Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Full Frontal Violence

Madeleine Albright recently said "the world is a mess" due to the violence in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Israel.  After a period of relative quiet, the Obama administration has been hit on all sides with violent outbreaks that it seems powerless to control without intervention.  This is something the President desperately wants to avoid and is actively seeking diplomatic solutions.

Unfortunately for him, he has run up against brick walls in Putin and Netanyahu, both of whom have felt that their adversaries have crossed the proverbial red line.  Putin has a way of moving the wall, suggesting reconciliation is possible while at the same time blaming the US for inciting the troubles in Ukraine.  Netanyahu is not so nuanced, releasing information on negotiations to the Israeli press, which has infuriated the White House.  But, the Obama administration has to walk a fine line on this one, as most Americans stand resolutely behind Israel in its full frontal assault of Gaza, which has left over 1000 Palestinians dead.

Israeli airstrikes in Gaza
Sorting out the roots of the violence is not easy.  David Remnick takes a stab at Gaza in The New Yorker, painting all sides as aggressors.  However, latest revelations indicate that Hamas was never behind the abduction and killing of the three Israeli teenagers, but rather a rogue cell, first reported in the States by Buzzfeed, and now picked up by the wider media world.  Al Jazeera had put this story forward days before, but apparently no one was buying it.  If so, this would make Netanyahu's invasion a war crime, but it doesn't seem that Bibi's administration is worrying about the consequences of its actions.  He simply seized the opportunity to launch an all out attack on the beleaguered residents of Gaza, who essentially live in a prison camp.

Of course, to read the mainstream media, Hamas is the bane of all evil and should be rooted out under whatever pretense the Israeli government comes up with, just like al Qaeda.  If these wars on terror have taught us anything, these militant groups weather the most intense shelling and live to see another day.  Israel was unable to root out Hezbollah in its war on Lebanon in 2006.  It didn't save Olmert's job either.  His party lost control of the Knesset three years later, largely because the incursion was viewed as a failure.  So, here is Netanyahu in the exact same position.

A barricade of car bumpers in Donetsk
Meanwhile, Putin plays a game of cat and mouse with the United States over Ukraine.  The downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17 seems to have put him on a bit of a retreat, but fighting continues in the Donetsk region and Russia appears to be continuing to supply the insurgents, even if Moscow has no plans of annexing the troubled region.  In fact Ukrainian forces have taken back most of the province, with the insurgent group holding onto the administrative capital.  Yet, Russia is poised to send in massive reinforcements to prop up this regime if necessary.

A similar situation is playing out in Syria and Iraq, as Sunni factions under the banner of ISIS have taken over provincial governments and are even threatening a march on Baghdad, which would undermine everything the United States fought to gain in Iraq.   Not surprisingly we have heard roars from the conservative vanguard in America to send in reinforcements as the fate of the free world apparently depends on keeping Iraq out of Sunni hands.

ISIS on the March
For some it appears there is nothing like a "good war."  I guess Halliburton could use a shot in the arm.  It doesn't matter where.  If not Iraq, then Syria or Ukraine.  These chicken hawks seem confident that Israel can take care of itself as long as the Obama administration doesn't meddle in affairs.  The only problem is that the longer this siege of Gaza goes on the more incensed Muslims will be in other parts of the world and take their anger out on others.

Our inability to bring Israel and Palestine to the negotiating table has resulted in a crisis of confidence.  Granted, Netanyahu is not one who is easy to bargain with,  but an effort needs to be made and the Obama administration has pretty much chosen to leave Palestine off the table.  As a result, Israel has continued its expansion into the West Bank, making the borders even more difficult to compromise on.  In fact, there are those within Neyanyahu's administration, and probably Bibi himself, who have no interest in negotiating any borders, seeing the West Bank as an integral part of Israel.

Yep, Maddy, the world is a mess, largely because we have chosen to defer these pressing issues rather than deal with them head on.  The world is a violent place, and getting more violent as tensions increase.  About all we seem capable of doing is containing the violence, much like we have done in the past, hoping that eventually the warring factions will tire and agree to a temporary ceasefire.  Sound familiar?

1 comment:

  1. It seems Hamas is putting up a sufficient enough fight that Israel had to call on the US for more ammunition,

    the US already supplies Israel with $3 billion in military aid each year, making us complicit in these war crimes taking place.