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ISRAEL'S DANGEROUS PURSUIT OF TOTAL SECURITY
By Alaa Bayoumi
[Alaa Bayoumi is director of Arabic affairs for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties group. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org ]
In his book "Failed States," Noam Chomsky writes that, "Pursuit of total security by one state. . .entails the insecurity of others, who are likely to react." Chomsky was talking about the foreign policy of the Bush administration, but the same analysis fits Israel today.
The Bush administration under the influence of the neo-cons, and Israel under Ehud Olmet's right-wing Kadima Party, are pursuing a strategy of total security that is destabilizing the whole Middle East, if not the whole world, and spreading insecurity among other nations.
After 9/11, and under the influence of overzealous neo-conservative intellectuals and policy makers, the Bush administration adopted a strategy of "preemptive" and "unilateral" action that sought to change regimes around the world and to reshape entire regions, particularly the Middle East, in order to win a vaguely-defined "global war on terror."
Five years later, Al-Qaida's top leaders are still free. Afghanistan's transformation for turmoil to normalcy is more uncertain than any other time. Iraq is on the edge of civil war and has become a main training ground for terror. World public opinion's opposition to our policies is unprecedented. And, competition and disagreement among world powers are souring over the access to oil resources and markets, pushing prices to all time high.
An article by Philip Gordon, a senior fellow at Brookings Institutions, published in the July issue of Foreign Affairs has declared "the end of the Bush revolution."
Unfortunately, the uncertain end of the Bush revolution did not come free of charge. The administration's aggressive unilateral policies and its vague threatening moral rhetoric have increased the proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction. As a result, North Korea became nuclear and it is now testing new long-range missile systems. Iran is trying to follow in Pyongyang's path.
The Bush revolution also hurt the Middle East more than any other area. Today, Arab democracy is in retreat. The destinies of Iraq and Somalia are uncertain. Most frightening of all, the Middle East could be on the verge of a region-wide war.
The Bush administration's one-sided support for Israel's governments has ended the peace process. We have supported Israel's unilateral withdrawal form the Gaza strip, its refusal to negotiate with any Palestinian partner, and its brutal siege on the Palestinian civilian population. Today, our core Arab allies, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are shying away from even talking about the peace process.
More dangerously, the current Israeli government under Ehud Olmert, a shadow of Sharon who is trying to build an image among his people and in the Middle East as a tough military leader, is pursuing a strategy of total security that could lead to an open multi-national war in the Middle East.
Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East and the owner of the most powerful conventional military in the region, has launched an all-out war on two peoples in response to the kidnapping of a handful of its own soldiers. Israel itself holds thousands of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese people, men women and children who have been in Israeli jails for many years.
If our government does not act to stop Israel's aggressive actions, America will lose the support of the great majority of the Arab peoples and governments.
What we need now is an immediate cease-fire and an international conference to which all major parties to the conflict and world powers should be invited. This conference should work on establishing a new security system for the Middle East.
This new system must offer mutual security assurances for all countries, announce the Middle East as a nuclear weapons free zone, encourage the spread of democracy and human rights in the Arab world, find a just and peaceful solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, encourage cooperation in fighting terrorism, and build clear channels of communication among all countries in the Middle East. If guaranteed by the world major powers, such channels could prevent future conflicts.