iraq, put down an Arab uprising in Palestine and overthrown governments in Iran, Iraq and the Gulf. We can no longer do these things on our own, so we do them with the Americans. Mr Blair’s total identification with the White House has destroyed his influence in Washington, Europe and the Middle East itself: who bothers with the monkey if he can go straight to the organ-grinder?

Mr Blair has seriously damaged UK domestic politics, too. His prevarication over a ceasefire confirms to many of our Muslim fellow citizens that Britain is engaged in a secular war against the Arab world and by extension, against the Muslim world. He has thus made it harder to achieve what should be a goal of policy for any British government – to build a tolerant multi-ethnic society within our own islands. And though he chooses not to admit it, he has made us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. These are not achievements of which a British prime minister should be proud.

But in spite of the disasters he has wreaked abroad, in spite of the growing scandal and incoherence of his performance at home, Mr Blair is still a consummate politician. How else can one explain the failure of his party to do the decent thing and get rid of him? Why else does it still appear as though he alone controls the timing and circumstances of his departure? One day we may feel sorry for Mr Blair for the damage he has done to his place in history and to himself. But that moment is not yet. For now, he should no longer attempt to stand upon the order of his going, but go. At once.

Sir Rodric Braithwaite, UK ambassador to Moscow 1988-92 and then foreign policy adviser to John Major and chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, is author of Moscow 1941 (Profile, 2006)
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/3a7a368c-224d-11db-bc00-0000779e2340.html
 
  • #16
Bystander said:
Terrorism:war::William Quantrill:J.E.B. Stuart

That is the single best historical allusion that anyone has ever made on this forum.
 
  • #17
loseyourname said:
That is the single best historical allusion that anyone has ever made on this forum.


The best, Really? Even I got it :smile: and I know jack about American History
 
  • #18
Well I'm going to comment in more depth on this later, but my first impression of the monologue was, it's a nice series of thoughts Tony but most people have heard rhetoric like this about the Middle East before, so put your money where your mouth is, and change Bush's mind over the tactics in the Middle East to something more realistic, and we might get something real, instead of the current hot air, the virtual ceasefire and a political mess. If he's being genuine it sounds positive.

A colleague of mine says that it's the typical Blair waffle that imparts much but says little but then he is a conservative I think so he's biased. Where as I lean liberal, about halfway between conservative and Blairism. Although I don't make a habbit of voting these days.

You have to remember Tony is stepping down before the next general election, so he can say anything he likes, but it's his adminisitration and his successor that will have to achieve it. In summation, you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?


That allusion went straight over my head. Cmon the best ever, prove it:-p :smile:
 
  • #19
Most of it is right on the money. Blair is able to express the key points much better than Bush, but, to be honest, Bush's style is to concede that the average person is too ignorant of world events to understand them.

The only thing Blair really didn't explain was how deposing a secular dictator figured into this. Hussein was definitely a dictator, but I still don't see how Iraq ever figured into fighting extremist groups like al-Qaeda.

Invading Iraq to spread democracy really doesn't cut it, since, just as Blair noted, we were seeing progress in most of the small Middle Eastern states and the progress was beginning to spread to some of the larger Middle Eastern states.

So, short-term, we can't say we are winning. But, there are many reasons for long-term optimism. Across the Middle East, there is a process of modernisation as well as reaction. It is unnoticed but it is there: in the UAE; in Bahrain; in Kuwait; in Qatar. In Egypt, there is debate about the speed of change but not about its direction. In Libya and Algeria, there is both greater stability and a gradual but significant opening up.

These changes were already occurring before we invaded Iraq and would have continued even if we didn't invade Iraq - probably at a faster pace than will happen since we did invade Iraq.

Aside from lumping Iraq into a category it didn't belong, it was very insightful, especially as to the real conflict going on in the Middle East.

In fact, these acts of terrorism were not isolated incidents. They were part of a growing movement. A movement that believed Muslims had departed from their proper faith, were being taken over by Western culture, were being governed treacherously by Muslims complicit in this take-over, whereas the true way to recover not just the true faith, but Muslim confidence and self esteem, was to take on the West and all its works.

...

Its strategy in the late 1990s became clear. If they were merely fighting with Islam, they ran the risk that fellow Muslims - being as decent and fair-minded as anyone else - would choose to reject their fanaticism. A battle about Islam was just Muslim versus Muslim. They realized they had to create a completely different battle in Muslim minds: Muslim versus Western.
If you tell people to give up Coca-cola, cell phones, and other Western products, they'll turn on you. If you show them the people making those products are evil and trying to persecute Palestinians, maybe hatred of the West will expand to hatred of Western products and lifestyles.
 
  • #20
Hans de Vries said:
Russ, You can only convince people by proving these "facts" . Israel's
leadership doesn't help you here since the intentions they express to
their own people are very different. Again, read the interview below.
Could you summarize briefly what you think that is saying that goes against what I am saying?

It appears to me from your choice of bolds that you are trying to say that Israel is not interested in negotiations. Ie:
The significance is the freezing of the political process. And when you freeze that process you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion about the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package that is called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely.
But you are ignoring the part where he says that the reason for that is:
After all, when he declared six or seven years ago that we would never negotiate under fire, he only generated gales of laughter. Whereas today that same approach guides the president of the United States. It was passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 405-7, and in the Senate by 95-5."
So he point of that whole interview is not saying that Israel doesn't want a negotiated peace - it is saying that Israel will not negotiate peace while under attack. That's a pretty critical aspect you are missing.

Besides which, of course, is still the inescapable fact that Israel did withdraw from the Gaza Strip. That's a positive, unilateral move. Yes, it held benefits for them - but so what? Countries hold land in a death grip and he fact that they gave it up without so much as a peep of negotiation from the other side is huge.

And I don't need to remind you again that only one side of this conflict (Israel) even considers the possibility of peace with the other, right? It is still the policy of the PA that Israel must be destroyed. That is what is standing in the way of negotiations for peace.
 
Last edited:
  • #21
kyleb said:
The definition does not specify civilians...
The people who wrote the dictionary are smart enough to know that you are smart enough to distinguish between "terrorism" and "war". I'm simply not buying that you can't see the difference.
...and even if they did, our "Shock and Awe" took many civilian lives and civilians property in an effort to implement our "values change" on them.
You are also smart enough to know that those civilians and their property were not the target of the attack (you even say it below) and that that matters here.

I'm not buying this feigned ignorance, kyleb. You know you are misusing these words.
Give or take a bit given the specifics, it is the iinverse of the difference between diplomacy and peace.
You can't be serious. That's gibberish and you know it.

Kyleb, feigned ignorance is not a legitimate debate tactic. You are purposely misusing these words.
 
  • #22
Pretending 'targeting civilians' is part of that definition when it most certainly is not is misrepresenting words. Our attack on Iraq was an act of terrorism as defined in black and white by British law. It was the use of use violence against a persons and property done as a means of advancing a political/ideological cause; and from there the Iraq army fought to defend their nation, at which point it became a war.
 
  • #23
Anttech said:
The best, Really? Even I got it :smile: and I know jack about American History

Good allusions are not supposed to confuse people. Of course you got it.
 
  • #24
loseyourname said:
Good allusions are not supposed to confuse people. Of course you got it.

Sadly I didn't, and I ask for clarification again, without condition, I have no idea who these people are? would appreciate an explanation. You're right it's brilliant, explain please. Or not, up2u.
 
  • #25
Schrodinger's Dog said:
Sadly I didn't, and I ask for clarification again, without condition, I have no idea who these people are? would appreciate an explanation. You're right it's brilliant, explain please. Or not, up2u.
JEB Stuart was a general in an insurgent army of a revolutionary country (when the Confederacy seceded from the United States). Quantrill was a raider with no official ties to the Confederacy. He attacked Union supporters and facilities on his own, looting to fund his own small band of raiders (at their peak, Quantrill's Raiders had a couple hundred, but usually numbered two or three dozen). I think it's safe to say that if you applied today's standards to the 1860's, Quantrill would be called a terrorist. In those days, they were just called outlaws and criminals.
 
  • #26
Anttech said:
The best, Really? Even I got it :smile: and I know jack about American History

Wikipedia is your friend.
 
  • #27
Thanks, I did say that 'I got it' My American History is weak but I knew who the 'terrorists' William Quantrill, and J.E.B. Stuart were ;)
 
  • #28
Anttech said:
Thanks, I did say that 'I got it' My American History is weak but I knew who the 'terrorists' William Quantrill, and J.E.B. Stuart were ;)

How was JEB Stuart a terrorist?
 
  • #29
he was a Confederate, were they not all 'terrorists?'
 
  • #30
Well, that actually raises an interesting question. Is the rebel party in a civil war always to be considered 'terrorists?' Stuart was head of Lee's cavalry, and performed mostly a scouting function, and Lee never targeted civilian populations (in fact, he really couldn't, as his only excursion into Union territory - Gettysburg - was a disaster, and he wasn't about to target his own civilians). If one is targeting military forces exclusively, can one be considered a terrorist?

I'm pretty sure that was the reason Bystander used these guys as an example in the first place. Quantrill did target civilian populations, and moreover was not a member of the confederate army at the time he did so, and so his activities better fit the usual usage of the term "terrorist" as a member of a private organization, or an individual acting alone, that targets non-combatants to achieve political ends specifically by inflicting fear in the hearts of the general population (hence the etymology of the word "terrorism").

I realize this is somewhat of a departure from the discussion of reactionary Islam specifically, but it could do us well to consider other cases in order to clarify exactly how we should deal with this one.
 
  • #31
I'm pretty sure that was the reason Bystander used these guys as an example in the first place. Quantrill did target civilian populations, and moreover was not a member of the confederate army at the time he did so, and so his activities better fit the usual usage of the term "terrorist" as a member of a private organization, or an individual acting alone, that targets non-combatants to achieve political ends specifically by inflicting fear in the hearts of the general population (hence the etymology of the word "terrorism").
Actually I would disagree with your definition of a terrorist. I have seen this term used as a label for resistance fighters who work in small groups in a gurella warfair style which hide in and amongst the civilian population, but only target the 'occupiers' military. A terrorist typically is a term used by the victors to describe the resistance to their victory.
 
  • #32
That's an interesting point, the French resistance would now be could the terrorist dissidents or something simillar if Germany had won the war.

Thanks for the description of American history, well I never. :smile:
 
  • #33
Terrorism is not limited to the targeting of civilians:

Main Entry: ter·ror·ism
Pronunciation: 'ter-&r-"i-z&m
Function: noun
1 : the unlawful use or threat of violence esp. against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/terrorism
 
  • #34
kyleb said:
Terrorism is not limited to the targeting of civilians:



http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/terrorism
I guess you can pick your own definition.

The second definition from the link you provided:
"the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimindation or coercion or instilling fear"

Other definitions:
"Terrorism is the premeditated, deliberate, systematic murder, mayhem, and threatening of the innocent to create fear and intimidation in order to gain a political or tactical advantage, usually to influence an audience."

"Terrorism constitutes the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective when innocent people are targeted."

"Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." (The FBI's definition)

I think the FBI's definition is overbroad. Using their definition, you could say George Washington was a terrorist. Or does one cease being a terrorist if they claim the current government is illegitimate and declare their actions lawful before they act? The word loses any real meaning and becomes just another rhetorical slur - much like the term Nazi has become.
 
  • #35
BobG said:
I guess you can pick your own definition.
You can just make up your own definitions if you like, but that just because the commonly agreed upon definition of a term which is explained in the "Main Entry"; and the primary definition under the Main Entry for terrorism is exactly what I quoted above.
 

Similar threads

  • General Discussion
4
Replies
105
Views
10K
Replies
1
Views
863
Replies
42
Views
3K
  • General Discussion
Replies
3
Views
936
Replies
19
Views
1K
  • General Discussion
7
Replies
235
Views
20K
  • General Discussion
2
Replies
55
Views
8K
  • General Discussion
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • General Discussion
Replies
29
Views
9K
  • General Discussion
2
Replies
41
Views
5K
Back
Top