The Bellwether of Nations

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Tunis, Libya and the Arab “Spring”

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Santa Barbara–October 24th–Those of you who have been here for as long as generations, please forgive me,  and have patience with me, and grant me your forbearance.  

Yesterday (October 23rd) two important events came about over two bordering Islamic North African States.

The most dramatic was the demise of Colonel Khadafy in Libya.  Today, the National Transitional Council (المجلس الوطني الإنتقالي ) of the Libyan Revolution scheduled an announcement of the liberation of Tripoli and her hinterlands.

Although it is a great victory of the three so far in the Arab “Spring,”  it was the bloodiest of those triumphs which, with over 160 claimant groups are currently within the capital, was the costliest; and, thus, is the least likely to succeed by the very fact it was a coup of arms.

Strangely, the three successful regime changes so far of the Arab “Spring” have occurred in North Africa – Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, and they all were Republics whose leadership was descended from the anti-colonial revolutions.  

The other grand occurrence of Sunday, October 23rd, was the Tunisian elections.   As I have pointed out before, Tunisia’s was the first Revolt of the “Spring,” and has the best chance of any of those successful so far to develop an Arab (Islamic) democracy.   Libya is the least in my humble opinion because of the degree of violence and foreign intervention to which it had to revert for its accomplishment.

It is too early to do much of an exegesis now so soon after the polls over Tunisia, but no egregious reports of irregularities have been reported to me so far, but Tunis has developed a viable civil society despite the years of dictatorship.  Unlike its neighbor, Libya, tribal politics are minor.  It has come out of its political nightmare as a manageable modern state although with serious challenges.
I expect our modern Punic Realm will do well – not without bumps along the way, though.  As I  mentioned in two weeks ago, much will depend upon the expertise and support from the West since so much of the wealth of that nation of ten million has been robbed by the last regime.  Yet, at the same time, the international financial crisis puts a strain on the deliverance of both material and aid of practical tutelage.  Alas, I wish I could be as positive for Benghazi.  I only hope that more military intervention will not be required from NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) on that side of the Northern African Sahara.

I would like to commend my colleague, Radwan Masoudi, the Libyan-American founder/Director of the Center of Islam and Democracy in Washington.  That think thank has been working on planning an Islamic democracy; so, that they can meld theologically and politically without contradiction. When the time miraculously arose, he had gone back to his native countryside to work with his cultural citizens to help make these elections possible by strengthening the roots of the civil society that already existed there!

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V. Postscript

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Medford (Ore.)–As chronicler starts out (June 23rd) from Southern Oregon, the news coming from the Middle East is principally from Libya.   Although the Colonel is maintaining his fasces, the analysis is that Colonel Khadafy’s hold on power is loosening even though the outgoing head of the Arab League has renounced his prior endorsement of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s) intervention while Italy has herself, a participant in the assault and the former Colonial power there, asserted that the Libyan contest should be halted.  On the other hand the Islamist government of Turkey has called (JuJy.3rd) for the Colonel to step down promising material aid to the Benghazi rebels while the Greek, Ankara’s traditional “enemies,“ the Greeks have  refused to permit (on the second of this month) the first relief ship’s for Gaza to exit Hellenic waters.

The IDT (Israeli Defense Force’s )General Sharoni (retired), a supporter of the two-State solution,  rejoined, “We should press for solutions by September [when the Palestinians are going to the United Nations – U.N. – for approval for their Statehood]…we have negotiated previously, and we shouldn’t have to start at stage one again…We should start negotiating [again] because the clock is ticking.”  The Israeli position – and even their Left – is that Palestinian Statehood should be through bi-lateral agreement – with the help of external actors — rather than an international dictate.  (Your author’s opinion is that Tel Aviv has to make just concessions this summer if there would be any hope of mutual agreement; otherwise, it will be Ramallah who will achieve independence solely on their own terms in league with international acclamation!)

Taras Hassan asserted that “… [a] third of [the Jewish] Settlers [in the Occupied Territories] can be brought back] to Israel [itself].”  Hasan believes that “…many Israelis do not support the annexation of the West Bank because they [the Palestinians there] would [receive] protection under Hebrew law, and [would have the right to] vote, and [Tel Aviv would]would  cease to be [the capital of] a Jewish State.”

Sharoni interjected, “…who is the enemy, and who are you [we] defending yourself [ourselves] from?..I am [more] concerned over my nation’s isolation…In order to survive we have to become part of the community of nations!”  (It is very true that Israel has become a pariah in most of the civilized world!)

Hassan adds:  What would happen if the two-State option fails?  Major-General Natan Sharoni replies, we “…can’t have a one-State alternative… [for the General, it] won’t work…because there would be two different peoples living within one State.  (The example of the U.S., Canada et al. would counter this argument) “One side or the other would dominate.”  (Curiously, the progressive Israeli argument – and most recently — it appears that most of their upper military  commanders –  favor a dual-national conclusion, (but the time might  have transpired over peace on those terms.  Your commentator still stands behind this domestic path, but, if a justful compromise is not made soon, such a one-State route must be explored!)

Hassan exclaims:  It would destroy (the ideology of)Israel!

Jeremy Ben Ami from Washington entered his voice to the call, if  “…the issues aren’t resolved between the parties involved,..[unfortunately for Jewish Jerusalem]…[and] a U.N. understanding is… made before a [bilateral] arrangement is finalized, it will impact Israel as a sectarian State”  negatively, (and the winners demographically would be the Muslims in a one-State solution).

The general stated that “…Common sense should prevail…We have to have a regular [regulated] peace!”   He, further, alleged the Israeli (along with the American) bugaboo over Iran was a mere charade.

Hassan remarked that “It is a very sensitive time for the Arab “Spring”… (In fact, your columnist has uttered the success or failure of that “Spring” depends upon the reaction within the Israeli nation!  That is why your narrator is dedicating so much of his energy looking at the interior “soul” of the Jewish terrain.   Hassan noted, “…American Jews can…influence…opinion in Israel.”  (Your commentator adds that it, also, is important for liberal American Jews and Muslims to establish better communication to solve the dangers within this most dangerous of international theaters.)

“We [the Hebrews] have to be the initiators!”  (This is a very serious issue, though.)  Although the negotiations must not be dominated by one side or the other, here, Ms. Hassan is advocating Israeli dominance without any international diplomatic intervention which  would bolster the weakened Palestinian positions.  This will not work. The negotiations must be between equals, and that is where the international nations – especially the United States because of its history of enablement for the crisis itself – to create an equal “pitch.”  Taras Hassan declaimed that “Otherwise, we [Tel Aviv shall] only be reacting… It is in Israel’s interest to split [divide the land.”  That is, the liberal Jews’ position is a two-State solution to save their State as a Jewish dominated one.  It is very different than the Arab (or even the mainstream politically liberal American) vision of a two-State outcome.

Ben Ami “hits it on the nail’’ when he says, the “Jewish…State cannot be based on permanent occupation!…”  This is a refutation to (former) Prime Minister Sharon’s policy of Permanent War which, incidentally, was picked up by the (last U.S.) President George W. Bush’s Neo-Conservative advisors who gave the American Republic the tragedy of the Iraq War! 

This five-segmented study has become an important one, for it has established a basis for negotiation.  Your investigator has already pointed out this composition to two decision-makers in the American government, and  he hopes to get their aides to look at it, for there are people on both sides of the Middle Eastern conundrum who could seriously talk to each other along with their neutral  international friends in a constructive manner.

Time is running out, and your author has even proposed a Constitutional framework for a one State Solution should it come to that, but he still holds onto a two-State solution — for different reasons than our Israeli colleagues — for the best outcome.

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IV. End Game!

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Ashland (Ore.)–Your raconteur has found himself in the Siskiyou (Mountains) of Southern Oregon (about ten miles north from the California border).

This charming small city has been short-listed as one of the best “urban” areas in America with the right mix of (nearby) nature (Crater Lake National Park et al. is close) in balance with (Euro-American) culture.  This municipality is home to the highest acclaimed Shakespeare Festival in the United States along with other festivals and individual events.  Provided one is not working against a deadline, one does not have to be bored here – with Allah (SWT’s) awe-inspiring natural landscape during the day, and His arousing beauty of the human mind’s creations during the evening!
In the Middle East the vocabulary is stalemate.  Libya, Syria and Yemen are in all-out civil war with no end in sight although Colonel Khadafy is “testing the waters” for an amnesty from prosecution if he steps down and to allow polls to determine the will of the people to conclude this status of civil war.  It was reported Sunday (the 19th) a horrible bungled NATO (North Atlantic Treaty organization) sortie over the city of Tripoli missed its target slaughtering a large number of human souls.  Although your author had originally supported the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty organization’s) intervention at the behest of Islamic organizations pressing for the end to these repressive regimes, I must question its methods at this time, for it is doing further damage to the Muslims there who have suffered so much.

On the 15th, the Lower House of the (U.S.) Congress passed a vote of “no confidence” for their support of the Executive’s activities in Libya; and, thus, also, of our orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan as well.  Curiously, on Saturday (the eighteenth), (U.S.) Secretary of State Robert Gates admitted that the District of Columbia had recently had face-to-face negotiation with the Taliban, too, which is a positive sign towards solving an intractable confusion between the West and a less than attractive faction within Islam itself.

Let it be noted that Barrack Hussein Obama has been the most sensitive of American Chief Executives to Dar al-Islam.  He has nearly rectified the mess George W. Bush had created through his criminal aggression and War Crimes against Humanity (especially torture) in Iraq; the Obama Administration has fashioned a reasonable policy for Afghanistan, which mêlée was dumped upon him by the previous Administration when it refused to neutralize a legitimate threat to the Columbian Commonweal (Al-Qaeda) – because it violently and maliciously crashed into the heart of North American Metropolis, and, instead, “W” began to chase imaginary “goblins” elsewhere in the Islamic world (i.e., Iraq). 

The current regime in Washington has shown a much greater restraint compared to France and Britain over the  Tripolian desert, and the U.S. has served officially in more of a supportive than leadership role.  The criticism of Obama in and out of Congress is from the Tea Partyers (“No Nothings”), and disgruntled Leftists who are unable to cope with the real-world; and, therefore, criticize almost anything practical. 

(For the American populace of Islam, the bell-weather Representative Keith Ellis should be listened to determine a correct course for those of the faith, for he is a Muslim who has chosen to work within the highest levels of the System, and can guide all of us well!)

In Islamic South Asia, the ill-falling out between the District (Center) and Rawalpindi over the Punjab-related incident of the bin-Laden raid is inanely claimed by ill-trained (U.S.A.) J-School (Journalism School) graduates that the two uneasy long-phased allies—the U.S. and Pakistan – now against the Taliban – and even  before the U.S.S.R. (Union of Socialist Soviet Republic) invaded the Afghans — are almost at the point of pugilism is pure rubbish…although the unannounced commando attack next to an Army base near Rawalpindi (and, thereby, Islamabad) against bin-Laden himself has provoked tension that will not go away quickly!

Let us continue, and move to the denouement of the view of what is happening within the Middle Eastern Hebrew  State from the perspective of a dissident retired IDF General and a Ministry of “Justice” lawyer with the comments of the Director of a liberal American pro-Israeli group, J-Street, who are seeking a realistically striving  for an  acceptable peace with justice between our mutual Holy Land’s inhabitants (from where Prophet Muhammad (s) made his Night Right from the Spire of Solomon’s Temple). 

Just this afternoon (the twentieth) the journal, Foreign Affairs, reported that there was a great uneasiness between the Tel Aviv establishment and their military (IDF) over the actual security situation over the Jewish State and their Islamic neighbors – including the “Occupied Territories.”  General Sharoni

Our discussants, who acknowledged the Palestinians just entitlements, were noticeably at odds with their Prime Minister (Netanyahu’s) positions.  It was interesting to hear a high-ranking Israeli military officer’s comments regarding the defensibility of the pre-1967 borders from the perspective of his homeland.  In his estimation, they are eminently defendable from his military view:  “Formerly, we were threatened by the surrounding nation-States.  Now that is not the case [they’ve made peace and/or understanding with their neighbors].  Today, the threat is terrorism, and having unsecured borders makes it hard for us to defend ourselves!”  In the end, this interpretation of their security counters his government’s claim that the Obama proposed borders are indefensible, and forces Tel Aviv to continue their policy of “unending War” which in the end is unsustainable.  (It, also, demonstrates that the contemporaneous rightist establishment is more concerned with founding a “greater” Israel which is a dangerous policy both to their dominantly Islamic neighbors.)

Ms. Hassan of Justice; therefore, urges all of us (Jews, Muslims and Christians, etc. alike) to request (our governments) to support the Two-State Solution as the only workable resolution! 

The American-Jewish leader on the call, Jeremy Ben-Ami, rejoined his recommendation that the American Jewish Community support this resolution within the Halls of Congress, and to explain their assessment to their co-religionist landzmen!  (Your critic behind the computer has advocated the best allies for American Muslims are progressive American Jews, for they have had to go through many of the same things American Islamic citizens/residents to become accepted on this Continent, and you must get to know each other better to build avenues for communication between each of your communities if you, personally, are willing to do so.  Liberal American Jews and Muslims can do much to walk together to change things around in Washington for all of us born from Abraham’s seed!  That is, we, personally, must resolve to be part of the resolution.  We have agency!

There is still one more section to go before the final analysis and conclusions can be made from this rich experience your reporter stumbled upon.  Hopefully, it will provide one of many possible scenarios for discussion.

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