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Middle East tensions continue

Letter to the Editor | Monday, September 4, 2006

Clare Feeney’s Monday Letter to the Editor (“Israel’s a terrorist state?” Aug. 28) presents an argument too often labeled as taboo in America. Over two weeks have passed since U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 brought the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah to a halt. As those affected by the conflict pick through the rubble and debris, the political realities are slowly becoming visible. Though the U.S. support of Israel was backed as an effort to eliminate global terrorism, the latest conflict has stirred up popular forces that will only gain in power, become more extreme, and ultimately weaken our security.

Whether helping to reconstruct the war ravaged civil infrastructure or building political support across the region, the flag of Hezbollah is waved jubilantly as “Made in America” signs stand atop the rubble. The level of support Hezbollah has garnered in Lebanon is a microcosm of the growing public support in the Middle East. Even allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia, hardly the democratic models, felt pressure from their citizens in the initial stages of the war for not standing with Hezbollah. Furthermore, a recently published report out of the U.K. indicates that Iran, the key backer of Hezbollah, has become the most influential political player in Iraq.

As Feeney indicates, though the ceasefire ended direct military actions, the “terror is not over.” It is estimated that over 100,000 American-made cluster munitions still lie unexploded across southern Lebanon. These cluster bombs, a violation of International Law when used in civilian areas, are killing and maiming people every day while an Israeli sea and air blockade inhibits restoration. The Humanitarian Affairs office at the U.N. recently stated that “90 per cent of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict when we knew there would be a resolution.”

If we are indeed attempting to rally global support by engaging in “a war of ideas” as outlined by the Bush Administration, our unconditional support for Israel throughout its disproportionate campaign has merely amounted to, as Feeney states, “a devastating loss not only for the Lebanese, but for America’s supposed campaign to end global tyranny.”

Jamal Afridi


Siegfried Hall

Aug. 31