Thursday, January 19, 2006

Don’t we love Western self-haters?

In a column published today in Gulf News, Patrick Seale assessed whether the US “can recover its position in the Middle East?”. Once again, we are told that the Muslim world hates us because of …the US and Israel… obviously…

“The Muslim ummah or community of the faithful numbers some 1.3 billion people. The vast majority are peace-loving citizens of the countries in which they live, but many of them feel strongly that Muslims are victims of the conflicts in Palestine and Iraq, but also in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kosovo, Kashmir and elsewhere, and that it is time for Muslims to resist occupation and oppression. The Arabic word is jihad.” Said Seale. Fascinating to see how he can start with a list of countries where the US is either helping the local populations or not involved, and use it as a mean to explain why the US is hated…

One of the ‘interesting’ examples, that he uses, is the recent air strike in Pakistan: “Just this past week, two unmanned drones of the CIA fired 10 missiles into houses in the Pakistan village of Damadola, close to the Afghan frontier, killing 18 civilians. The Americans hoped to kill Ayman Al Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden's deputy. But the intelligence was wrong. On a visit to Washington this week, Pakistan's prime minister lodged a firm protest, but the US has neither apologized nor offered compensation to the victims' families. Such air strikes fuel hatred for America, violate Pakistan's sovereignty, undermine the US-Pakistani strategic alliance, weaken President Pervez Musharraf, strengthen his fundamentalist Muslim opponents and add to Al Qaida's mystique of invincibility” wrote Seale. How convenient is it to forget to mention that experts believe some of the most wanted al-Qa'eda figures were killed in the air strike, including the al-Qa'eda explosives and chemicals weapons recognized expert and the son-in-law of Ayman Al Zawahiri?

I guess we should not be surprised by Seale’s biased analysis, given his track record… As some of you may recall, he was the one who published a column in Guardian in which he explained that there was no way Syria was responsible for the killing of Hariri: “Attributing responsibility for the murder to Syria is implausible. The murder is more likely to be the work of one of its many enemies… If Syria did not kill Hariri, who could have? There is no shortage of potential candidates, including far-right Christians, anxious to rouse opinion against Syria and expel it from Lebanon; Islamist extremists who have not forgiven Syria its repression of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 80s; and, of course, Israel. Israel's ambition has long been to weaken Syria, sever its strategic alliance with Iran and destroy Hizbullah. Israel has great experience at ‘targeted assassinations’ - not only in the Palestinian territories but across the Middle East. Over the years, it has sent hit teams to kill opponents in Beirut, Tunis, Malta, Amman and Damascus.” wrote Seale. Of course, it’s Israel responsibility…

Since Seale wrote his analysis, a U.N. probe into Hariri's killing has implicated senior Syrian officials. To add insult to injury, Syria's former vice president Abdul-Halim Khaddam, who defected to France, recognized that Assad had threatened Hariri during their last meeting.

At some point, experts such as Patrick Seale, should wonder what kind of impact their biased analysis have on the Muslim World, and whether their analysis is not one of the reasons why many in the Muslim world hate us…

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