Thursday, July 27, 2006

UN observers begged Israelis to stop shelling their position: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan described the killing of 4 unarmed UN peacekeepers (including a Chinese soldier) as 'apparently deliberate'.

This war has highlighted the arrogance and militarism of Israel, and produced some of the most disastrous publicity for it. Who was the military genius who decided to bomb Beirut International airport as one of the first acts of the war? This immediately left stranded thousands upon thousands of foreign nationals, who began screaming into their TV cameras to get them the hell out of the place, producing a seemingly endless barrage of negative publicity.

Isreal seems more and more like the Prussia of the Middle East: a small country with a large military that believes war is the answer. The military overwhelms the civilian leadership, pulling Schlieffen plans out of the draw to execute without apparent regard to the negative political and diplomatic consequences of bombing the airport, the UN or the civilian infrastructure generally, not to mention the consequences of a war which is lost or only partly won.

And when Condi Rice appeared in Beirut, Israeli bombing temporarily stopped. Here's a suggestion: send her back to Beirut or 'somewhere in southern Lebanon.'

The US vetoed a resolution in the Security Council and has a position calling for a 'sustainable ceasefire'. This Orwellian phrase simply means no ceasefire at all but a green light for Israel to continue attacking, including attacks on peacekeepers, civilians and civilian infrastructure, as long as it likes. Howard, predictably, echoes the US line. One wonders whether he is in touch with the US to pick up directly the US/Israeli talking points.

And its a duplicitous game that Howard is playing:

Australia apparently voted with the rest of the world in the General Assembly, but Howard publicly supports the US/UK/Israeli position of a sustainable ceasefire (unrestricted warfare). What can explain this inconsistency? I would venture that Howard does not want Australia to be seen to be globally isolated in the General Assembly in support of an indefensible position, but at the same time because Assembly votes are generally ignored no one outside the chamber will notice if he publicly supports the UKUSIS (UK/US/Israel) position.

Diplomacy and votes in both the Security Council and the General Assembly are not reported as promptly and prominently as they ought, except for one dramatic recent exception: the massive reporting on the Security Council debate over Saddam's 'weapons of mass destruction.' And that of course explains why there is little reporting: that affair was a devastating diplomatic and political defeat for the United States. Day after day, week after week the lack of credibility of the US position and its nakedly aggressive agenda was held up for the whole world to see. With Powell gone and yo Blair! the poodle despised, Bush & co will be sure not to make that mistake again. Cheney and Rumsfeld didnt want to do it in the first place. Which is precisely why the UN should get full attention in progressive reporting.

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