Shall we tell the President?
BY AIJAZ ZAKA SYED, KHALEEJ tIMES
DEAR Mr President, I must thank you on behalf of the people in the Middle East for this historic visit to the region. It’s a shame we didn’t have the honour of seeing you up close and personal. We earthlings had to stay indoors while your convoy of limos zipped past us in downtown Dubai.
This is a remarkable view from the ME. One that can’t be ignored. But nowhere does the author take responsibility for what caused the US to invade Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place.
The Arabs and Muslims will forever remain grateful to you for sparing some of your precious time for us, despite your hectic schedule in these last few months of your presidency. This is a truly noble gesture to a people who are already infinitely indebted to you for your landmark initiatives to promote freedom and democracy in the Muslim world.
How can we ever forget it’s thanks to your courage and single-minded persistence that the Islamic world today has so much peace, freedom and democracy that it’s now ready to export it to other parts of the world?
How can the world forget that if the people of Iraq are enjoying peace, progress and prosperity today, the credit goes to none but you? So what if a million people have died for your mission Operation Iraqi Freedom? It’s a small price to pay for the invaluable gifts the Iraqi people have received in turn.
So what if the Middle East’s most progressive and prosperous country has been bombed back to the Stone Age? Stuff happens, you see! And what if the coalition of the willing is yet to find Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Does it really matter now? What really matters is the people of Iraq are free today. They have been liberated from the clutches of Saddam Hussein. They are free to do their own thing. The Sunnis and Shias are completely free to kill each other and do unto each other as they please.
Again, Mr President, it was thanks to your intervention that Afghanistan is in safe hands today. It is enjoying all-round peace and prosperity like never before in its long history. The Taleban have been driven out of Kabul to spread themselves out across the country.
Some stupid supporters of the terrorists, however, argue that the US has no business in Afghanistan. They say that the brief Taleban rule had actually restored genuine peace and stability in the country by reining in ever warring militias and drug lords. They allege that your noble friend and ally Hamid Karzai is a powerless wimp whose writ doesn’t run beyond capital Kabul.
But of course all this is baseless propaganda of forces that are enemies of freedom and democracy as championed by you and your neocon friends. Afghanistan is better off today, just as Iraq is, all thanks to you.
And we must also thank you for your pivotal role in bringing peace to the Holy Land, freeing the Palestinian people from the clutches of the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah terrorists. It is thanks to your persistent efforts that the Palestinian government led by Hamas has been toppled and the enemies of freedom and democracy have been confined to Gaza Strip. So what if the Palestinian people had elected the Hamas to rule the Palestinian Territories?
The terrorists remain terrorists, even if they are democratically elected. How could we allow the Hamas to rule when it refuses to accept the dictates of the civilized world led by the US and Israel?
The Hamas remains a terrorist organisation because it refuses to give up on the land that, it claims, belongs to the Palestinians. To top it all, it insists on the Palestinians’ so-called right to return? How ridiculous and dumb can they get? How can the Palestinians talk of the right to return when there is no place to return to? Where is the country that the Palestinians want to return to? Like first Israeli PM Golda Meir argued: “There’s no such thing as the Palestinians.” It is now Israel, God’s own country, as our good Zionist friends emphasise.
The Palestinians should be grateful to the US and Israel for agreeing to allow a state of their own on the land stretching from the West Bank to Gaza. And they should thank God for blessing them with visionary leaders who are working with the US and Israel to establish the State of Palestine.
Unfortunately, most Palestinians have not been grateful for the invaluable gifts showered on them by the Americans and Israelis. They are stuck in a time warp. They refuse to let go of the past. And they should learn to thank their benefactors by watching the Israelis. Just see how Olmert rolled out the red carpet for you rightly praising you as Israel’s Greatest and Truest Friend. In his welcome speech, Olmert talked of your ‘courage, determination and vision’ to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East.
Compare this with the rhetoric of the ungrateful Palestinians who called you the world’s greatest terrorist. How could they do it? How could they ignore your eminent contribution to the world peace, especially, Middle East peace? In spite of this, you were gracious enough to promise a peace deal and independent state of Palestine. And our Israeli friends have been equally kind in promising to protect this land, if it becomes Palestine. They will continue to control the borders of Palestine through their countless check posts.
As you noted during your visit to Ramallah from Jerusalem, these check posts are everywhere — strategically located to protect the Palestinian people from themselves. And you were of course right in rejecting all of United Nations resolutions that unfairly condemn Israel’s rightful actions against the Palestinian terrorists over the past half a century or so.
As you have always argued, Israel after all has a right to protect and defend itself against the terrorists. Even if it means going after them in their own dangerous neighbourhoods. Even if it means killing women and children. Now we have no way of knowing who is a terrorist, have we? Even women and young children can be terrorists.
Besides, like you pointed out in Ramallah, all those UN resolutions are worthless; they have never made a difference or shaken Israel’s resolve to deal with the terrorists. Some cynics though allege that if all those UN resolutions failed to move Israel, it is because they were all vetoed and shot down by the US. They say that the Zionist lobby pressures the US to protect Israel every time the UN raises the bogey of alleged atrocities against Palestinians.
This is nonsense, of course. What is important for the Palestinians, and everyone in the Middle East and Muslim world, is to look to the future, not the past. I agree with you completely. How long will the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims remain stuck in the past and constantly cry over the loss of their land, their homes and loved ones? They have to move on and gratefully accept what is graciously offered by Israel. So what if it’s only 22 per cent of the land and country that once allegedly belonged to the Palestinians? It will still be a viable Palestinian state, ready to co-exist in peace with Israel.
After all, as you so reasonably argued standing next to your friend Ariel Sharon, the great man of peace, as you called him, in Washington four years ago, you cannot alter “realities on the ground.” The Palestinians must be content with what they’ve got or will get. This is a grand vision and realistic roadmap, Mr President; one that is crucial to the security and stability of the Middle East and world peace.
Talking of world peace, we can’t ignore the grave threat that Iran poses to the civilized world, especially to its Arab and Muslim neighbours. Right from your arrival in Israel to your trip across the region, you have repeatedly reminded the Arabs that Iran, and not Israel, is their real enemy.
Again, I am in total agreement with you on this count. But some mischievous elements, obviously influenced by the propaganda of Islamic terrorists, tend to think it’s not Iran but the US and Israel that are real enemies of the Arab and Muslim countries.
They argue that while Iran has never attacked any neighbouring country in the past thousand years, the US and Israel repeatedly have. Even now, they say, it is not the Iranian soldiers but the US military that currently occupies two Muslim countries. They seem to believe that the West is playing the good old divide-and-rule game all over again.
And Robert Fisk, that dangerously deranged British journalist, claims the US is using the imagined threat of Iran to sell its weapons to the Arabs.
Of course, I don’t believe this balderdash. The US soldiers came to Afghanistan and Iraq as the liberators, not occupiers. They are there to help and save us from the sponsors of terror like Iran. As you’ve continually warned in your speeches during your tour, Iran was a threat, is a threat and will be a threat to the Middle East and world peace.
This reality doesn’t change in spite of your own spy agencies admitting in the recent National Intelligence Estimate that Iran poses no threat whatsoever and that it is not building nukes. Even facts cannot change this reality! Thank you, Mr President, once again for visiting us. The world would be a dangerous place without courageous, conscientious and far-sighted leaders like you.
Yours truly, An ardent admirer
Aijaz Zaka Syed is a senior editor and columnist of Khaleej Times. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org