Fisk: There's a firestorm coming, and it is provoked by Mr Bush

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 26 May 2002 10:12:33 +0100

More and more, President Bush's rhetoric sounds like the crazed
videotapes of Osama bin Laden 

So now Osama bin Laden is Hitler. And Saddam Hussein is Hitler. And
George Bush is fighting the Nazis. Not since Menachem Begin fantasised
to President Reagan that he felt he was attacking Hitler in Berlin – his
Israeli army was actually besieging Beirut, killing thousands of
civilians, "Hitler" being the pathetic Arafat – have we had to listen to
claptrap like this. But the fact that we Europeans had to do so in the
Bundestag on Thursday – and, for the most part, in respectful silence –
was extraordinary. 

I'm reminded of the Israeli columnist who, tired of the wearying
invocation of the Second World War to justify yet more Israeli
brutality, began an article with the words: "Mr Prime Minister, Hitler
is dead." Must we, forever, live under the shadow of a war that was
fought and won before most of us were born? Do we have to live forever
with living, diminutive politicians playing Churchill (Thatcher and, of
course, Blair) or Roosevelt? "He's a dictator who gassed his own
people," Mr Bush reminded us for the two thousandth time, omitting as
always to mention that the Kurds whom Saddam viciously gassed were
fighting for Iran and that the United States, at the time, was on
Saddam's side. 

But there is a much more serious side to this. Mr Bush is hoping to
corner the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, into a new policy of
threatening Iran. He wants the Russians to lean on the northern bit of
the "axis of evil", the infantile phrase which he still trots out to the
masses. More and more, indeed, Mr Bush's rhetoric sounds like the crazed
videotapes of Mr bin Laden. And still he tries to lie about the motives
for the crimes against humanity of 11 September. Yet again, in the
Bundestag, he insisted that the West's enemies hated "justice and
democracy", even though most of America's Muslim enemies wouldn't know
what democracy was. 

In the United States, the Bush administration is busy terrorising
Americans. There will be nuclear attacks, bombs in high-rise apartment
blocks, on the Brooklyn bridge, men with exploding belts – note how
carefully the ruthless Palestinian war against Israeli colonisation of
the West Bank is being strapped to America's ever weirder "war on
terror" – and yet more aircraft suiciders. If you read the words of
President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney and the ridiculous national
security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, over the past three days, you'll
find they've issued more threats against Americans than Mr bin Laden. 

But let's get back to the point. The growing evidence that Israel's
policies are America's policies in the Middle East – or, more
accurately, vice versa – is now being played out for real in statements
from Congress and on American television. First, we have the chairman of
the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee announcing that Hizbollah –
the Lebanese guerrilla force that drove Israel's demoralised army out of
Lebanon in the year 2000 – is planning attacks in the US. After that, we
had an American television network "revealing" that Hizbollah, Hamas and
al- Qa'ida – Mr bin Laden's organisation – have held a secret meeting in
Lebanon to plot attacks on the US. 

American journalists insist on quoting "sources" but there was, of
course, no sourcing for this balderdash, which is now repeated ad
nauseam in the American media. Then take the "Syrian Accountability Act"
that was introduced into the US Senate by Israel's friends on18 April.
This includes the falsity uttered earlier by Israel's Foreign Minister,
Shimon Peres, that Iranian Revolutionary Guards "operate freely" on the
southern Lebanese border. Now there haven't been Iranian Revolutionary
Guards in Lebanon – let alone the south of the country – for 18 years.
So why is this lie repeated yet again? 

Iran is under threat. Lebanon is under threat. Syria is under threat –
its "terrorism" status has been heightened by the State Department – and
so is Iraq. But Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister held personally
responsible by Israel's own enquiry for the Sabra and Shatila massacre
of 1,700 Palestinians in Beirut in 1982, is – according to Mr Bush – "a
man of peace". How much further can this go? A long way, I fear. 

The anti-American feeling throughout the Middle East is palpable. Arab
newspaper editorials don't come near to expressing public opinion. In
Damascus, Majida Tabbaa has become famous as the lady who threw the US
Consul Roberto Powers out of her husband's downtown restaurant on 7
April . "I went over to him," she said, "and told him, 'Mr Roberto, tell
your George Bush that all of you are not welcome – please get out'."
Across the Arab world, boycotts of American goods have begun in earnest.

How much longer can this go on? America praises Pakistani President
Musharraf for his support in the "war on terror", but remains silent
when he arranges a dictatorial "referendum" to keep him in power.
America's enemies, remember, hate the US for its "democracy". So is
General Musharraf going to feel the heat? Forget it. My guess is that
Pakistan's importance in the famous "war on terror" – or "war for
civilisation" as, we should remember, it was originally called – is far
more important. If Pakistan and India go to war, I'll wager a lot that
Washington will come down for undemocratic Pakistan against democratic

Across the former Soviet southern Muslim republics, America is building
air bases, helping to pursue the "war on terror" against any violent
Muslim Islamist groups that dare to challenge the local dictators.
Please do not believe that this is about oil. Do not for a moment think
that these oil and gas-rich lands have any economic importance for the
oil-fuelled Bush administration. Nor the pipelines that could run from
northern Afghanistan to the Pakistani coast if only that pesky Afghan
loya jirga could elect a government that would give concessions to
Unocal, the oddly named concession whose former boss just happens to be
a chief Bush "adviser" to Afghanistan. 

Now here's pause for thought. Abdelrahman al-Rashed writes in the
international Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat that if anyone had said prior
to 11 September that Arabs were plotting a vast scheme to murder
thousands of Americans in the US, no one would have believed them. "We
would have charged that this was an attempt to incite the American
people against Arabs and Muslims," he wrote. And rightly so. 

But Arabs did commit the crimes against humanity of 11 September. And
many Arabs greatly fear that we have yet to see the encore from the same
organisation. In the meantime, Mr Bush goes on to do exactly what his
enemies want; to provoke Muslims and Arabs, to praise their enemies and
demonise their countries, to bomb and starve Iraq and give uncritical
support to Israel and maintain his support for the dictators of the
Middle East. 

Each morning now, I awake beside the Mediterranean in Beirut with a
feeling of great foreboding. There is a firestorm coming. And we are
blissfully ignoring its arrival; indeed, we are provoking it. 

Source:  Independent

You can choose whether you prefer to receive regular emails or a weekly digest 
by visiting


You can subscribe by sending an email to request@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word 
"subscribe" (without quotes) in the subject line, or by visiting

You can unsubscribe by sending an email to request@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with the 
word "unsubscribe" (without quotes) in the subject line, or by visiting

You are welcome to submit any relevant news story to submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

For regular Islamic cultural articles by email, send email to 

Other related posts:

  • » Fisk: There's a firestorm coming, and it is provoked by Mr Bush