Saturday, March 10, 2012

Israel Considers America as Her Errand Boy

March 7, 2012

Saeed Qureshi

Israel is soundly protected and does not need any superfluous protection. If Israel’s security is inviolable for Israel leaders so is it for the Iranian leaders for Iran. If Israel arrogates to herself the right to launch pre-emptive strike on Iran to destroy the latter’s nascent nuclear capability, Iran as a sovereign state, has a right to shield and safeguard her existence with befitting response.

Israel has been maintaining her supremacy in the Middle East by dint of force and unremitting belligerency. Its voice would sound more credible, convincing and potent, if Israel changes her track of threatening the neighboring states with her military might and takes to a diplomatic option. If Israel agrees to the creation of a state for the uprooted Palestinians, her sovereignty and survival would be definitely guaranteed.

Israel cannot kill all the Palestinians and thus remove them from the scene nor can it defeat all the Middle Eastern states and keep them under her mighty control. It will have to acknowledge the rights of others to exist and also the reality of the Palestinian state bestowed upon them by the UN resolutions 181 and 242.

Israel is not being pragmatic or realistic to infer that remaining in a perpetual state of war is the only way-out to thwart an existentialist threat to her from the Arab neighbors and Palestinians. It should ponder that if today United States takes off her guardian angel role, Israel would not be in a position to keep at bay the hostile neighbors by saber-rattling and even by possession of nuclear arsenal. Nuclear warheads are like double edged sword. These, if used can harm both the victim and the launcher.

A time might come that the American people wake up to the belated harsh reality that they have been undermining their national interests for the sake of Israel. In this entirely blind partisan tilt towards Israel; America has antagonized the entire Muslim world from the Middle East and across the globe. Its impression and image as an honest arbiter or broker has been severely slighted.

The war in Iraq was ostensibly not to dig out weapons of mass destructions or to embrace that bedeviled country with blessings of the democratic culture. It was essentially aimed at debilitating the powerful military setup of Iraq that posed a grave danger to Israel.

I am stunned to hear the raucous and unstinting commitments of America to the security of Israel. Why the United States does not make such commitment for other states in the same area? Israel has been rather bullying all the states and frightening them with the specter of her military invincibility.

The amicability towards the Saudi Arabia and other small littoral states is for cheaper and unhindered flow of oil and therefore they are spared from the fury of the sole super power and also of her protégé Israel. Moreover these states are militarily spineless so they do not pose any threat to the varied interests of either United States or Israel.

Additionally, the Arab states that support Israel against Palestinians and Iran namely Saudi Arabia, Jordon, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Kuwait, UAE and till recently Yemen are all surrogates of the United States. The Arab League is a phony and ineffectual body of the Arab states whose leaders simply sit, talk and disperse.

It is only United State that can facilitate and bring about peace and understanding between the marooned Israel and her neighbors. The first momentous step towards that milestone would be to prevail upon Israel to concede to the inevitability of the establishment of the stalled Palestinian state in compliance with the above mentioned United Nations resolutions.

Now if Israel is pressuring United State to jointly attack the nuclear faculties of Iran, it is taking recourse to the least rational or justified approach towards resolving that prolonged tangle. United States is convinced and has repeatedly claimed that Iran’s nuclear program was far from producing a nuclear weapon. Then why Israel is forcing America to attack Iran and if United States dithers, insists to go solo to strike a sovereign country?

It is foregone that if Israel commits the fatal blunder of unilaterally attacking Iran, it should be ready to face an unprecedented matching retaliation. Iran with huge disciplined and organized military paraphernalia would not be an easy target to be obliterated.

It will have to come up with an astounding military response. One can only conjecture as to how the Middle East would look like thereafter. If at that stage, America jumps into the hellish fray in support of Israel, then apart from the colossal loss of lives on both sides, the peace would indefinitely become elusive.

One should recall that when Iraq preemptively attacked Iran in September 1980, the Iranian stumbled initially but later launched ferocious counterattacks and held back the brutal onslaughts by Iraqi army and air force and survived even the use of chemical weapons by Saddam Hussain. After overcoming the initial jolting it sent waves after waves of the regular army soldiers and volunteers to effectively check the advance of the intruding Iraqi army.

Iran now is a veritable regional military power as compared to a militarily weaker and unstable clerical regime of 80s. It has the potential to brace and face the combined forces of all the hostile Arab countries and Israel as well. Iran will have to fight with her back to the wall and for the survival of the only conservative Shia regime in the world.

So for Israel to erroneously believe that she can, with unilateral surgical strikes, destroy Iran’s nuclear network and annihilate her militarily is a wild dream and cannot come true. Israel should take into consideration the fact that there is also a sizeable Jewish population living in Iran. They could be victimized and bear the brunt of the vengeance to be let loose on them by the Iranians. As such the surgical attacks will spill unimaginable disaster and ruination in the Middle East without achieving any desirable or coveted objectives.

The United States should stop bending over backward for shielding a country that shuns the choice of diplomacy, abhors negotiations and prefers bellicosity. Israelis prone to igniting destructive wars under a misconceived notion and myopic belief that it can maintain her supremacy by throwing a specter of fear and intimidation over the neighbors. But how long can it perpetuate in such unworthy, untenable and futile bellicose designs that would be mutually destructive.

President Obama has rightly taken a sagacious and cautious stance by pronouncing that the time for war against Iran has not yet arrived. Even if such is time is rife, the United States should simply discard it. United States has had enough wars after the WWII and it is time to recoil from the invasion and military adventures and instead attend to the most pressing domestic problems.

These paramount priorities are to rebuild America, restore its humanitarian image, pay off her whopping debts, reviving its economic prowess, enlivening the downgraded institutions like health and education, social services, and modernizing the aging infrastructure.

Israel should not be the only single most outstanding priority for the United States. America should heed of what congressman and the presidential candidate Ron Paul has said several times that Israel should mind her own business and America should do away with the onerous responsibility of cuddling her all the time.

The only saner course for Israel is to mend fences with her neighbors, live herself and let others live in the region in peace and harmony. It is time for the United States to scale down its postures of antagonising the Palestinians specifically and the Muslims in generally just to please and appease Israel.

Kite Flying is not a Crime

March 3, 2012

By Saeed Qureshi

Those 15 teenagers whom the Punjab police arrested for kite flying and were later released on the express order of the Inspector General Punjab Police did not commit any crime. If our officialdom and religious zealots have become so fastidious as to not allow a traditional sport for the sake of fun and entertainment then we belong to the pre-historic ages when humans were living in caves and were wild.

Since each year a few lives are lost either by falling from the rooftops or guillotined by the razor sharp string used in kite flying, the entire game that has been part of the cultural milieu of the sub-continent for centuries is declared as unlawful and banned.

The joy of flying the kites is doubled as the peasants and farmers are free after the harvesting and storing the corn and rice in their makeshift storage facilities. In East Punjab this festival is celebrated with dazzling festivities when the revelers drink to their fill, eat the choicest foods, dance, and sing especially the folklore mystical and love songs both vocal and with the instruments.Open air theatres are arranged that are attended by large crowds. This is the best season of the year for the traditional marriages to be solemnized with exceptional pageantry and glamour.

Kite flying is as old as the human civilization and is observed with fanfare, relish, gusto all over the world. In Pakistan the kite flyers fly the kites made from the bamboo strings and fine paper and usually are of normal sizes with multiplicity of colors.

However, in the Far Eastern countries including Japan, Indonesia, and Malaysia and China, the giant sized kites are used that carry figures, graphics and designs of animals, flying insects, birds, and other beasts, both real and mythical.
In the courtiers where the kite flying is a ritual and a yearly tradition, the kite flyers, compete, excel and vie with each by making and flying the most novel and alluring kites.

The kites made and flown in countries such as Vietnam, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Greece, Cyprus, Chile, India, and China are famous for their diversity in sizes, for being fanciful, with gaudy colors and paintings. In China and Japan as large as 100 foot long kites are made with dragons and are lifted in the air with great dexterity.

Kite flying in Pakistan is a popular ritual for the celebration of Jashn-e-Bahar (Spring Festival) or Basant. While kite fighting is the most cherished hobby all around Pakistan, yet Lahore is the hub of this recreation. During the spring festival the skies are colored with kites. As people cut-loose an opponent’s kites, the shouts and shrieks with various epithets ring through the air from the winning party.

The snapped kite that floats in the space freely are reclaimed by the zealous and rather bewitched crazy boys running madly along the flying kite till it falls and is snatched by the strongest looter.

Most of us must have read the story of the famous experiment attributed to an 18th century scientist, Benjamin Franklin who proved by the kite flying that lightning in the clouds carried the charge of electricity. He felt that shock in the tether he was holding in his hand.

There is no religious injunction that bars or bans this recreation coming once a year and that rejuvenates the people that go through a suffocating and conditioned life round the years. If the two Eid festivals are ceremonies observed every year with devotion and unfailingly, why not a cultural festivity that injects once in awhile fun, pleasure and happiness in the insipid and dull lives of the citizens should be declared as an offense.

As far the string that is lethal and if incidently woven round the beck can result in an instantaneous death, rules can be framed to bind the kite flyers that the string or the thread used in kite-flying should not be metal or glass-coated. At the same time people should be warned of not walking causally while the kite flying competitions are in progress. In this way while the people would be able to carry out this fun filled festivity, they would be safe from those rare fatalities as well.

If the society is averse to the healthy activities one of which is the games and physical gymnastics, then we shall have to wind up a host of other activities too that are more harmful than this fun generating game that comes once in a year coinciding with the harvesting of the winter crops in the Indian sub continent. The period of Basant or spring is the most exhilarating as the wind is strong but mild and cool.
The kite flying is not committing a murder, stealing or stabbing .Even otherwise fatal road accidents occur every day but it does not mean that traveling should be declared unlawful and banned. If kite flying is an offense and dangerous then we shall have to put a ban on other similar recreational activates such bull fighting, cock fighting, dog fighting, swimming, and climbing. Do the authorities in Pakistan want to turn Pakistan into land barren of all creative, delightful and entertaining pursuits?

It was most callous to send the young boys behind the bar for a kind of sport that they wait for the whole year and that warms and thrills their dull and listless lives. If the police were to arrest the kit flying fans, then they could do it with adults and not the adolescents who would be prone to incur a fear and fright for the rest of their lives and turn paranoid for something which they perceive simply as a mirthful and fun generating activity and nothing else.