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U.S., Israel and Russia — axis of oppression
By Karamatullah K. Ghori

A blatantly provocative, pro-Israeli, resolution rushed through the U.S. Congress on Thursday, May 2, should leave no one in any doubt how committed U.S. is to Israel. By the same token, Washington’s peace-maker credentials look more suspect than ever before.

With a war-monger Sharon rampaging through the Palestinian lands with impunity, holding the U.N in open contempt, and ignoring George W. Bush’s sham appeal for restraint with hubris, Congress still voted overwhelmingly in favour of unqualified support to Israel. The vote in the House of Representatives was 352 against 21. In the Senate it was even more lop-sided, with 94 Senators voting for Israel and only 2 against. 

It was not only that Congress scorned the rest of the world demanding Israel’s accountability for Sharon’s crimes against humanity. The partisan vote, reeking of Israel-worship, also ridiculed the Palestinians and put the entire burden on their leader Yasser Arafat to come clean in their battle for survival against Sharon’s attempt to exterminate them. The Bush administration is now, openly, espousing a change in the Palestinian leadership, thus echoing Sharon’s claim that Arafat had become irrelevant and could not be a ‘partner in peace.’ By Bush’s skewed logic, a known terrorist like Sharon, whose crimes have been documented in his own country (the Kahane Commission report ) has become "a man of peace" while a freedom fighter like Arafat is being reviled as a terrorist.

The congressional appetite for slavish subservience to the powerful and arrogant Zionist lobby—working in over-drive from the day Sharon unleashed his terror in the West Bank—was exponentially whetted by Bush brazenly declaring Sharon to be " a man of peace." There could not be a more callous disregard of Palestinian sensitivities than that. As the Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal sardonically observed, Sharon himself may not have believed he was a man of peace. But Bush had to pin that medal on the Butcher of Beirut, with his hands dripping of fresh Palestinian blood, in order to prove his fealty to the Israeli lobbies in America. 

Bush has such a hang-over with Israel that talking to the press after his meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, he haughtily declared that the world should not doubt the U.S. resolve not to let Israel be crushed. Which made several observers wonder if Abdullah visited him to seek his help in peace-making or to serve notice on him about crushing Israel.

With Bush tilting at all the windmills to prove his commitment to Israel, how could Congress afford not to emulate the President’s example, in fact go a notch higher. 

The Congressional pandering to Israeli and Jewish whims is so abysmal that the day Sharon’s vandals were mowing down the unarmed Palestinian civilians in Jenin, 80 Senators turned up in Washington to attend a special convention of the powerful America-Israel Political Action Committee. That is the forum where the contours of blind U.S. support to Israel are delineated. Congress dare not deviate from these guide lines.

The third leg of the tripod on which U.S. political, diplomatic and material support to Israel stands is the news media. The mainstream American media is hopelessly hooked on Israel because of the Jewish chokehold that keeps the media firmly in its thrall. The template of this is not only to present the Jewish state as a model of virtuosity; it is also to tar all opposition to Israel with a black brush. Not only that, but a new tool honed by the mainstream American media, in the wake of Sharon’s brutal oppression of the Palestinians, is total blackout of the news of the ‘enemy’ camp. 

The massive rally in Washington on April 20, in support of the Palestinians, and condemnation of Israel, was a most vocal and spontaneous grass root identification with the Palestinian cause in America. It brought together more than two hundred thousand people, from all walks of life and representing myriad shades of the political spectrum. However, the event did not take place for the Jewish-friendly and Israel-sympathetic papers like the ‘New York Times’, which totally ignored the rally and gave it not a word of coverage. The administration ignored it by not sending even a junior factotum to such a popular outpouring of sympathy for the oppressed in Palestine.

By contrast, a pro-Israel rally, the week earlier, was projected as the greatest political event of the year. It did not attract more than twenty thousand participants, despite generous funding from wealthy Jewish corporations. But this number was inflated in the mainstream media as being close to a hundred thousand. The Bush administration blessed the well-orchestrated carnival with several of its ‘grandies’ from the neo-conservative component of the team, including a super-hawk like the Deputy Secretary of Defence, Paul Wolfowitz, who also addressed the rally.

Playing unashamedly to the Jewish and Israeli gallery is anchored in the perception that Israel is only complementing Bush’s own declared war on terrorism. The line between right and wrong has been provocatively blurred, just as the fine line separating a freedom struggle from terrorism is being deliberately ignored in the rush to deliver on the single line Bush doctrine: ‘ You are either with us or against us.’

It is not only a terror-purveyor like Sharon who is cashing on this simplistic formula to his heart’s content, Putin of Russia is also getting away with his own massacre of the Chechens with a lot of impunity.

Putin’s star as an acolyte of Yeltsin rose with his butchery of the Chechens when the second War of Chechnya began in August 1999. Putin borrowed a leaf from Sharon’s 1982 murderous invasion of Lebanon—when on Sharon’s watch at least 15 thousand Lebanese and Palestinians were killed in cold blood—and slaughtered the hapless Chechens by tens of thousands. An exact count of his carnage has not been known, to date, because of Putin’s refusal to let the human rights groups into Chechnya, something that Sharon is repeating presently in the West Bank. However, at least two hundred thousand Chechen refugees, driven from their homes, are still huddled in make-shift camps in Ingushitia and other ‘autonomous’ Russian republics surrounding Chechnya. These refugees have no early hope of being allowed back into Chechnya. Their homes have been destroyed, and there is no international effort afoot to rehabilitate them.

September 11 and its aftermath has as much been a boon to Putin as to Sharon. Both quickly clambered on board George W. Bush’s vendetta wagon and became his ‘partners’ in the ‘war on terrorism.’ Like the Palestinians, Chechens too were overnight transformed into ‘terrorists’ and became fair game for Putin’s murderous ethnic-cleansing. He has not relented on making a bonanza of his new ‘legitimacy’ as a fighter against ‘terrorists.’

Putin has methodically wiped out whatever political leadership was left in Chechnya. It was a democratic and secular independence movement that Putin has brutally suppressed in the name of stamping out ‘Al-Qaeda terrorists.’ In its place Putin has installed pro-Moscow puppets in bombed-out Grozny to do his biddings. He feels secure that no one in the western world has any moral grain to question him on his terror tactics in Chechnya.

With the eyes of the world glued on Afghanistan and Palestine, Putin has a convenient foil to carry on his low-intensity, but bloody, war on the Chechens. Sharon’s barbarity in Jenin could not be hidden from global spotlight. Putin, in the cover of obscurity, has carried out dozens of such ‘cleansing’ operations in Chechnya since the autumn of 1999. For instance, the village of Tsotsan-Yurt has been rampaged 33 times in this period. Another village, Starye Atagi has had 20 visitations from Putin’s marauding gangs. According to the Russian human rights group, Memorial, at least 2000 Chechens have ‘disappeared’ in Russian raids, at least 12000 have been killed, and tens of thousands have been tortured, robbed and raped. 

Accountability of any kind for these crimes against humanity are as far from Putin’s mind as from Sharon’s. Both know that with Bush as their mentor, a feckless UN dare not put up any roadblocks for them. Kofi Annan is so much in hock to Bush for his second term as Secretary General that he would not inconvenience either him or his ‘partners’ in any way. Proof of it came recently. The UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva declined to vote in favour of a low-level investigation of crimes in Chechnya against its people. Likewise, Annan, taking the line of least resistance, quietly succumbed to the Israeli blackmail and disbanded the 3-member fact-finding mission to Jenin. The UN has been as totally neutralised, if not co-opted, in Chechnya as in the Occupied Lands.

Bush, Putin and Sharon—all three involved in high and low-intensity wars of oppression against Muslims—have a symbiotic relationship.

Bush needs both Putin and Sharon to make certain of winning in his declared global war against terrorism. In his book, Palestine and Chechnya are two major flash points of Islamic ‘terrorism’. Therefore, he needs the services of butchers like Sharon and Putin to keep his agenda moving actively forward. And they need him as a chaperon over their heads to shield them against a critical and cavilling world.

Putin is valuable to Sharon because Russia keeps supplying Israel with fresh Jewish immigrants to Israel. 1.5 million of Russian Jews are already in Israel. They are assets to the Israeli armed forces because of their congenital hatred of Arabs and Muslims. Putin has also made the erstwhile Soviet Union’s patronage of the Arabs a thing of history. He is not an Arab partisan.

Both Sharon and Bush seem intent on following Putin’s example of fashioning a leadership of their liking in the occupied areas. 

Sharon’s latest mission to Washington, beginning May 7, will be focused primarily on this aspect. The Bush administration is already paving the ground for it. As a curtain raiser to Sharon’s meeting with Bush, Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser to Bush, has spoken publicly of the need for a new Palestinian leadership as a pre-condition to a Palestinian state.

Having failed to dislodge Arafat from the hearts of his people, the Zionist cabal in the U.S., and Sharon, now seek to twist the Palestinians’ arm to tell them that they will not get statehood under Arafat. That has been Sharon’s plan from the beginning of his barbaric assault of the Palestinians. He , like Putin in Chechnya, wants to have puppets amongst the Palestinians to take the leadership platform and accept whatever crumbs of Bantustans he may throw at them in the name of a loose, fragmented and dis-jointed Palestinian state. Of course, he has the full backing of Bush in it, as he has always had on anything concerning the Palestinians. The two have a great camaraderie when it comes to plotting against Arab and Muslim interests. 

This has been a pattern of Bush-Sharon communion; they would first fine-tune and calibrate every detail of their scheme and then Sharon would put teeth into it. Sharon’s ongoing murderous repression of the Palestinians began soon after his last meeting with Bush in the White House in January this year. Sharon does not need Bush’s blessings; that aspect is well taken care of by the Jewish lobby in the U.S. whose blessings are essential for any President to stay in office. But Israel needs U.S. arms to carry on its terror against the Palestinians. It should be interesting to see what new shopping list of weapons Sharon is carrying with him to Washington.

What Sharon is also carrying with him, amid great fanfare from the Israeli and U.S. propagandists, is a 103-page Israeli intelligence dossier implicating Arafat and his top aides in ‘terrorist activities’ against Israel. The news of this dossier was released by an Israeli cabinet minister, Dani Naveh, as Sharon departed for Washington. Naveh boasted: "We have clear-cut hard evidence that Arafat and his close aides were involved directly in terrorist activities." The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, has dismissed the dossier as full of "forgeries, lies, shams and stunts." Rightly so. But Bush and Washington may lap it up as another reason that Arafat has become " irrelevant" to sign a peace on the dotted lines with Sharon on his terms.

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