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The usual suspect

Tuesday's horriffic assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, accomplished with some 650 pounds of dynamite, is almost universally believed, even by Lebanese themselves, to have been orchestrated by Syria.

Now, political assassinations are not exactly a rare event in Lebanon. But when he witnessed (so he claims) the event firsthand, British journalist Robert Fisk instinctively sensed who was to blame — Israel:

I saw the blast wave coming down the Corniche. My home is only a few hundred metres from the detonation and my first instinct was to look up, to search for the high-altitude Israeli planes that regularly break the sound barrier over Beirut.
The blame-everything-on-Israel mental disorder is hardly limited to blinkered Western reporters. The following editorial cartoon is currently diplayed on Al-Jazeerah's website;

Depicting a sinister Star-of-David-wearing spy fleeing the scene after felling a Lebanese cedar, it succinctly expresses the belief that when something this bad happens, Israel must have been behind it.

Yet the history of the Middle East suggests that Arabs kill each other just fine without any Israeli help. Beyond the withering Iran-Iraq war, there is Jordan's crushing defeat of Palestinian forces in the 1970-1971 "Black September" conflict, and Syria's 1982 destruction of its own city of Hama, to elimiate Sunni Muslim rebels there. Wikipedia describes the carnage:
The assault began on February 2 with extensive shelling of the town of 350,000 inhabitants. Syrian special forces entered and began to slaughter its inhabitants, with many others fleeing. According to Amnesty International, the Syrian military pumped poison gas into buildings where insurgents were said to be hiding.
About 20,000 Syrians died, shot, gassed, or crushed under the rubble.

Hariri's tragic death isn't even the first time Syria has rubbed out a Lebanese leader: it also coordinated the 1982 assassination of President-Elect Bachir Gemayel. Again, from Wikipedia:
Nine days before he was due to take office, Gemayel was killed along with twenty-five others in an explosion at the Kataeb headquarters in Achrafieh on September 14, 1982. Habib Tanious Shartouni, a member of the pro-Damascus National Syrian Socialist Party and an alleged agent for Syrian intelligence, confessed to the crime, but has not been apprehended.
The real cause of unreast in the Middle East isn't a fence here or a settlement there. It's an irrational, visceral hatred of Israel, encouraged by Arab rulers desperately seeking a scapegoat for what even a U.N. report acknowledges are the shortcomings engendered by their own despotic regimes.

Mideast peace may come after Arabs stop blaming Israel for all their troubles. It will not come before.

FOLLOW-UP: Chrenkoff finds a particularly egregious example of blame-everything-on-Israel dementia.


Anonymous said...

It isn't just the hatred of Israel. It's that the Muslim nations think violence is the answer to anything that ails them. If they have a problem with a political leader or a neighborhood leader or someone just speaking out, their answer is to kill them, if they can get away with it. In the case of Israel, that is also their answer. The only way there will be peace in the Middle East is if the Arabs as a whole reject violence as an answer to their problems.

Part of the problem is that, when people say "peace in the Middle East," they automatically think of peace between Israel and the Muslim nations, which is the premise the Muslims want us to accept. Muslim nations are quite frequently violent against each other as well, as we have recently been reminded. Peace in the Middle East includes peace between Muslim nations. 

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