” China Has A Plan To Rule The World” By David Ignatius

(Eye opening article by David Ignatius. While we are busy analyzing Trump’s tweets, China is moving ahead with its far reaching ambitious plan for Eurasia, spending one trillion dollars on the project-One Belt One Road and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.f. sheikh)

Trump’s “America first” strategy has facilitated China’s buildup, unintentionally. The administration’s rhetoric on fair trade has been strong, but the actual gains have been modest. Meanwhile, Trump has shredded the Trans-Pacific Partnership and stepped back from other U.S.-led alliances — opening the way for China’s new network of global institutions, including the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) plan for Eurasian trade and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to finance Chinese-led projects.

The scope of China’s challenge to the American-led order is described in two unpublished and unclassified studies commissioned by the Air Force.

One study argues that China’s Eurasian reach is beyond that of the 1947 Marshall Plan, which cemented American power in postwar Europe. The report estimates that the OBOR framework would provide up to $1 trillion in Chinese support for more than 64 countries, while the Marshall Plan provided about $150 billion in current dollars, mostly to six countries. The report describes OBOR as “a program of unprecedented size and scope with the strategic intent of constructing a Chinese-led regional order in Eurasia.”

China is building the infrastructure of power. The study describes, for example, how Beijing is financing a string of ports in the Indian Ocean region, including in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan, Burma, Djibouti, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates. The proposed investment is nearly $250 billion.

China has also invested $13.6 billion in Greece, buying control of the port of Piraeus and big shares of Greek utilities and fiber-optics companies. “Greece serves as a strategic beachhead for China into Europe,” notes the report.

The Asian infrastructure bank, meanwhile, has approved $16 billion in projects in 10 countries, including long-standing U.S. allies such as Egypt, India and Oman. And the Chinese are building rail lines to Europe and every part of Asia, allowing them to bypass U.S.-controlled sea lanes. China already has 40 rail routes to nine European countries.

American dominance has been built partly on the primacy of our scientific and technological laboratories, which have drawn the best and brightest from around the world. But the Chinese are challenging here, too. China is building at least 50 joint-venture science and technology labs with OBOR countries and plans over the next five years to train up to 5,000 foreign scientists, engineers and managers, the study notes.

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Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring

Interesting article in NYT shared by Nasik Elahi. Any shake up in Saudi Arabia that breaks up the ossified mentality is a good thing for the Muslims in general. I think prince is better off focusing on domestic reformation rather than getting into foreign policy trap of confronting Iran which is being ginned up by our Administration. Thomas Friedman supported Iraq war and would not mind supporting misadventure in Iran. (fsheikh)

Is it possible to reform the theocratic monarchy that has distorted Islam for a generation.  And what kind of impact will that have on the Muslim ummah. ( Nasik Elahi)

NYT Article

“The Rohingya Muslims: The Victims of Pure Genocide ” By Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal


 The pure genocide

“Genocide” is the cruellest and the most violent form of crime against humanity. It targets people for arson, rape, torture and total annihilation purely based on race, religion, and language. Therefore, no one needs to do any wrong for becoming the definitive target of genocide. His or her faith, race, language or religion is enough to invite the worst type of murderous thugs, robbers and rapist at the doorstep. The case of Rohigya Muslims is the perfect example of that. It is indeed a violent expression of the very fast growing metastasising moral cancer. Now it appears that the cancer has deeply affected not only the whole civil and military institutions of Myanmar, but also the country’s Buddhist monks, the political elites, the intelligentsia, the media and a large section of the common people. Because of such a tsunamic scale of the moral disease, on 30th October 2017, tens of thousands of Burmese people assembled on the streets of Yangon –the former capital of Myanmar, to show full support for the Army. It was indeed a huge homage to the Army for the execution of its policy of killing, raping and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims.   

When a moral cancer is not treated at its early phase, its rapid spread cause massive number of deaths, rapes and arsons on earth. During Hitler era in Germany, the same moral cancer could quickly engulf the whole Europe. It led to a devastating World War. Because of it, more than 60 million people had to die. Moral disease thus proved to more catastrophic than any physical illness. In fact, no other physical illness could cause such a massive and rapid destruction of life and wealth –as done by this moral disease. In Rakhine state of Myanmar, the same moral cancer is showing its destructive and de-humanising power. It could cause the “textbook case of ethnic cleansing” and the “fasting growing refugee” on earth. The disease could also get embedded inside the UN and its powerful stakeholders like the USA, Russia and China.  The disease could kill the moral authority and the sense of perception of the leaders of the UN and the affected states. As a consequence, even the most visible symptoms of genocide in Arakan could stay unnoticed in their moral radar. This is why, a robust form of genocide could continue for decades in broad day light. These world leaders showed, how easy to condemn a dead Hitler but difficult to avoid close collaboration with the living ones. The UN and these controlling states failed similarly and terribly in the case of genocide in Bosnia, Rwanda and Cambodia. In fact, the crime of genocide by the Myanmar Army and the crime of inaction by the UN and its stakeholders continued side by side for decades. The recent declaration of support by China, Russia, India and Japan for the Myanmar government has indeed added more fuel to the ongoing genocide. As a direct consequence of such patronisation, the Rohingya villages continue to burn. And the Rohingya people continue to get raped, killed or evicted from them home to Bangladesh. 

The word “genocide” was coined with genos (Greek: birth, kind, race) and an English suffix –cide by Raphael Lemkin in his book “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe” in 1944. Now, almost all the international bodies of law label a crime as “genocide” while a state and state sponsored perpetrators of the crime incorporate the “intent to destroy” a population of dissimilar race, language, religion or geographical identity in their operational objective of the crime. In fact, such an intent to destroy the Rohingya Muslims is not hidden in the ruling circle and among the nationalists Buddhists of Myanmar. It is indeed clearly visible in all the anti-Rohingya policy of persecution of the civil and military institutions of Myanmar government. Only in three weeks, ethnic cleansing of more than half a million Rohingya Muslims from Rakhine state, killing of more than three thousands and raping thousands of Rohingya women and girls are the robust expression of such a genocidal intent. Here, the selection of the target for physical extermination, rape and torture are made only on race and religion. And the scale of killing and eviction are conducted only to achieve the stipulated target of elimination of Rohigya Muslims in Myanmar. So, it needs little intelligence or research to uncover the real motive of the perpetrators. Even a Rohingya child can see that. This is why, the Rohingya men, women and children are fleeing from Myanmar amidst harsh difficulties only to save their life. 

Even the Head of UN Human Rights Commission had to describe it as the test book example of ethnic cleansing. Therefore, how such a crime of ethnic cleansing can be delinked from the crime of genocide? Cleansing of a race, religion or ethnicity always operates through massive arson, gang rape, mass killing and forced eviction. In Myanmar, all these genocidal tools are being used against the Rohingya Muslims. The UN Human Rights report stated that the Rohingya Muslims are the most persecuted minority on earth. But how such a worst persecution aimed at a single ethnic and religious community could be different from a planned genocide? All the genocidal crimes in human history gave birth to wholesale migration –as happened in the case of the Red Indians, the German Jews and the Bosnian Muslims. That is happening with the fastest possible speed in the case of Rohingya Muslims, too. This is why, the UN Security General Mr Antonio Guterres had to say that they are the fastest growing refugee in human history. Only a highly motivated genocidal regime in Myanmar could carry out such a man-made disaster of an epic proportion. 

The conceptual basis of the genocide                                 

For every genocide, some toxic ideologies, an extreme form moral sickness and a paranoid mind-set must work together to prepare the ground for that. Only because of deep ideological, political and cultural perversion in a huge section of population, Hitler’s gas chambers could operate in broad day light on an industrial scale in the heart of so-called civilised Europe. Only because of such conceptual cum ideological shift towards evil, the criminal herds of Europe could give birth to so many evil ideologies like colonialism, imperialism, fascism, communism, and racism in the past. The colonial wars, the occupational wars, the World Wars, the cold wars, ethnic cleansing and other tools of pure evil could also flourish on the same perverted conceptual premise. It is significant to note that such a perverted psyche still survives. Therefore even today, those who carry the legacy of the colonial crimes take pride in that. This is why, on 2nd of November, 2017, the British Prime Minister Theresa May could join the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to celebrate hundred years of Balfour Declaration –the pure evil of British colonialism, that caused so many wars, so many deaths and evictions through illicit creation of Israel. In the past, the people with such perverted colonial psych didn’t feel any shame or remorse for the most genocidal massacre of the Red Indians of America, the Aborigines of Australis and the Maoris of New Zealand. Rather, they thought such crimes as the part of their civilizational mission! The Burmese nationalists –like the ideological Nazi cousins have taken the same route. 

Today, the moral, ethical and political ill health of the world leaders looks seldom any better or different from that of the genocidal colonial past. Because of the same conceptual base  of genocide, the same genocide still continues on an industrial scale; only the tools, the targets and the venues are different. Instead of gas chambers, the new tools are the barrel bombs, cluster bombs, mother of all bombs, depleted uranium bombs, drones, and missiles. These are being deployed to commit the same crime with the same cruelty. As a result, hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi cities and villages are turned to rubbles by the US and the Russian bombers. More than a million are killed. And about 6 million Syrians and Iraqis are made refugees. Now, the Muslims are the new target. And, Arakan, Syria, Iraq, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Xinjiang and many other Muslim lands are the new killing fields. 

The visible evidence of the genocide

No crime can hide its crime-site, motive and evidences. That is equally true for the genocide in Myanmar. The most important proof of any genocide is the genocidal intent of the perpetrators. In Myanmar, the perpetrators of the crime operate in such a strong anti-Muslim hatred of the local people, the media and the Buddhist monks that they never felt any need to hide their motive. Nor do they need to stay underground for committing the crime. Therefore, the motive of the crime is clearly visible. And the perpetrators of the crime are also well identified. They are the ruling elites of the government, the Army, the Buddhist nationalist monks and the Islamophobic political cadres. The motive of these people is to uproot the Rohimgya Muslims from their birth place. In fact, both the civil and military wings of the ruling ultranationalists are operating with the same motive. Besides, they have a strong delusional base to support that motive. The existence of the Muslims in Rakhine state, is perceived as the existential threat to the Burmese Buddhists. The whole genocidal crime against the Rohingya Muslims operates on such a sick, hateful and delusional concept. Because of that, inside Myanmar, there exists no sympathy for this most persecuted minority on earth. Rather, ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims through arson, mass slaughter, gang rape and forced eviction enjoys huge popularity among the cadre of the ruling party, the Army, the Buddhist monks, the political cadres and the general public. 

If 1.2 million Rohigya Muslims are evicted from their farm lands, gardens, homes, businesses, and community institutions like mosques and madrasa, the local Burmese people will get the opportunity to grab these Muslim properties without any hindrance. This is why, the genocidal intent against the Muslims enjoys a popular base in Myanmar. Such a huge economic temptation pulls people to the crime scene to actively engage in the crime. Thus, the anti-Muslim campaign is being used as a tool of mass-scale robbery, raping, arson and killing against the Muslims. In the past, the same happened in America against the Red Indians and in Nazi Germany against the Jews. Therefore, it raises little wonder that on 29/10/2017, a huge rally was held in Yangon –the former capital of Myanmar, to celebrate the large scale eviction of the Rohigya Muslims and to show their support for the Army. (Source: Al Jazira, 29/10/17). Because of such an evil motive, a cataclysmic crime against the Rohingya Muslims could run for decades with the public support. But the UNO and the world leaders continue to commit their own crime of silence and inaction, too. It is indeed an extreme form of moral collapse as well as the worst form of leadership failure that even the worst genocidal regime in Myanmar could enjoy support from so many states. Such supportive leaders for the genocidal state have indeed proven that they are the part of the same moral disease. 

The success of the state-run genocidal scheme in Arakan huge. It is easily visible from drastic downsizing the Muslim population there. In this traditionally Muslim majority state of Rakhine, the Muslims have been reduced to a minority. Now, its two-third population are the Burmese Buddhist. In 1952, the Rohingya Muslims were 1.2 million (Source: Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar, a research study of London’s Queen Mary University, 2015). Now it is 1.1 million. So there is a 8% reduction in Rohingya population in last 65 years. Whereas, in the same period of time, the population in Bangladesh showed more than 4 folds increase. In Pakistan, the increase was 6 folds. (As per census of 1951, the population of former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was 42 million; and in 2017 it is estimated to be 170 million. As per same census in 1951, the population was 33.7 million in former West Pakistan; and in 2017, it is 207 million). 

Genocide: the literal meaning & the execution

The UN General Assembly’s resolution passed on 9th of December in 1948, brought into effect on 12th of January in 1951 (Resolution 260 (III)), specified the definition of genocide in following terms: “Any of the acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group; killing members of a group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to its members; deliberately inflicting on their conditions of life, calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. It is also the intended and the coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of the national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be to disintegrate the political and social institutions, culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of the national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.” 

In 2002, Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court assigned almost similar narrative for the crime of genocide. It stated that “genocide” means any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. As per above definition, the Rohingya Muslims are the victim of all brutal specifics of genocidal crimes committed by the Myanmar Army, the Police, the Buddhist monks and the racially motivated common people. The catalogue of such crimes include arson, mass killings, rape, gang rape, torture, burning homes, deprivation of citizenship and civic rights, forceful eviction, and segregating in concentration camps. In order to facilitate their death, the Rohingya people are not allowed to have any access to healthcare. They are even deprived of basic education, jobs, income generating activities, social and cultural institutions, and mobility in the community. They are not allowed to perform even the obligatory prayers in public. On 2/06/17, AFP reported from Yangon that Myanmar Authority charged three Muslims men for holding Ramadan (Tarawih) prayers on the street. It was also reported that they were performing prayers on the street because of closure of the two local schools that gave premise to hold prayers. The schools were closed in late April 2017 after the ultra-nationalists complained to the ruling authority that the school-premises are used by the Muslims for the congregational prayers. Thus, the congressional prayer was taken as a serious crime to close down the school! And, it is done at a time when Aung San Suu Kyi is the de facto leader of the so-called democratic government. 

Malnutrition has also been used as an effective weapon against the Rohingya Muslims. Those who are kept in camps are subjected to slow death through it. They are allowed to survive only on sub-subsistence level through international relief goods. Along with other horrendous means of persecution, such a dreadful situation was created only to promote silent disappearance of the Rohingya Muslims through desperate migration to other countries. Only in three weeks in September-October in 2017, about 600, 000 migrated to Bangladesh. In addition, more than 400,000 migrated to Bangladesh on previous episodes of similar forced evictions. About 400, 000 migrated to Saudi Arabia, about 350, 000 to Pakistan, 40, 000 to India and about 100, 000 to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. 

The genocide in phases & the Myanmar style

Genocide always follows a classical pattern –as postulated by a famous social scientist named Mr Daniel Feuerstein in his book Genocide in Social Practice. The case of Myanmar isn’t different either. These are: 1). Stigmatisation; 2). Harassment, violence and terror; 3). Isolation and segregation; 4). Systemic weakening; 5). Extermination and 6). Symbolic enactment. The case of Myanmar indeed presents the textbook example of passing through all such genocidal phases. It starts with the imposed stigmatisation by the perpetrators of genocide between “us” and “them”. Here, “us” are the agents who commit the genocide. In Myanmar, they are the Myanmar government and its civil and military institutions, the Buddhist monks, the ultranationalist political thugs and the state-run gangs of salaried murderers. “Them” are the people who are stigmatised as the target of elimination –either by a process of mass killing or by forced eviction. In Myanmar, the term “them” was assigned for the Rohingya Muslims. They are made scapegoat for all the failures of Myanmar as well as cause of the future threat; hence black listed as the perfect target of genocidal elimination. 

In such an appalling situation, it was the duty of the UNO and its Human Right offices to identify such a genocidal phase at its earliest stages. It was also their duty to pressurise the Myanmar government to reframe from such an act of criminalising the innocent people for ethnic cleansing and extermination. The duty of other world players and human right organisations should have been the same to save the innocent people from a man-made barbaric catastrophe. But they could display only the awful failure. None of the prophylactic or curative interventions by the UN or by any other state or international body happened to protect these people from ongoing genocide. Rather, they did exactly the opposite. The US removed the already imposed embargo; and the countries like India, Russia, and Japan increased their political, diplomatic and economic cooperation with the genocidal regimes. And Aung San Suu Kyi -the de facto leader who currently presides over the genocide, was given a Nobel Prize –a certificate of so-called upright moral conscience! As a result of such commission and omission, the whole community of the Rohingya Muslims was thrown into a death trap. Thus, the genocidal process was allowed to march into a phase of protracted harassment, violence and terror. 

The final phase

The Myanmar regime deployed all possible tools to carry out the physical as well as the psychological torture against the Rohingya people. These are done deliberated to pass on the message that they have no political, cultural and survival space in Myanmar. Taking away their right of citizenship in 1982 indeed worked as a powerful tool to give them such a message very crudely. It terrorised them psychologically and made them refugee in their own birth place.  Living in a state without its citizenship indeed worked as source of all-time fear and agony. Moreover, the Buddhist monks and nationalist extremist leaders were let loose to label them publicly as the foreign infiltrators from Bangladesh and future threat to Buddhists’ existence in Myanmar. Thus, they instigated violence against these captivated poor Muslims and prescribe full elimination from Arakan. As a result, even a few nationalist thugs could feel highly emboldened to snatch domestic cattle, hens, vegetables and other staff from their Muslim neighbours. Thus they became hostage to frequent arson, violence and rape by the state and non-state agents. And the Muslim women became the regular target for the sex predators of the Army and other security apparatus. The state-run violence, terror and harassment were made deliberately the parts of their daily life. As a result, those who had the means, silently left the country. A field research done by London’s Queen Mary University in 2015 gave a very detailed information of such systematic physical, and psychological torture. Even at this phase of state-run protracted genocide, the UN and other agencies kept their eyes closed and showed a policy of total inaction. 

The Burmese ultranationalist can’t believe that the Rohingya Muslims have any survival rights or human rights in Myanmar. They could prescribe only a premediated blue print of total extermination for them –as Adolf Hitler had for the Jews. It is the strategy of isolating and segregating the Rohingya Muslims in concentration camps and restricting their food supply and prohibiting their health, social and educational care. These camps are called the Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps. In order to feed these concentration camps, the Rohingya Muslims are periodically evicted by force from their homes, farms and businesses. Therefore those who were evicted in 1978, 1991-92, 2012, 2013, and 2015, never had any chance to return back to their own homes, farm or business; rather found their final abode in those concentration camps. Those who wish to return back from Bangladesh to Arakan, they do not see any different or better future either. Thus, only a road of physical, moral, cultural and emotional death through systematic weakening is left open for them. Those who do not finish this way, mass slaughtering and forced eviction to other countries wait for them. Now, the long process of such a forced elimination of the Rohingya Muslims has indeed reached the final point.   


” Who is afraid of the Iranian bomb?-Not Israel” By Uvi Avnery

(Interesting historic perspective shared by Azeem Farooki. The article misses one aspect- role of US Military Industrial complex which influences our foreign policy and prefers military solutions over diplomatic resolutions. Making Iran ardent enemy of USA and Arabs sells billions of worth weapons to Middle Eastern countries who may not even know how to use them. Elevating China as a threat to its neighbors will sell enormous amount of weapons to Asia Pacific countries and India. North Korea is helping to arm South Korea and Japan to its teeth by the weapons supplied by US Military Complex. f.sheikh). Article is below.

I HATE self-evident truths.

Ideals may be self-evident. Political statements are not. When I hear about a self-evident political truth, I immediately doubt it.

The most self-evident political truth at this moment concerns Iran. Iran is our deadly enemy. Iran wants to destroy us. We must destroy its capabilities first.

Since this is self-evident, the anti-nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the five Security Council members (plus Germany) is terrible. Just terrible. We should have ordered the Americans long ago to bomb Iran to smithereens. In the unlikely event that they would have disobeyed us, we should have nuclear-bombed Iran ourselves, before their crazy fanatical leaders have the opportunity to annihilate us first.

All these are self-evident truths. To my mind, all of them are utter nonsense. There is nothing self-evident about them. Indeed, they have no logical basis at all. They lack any geopolitical, historical or factual foundation.

NAPOLEON ONCE said that if one wants to understand the behavior of a country, one has to look at the map.

Geography is more important than ideology, however fanatical. Ideologies change with time. Geography doesn’t. The most fanatically ideological country in the 20th century was the Soviet Union. It abhorred its predecessor, Czarist Russia. It would have abhorred its successor, Putin’s Russia. But lo and behold – the Czars, Stalin and Putin conduct more or less the same foreign policy. Karl Marx must be turning in his grave.

When the Biblical Israelite people was born, Persia was already a civilized country. King Cyrus of Persia sent the “Jews” to Jerusalem and founded what can be called the “Jewish people”. He is remembered in Jewish history as a great benefactor.

When the State of Israel was founded in 1948, David Ben-Gurion saw in Iran a natural ally. It may now sound strange, but not so long ago Iran was indeed the most pro-Israeli country in the Middle East.

Ben-Gurion was an out-and-out realist. Since he had no intention whatsoever to make peace with the Arabs, a peace which would have prevented the original small State of Israel expanding without boundaries, he looked for allies beyond the Arab world.

Looking at the map (yes, he believed in the map) he saw that the Muslim Arabs were surrounded by a number of non-Arab or non-Muslim entities. There were the Maronite Christians in Lebanon (not Muslims), the Turks (Muslims, but not Arabs), the Kurds (Muslims but not Arabs), Iran (Muslim, but not Arab), Ethiopia (neither Muslim nor Arab) and more.

Seeing this, Ben-Gurion devised a grand plan: a “partnership of the periphery”, an alliance of all these entities surrounding the Arab world and which felt threatened by the emerging pan-Arab nationalism of Gamal Abd-al-Nasser and other Sunni-Muslim-Arab states.

ONE OF the greatest enthusiasts for this idea was the Shah of Iran, who became Israel’s most ardent friend.

The “King of Kings” was a brutal dictator, hated by most of his people. But for many Israelis, Iran became a second home. Tehran became a Mecca for Israeli businessmen, some of whom became very rich. Experts of the Israeli Security Service, called Shabak (Hebrew initials of General Security Service) trained the Shah’s detested secret police, called Savak.

High-ranking Israeli army commanders traveled freely through Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan, where they trained the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their fight against Saddam Hussein’s regime. (The Shah, of course, did not dream of giving freedom to his own Kurdish minority.)

This paradise came to a sudden end when the Shah made a deal with Saddam Hussein, in order to save his throne. To no avail. Radical Shiite clerics, who were very popular, overthrew the Shah and established the Shiite Islamic republic. Israel was out.

By the way, another element of the “Periphery” broke away too. In 1954 Ben-Gurion and his army chief, Moshe Dayan, hatched a plan to attack Lebanon and establish a pro-Israeli Maronite dictator there. The then Prime Minister, Moshe Sharet, who knew something about the Arab world, nixed this adventure, which he considered stupid. Thirty years later Ariel Sharon, another ignoramus, implemented the same plan, with disastrous results.

In 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon. It duly installed a Maronite dictator, Basheer Jumayil, who signed a peace agreement with Israel and was soon assassinated. The Shiites, who populate the South of Lebanon, welcomed the Israeli army enthusiastically, believing that it would help them against the Sunni Muslims and withdraw. I was an eye-witness: driving alone in my civilian car from Metullah in Israel to Sidon on the Lebanon coast, I passed several Shiite villages and could hardly extricate myself (physically) from the embraces of the inhabitants.

However, when the Shiites realized that the Israelis had no intention of leaving, they started a guerrilla war against them. Thus Hezbollah was born and became one of Israel’s most effective enemies – and an ally of the Shiite regime in Iran.

BUT IS the Shiite Iranian regime such a deadly enemy of Israel? I rather doubt it.

Indeed, when the religious fanaticism of the new regime in Iran was at its height, a curious business occurred. It became known as “Iran-Contra” affair. Some conservatives in Washington DC wanted to arm rightist insurgents in leftist Nicaragua. American laws prevented them from doing so openly, so they turned to – who else? – Israel.

Israel sold arms to the Iranian Ayatollahs (yes, indeed!) and gave the proceeds to our Washington friends, who transferred them illegally to the Nicaraguan rightist terrorists, called “Contras”.

The moral of the story: when it served their practical purposes, the Ayatollahs had no qualms at all about making deals with Israel, the “little Satan”.

Iran needed the weapons Israel sent them because they were fighting a war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. It was not the first one. For many centuries, Iraq served the Arab world as a bulwark against Iran. Iraq has a large Shiite population, but the Iraqi Shiites were Arabs and had no real sympathy for their fellow-Shiites in Iran. They still have little.

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