Saturday, November 04, 2006

Defeating Terror in the Middle East

Something untoward has been happening in international affairs, as many—but not enough—of us understand. In a war between a democracy and a terror organization created and run by a totalitarian regime, nation after nation has sided with the terror organization and condemned the democracy. In a struggle between a small country determined to defend itself against aggression on a grand scale, pressure was brought to bear that stopped the fighting while leaving the terrorists still in possession of hardened bunkers and a massive arsenal of rockets. A war on terror has been stopped in its tracks just as real gains were being made. A dangerous and destabilizing force has remained intact, ready to re-group, re-arm, and await its moment.

In a conflict that symbolizes more than any other the unremitting war between a free and open society and rogue states and organizations who will not compromise or enter into negotiations or attend peace talks or participate in conferences, the forces of democracy were utterly betrayed. Terrorists bent on the destruction of the only true democracy in the region have been pulled out of the fire they started by a United Nations that has lost all sense of morality and a world community that has forgotten the lessons of the 1930s and 40s.

Israel has been forced to accept a ceasefire that bids fair to leave Hizbullah in a stronger position than ever. More young men now flock to enlarge its numbers. Within days of the ceasefire, the Shi’ite terrorists were already smuggling arms into Lebanon. Some of those arms have come via Turkey, a NATO member state and an applicant to join the EU. An Israeli attempt to stop this breach of the ceasefire was met with harsh accusations from the Secretary General of the UN. Hizbullah, who had started the war and now broken the ceasefire, was not made the subject of censure.

It is six years since Israel pulled out of Lebanon completely. Part of the agreement was that UN resolution 1559, which called for the disarming of Hizbullah, would be implemented. It was not. Neither the Lebanese government nor the UN peacekeeping force, UNIFIL, lifted a finger to implement it. In that period, Iran proceeded to finance Hizbullah and arm it to the teeth. It already has missiles that can reach Tel Aviv. The new UN resolution, 1701, doesn’t even mention disarming Hizbullah, and the Lebanese government and UN have already made it clear that they have no intention of doing so. Iran, busy refining uranium for ‘peaceful’ purposes, just sits there, doing what it wants while the world sleeps.

Hizbullah and its masters in Tehran simply do not want peace. Here is what Hizbullah’s founder, Husayn Fadlallah said about peacemaking: 'We see in Israel the vanguard of the United States in our Islamic world. It is the hated enemy that must be fought until the hated ones get what they deserve... Therefore our struggle will end only when this entity is obliterated. We recognize no treaty with it, no cease fire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated.' And here are some statements by the present leader of Hizbullah, Hasan Nasralllah: ‘Israel is our enenmy. This is an aggressive, illegal, and illegitimate entity which has no future in our land. Its destiny is manifested in our motto: “Death to Israel”.’ And it isn’t just the Israelis or Zionists they hate. Here’s what Nasrallah would like to do to the Jews in general: ‘If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.’ Sound familiar? Have you ever seen a photograph of a Hizbullah rally? The Nazi salutes may look familiar as well. ‘God bless Hitler’, as a recent placard put it.

A strengthened Hizbullah backed by a jubilant Iran and a sneering Syria will return to the battlefield in a last attempt to wipe Israel from the map. But Israel's hands are tied. She cannot do a thing to stop this inevitable countdown to greater bloodshed. Already, Iranian clerics are calling for rockets to be fired on Israel from behind their own borders. One day those missiles may contain nuclear warheads. If that happens, it will signal the greatest possible victory for the forces of Islamic terrorism throughout the world. There will be no turning back. From that day forth, a sense of divine mission will drive another generation of die-hards to greater and more reckless acts of terror against the West. Against democracy. Against freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear and intolerance and the over-reaching claims of theocratic totalitarianism.

Those of you who watched the Israeli port city of Haifa being pummeled by Hizbullah rockets may not have seen shots from the downtown sections up to the front of Mount Carmel. If you had, you would have seen one of the most beautiful sites on the Mediterranean coast: a golden-domed shrine, an arc of gleaming white marble buildings, flower-filled gardens, and nineteen terraces climbing from the foot almost to the top of the mountain. This is the international centre of the Baha’i religion, a small worldwide faith for whom the Holy Land is sacred. It is against the law to be a Baha’i in any Muslim country. In some it is punishable with death. In Iran, Baha’i shrines and cemeteries have been bulldozed to the ground. That is undoubtedly the fate that awaits the Baha’i centre in Haifa if Hizbullah should march in.

Israel is, out of all proportion, the most tolerant country in the Middle East. Millions of Christians have been driven out of Lebanon (see below *), thousands from cities like Bethlehem. Christian populations have fallen everywhere in the Muslim world. But in Israel, Jews, Christians, Baha’is, Druze, and others mix freely in an open society. Women enjoy full rights. Gay men and women flee to Israel from the Palestinian territories to escape beatings and execution. Arabs have seats in parliament and act as Supreme Court judges. Israel is a country just like our own. Hizbullah wants to destroy it. Iran wants to create a second Islamic state on its ruins.

The UK government must put pressure where it is needed, above all on the UN, to demand an end to Hizbullah. Not a period of grace in which it will come to dominate and wreck the region. If this cannot be done, and if Iran, Syria, and other terror-financing states cannot be reined in, the mindless onslaught on civilization and human dignity will grow more and more fierce. Iran already has rockets that can reach southern Europe. Terrorist volunteers are already active in Britain.

* Note on Lebanese Christian demographics and emigration (verbatim from

'The head of the powerful Maronite church has long contended that Lebanese emigrants total about eight million with Maronites making up the overwhelming majority. Muslims are currently believed to hold a 55-45 percent majority among Lebanon’s population at home, which are estimated at 4.5 million by the latest U.N. statistics.

According to As-Safir, a statistical study on the demographics of the electorate by researcher Kamil Feghali reveals the following:

In the early 1900s the demographic situation was largely in favor of Christians. On the basis of the number of eligible voters born starting 1910, the study reveals that 68.8 percent of the electorate was Christian, 29.2 percent Muslims, and the rest Jews.

Based on the number of eligible voters born starting 1930, the Christian electorate constituted 52.4 percent of the total voter population, while Muslims constituted 46.5 percent.

Calculations based on the number of voters born starting 1939 show a par between the Christian and Muslim electorate with each claiming 49.7 of the electorate.

The percentage of Christian electorate shrunk to 36.5 percent while that of the Muslims grew to 60.1 percent on the basis of the number of eligible voters born starting 1960. The percentage of Christian electorate further decreased to 27.5 percent while the percentage of Muslims climbed to 72.4 for eligible voters born starting 1979.

The percentage of decrease by Christian electorate between 1975 and 1979 was between one and three percent, while the percentage of increase within the Muslim electorate between 1975 and 1979 registered a corresponding one to three percent.

Calculated in 2005, Feghali forecasts that the percentage of Christians within the electorate population would be around 26-27 percent while that of Muslims would be around 73-74 percent.'

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