Why the Middle East continues to bleed was the theme of a recent forum organised by Malaysia’s Strategic Information and Research Development Centre at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur.
In his keynote address veteran Sri Lankan journalist Latheef Farook accused Israel, the Western nations and their oppressive puppet Arab regimes as the primary cause for the never ending sufferings and miseries of the Arab people in general and the Palestinians in particular .
He said that ever since the European nations followed by the United States gained military ascendancy they were hell bent on controlling the Middle East where two of the most important ancient civilisations, Nile in Egypt and Mesopotamia in Iraq, flourished .Virtually all prophets were born in these lands which were the birth places of the three great monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Now the focus is on oil; and gas that is available in such great abundance in this region.
As part of this on going conspiracy the European colonial powers toppled Turkey’s Ottoman Empire during World War 1 with the support of Arab dictators. Then they together with Zionist Jews established a separate Jewish state in Palestine in 1948. The Palestinians, sons of the soil, were driven to refugee camps in neighboring countries where they still languish in appalling conditions. Ever since then the Israeli Jews continue to persecute Palestinians with the fullest backing of the Western powers.
Since its creation Israel served as the outpost of the Western colonial powers and caused death and destruction to the people in the region. In 1955 Israel joined Britain and France to invade Egypt. In June 1967 Israel attacked Egypt, Syria and Jordan and occupied Sinai, Gaza strip, West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Israel maintains a tight grip over occupied Palestinian territories where building Jewish-only settlement have been an on going program.
In October 1973 Egypt and Syria jointly attacked Israel. In 1976 the Zionists started the civil war in Lebanon. Apart from the Lebanese casualties, more than 30,000 Palestinians were slaughtered in Tel Al Zatar by Syria.
Despite all these sufferings the Arabs opted for peace and accommodate Israel. Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat signed the United States sponsored Camp David Agreement with Israel in 1979. But Israel failed to honor its commitments. In 1993 Israel signed the Oslo Peace Treaty with the Palestinians. But obviously Israel was not interested in any sort of peace with anybody as was evidenced by its house imprisonment of Yasser Arafat who according to reports was poisoned by the Israeli’s.
Then came the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran when United States, Europe, Israel, Gulf and other Arab regimes got together and persuaded President Saddam Hussein to invade Iran .This triggered off the eight year with Iran war which killed more than a million people. The only beneficiaries were Israel and the arms industries in the United States and Europe. Some estimated the cost at around 100 billion dollars.
Exploiting the situation Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and killed nearly 18,000, mostly Palestinians .In one the most gruesome genocides then Israeli defense Minister Ariel Sharon supervised the slaughter of more than 2200 Palestinian men, women and children at Sabra and Shatilla Palestinian refugee camps .
The Iraq-Iran war ended in 1988 .A year later in 1989 Soviet Union collapsed. The U.S and Europe then turned their attention to the oil rich Arab Gulf where they once again tricked President Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait and precipitated the second Gulf war and unleashed a ferocious media campaign followed by fierce aerial bombardments before despatching ground forces into Iraq to kill hundreds of thousands of retreating Iraqi soldiers and civilians.
The Western atrocities did not end there. They imposed United Nations economic sanctions which killed more than 500,000 children. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq Denis Halliday as a form of “genocide” on the people of Iraq. But former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright described” death of more than half a million children is worth the price”
George Bush Sr. dropped 88,000 tons of explosives on Iraq in 1991, equivalent to five Hiroshima atomic blasts and virtually turned Iraq, with one of the healthiest and best educated populations and some of the finest modern infrastructures in the region, into a wasteland.
Western weapons industry flourished as they sold a staggering $ 157 billion worth of armaments .Gulf countries footed the bill were brought under the political and military umbrella of the United States. It was Israel that badly wanted this war and the US and UK merely fulfilled this Zionist dream.
Then, fulfilling the Zionist dream of Greater Israel from Nile to Euphrates, Bush-Blair invaded Iraq to ensure Israel’s supremacy in the Middle East and loot Iraq’s oil wealth. Five years later today, the US and British troops have killed more than 1.25 million Iraqi men, women, children and the aged, more than two and half million Iraqis driven to refugee camps in neighbouring countries, five million Iraqis made refugees in their own country while more than half the population suffer from starvation.
They even burnt birth, marriage, death, land, company, industrial and vehicle registration offices to create chaos. Israel’s secret service Mossad came up with list of names and addresses of professionals such as university lecturers, professors, scientists, doctors, lawyers, engineers and other intellectuals, went from house to house, killed them in their sleep. In many cases they used sharp weapons to cut the throats of husbands in the presence of wives who were killed later. American forces looted the museums and robbed very valuable historic artefacts. They armed Shiites and Sunnis and provoke civil war.
Then there emerged shocking pictures of American troops’ gang-raping Iraqi women. These hapless women were forcibly dragged out of their homes, screaming in terror, stripped naked and gang-raped by the very people who had ostensibly been there to protect them. Nonetheless, such criminal depravity had been committed by so-called civilised uniformed personnel representing the most powerful military nation on earth.
Hundreds of thousands of innocent men and women were arbitrarily arrested and subjected to savage forms of torture drawing swift universal condemnation.
In Falluja, a city of 300,000 people, President Bush dropped internationally banned and improved versions of napalm bombs which burnt and melted Muslims to death during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan.
Today the entire Iraqi population remains traumatised. Angered right-minded Jewish, Christian and other intellectuals all over the world have been openly calling for impeaching President George Bush for launching the most barbaric war in modern history. Describing this as an act of banditry Nobel laureate and British Jewish playwright Harold Pinter demanded that Bush and Blair should be put on trial along with the rest of their cohorts in The Hague and be categorised in the same class and company as Slobodan Milosevic.
But, in one of the most shameful and degrading chapters in Muslim history, Arab rulers, some claiming to be guardians of Islam, rolled red carpet to welcome this very same George Bush.
Meanwhile in a spotless democratic election held under the supervision of former US President Jimmy Carter in January 2006 Hamas was elected with an overwhelming majority in Gaza. Alarmed Israel, US and Europe cut off the flow of all money to starve Palestinian into submission. The Arab rulers too joined this Zionist sponsored financial blockade.
The task of overthrowing Hamas government was entrusted to defeated Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who was given arms, arms training and millions of dollars to crush Palestinian democracy. On 17 January 2008 Israel imposed complete blockade and shut down Gaza’s only power plant plunging the entire territory into chaos. They were deprived of everything including food, medicine, fuel, water, electricity and were allowed only the air they breathe which Israel could not blockade.
John Dugard, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories described it as serious violations of international law. Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery said “The message of Jews, the US and Europe to Palestinian is that you will reach the brink of hunger, and even beyond, if you do not surrender. You must remove the Hamas government and elect candidates approved by Israel and the US. You must be satisfied with a Palestinian state consisting of several enclaves, each of which will be utterly dependent on the tender mercies of Israel’.
People throughout the Middle East, have been, and are in an unfortunate dilemma.
On the one hand the United States, Europe and Israel have unleashed a global campaign since 9/11 demonizing Islam justifying killing Muslims under the guise of fighting a so called war on terrorism. On the other people throughout the Middle East have been brutalized by their oppressive regimes backed by the West and Israel.
What can the oppressed people in the Middle East do, other than watching the unfolding shameful and frightening events in sheer frustration and helplessness crying out their hearts out? Under the circumstance the people in the Middle East need to free themselves from their oppressive regimes before they even think of trying to protect themselves from the current campaign against them in the name of fighting war on terrorism.
This is the reason why the Middle East is expected to bleed for years to come.
All these aspects were discussed during a lively question and answer session during the forum. Dr Farish Noor, Senior Fellow at Singapore’s Rajaratnam School of International Studies explained how the war on terrorism has become a security industry for US and UK to make money.