Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Be Clear About What You Stand For

This caricature depicts the way I feel about Qatar.

Who are we kidding ourselves by believing that the Qatari Airlines defied the Israeli air blockade by venturing out to Beirut yesterday? The Washington Post here reported that the Qataris got clearance prior to the trip from Israel.

It's interesting to see that a gulf country, other than the typical Saudi Arabia, is dabbling with politics, which usually gulf countries like to eschew. Gulf countries are always known to send money, not troops nor emissaries. But Qatar, apart from Al-Jazeera, wants to carve out for itself a place on the table.

I say, Great! But the downside is that Qatar just doesn't know what it stands for.

First, Qatar being a current member on the UN Security Council opposed UNSCR 1701, yet it just decided to send some 200 to 500 troops as part of the beefed-up UNIFIL peacekeeping force in the south (a la 1701).

Second, Al-Jazeera was one of the first Arab channels to interview Sayyid Nasrallah during the month-long war and has even dubbed that war the "Sixth War" and of course has openly supported Hizbullah in its war with Israel, unlike Saudi for instance. Yet on the other hand, Qatar is sending its troops to the south as part of an effort that consolidates the Lebanese state's control over its territories.

Third, Qatar has attempted at bridging the divide between Syria and Lebanon by taking up a mediator role of sorts taking the side of Syria, yet at the same time, I hear rumors circulating that Qatar is mediating secretly between Syria and Israel. Wow!

Fourth, the "defying the blockade" incident when Qatar has gotten Israel's permission, knowing very well that both countries cooperate economically.

And so this goes straight to the puzzling question in my mind: Al-Jazeera's political stands versus Qatar's diplomatic relations with Israel. A contradiction. It's none of my business to question any country's policies, heck, most Arab countries have such double standards shouting, "Hey look at me!", but out of concern, you cannot dabble in everything, you're a political novice, thank you for your efforts, but be clear about what you stand for lest you lose your credibility.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."


Lazarus said...

then i would rather Lebanon also did not know what it stood for, because qatar is currently eons ahead of lebanon in many of the aspects used to define a "state."

The Middle East News Addict said...

To Doha

From this entire interesting post, I would like to note just one sentence:

"knowing very well that both countries cooporate economically"

I urge you to look what this cooporation has brought Qatar (other than the ability to alleviate the siege over Lebanon in diplomatic way): it has brought it economic cooporation with Israel which gave it valuable access to technology, it opened its relations with the west,; but most importantly, it allows it to develop peacefully. If an oil rich country chooses to have economic ties with Israel, how can a none-oil-rich country afford not to do so? especially in light of the close geographical proximity. Already two other countries enjoy that cooperation (Jordan and Egypt) to the tune of a 100 million dollar each a year.

Now I am certain that many have a better idea: "we'll let Hezbollah win over Israel (who knows how long it will take if ever and at what cost to Lebanon) and then get their riches!" Well, the Palestinians certainly thought so and we all know where they are today: the greenhouses they got were destroyed due to internal bickering, anarchy rules and even Hamas' spokesperson Ghazi Hamed said that all of this mayham cannot be blamed on Israel. I urge all of the Lebanese people: be like Qatar, not like Palestine. Choosing Hezbollah's way is equivilant to choosing a Palestinian style future.

why-discuss said...

Yes, but Qatar does not have 400,000 Palestinian refugees that Israel doe not want to take back!!

abubalboola2 said...

Looks like you have a point to discuss here but it's not clear what you want to say.. as if you are shouting something back which you think means something or is relevant but you didnt explain what it is.

Can you please explain so that it will be dicussed?

Dimitry said...

why discuss

Israel isn't going to take the refugees. Israel believes in the solution of two states for two people, not two states for one people or one state for one people (the one people, in case you wonder, is of course the Palestinians). So, you'll have to deal with that issue yourself.

Meanwhile, why don't you entertain me by explaining me why the Palestinians are so special, that they alone, of the hundreds of millions of refugees througout the world and throughout the history, can retain the otherwise temporary "refugee" status indefinatly. Seriously. I've never heard about non-Palestinian who was concidered "refugee" for two decades (and this is generous figure, here). The second generation refugees, third generation refugees, fourth generation refugees and we'll probably get to see 10th generation refugees are something unique to the Palestinians. You appear to be seeing the sense in that. Please share.

Kranky (in the civilized world) said...

Hi Doha:

Sandmonkey linked here. Interesting article.

The Middle East News Addict: From what I understand, there is quite a bit of interest in the part of Israeli citizens and companies in making investments in friendly countries. It is hard to make investments in Jordan or Egypt due to overt hostility, and a variety of laws that would not protect jewish/Israeli property ownership, or even penalize locals who might sell to Israelis. Even with these strictures, investment capital is trickling in from Israel to these places. My question is, isn't it better to lob capital and investment, equal protection under the law, and legal reform to help reduce corruptions impact across borders than bombs? I think this. If Lebanon made peace with Israel, yeah hard since it never had peace with Israel from 48 onwards, it is pretty reasonable to assume that investment capital would follow. The area could be an economic power house, with some of the best beach front areas anywhere. People just have to want that enough to make it happen, and not want to kill the jews enough to prevent that from happening.

why-discuss and Dmitry:

Dmitry is right. There has already been a well documented population transfer whereby the arab and islamic nations expelled most of their jews after Israel was formed. These people whom were expelled from the arab world resettled in Israel, the americas, Asia and a few other locations. They were forced to leave all of their possessions. Roughly 800,000 jews were expelled from arab lands 1948 - 1960. I can quote you source materials if you like, but you can google this on the UN's own site. The "palis" for the most part heeded their arab bretherens requests to leave so that the arab armies could smash the nascent Israel in 48. Israel pleaded with them to stay. Benny Morris and others have documented this extensively. Unlike most of the jews, most of the arabs left voluntarily. Not all, some were forced out. The UN, and historians put that number as a small fraction of those whom left Israel.

The populations were transfered. Just like India and Pakistan. Kashmir is much larger than Israel and both sides claim it there, but the population transfer occured. It is fait acompli. All that is left is to resettle the non-settled refugees in their new lands. This is made hard for purely political reasons by the arab states. No resettlement, no citizenship, no respect. Courtesy of their arab bretheren.

We need to stop rubbing salt in that wound by handing over responsibility for dependent refugees to the UN refugee organ and disbanding the UNRWA and other UN organs that perpetuate a 60 year old conflict.

The conflict is over, Israel is a UN member state. You don't have to like her. You just need to be at peace with her. If the "palis" decided upon peace rather than war, and hamas focused upon building a state for its people rather than the purity of its ideology and its "right" to kill jews, then maybe the "palis" would be better off. Investment and capital would flow in. If the "palis" want their 400,000 bretheren in Leb to come back to Gazastan, that would be their choice. I don't think they are going to want that though.

Tom Gara said...

Jazeera is at least theoretically independant from the Qatari government though right?

Jazeera doesnt seemt to be the propoganda arm of any particular mid-east government, and also likes to criticise Saudi Arabia, Mubarak, Assad etc. I get the feeling that individual journalists in Jazeera have a fair bit of freedom in telling their stories, which is a great thing. And it also means you get some unexpected stories coming out...

Kind of similar to the cartoon controversy - just because the media says something, it doesnt make it approved government policy....

The Middle East News Addict said...

To Kranky (in the civilized world)
I'll deal first wih the Israeli-Lebanese relations. Israel and Lebanon have far better chance of relations between them. Remember that in 48 they did not join the war on Israel.
As for capital flows etc. with regards to Jordan and Israel, this would be a bit trickier with Lebanon I admit, but not impossible. With Jordan and Egypt, business relations work because the two countries complete Israel. Take for example the textile industry. The huge amount of social benefits and salaries employers have to pay in Israel has made it less profitable to manufacture in Israel. Jordanian and Egyptian companies can manufacture it for less and do so. The combined product mut contain 70% Egyptian\Jordanian input and 30% Iraeli to qualify for the Free trade benefits with the US. As a result Jordan and Egypt get the bulk of the benefits from this to the tune as I said, of a 100 million dollars a year. With Lebanon it will be a bit different because Lebanon relies mostly on trade and services as oppose to manufacturing; but I am not sure that this will not be possible to create an industrial zine especially in Southern Lebanon that will allow for such benefits. Especially considering the fact that Israel and the Southern Lebanese people did have crossbprder work relations as Lebanese people (not just SLA) came to work in Israel. Hope all this shed a bit of light both in terms of the obstacles; but more importantly in terms of hope

asiatown77 said...

My grandmother was in a refugee camp- for two years, not five generations. How anyone with a shred of self-respect,ambition and love for their kin would allow themselves this state of affairs baffles me.