Popular Wars

The war against the Taliban is quite unpopular in the Arab world, some people say; which may be true. But, is that implying that there are wars that are popular? Which one? Maybe the Gulf war since it had to liberate a small country occupied by its big neighbor! That might explain why it was easier for some Arab rulers to mobilize all their civil and military institutions in order to serve the “noble cause” of helping a “brother”!

“Brother” Bush – the elder- was then needed, and the US army welcome! The Israelis were forgotten for a while. They would have loved to be thus left “in peace” for the first time since years, though the Iraqi missiles had not rained on them! The “popularity” of the Gulf war among the Arabs does not need to be proved: the demonstrations were daily events. Some of them were even organized by American- backed governments against America! CNN reached a top-audience in the Arab world. The “show” was unmatchable.

But so far the Americans are at odds with the Arab governments about more a substantial support for the war effort against terrorism. The trouble is that in the same time Sharon is claiming also that his army’s intervention in the Palestinian areas aims at fighting terrorism! Worst: Israel rejected the American demand to withdraw on the grounds that the Israeli army has not been armed by the USA in order to stay quietly in the barracks when the Shin Beit fails to protect the Ministers! Since Israel is a recognized “democracy” nobody would retort that the army has nothing to do in the streets! These are foreign streets, guys! Palestinians! Israel remains a “democracy” ruled by a General ranked military!

This is not a popular war either. At least, the Americans are trying to make the war in Afghanistan look “humane” since they cannot make it “popular” in dropping supplies of food and medicines, not only bombs! But the Israelis are concerned neither about popularity nor humanity. They have barred these two words from their dictionary long years ago. Anyway, what popularity and humanity have to do with the musculated Israeli “democracy”? And if the Americans are not happy with the Israeli re- occupation of the West Bank cities, they should only blame themselves! The $ 4 billion they give yearly to Israel is alms barely sufficient to keep building the settlements! Israel is so needy that it has been forced to pocketing the Palestinian taxes it was assumed to gather for Arafat! How could it be otherwise anyway, since the latter revealed to be a “pathological liar”? At last, the Israeli soldiers have been unleashed. Instead of raging in their barracks, they would invade the Palestinian cities and villages and lay their hands on whatever booty available. No surgical- “humane ” and “popular”- strikes here! But only rampage and plunder for the sake of another $ 1 billion – or more – AIPAC has promised to get from the stingy US Congress!

Hichem Karoui is a writer and journalist living in Paris, France.

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