The war against ISIS being waged by the Iraqi government (with New Zealand tagging along) is not going at all well. The strength of ISIS’s hold over the Sunni north of Iraq should not be underestimated. This hyperlink details how ISIS’s territorial hold is modelled closely on that of Saddam Hussein’s manual for effective dictatorship, but this time, in contrast to Saddam, it is reinforced with religious fanaticism. Only extensive ground operations will dislodge the new Caliphate, which looks set to be based not on Baghdad, but on Mosul, if not for the foreseeable future, for several years yet. https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/islamic-state-files-show-structure-of-islamist-terror-group-a-1029274.html
With the outbreak of hostilities in the Yemen, the Middle Eastern civil war, in which New Zealand has allowed itself to become involved, has taken on an even greater layer of complexity. While the Saudi Arabian and Arab coalition’s aerial assault (with US support from the side-lines) is further wrecking the already ruined Yemeni state (and in the process, enabling Al Qaeda to increase its hold over the chaotic remnants) there has been a sea-change in the Syrian civil war.
The Saudi Arabian, Turkish and Qatari governments have finally all come to an agreement and have arranged for the individual and mutually hostile rebel factions, which they have been backing in Syria, to operate in unison against the Syrian regime. https://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_TURKEY_SAUDI_ARABIA_SYRIA?SITE=SCAND&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
Since March, the now coordinated rebel factions have been scoring multiple victories over the government forces. Should the Israeli lobby in Washington continue in its ability to inhibit Obama from interfering on the side of stability, it is very much on the cards that Assad will fall and be replaced by an Al Qaeda affiliated regime. Should this happen, there will be an enormous blood-letting of Shia and Christians and yet another tsunami of refugees.
With possible Al Qaeda dominated states emerging at both the northern and southern ends of the Arab world and the Sunni Arab powers, in the middle, far more eager to combat a sectarian rival in Iran, than expend effort on the US’s half-hearted coalition against the ISIS threat, New Zealand’s military involvement in Iraq is looking ever more misconceived. The question needs asking – could New Zealand, by using its seat on the Security Council, do more to resolve the Arab world’s problem through diplomatic action, than ever it could achieve through a token military involvement in Iraq?
Now that New Zealand has been voted onto the UN Security Council (thanks to the assurances it gave to the smaller nations of the world that it would be their advocate) it actually could make a difference, but it would require some of the guts, of which its Prime Minister recently informed Parliament that he was in possession. His government certainly showed none of those guts when the Security Council debated the Saudi assault on Yemen https://khakispecs.com/?p=809
New Zealand should now muster greater moral courage in the face of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Syria. Were it to do so, it could, should and, if the New Zealand public stood up to be counted, would use all its diplomatic strength to help redress one of the fundamental injustices, which lies at the root of that immense sum of human misery that is today’s Middle East.
New Zealand’s Minster of Foreign Affairs needs to speak out and publicly condemn the blatant breaches of international law of which the State of Israel is guilty and to which, until now, the USA and its allies, including this country, have either turned a blind eye, or have actively condoned. Until Israel conforms to International Law and takes steps to remedy the injustices caused by its previous breaches, the current anguish in the Middle East is likely to continue and increase.
The paranoid and bellicose, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been re-elected for a fourth, five-year term. He has frankly admitted that all his previous negotiations with the Palestinians had been undertaken in bad faith, and that he had no intention of his government ever allowing any future settlement of their claims. https://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/16/middleeast/israel-netanyahu-palestinian-state/
Why should New Zealand, which survives on the basis of global observance of international law, continue to maintain friendly relations with this openly renegade state? In the words of Mr Key, as he announced our military’s entry into Iraq, “We have an obligation to support stability and the rule of law internationally.”
And here are some insights into what the law looks like in Israel – this is the right-wing Washington Post on the newly appointed Israeli Minister of Justice. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/05/07/israels-new-justice-minister-considers-all-palestinians-to-be-the-enemy/
And here is the voice of the Israeli Minister of Defence https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/israeli-defense-minister-promises-kill-more-civilians-and-threatens-nuke-iran
To those who haven’t noticed, or who have chosen to ignore the increasing ripples of suffering spreading out from Israel’s disregard for international law, the question could perhaps be addressed in more graphic terms. I apologise to the squeamish, but the Israeli problem has to be taken seriously.
This is a photo of one real, still living, boy’s flesh. Hamza’s injuries result from Israel’s use of white phosphorus against the civilian population of Gaza. He has been mute ever since the night Israeli WP rained down on his sleeping family.
The flesh of hundreds of other Palestinian children lies rotting under the ground or the rubble of their former homes. The numbers of similarly shattered lives, for which Israel’s Zionist ideology is responsible, should rest not only on Israel’s conscience but on that of all those other nations, such as New Zealand, which dare not speak out and with their silence, not only condone, but encourage.
New Zealand actually goes one step beyond condoning. Kiwi mums and dads have made their own little contribution to the ruination of this child’s life.
The NZ Superannuation Fund is an unrepentant investor in the Israeli company that appears to have been the manufacturer of Hamza’s weaponised phosphorous https://www.palestinechronicle.com/nz-super-annuitants-profit-from-gaza-childrens-agony/
The Geneva Conventions forbid the targeting of civilians and forbids the use of white phosphorus as an anti-personnel weapon. To the rest of the world, Hamza would be categorized as both civilian and personnel!
If New Zealand is worried that by speaking up against Israel’s egregious breaches of international law, it might damage its relationship with the USA, the current schism between the Netanyahu and the Obama administrations presents a window of opportunity when such frank talk might not offend the White House. Fresh as it is from receiving a series of insults and snubs from the Israeli leadership, the White House might be delighted were New Zealand to express thoughts that it entertains, but feels powerless to express.
Now that New Zealand has committed its troops to the Shia side of the sectarian conflict raging in the Middle East in an endeavour to suppress factions intent on international terrorism, it should take note of who is on the opposite side. Treating your true enemies as your friends is a Christian recipe for disaster in this world, if not in the next. Just because Saudi Arabia and Israel both have significant power to exercise political control over the USA, does not mean that they, or the USA should be allowed to have the same power over New Zealand. Saudi Arabia, with its international sponsoring of fundamental Islamic terrorism (including ISIS and despite Mr Key’s recent importunate state visit and the New Zealand tax-payer’s subsidising its agriculture) is our natural enemy and so is Israel with its convenient alliance with Saudi Arabia in support of the terrorists New Zealand is in conflict with.
In September 2013, in one of the most explicit expressions of Israel’s views, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad.
“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
Oren expanded on his position in June 2014 at an Aspen Institute conference. Then, speaking as a former ambassador, Oren said Israel would even prefer a victory by the Islamic State, which was massacring captured Iraqi soldiers and beheading Westerners, than the continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria.“From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.
The above is a quote from this blog on the subject of the successor regime to the secular regime of Bashir Assad in Syria. https://thenewsdoctors.com/syrias-nightmarish-narrative-robert-parry/
If New Zealand is committed to the war against ISIS, it should not delude itself that Israel is a friendly state. Not only do New Zealand and Israel stand on diametrically opposed sides in regards to our support for the rule of international law, but also in the battle against Sunni terrorism. Bearing in mind that the Iraqi government, to whose assistance we have sent our troops, is predominantly Shia and is closely allied to Shia Iran, New Zealand has also to accept that Israel is an enemy nation, which perceives its national interest as utterly dissimilar to New Zealand’s.
In regards to ISIS, there is an alternative course of action open to New Zealand and the other western powers that currently align themselves with Israel. The West could adopt the same policy towards ISIS as it adopted towards Israel. Israel presents a precedent in which a group of religious fanatics, who had suffered massive persecution at the hands of western powers and who believed that they were the exclusive visionaries of God’s truth, seized large tracts of Arab lands and through massacre and terror, drove waves of the long-term inhabitants into exile in refugee camps.
On that occasion, the Western powers promptly welcomed the up-start nation as a full member of the global community of nations, gave it access to the technology and materials required to develop its own nuclear weapons, sold or donated to it all the latest conventional weapons it required to continue its assaults on neighbouring states, gave it special trading privileges and allowed it to exercise a proxy veto on the UN Security Council, whenever it so wished. The crowning privilege granted, was the right to send entrants to the Eurovision Song Contest. It could be anticipated that an ISIS entrant into that contest would indeed offer European viewers a sound for sore ears – (top of the pops – or chop off their tops?!)
If anyone is looking for a balanced and honest analysis of Israel’s history and the enormous damage it has inflicted on the Arab world, the United Nations and the rule of International Law, on which militarily feeble New Zealand is dependent for its survival, they could probably do no better than read Alan Hart’s trilogy on the subject. https://www.claritypress.com/Hart-I.html For those who want a day-by-day account of Israel’s brute (not an adjective that I use lightly) oppression of the 50% of the population of the Holy Land who are not Jewish Israelis, they could subscribe to Leslie Bravery’s daily news bulletin https://palestine.org.nz/phrc/index.php