Media Culpa
Chronicle Herald: Yet another pack of lies

Atlantic Institute for Market Studies "think tank" gives US-Israeli state terrorism a free ride

The Editor:
The Halifax Herald.

Dear Editor:

Re: " Patrons of terror are getting a free ride" By Alex Wilner. Aug. 18, 2006

I find it appalling that you continue to allow such diatirbe to be inflicted on your readers.

The accusations of terrorism, directed at Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, are in contradiction of the facts on the ground. Terrorism in the Middle East was created by Israel and continues to this day. The late professor Israel Shahak, a Holocaust survivor, and then chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, wrote: "There is nothing new in the fact that Israel is a terrorist state, which, almost from its inception, has used its intelligence service (the Mossad) to assassinate people on foreign soil with any violence or terror it considers necessary for its ends."

The alleged cause for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the devastation brought upon an innocent nation is the capture, on July 12, of the two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah. Reliable press reports from France and others state that the skirmish actually took place across the Lebanese border. The noted journalist, Seymour Hersh, reported: "According to a Middle East expert with knowledge of the current thinking of both the Israeli and the U.S. governments, Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah - and shared it with Bush Administration officials - well before the July 12th. kidnappings."[The New Yorker, Aug. 21, 2006]

Be that as it may, Israel is in illegal occupation of Lebanese territory for 39 years, has kidnapped around 10,000 Palestinians and Lebanese and continues to hold most of them without charge or trial for decades. As well, Israel continues, for years, to violate regularly Lebanese air space and waters. International law entitles all peoples, including even the Lebanese and Palestinians, to resist foreign occupation.

Mr. Wilner accuses Iran and Syria of being the godfathers of terrorism, for helping Hezbollah to obtain its weaponry used against the invading Israeli army. Should we not, accordingly, call the US as the godfather of terrorism for supplying Israel for the massive weaponry, including the bombers and guns, that have rained war on Lebanon killing over a 1,000 innocent civilians and destroyed the entire infrastructure of Lebanon?

Yours sincerely,
Ismail Zayid, MD.

Patrons of terror are getting a free ride

By ALEX WILNER, The Chronicle Herald. Aug. 18,2006

LAST FRIDAY, the UN Security Council put in place a ceasefire in the conflict pitting Israel against Hezbollah. Canadians, generally fans of the UN, thankfully heaved a sigh of relief. But if we want to avoid a bad case of buyer's remorse, like any wise consumer, Canadians should spend a moment poring over the fine print.

Security Council resolutions by their very nature are vague at best, and cravenly wishy-washy at worst. Friday's resolution, UNSCR 1701, is no different. It calls for "an end of violence" and emphasizes the "need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crises." Great ideas, but pious wishes rarely disarm terrorist organizations.

A practical UN action plan, for example, might identify those actors whose bad behaviour led to the current crisis, and lay out a reasoned and muscular plan to get them to change that behaviour. On this score, the Security Council has let us down. Badly.

Resolution 1701 calls on all UN member states - none by name - to take measures to prevent the smuggling of weapons, supplies, finances and other forms of support "to any entity" - read: Hezbollah - in southern Lebanon. However, by neither identifying nor condemning Hezbollah's supporters, the Security Council has done two great disservices to the international struggle against terrorism. First, it has ensured another round of bloody Middle East conflict, sooner rather than later. Second, it has given supporters and sponsors of terrorists everywhere comfort that they can count on escaping strong and international censure.

While Hezbollah may have made a few of the 4,000 mortars and Katyusha rockets it fired into Israel, all of the long-range Fajr rockets, sophisticated anti-ship cruise missiles, shoulder-launched SAMs, and unmanned aerial vehicles it aimed at Israel were produced and delivered by Iran, shipped with the connivance of Damascus through Syria.

Moreover, neither Iran nor Syria suffered any damage for its past and present support of Hezbollah. As Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center and authority on Mideast affairs, says, Hezbollah's primary state-patrons were able to "engage in one of the biggest terrorism-sponsorship events in history, at no cost whatsoever." No Israeli retaliation touched Syrian or Iranian territory; no international sanctions were contemplated against the two regional pariahs. The only weapons aimed at Syria and Iran were barely wagging diplomatic fingers launched from places like Washington and Ottawa.

Already, Western analysts report that Iran, exploiting and abusing the ceasefire, is rushing to rearm Hezbollah with the tools of terror destroyed or used in the war with Israel. Neither the UN nor any other international body is expected to condemn or counter Hezbollah's imminent rearmament. Unscathed will the sponsors go. As Mr. Rubin concludes, "In the terrorism sponsorship business, it doesn't get any better than that."

The lessons for sponsors of terrorist groups are strikingly clear. Terrorism is easy to fund and equip, can be supported virtually in the open, and at a low material and diplomatic cost. In short, terrorism pays.

Surely Iran and Syria have come to such conclusions; others in this global war will too. Israel understands this uncomfortable truth all too well, surrounded as it is by governments and movements that reject its right to exist and call for its destruction. Perhaps Canada and its allies should also take notice, because as long as the benefits of using and supporting terrorism outweigh the costs, little headway will be made in countering terrorism internationally, whatever form it takes.

Tragically, this lesson will bear its ugly fruit in repetitions of terrorist attacks and attempted, foiled attacks that have become unacceptably common, such as those in Canada, Afghanistan, Iraq, Europe, India, the United States, Israel and, most recently, over the skies of the Atlantic Ocean.

As long as sponsors of terrorism enjoy a free ride, as Iran and Syria have this summer, the West will be joining the fray armed only with good intentions, while our opponents stock up on heavy armaments.

All is not black. Some unified action has taken place to deter support for terrorism, and Canada has played an important role, especially with the continued counter-financing successes of The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and with Ottawa's decision to offer Toronto as a permanent host city to the Egmont Group, an international organization of over 100 of the world's financial intelligence units.

These are important and evolving steps and will likely assist in reversing the threatening tide of global terrorism. Yet these advances will remain muted if the godfathers of terrorism - Iran and Syria in this case, others in the next - continue to receive such a timid and shallow response from the international community.

Alex Wilner, a doctoral candidate at Dalhousie, is the intern in security and defence policy at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

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