Friday , 21 June 2024

World Plays ‘Pretend’ as Iran Burns Down Middle East

gatestoneinstitute.org – Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron came to Jerusalem, where he told Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end the war in Gaza. “The ordeal of the Palestinians in Gaza must end,” Macron said, without even bothering to demand the release of the remaining hostages as a precondition for his fever-dream of a ceasefire. So far, Hamas has rejected all proposals but one, and that came only after extreme military, not diplomatic, persuasion.

World leaders like Macron play a game of “pretend.” According to it, the situation in the Middle East is an issue between Israel and the Palestinians; and if just that is resolved by establishing of a new Palestinian terrorist state, “peace” will drift down upon the region. Of course, the idea is demented, as the world leaders are undoubtedly aware, but they continue to propose it – but only to the victim, Israel, which was attacked without provocation and is still being attacked; never to Hamas, Qatar or Iran, the parties that ignited the war. The ceasefire that the world claims it wants could be delivered this week if Iran and Qatar seriously ordered their proxies to stop, and Hamas and Hezbollah laid down their weapons.

Clearly Iran and Qatar have no intention of doing any such thing: they undoubtedly see their job as keeping their proxies in power to be able to strike again.

World leaders, however, are not demanding that Iran or its proxies stand down. The main reason Ireland, Norway and Spain have recognized a borderless Palestinian terrorist state is that they do not have to live with the consequences. Maybe Spain would also like to recognize a State of Catalonia? Ireland, even at the height of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, never demanded that all the Welsh, Scots and English leave Britain, to have it peopled only by Irish Catholics.

Conspicuously, the same Macron who is ordering Israel to lay down its weapons in Gaza has been silent when it comes to asking that of Hamas and Iran.

Iran’s proxy Hezbollah already is the main power inside Lebanon; a new ineffectual border agreement will not change that. Furthermore, a border agreement is not what Biden wants. Biden’s policies, like Obama’s, are all about strengthening Iran in every way, including allowing it to fully realize its nuclear ambitions.

“Most importantly, these profits have enabled Iran to accelerate completing its nuclear weapons program, if it has not already done so and is not just being paid to stay quiet before the US presidential election this November.” — Majid Rafizadeh, Gatestone Institute, June 1, 2024.

Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah, having fired thousands of rockets, guided anti-tank missiles and exploding drones into Israel since October, has lately ratcheted up its attacks even more, killing and wounding Israelis and igniting massive wildfires that have so far consumed more than 3,500 acres of farmland, forest, brush. Pictured: A firefighter works to put out fires sparked by rockets launched from Lebanon by Hezbollah, on June 4, 2024, near Alma, Israel. (Photo by Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images)

For months, a steady stream of world leaders has flocked to Israel to pressure it not to defend itself. Israel has now been attacked incessantly for eight months by Iran and its proxies in Gaza and Lebanon: Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Since October 7, 2023, they have rained down more than 10,000 rockets, missiles and attack-drones on a democratic country smaller than New Jersey, presumably in attempts to obliterate it, or at least cause mass slaughter.

Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron came to Jerusalem, where he told Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end the war in Gaza. “The ordeal of the Palestinians in Gaza must end,” Macron said, without even bothering to demand the release of the remaining hostages as a precondition for his fever-dream of a ceasefire. So far, Hamas has rejected all proposals but one, and that came only after extreme military, not diplomatic, persuasion.

World leaders like Macron play a game of “pretend.” According to it, the situation in the Middle East is an issue between Israel and the Palestinians; and if just that is resolved by establishing of a new Palestinian terrorist state, “peace” will drift down upon the region. Of course, the idea is demented, as the world leaders are undoubtedly aware, but they continue to propose it – but only to the victim, Israel, which was attacked without provocation and is still being attacked; never to Hamas, Qatar or Iran, the parties that ignited the war. The ceasefire that the world claims it wants could be delivered this week if Iran and Qatar seriously ordered their proxies to stop, and Hamas and Hezbollah laid down their weapons.

Clearly Iran and Qatar have no intention of doing any such thing: they undoubtedly see their job as keeping their proxies in power to be able to strike again.

The current war in the Middle East is at its core a war on Israel and the United States. The conflict was reportedly planned by Iran (here and here) and executed by its web of proxies in the region: Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Iraqi Shiite militias, managed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Since October, Iranian-sponsored forces have fired on American troops in Syria and Iraq more than 150 times, presumably to finish driving the US out of the region to be able to continue dominating it without Western supervision. Iran launched, from its own territory, more than 300 ballistic- and cruise-missiles and drones at Israel on April 13-14.

World leaders, however, are not demanding that Iran or its proxies stand down. The main reason Ireland, Norway and Spain have recognized a borderless Palestinian terrorist state is that they do not have to live with the consequences. Maybe Spain would also like to recognize a State of Catalonia? Ireland, even at the height of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, never demanded that all the Welsh, Scots and English leave Britain, to have it peopled only by Irish Catholics.

World leaders, however, are not demanding that Iran or its proxies stop. Worse, US President Joe Biden has reportedly been pressing European leaders not to prevent Iran from acquiring its bombs. No one is even knocking on Iran’s door, to ask it even to keep Hamas, Hezbollah or any of its other proxies in check.

Conspicuously, the same Macron who is ordering Israel to lay down its weapons in Gaza has been silent when it comes to asking that of Hamas and Iran.

The same can be said about virtually every other leader, as well as the United Nations, the European Union, NGOs and the media, which suspiciously all play the same tune, that the main problem is Israel’s self-defense against the constant massacres and rocket attacks. The Biden administration, notably, has done virtually nothing since October 7 but put pressure on Israel to limit its military operations and airstrikes, while wholly discouraging Israeli leaders from addressing the constant cross-border missile attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon, which began October 8, 2023.

The world’s leniency in letting Iran’s proxies run rampant has had severe consequences, especially in northern Israel, where Hezbollah has been attacking almost non-stop since October 8 – assaults generally ignored by international policymakers and pundits. For eight months now, around 100,000 residents of northern Israel are currently internal refugees in Israel, thanks Hezbollah’s attacks and menacing presence on the border, and facing an uncertain future. As of November 1, 2023, around 253,000 Israelis had been evacuated from their homes in Israel after Iran’s proxy attacks — a situation that is rarely if ever mentioned in mainstream media reports on the war.

Hezbollah, having fired thousands of rockets, guided anti-tank missiles and exploding drones into Israel since October, has lately ratcheted up its attacks even more, killing and wounding Israelis and igniting massive wildfires that have so far consumed more than 3,500 acres of farmland, forest, brush. Many of Israel’s now-abandoned farms are located in both the north and the south near Gaza, where evacuated farmers are unable to tend their crops.

While the world has been gripped by seemingly crocodile-teary mass hysteria over the plight of Gazans – where are they for the Ukrainians the Uyghurs, the Kurds, the Armenians, the Syrians, the Haitians, the Nigerians, the Sudanese and other North Africans? The northern areas of Israel bordering Lebanon have become a burning, living hell, disregarded by all. The displacement of the area’s 100,000 residents has been caused by an undeterred Hezbollah, thanks to the Biden administration, which continues to do everything it can to empower the terrorist-sponsoring Qatar, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iran’s many militias and proxies.

Biden’s presidential envoy Amos Hochstein has visited Israel and Lebanon repeatedly since October 7 to prevent Israel, in the words of the Israeli-American journalist Caroline Glick, “from removing Hezbollah forces and missiles from Southern Lebanon, where they pose an existential threat to Israel through military means.”

“For the past four months, Hochstein has been seeking to force Israel to accept a ‘diplomatic solution’ to Hezbollah’s military threat. Hezbollah, with its tens of thousands of battle-hardened terrorists perched along Lebanon’s border with Israel and its arsenal of 150,000 missiles, rockets, drones and mortars poses such a clear and urgent threat to Israel that immediately after Hezbollah began shelling northern Israel without provocation on Oct. 8, the government rightly removed 80,000 Israeli residents from border communities in the north.”

The solution proposed by Hochstein, on behalf of the Biden administration, was basically for Israel to surrender to Hezbollah: Hezbollah would remain intact, but, in Glick’s words, “move its forces 8-12 km from the border and be replaced by UNIFIL forces and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).”

Both UNIFIL and LAF have proven worthless in preventing Hezbollah from carrying out Iran’s aggression — meaning that Israel’s residents of the north would never be able to return to their homes. In addition, Hochstein has advocated handing over territory to Hezbollah, even though the areas under discussion “include strategic points from Rosh Hanikra on the coastline in the west to Mt. Dov along the Syrian border in the east.”

Hochstein unconvincingly claims that solving border disputes between Israel and Lebanon with a “land boundary” agreement would somehow dramatically reduce Iran’s influence in Lebanon. There already is such an agreement, the UN’s “Blue Line,” which Hezbollah was reportedly planning to violate well before October 2023.

Iran’s proxy Hezbollah already is the main power inside Lebanon; a new ineffectual border agreement will not change that. Furthermore, a border agreement is not what Biden wants. Biden’s policies, like Obama’s, are all about strengthening Iran in every way, including allowing it to fully realize its nuclear ambitions. As noted recently by the Iranian-born scholar Majid Rafizadeh:

“Sanctions that the Biden administration has lifted or ignored, including secondary sanctions — notifying other countries that if they trade with Iran, they will be prohibited from trading with the US — have enabled the Iranian regime to profit by an estimated $100 billion; more, according to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, than ‘the annual budget of Greece or Ireland.’… Most importantly, these profits have enabled Iran to accelerate completing its nuclear weapons program, if it has not already done so and is not just being paid to stay quiet before the US presidential election this November.”

Robert Williams is a researcher based in the United States.

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