|The above article was published in The Dominion Post on November 6, 2012. My reply, published on November 13, 2012, is below:|
The answer to the above question can be found, in part, in the cover stories of Crescent International for the issues of August and September 2012. Many Muslims don’t accept the Western propaganda, which would have us believe that, in the tradition of Gunsmoke, there is a good guy and a bad guy in this conflict — one wearing a white hat and the other wearing a black hat — and that the various outside forces involved are simply trying to aid the former’s fight for freedom and justice. Both the United States and Israel have an interest in seeing Syria trashed and partitioned, while Saudi Arabia has an interest in any effort to replace the Alawite regime in Damascus with a Sunni one — whatever the cost, in terms of civilian casualties. The latter are inevitable, in view of the Free Syrian Army’s tactic of seizing residential areas and then attempting to hold them against government forces. If the rebels were not the “good guys”, we would immediately accuse them of using civilians as human shields. And we would have no difficulty in seeing that they, too, commit atrocities. Indeed, I would not like to be an Alawite or a Christian in Syria if the rebels, who include many jihadists from abroad, win this war. Such minorities could suffer the fate of the black people in Libya, even if, in some cases, they don’t support the regime. Similarly, a future US ambassador could find that “past services” to the jihadists don’t guarantee immunity from attack.
The cartoon is from The Dominion Post of September 22, 2012. The cartoonist is Tom Scott.
Crescent International’s issue for August 2012 includes articles on “How to deal with the fitnah of Al Saud” (see below), “The Anglo-Wahhabi-Zionist war on Syria” and the “backward advance” of “Israel-NATO’s new Libya” — a wrecked country where “rival militias slug it out”. The cover story, by Tahir Mustafa, begins:
The tribal-owned network, Al-Jazeera, has dubbed it the “War in Syria.” Its news broadcasts run this banner on the screen while reporting on Syria. This tries to create the impression that there are two clearly identifiable sides in the conflict: one comprises the opposition groups while the other consists of government forces. This is a grossly simplistic and inaccurate projection of the far more complex reality on the ground. True, there are myriad groups battling government forces, but they are neither independent nor have the support of the Syrian people. The overwhelming majority is made up of mercenaries financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar — two “shining examples” of democracy in the Muslim East — and aided and abetted by the US, Israel, the Hariri clan in Lebanon and and odd assortment of US allies from Europe. Nor is the uprising in Syria as spontaneous as those that occurred in Tunisia and Egypt. The Syrian uprising has multiple layers and numerous players. Its roots can be traced as far back as 2005, according to the Washington Post (April 16, 2011) when a number of Syrian opposition figures were recruited by the George Bush administration…
Great covers from the four most recent issues of Crescent International: Bottom left: Crescent International, July 2010. Bottom right: Crescent International, August 2010. Top left: Crescent International, September 2010. Top right: Crescent International, October 2010.
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This month’s edition of Crescent International contains articles headlined: Palistan’s slide into total chaos; Two sets of talks, but few expectations for long-suffering Palestinians; Two more years of emergency in Egypt; Bashir arrests opposition leaders in Sudan; Will Britain’s Kafkaesque laws be changed?; Bosnia’s Grand Mufti had acted as “Serb informant”, say victims; NGOs: the West’s soft instrument for hegemonic policies; OSCE: the West’s tool to legitimize the illegitimate; and World Bank and IMF: financial cops of Western hegemony.
The latest issue of Australia/Israel Review went to press before the international uproar over Israel’s May 31 attack on the peace flotilla. There is, however, a brief item headlined Gallivanting to Gaza, which describes those aboard the boats as “a mixture of well-meaning humanitarians and hardcore anti-Israel activists” and says they have set off with aid for “supposedly suffering Gazans”. (To prove they aren’t really suffering, AIR notes: (1) a Maan news agency report of May 18 that Gaza now has an Olympic-sized swimming pool; (2) a report in the Financial Times of May 24 that Gaza’s shops are “bursting with goods”; and (3) a whole lot of Israeli supply-truck statistics.)
The May edition of Crescent International includes articles headlined “Obama’s nuclear hypocrisy exposed”, “Zionist Israel: the root cause of Middle East conflict”, “Zionist Israel: a colonial settler-squatter entity”, “What is Israel up to in the Caucasus?”, “Plight of the Roma Muslims in Bulgaria”, “Sarkozy wants complete ban on niqab in France”, and “Peak oil and the rise of political fascism”.
In “Zionist Israel: a colonial settler-squatter entity”, Zafar Bangash asks: “…how did political Zionism, a racist colonial enterprise, succeed in establishing intself in the heartland of Islam despite strong opposition from leading rabbis and the indigenous population of Palestine?”
Meanwhile, Australia/Israel Review asks, rhetorically: “What will happen when Iran gets the bomb?” Well, the first thing that will happen, assuming Iran does get the bomb, is that Israel will lose some of its untrammeled ability to threaten its neighbors.
April’s edition of Crescent International contains articles headlined “The Afghans’ long agony and resistance”, “Zionist, Arabian rulers aligned against Islamic Iran”, “The Vatican’s child-molesting priests”, “Islamic movement needs to challenge the universal myth of democracy”, “Dilemma of democracy facing Muslims in Britain”, “Is Somalia’s ‘president’ a nationalist or agent of Western interventionists?” and “Dubai’s strange history and stranger investors”.
In the article on Muslims in Britain, which discusses the reactions of the police to the demonstrations against “the Israeli slaughter in Gaza last year”, Fahad Ansari notes:
“What is clear is that despite tens of thousands of people from all religions and backgrounds attending the demonstrations and being involved in aggressive behavior that followed, all but two of those arrested were Muslims. What is also clear is that the trouble at the Gaza riots was nowhere near the scale of violence witnessed at the G20 protests, where a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland was looted, yet only 20 people were charged for offences committed at that demonstration. The police response to Muslim protesters has been wholly disproportionate and seems intentionally designed to deter Muslims from protesting or demonstrating in future.”
In the April edition of Australia/Israel Review, there is an attempt by Bren Carlill, in an article headlined “A job well done” about the assassination of Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai, to justify Israel’s “apparent disregard” for what Carlill describes as “legal niceties” in its pursuit of security. (Note that the disregard is only “apparent” in Carlill’s view.) But of course, if you dispense with the rule of law and make security the highest good, you can resort to almost any expediency and come up with a rationale that speciously justifies it. You have to remember, though, that you can’t reasonably complain if the other side does likewise — unless you maintain that you and your rights are intrinsically superior to all others.
He goes on to claim that “any Israeli government that disregarded prohibitions against targeting civilians, and other laws of war, would … rightly be voted out” — as if Israeli governments didn’t get away with such violations all the time. Does he really think that all those Israelis who supported the attack on Gaza last year (nearly 90 percent of the population, according to Israeli public opinion polls) were worried by the deaths of 1,000+ Gazan civilians, or would have been concerned if another 1,000, or even 10,000, civilians had been killed? Besides, at the end of the day Israel would have claimed, regardless of the toll, that the civilians weren’t actually “targeted”. There would have been yet more of that trademark ballyhoo about the civilians having been warned to evacuate certain areas in advance of the attacks.
The reality is that Israel can kill as many civilians as it likes, whenever it likes, and then say the deaths were “inadvertent” or “accidental” — or come out with the usual nonsense about Palestinian “terrorists” being responsible for the deaths through their alleged use of civilians as “human shields”. (I haven’t seen any evidence of Palestinian fighters using civilians in this way. I have, however, seen evidence of Israeli soldiers using Palestinian civilians as human shields.) It is not for nothing that Israel’s critics often focus on its “culture of impunity”.
It is axiomatic, in the Zionist narrative, that the victims of Zionism are always responsible, directly or indirectly, for their own suffering. And anyway, non-Jewish suffering cannot be compared with Jewish suffering, which is indisputably more poignant.
Last month’s edition of Crescent International contained articles headlined “Colonization of the Muslim mind”, “Selling the daughter of the Ummah [Aafia Siddiqui] to predators”, “Gitmo thrives despite Obama’s much-trumpeted promise”, “Will the West ever accept the concept of Islamic human rights activist”, “Internal enemies of the Ummah”, and “Zionist encroachments in Central Asia”.
I was particularly interested in the article on Islam and human rights, by Fahad Ansari. He says that “During my many years working at the Islamic Human Rights Commission, several valuable minutes were wasted every morning deleting hate mail which often described the organization as an oxymoron or a contradiction in terms before descending into a volley of Islamophobic and racist abuse”.
Even more shocking is the revelation that “Early last month, Gita Sahgal, chief of the gender unit at Amnesty International . . . publicly condemned in the national media Amnesty International’s working relationship with former Guantanamo Bay detaineee Moazzam Begg and his human rights organization, Cageprisoners”.
In the latest issue of Australia/Israel Review, satisfaction is expressed over the departure of Mohammed ElBaradei as director-general of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency and his replacement by the more pliant Yukiya Amano of Japan. Presumably, the Israelis will now have less difficulty in building a consensus for war with Iran.
Miriam Bell’s article from the same edition of AIR is above.
Some of the headlines in the February 2010 edition of Crescent International: Egypt’s Pharaoh enforces US-Zionist siege of Gaza; Pakistan supplants Iraq as lawless land; Eurasia’s energy wars: the US, China and Muslims in Pipelineistan; Russia’s imperial policies in the North Caucasus; Yemen: a war front in the global war of ideas; and Like Pakistan, the US too now a failed state.
In AIR’s February edition, the magazine’s New Zealand correspondent, Miriam Bell, predictably attacks activist John Minto’s “mob/cohort/crew” for daring to indulge in “un-sporting behaviour” (AIR’s headline) by protesting against the appearance of Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer in the ASB Tennis Classic in Auckland in January. Bell cites online polls that “showed that a majority of [New Zealand] respondents did not agree with Minto’s crusade” and quotes some sarcastic comments from the sports editor of the Herald on Sunday. But what do you expect from ignorant, complacent Kiwi sports fans? Turn the clock back to the 1970s and early 1980s, and you find these fans responding to the anti-South African apartheid protests with almost exactly the same arguments. And then, as now, they constituted a clear majority of the population.
January’s Crescent International has the great range of articles we have come to expect from the “newsmagazine of the Islamic movement”. Headlines include: Impediments in the path of Muslim unity; String of Zionist-sponsored anti-Iran conferences; Iran protests: the view from Tehran; Switzerland uses a referendum to ban construction of minarets; Gaza: one year on; Chechnya war: 15 years on, and US pushing Pakistan into the abyss of oblivion.
I posted an article from the January edition of Australia/Israel Review on December 31. In this entry, I would like to look at the magazine’s cover photograph, which shows a woman (?) wearing a headband with the words “Kill Jews” written on it. Is this a genuine photograph? Wouldn’t any demonstrator wearing such a headband be arrested and charged with threatening to kill? Do people who harbour such murderous sentiments/intentions show up at anti-Israel protests – which often include some Jews? Don’t they do their dirty work after dark? The use of this photograph, genuine or not, is a clear attempt to tar all critics of Israel with the anti-Semitic brush.