Here’s the perfect parable for understanding not just the contemporary Middle
East but the wider world today. So far, it’s only being covered in the Finnish
media which, I assume, means nobody outside that country knows about
Two unarmed Finnish soldiers assigned to the United Nations Truce
Supervision Organization (UNTSO) were observing along the Israel-Syria border
from the Syrian side.
Armed men stopped their car.
While the two
Finns didn’t speak Arabic they were quickly made to understand that the men
wanted their UN vehicle and their other possessions.
Similar things have
happened to Belgian and Italian soldiers in the UNIFIL force in southern
In short, the supposed representatives of the world’s community
were being mugged and they could do nothing about it, or at least nothing but to
A Finnish officer explained that the men weren’t in fear of
their lives; the gunmen just wanted their property.
Now let me make it
clear that I’m not criticizing the two soldiers. What are you going to do when
you are unarmed and terrorists with guns hold you up? Yet this little story
struck me as incredibly symbolic on several levels.
The world is
constantly held up by terrorists and nowadays it tends to give in, if not to the
specific operations, than to the narrative being imposed on it. We do see rescue
operations sometimes – as in the Algerian army’s disastrous “rescue” in which
all the technicians being held hostage at a gas field were killed – and
sometimes we don’t, as in Benghazi, while the US government stood by as men it
had sent into a dangerous situation were murdered.
Yet what happens is
that even if the terrorists don’t always win in their military operations, they
succeed in intimidating the West to hand over its intellectual property – by
suppressing its own debate – and sometimes to pay tribute money as
AS A reward for failing to fulfill its commitments and cheering on
terrorist attacks, the UN’s General Assembly assigned non-member state status to
the Palestinian Authority. Billions of dollars of US aid go to Pakistan, which
helps the Taliban and shields al-Qaida.
Arms are handed over to Syrian
Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Turkish government backs a terrorist
group to create a violent confrontation with Israel (the IHH in the Gaza
flotilla) and US President Barack Obama declares that regime to be his soul
Even after an official report that Hezbollah carried out a
terrorist attack in Bulgaria, the European Union won’t put it on the terrorism
list. There is a long list of such items.
Terrorism mugs the West and
gets paid off as long as it doesn’t over-reach too much. Not attacking the World
Trade Center is enough to make some group America’s “friend.”
the West tends to yield is that it is “unarmed.” Not literally, of course, but
unarmed in terms of its ideas, analysis, and understanding.
As for a good
case study, take Lebanon, a few miles from where the two Finns were mugged. In
2006 the UN and the US government promised Israel, as a condition for ending its
war with Hezbollah, that a muchenlarged UN force would keep Hezbollah in
southern Lebanon and help stop arms’ smuggling from Syria to Lebanese
Hezbollah has walked all over the UN (UN Resolution 1701) and
the US commitments without any cost. UN observers have been regularly
intimidated by Hezbollah, which has moved back into southern Lebanon and built
new fortifications. See here and here.
THE UN and the White House have
not only done nothing but they haven’t even criticized Hezbollah for this
General Alberto Asarta, the Spanish general who commands UNFIL
forces in southern Lebanon, cannot praise Hezbollah enough. The area, he
explains, is “the best and most stable in the whole of the Middle East” thanks
to Hezbollah’s cooperation. It is “the most successful model when compared to
the experiences of other UN peacekeeping missions around the world.”
Hezbollah has actually helped combat terrorist groups that sought to attack
UNIFIL. Indeed, the cooperation with Hezbollah is called – I kid you not – “The
Partnership Against Radical Islamic Terrorism.”
Memo to police forces:
This could be a model for The Partnership against Crime to be formed in alliance
with the mafia.
Did I mention that having won the last Lebanese elections
– with a little help from violent intimidation and assassination of opponents –
Hezbollah now runs Lebanon? And did I mention that the new CIA Director, John
Brennan, is an apologist for Hezbollah and has advocated normalizing relations
between the United States and that terrorist group? And, of course, unless hit
with an Israeli air attack, Syria and Iran smuggle any weapons into Lebanon they
wish without US or UN objection or blockage. The effect of this smuggling is not
only to set the stage for future Hezbollah terrorism against Israel and a
possible war, but helps to guarantee that Lebanon will continue to be in the
hands of a terrorist group that is closely aligned with Tehran and advocates
genocide against Jews.
Oh, and Israel is supposed to be the bad guy
because it defends itself against muggers.
It’s bad enough to be mugged
repeatedly but it’s even worse to provide the weapons and money for the
assailants, while also praising them. But that’s precisely the moral of the
story as far as Obama Administration policy is concerned: Except for a few
exceptions who won’t play nice (ie, al-Qaida) if you’re nice to the terrorists
and they’ll be nice to you.
Oh, by the way, this is how most of the
“international community” advises Israel to behave.
The writer is
director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center