Friday, April 20, 2012

20-Apr-12: Whose dispute am I?

IAF jet patrolling the skies, protecting its nation's claim
to the occupied territories
Some clues:
  • This is happening in the Middle East where, as most people know, disputes tend to fester and blow up among infantile locals whenever the grown ups are out of the room. 
  • The British ruled this particular territory for decades. Then they pulled out.
  • Two neighbouring countries asserted conflicting claims once the British left the scene. 
  • The one with the much stronger military took control  as soon as the British were out of the picture. Since then, it refuses to let go.
  • Its forces remain there, in charge, as they have for more than forty years. This is one of the reasons, among others, that such a high proportion of the country's production goes to fund its bloated military.
  • Keep in mind the territory in question has tremendous strategic significance. It lies at one of the world’s most significant crossroads locations.
  • The militarily-stronger party to the dispute over the occupied territory is widely believed to have nuclear weapons already or is close to getting them. 
  • Yes, it signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But repeated disclosures by impeccable third-party sources show it has only the slightest of commitments to what it signed. Being a nuclear power is central to its overall regional strategy.
  • That party says it is going to turn the occupied territory into what it terms a “showcase” for its cultural ties to the land.
  • Indeed, it asserts that it has a historical right stretching all the way back to antiquity.
  • In the course of its occupation, it has shut down schools, conducting a cruel policy of expelling the indigenous population. Some observers see this as ethnic cleansing.
  • When people describe the prime minister of that militarily mighty side, some of the words they use are "arrogant" and  "condescending". He is widely despised outside his own land, but he does have his fans. His public statements are said to cause embarrassment to large numbers of his countrymen. 
  • But his firm grip on the media and most of the organs of the state has the suppressive effect that one would expect on criticism of his actions by his countrymen. He frightens people.
  • Very recently, this prime minister made a very public visit to the occupied territories. It's a visit that caused puzzlement to international observers because its sole effect appears to be to turn a “back-burner” dispute into a diplomatic tempest for no good reason other than the need to make some kind of pompous public statement.
  • The dispossessed side - who happen to be Arabs - are (naturally) “furious”, “outraged”.  They demand that this matter be brought before the International Court of Justice.
  • Few think they have the power to do much about the status quo. The might of the dominant side is largely unquestioned. 
  • A US State Department spokesman is quoted saying earlier this week that the Obama administration hopes for a "peaceful resolution" through international mediation. 
  • At the same time, the prime minister's jaunt can "only complicate efforts to settle the issue", according to State. 
  • Making matters annoyingly worse, the prime minister has a tendency to refer to historical documents that, as he puts it, confirm the authenticity of his side's claim and even the name it applies to the area in question which is, of course, quite different from the name the Arabs give it. 
  • The world should adopt his side's choice of name "to acknowledge [as he puts it] the greatness and capability of the country they are addressing". 
  • The more powerful of the sides has cemented its grip on the territories by placing military garrisons there. Its missiles (and it is a major developer of missiles) point ominously at the Arab side.
  • The Arab side declares it is “determined to regain its legitimate rights”.
Hint: The Zionist entity? No so much.


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