The March on Damascus: A New Epoch Unfolds


The epochal Israeli bombing inside Syria on October 05 has practically rendered the 1974 Disengagement Agreement between the two countries, irrelevant. By bombing the purportedly 'militant training camp', as portrayed by Israel, near Damascus, the latest act of antagonism flustered the already frantic world media, who were struck as much as the Syrians, by the attack on Ain al-Sahib.

Nevertheless, and despite the seemingly unequivocal aggressiveness of the Israeli attack, considering it more or less a declaration of war, the entire episode is swarmed by indecision. Is Israel pushing to widen the frontiers of its war? Is this Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's way of avoiding the accountability of his failed war on the Palestinians? Is the bombing an Israeli message or an American one? What does Israel hope to achieve by unleashing another quagmire at a time that the US is yet to deal with her own? 

However, the rationale behind Israel's rash decision to end the three-decade long ceasefire at the Syrian-Israeli front, despite the continued hostility ensuing from the Israeli occupation of parts of Lebanon, Syria's Golan Heights and the Palestinian territories, is not the only mystery. The attack on Ain al-Sahib, near Damascus, laid bare another epochal policy, that of the United States. 

Bush, who ordered his lonely ranger in the United Nations, John Negroponte to avert the UN members from condemning the Israeli act, reacted in a manner that left little doubt that Sharon's bold move must've passed through the Washington route first. Bush's words held no hesitance, but in fact full-fledged backing of a seemingly earth-shattering provocation of war: Israel "must not feel constrained" in defending itself, Bush said. On October 06, the US President telephoned Sharon, reported the Associated Press, and "made it very clear to the Prime Minister, like I consistently have done, that Israel's got a right to defend itself and that Israel must not feel constrained in defending the homeland." 

For Bush, like many of the so-called hawks in his administration, Arabs and Muslims are all the same, geographically, culturally, religiously and politically. Bombing Syria, therefore, might not seem a far-off pitch in retaliation to a suicide bombing that was carried out by a young Palestinian female lawyer inside Israel on the preceding day. But in a world where many countries, including Syria and excluding Israel and the United States, do in fact still allude to international law while confronting such blatant violations of sovereignty, the "bring it on" mind-set of Bush, Sharon and their followers is by all means repugnant. 

No other country at the United Nations, aside from the US, considered the attack on Syria a legitimate Israeli right to "defend its citizens" as Bush later advised, nor did anyone accept the Israeli argument that the bombing of Syria was a "deterrent" move. Even the Haifa bombing, "cannot lead us to overlook or minimize the extreme gravity of the attack perpetrated against Syria," said Spanish Ambassador to the UN, Inocencio Arias, a statement that was followed by that of the British Ambassador Emyr Parry. The Israeli attack, Parry said, represented an escalation of the conflict and undermines the peace process. 

But Bush's repeated defense of the Israeli bullying act - akin to his 'self-defense' argument following Israeli army's bloody attacks on Palestinian towns- was only the tip of the iceberg, an introduction of what shall be remembered as the formal inclusion of Israel, in a more practical and critical sense in the "war on terror", an alliance that Israel strived to achieve, and despite its empathy, the US continued to defer. Not any more. One day following the Israeli bombing, the US House International Relations Committee voted in favor of diplomatic and economic sanctions on Syria. Although the bill has been ready to be embraced by the brazen congressmen for a while, it passed this time after assurances that the Bush administration no longer maintains its objection to the piece of legislation. Israel received the news happily, as the predetermined transaction is now complete.

This was not all too accidental. By choosing such a time, when Israel's violent harassment of Syria is condemned internationally, to encroach on Syria with a similar fashion to the decade ago encroachment on Iraq, using the sanctions as a preliminary weapon, the Bush administration has delivered a startling blow to the Arab world and even to the rest of the world. The sanctions on Syria are less likely to lead to mass hunger and deaths like the unfortunate fate of Iraqis, at least not for now. It remains a first step however, of what could reasonably culminate into a war, unless a total Syrian submission to Israel is realized first. 

The US full backing of Israel and the passing of the anti-Syria legislation in the House, thereafter, were a formal marriage between two sinister arguments; now, Israel's war to suppress the Palestinian resistance is correlated, if not identical, to the US war to suppress just about everyone else. "The decisions he (Sharon) makes to defend his people are valid. We would be doing the same thing," said President Bush. Suddenly, Ain al-Sahib in Syria and Tora Bora in Afghanistan, as far as Bush is concerned, are two legitimate targets in an ever-stretching battlefield against what many neo-conservatives see as a hostile, undemocratic, inherently evil, uncivilized Muslim world. 

In a testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, on July 31, 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told an attentive, affable audience: The war on terrorism "is a global campaign against a global adversary." This "global campaign will not end, "until terrorist networks have been rooted out, wherever they exist." Another war and a momentous propaganda campaign later, with the help of the pro-Israeli, anti-Arab and Muslim cohort in the administration, Israel has finally managed to use the same logic. "Israel will not be deterred from protecting its citizens and will strike its enemies in every place and in every way," exclaimed Sharon on October 07, just over a year after Rumsfeld articulated his 'total war' logic yet once again. Bush described the Israeli decision, practically aimed at regionalizing the conflict, as an "essential campaign." 

If this should answer at least one of the many questions being asked these days, it should leave no doubt that Israel struck Syria, not only with the routine American "green light", but with a mutual, timely and well-calculated decision, all with the aim of - aside from diverting attention from the preposterous policies that both lead in Iraq and the Occupied Territories - subduing another Arab nation that refuses to be part of the Israeli-American hegemonic project in the region. 

And, for obvious reasons, the calamity created by the inexcusable war on Iraq is doomed to be repeated if another major onslaught on Syria takes place, this time with even more adverse consequences, considering the conspicuous Israeli role in the foreseen adversity. True, Arab regimes are likely to hide behind their futile, closed-door "emergency summits" and empty rhetoric, and Europeans are likely to oppose at first, ease the opposition later and then demand their share when sharing the spoils draws near. But in the end, it's the spirit of the resistance, which is only possessed by the Arab masses that shall turn the "cakewalk" wars, as was envisioned by the neoconservatives prior to the war on Iraq, into ruthless battlegrounds, where invaders never win even after "major combat" is declared officially over.

Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian-American journalist and editor-in-chief of The Palestine Chronicle online newspaper. His articles were published and quoted in newspapers around the world, including the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune and the Guardian, among others. He is the editor of the anthology: "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion." Baroud is also a researcher for the Qatar-based al-Jazeera Net English.

To buy "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion" CLICK HERE


  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Foreign Policy, Occupation, Syria
Views: 6613

Related Suggestions

 
COMMENTS DISCLAIMER & RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


Older Comments:
DARWIISH FROM SOMALIA said:
older bush left the office:
read my leaps no more....tax...

this bush will leave the office:
read my leaps no more.....jobs
2003-10-23

H.A. FROM WEST BANK said:
ZIONISM = RACISM

MR. RANCHBOY " TEAR DOWN THE WALL"..
2003-10-22

MUZAMMIL FROM MALAYSIA said:
Read my lips Bush Junior!

You and your neo-con idiots are bringing the US and the whole world into New World Disorder.

All this so called 'fight against terrorism' is bag of bull..

Forget it Bush. Your war is useless and bull..!

You are fighting terrorists? To Sharon, 1.3 billion Muslims are terrorist. Now what Bush? Are you going to kill all Muslims? All 1.3 billion of them? Go ahead Bush! Go ahead and nuke those 1.3 billion Muslims!

Go and kiss Sharon's but even when he is bringing you and your country to the abyss of chaos!

These good-for-nothing Zionists will overeact anytime they are critized.

They even want to hide or change Biblical facts about who crucified Jesus when latest Mel Gibson's film "Passion" potrays, as Bible did, that the Jews was responsible culprits who kill Jesus, peace be upon him. (Even though my view as a Muslim is Jesus, pbuh, was never crucified).

Good job Bush! Go and kiss the butts of the Zionists Jews who 'killed' your Lord Jesus!
And at the same time kill and attack Muslims who view your Lord Jesus positively as a Prophet of God.
2003-10-21

ASIF AMEER FROM USA said:
Once a man gets cold. He goes to a doctor and says that he has caught cold and wants a cure for it.
The doctor says "Wear thin clothes and do running in the rain".
Man "But wouldnt that make things worse?"
Doctor "Exactly! You see I dont know how to cure cold but I sure do know how to cure neumonia!"

Thats the philosophy of Israel. I cant fight the Palestinian "terrorists" on the streets with Tanks! But Syria would make a fine Turkey.

The Palestinian combat strategy is sort of working. Its the Stalin's war Strategy, "If you cant fight your enemy because he is too big and strong, stretch the fight. Make it a social, economical and political burden for your enemy"

As for USA, when in the Middle East, she is like an Elephant fighting snakes. It is too big to miss.

I bet those in the Pentagon would learn from this short note than their "Classified Documents"!
2003-10-20

MARIANNE NASHED FROM US said:
Right on! I mean how can Israel outrageously claim it reserves the right to strike "terrorist training camps" anywhere at anytime. Might I
remind the readers that suicide bombers don't need much "training" in pressing a piece of button. I think, witnessing their country and land confiscated and having their fiance and brother killed right in front of their eyes (as in the case of the woman suicide bomber who struck Haifa) is all the "training" that's needed.

Secondly, what proof is there that Israel had
struck a "terror training camp?" The propagandist Israeli army radio? I don't think so! Insofar Israel has failed to prove how the area which it bombed deep within Syrian soil was in any way connected to the Haifa bombings.

If there is one thing that can be concluded by Israel's aggression against Syria, it's that Israel's policy of assissinations, home demolitions, blockade, and even the construciton of the 20 foot wall is and has been a miserable failure. It's time for Ariel Sharon to try another tactic, in a word: peace. Unfortunately it's a word he apparently can't comprehend.

2003-10-19

BELAL AHMED FROM USA said:
if united states is for world peace. should act like one. being always siding with israel america creating more enemies.
2003-10-19

SALIM ZUBERI FROM TANZANIA said:
The time will tell who will be victorius on the wars waged against Muslims. At the end Muslims have nothing to lose, they are here on earth for struggle which will determine their success here and the hereafter, and furthermore actualising Allah's will.
2003-10-19

ROMESH CHANDER FROM US said:
Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran will not allow US to succeed in Iraq; they will encourage / send 'Jihadis' to cross into Iraq to frustrate US.
So US has to send message to these countries.

By bombing Syria, is Israel sending its own message to Syria or is it US message to Syria?. It has to be US message. If it was to be message from Israel, it would have bombed a real and well-functiong camp, not an 'abandoned' one; Israel has too good of intelligence to bomb abandoned camps.

Who is next one to get US message through Israel? I think it will be Saudi Arabia; Iran is too far from Israel; US would like to handle Iran itself.
If Israel sends message to Saudi Arabia, what will muslim world do? probably nothing; it will just grin and bear it.

Welcome to the crazy world of the Middle Eastern Oil Politics. Oil folks don't care for Jerusalem. Welcome to the new "Killing Fields'; Welcome to 'New Cambodia'.
2003-10-19

SAKINA HALL FROM USA said:
I agree with this article. The US and Israel had no business bombing Syria. Israel should be held accountable
2003-10-19

MORPHEUS FROM USA said:
Their will never be peace through war. Look at who benefits from acts of war and you will know who is behind it. Search for the truth and you will find it. Suicide bombings are the awful offsprings of an evil occupation that can only sustain itself with constant war. If we want all terrorism to end we, the USA, must stop terrorizing others and return dignity and TRUE justice to those who we have used and abused for our own benefits for so long. We must restore our media, for in a true democracy there is objective reporting. A real "fair and balanced" media. Most of all, as Muslims, we must break our cultural barriers that divide us and unite under the Flag of Islam, for we are much stronger when we are united.
2003-10-19

AHMED FROM USA said:
As Salaam Alaikum,

Allah only humiliates those who humiliate themselves... All we do as so-called Muslims is
ignore the Qur'an and Sunnah, continue to divide ourselves, and sit by and watch the results of our actions. Come back to Islam, Oh Muslims! May Allah have mercy on us!
2003-10-19

FAHEEM FROM US said:
Salaam brother Khai,

You speak of jihad, all the Muslims arming themselves and attacking the Zionists? Brother, before we run, we need to learn to walk. We as Muslims can't even accomplish the jihad of controling ourselves. Why should we take up arms when we can't even do simple things such as boycott the major Zionist companies? So many Muslims yell and shout for a jihad, and yet they're standing there wearing Tommy Hilfiger pants and a Polo shirt, drinking Starbucks coffee and Coca-Cola. These companies and their executives are major Zionists that have been praised by the Israeli government for their crucial investments in, and support of Israel. Our patronage of these companies enables the Israelis to slaughter our brothers and sisters. For us Muslims the LEAST we can do is not buy from these companies and yet we're not even doing that. We must learn to walk, then run. All we have to do is go to google and type in "boycott israel". It will give you a list of groups directing the economic jihad against the oppressors.

It is obvious from your writing that your heart aches for the oppressed. We Muslims must not TALK and TALK about armed jihad, that's not realistic, we must CARRY OUT the smaller jihad.
2003-10-19

AHMED FROM USA said:
First of all let me make it very clear that I follow the Quran and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw). I believe only the ones who posses the insight of the Sunnah of Allah will understand my point.

I believe Allah (swt) is punishing and humiliating the Muslim Ummah due to their sins and regression of their deen (Islam). Bush and Sharon did not become leaders of their countries by accident. Allah decreed it. And Allah also is letting them trample on the Muslims. Why? Well, think about it, Muslims. Where in the Muslim world do you see today where Allah's law is carried with truth and justice. No where. Where were the Muslims when Sadam was slaughtering thousands? How about Nasser, Sadat, and now Mubarak? Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and on and on ??
How about when Assad murdered 24,000 Muslims in Hama ?? It is time for pay-back for these crony leaders to go and be replaced by ones that will humble themselves to Allah and also be kind and merciful to the Muslims. Maybe this is Allah's way of getting rid of them since Muslims are week and cannot do much. Allah's soldiers come in many different forms. Muslims, ants, flies, angles, hurricane, earthquake, fire, kaffirs, etc. You get what I mean.
So as Muslims, we need to be patient and go back to obeying Allah and then we will see victory. Allah's laws on this earth are simple. You obey Him and work hard, He wil support you. Even the Prophet (saw) and the Compinions who were the closest humans to Allah than any others were required to work hard while totally submitting to Allah's laws. When they slipped, like in Uhud, they paid dearly for it. All Muslims should study that battle and learn the lessons from it. It applies to us more today than ever.
2003-10-19

CHARLES JACKS FROM USA said:
If the second to last paragraph of this http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0342/schanberg.php
is to be believed, then what the US and Israeli governments have planed is being carried out. But why would someone expose it? To get elected? Misdirection? To warn and prompt the Muslims to come together? Or are they so sure of themselves that they feel there is more to be gained in public support than in giving away their plans?
One sometimes thinks that the angles were correct in describing humanity as those that would spill blood and spread corruption. But you must remember that God replied that God knows what they did not. Those that would follow the ways of Iblis are doomed while those that were steadfast in worship would be accepted into something that would make this life little more than a blink of ones eye.
The way this is shaping up reminds me of all the movies about good and evil in which evil seems to have the upper hand until the very end. That's when evil's plan comes to naught because God is The Best of Planners, The All Knowing.
Hold fast to the rope that does not break.
2003-10-18

MUZ FROM MALAYSIA said:
Assalamualaikum...

Deepest sorry for my opinion.... because this article is USELESS.

Why we neeed to repeat the same story that we are already know and awared about American and Israel attitude towards muslim countries? This article should be posted to non muslim website not here because we all (muslim) already know about it since 1400 years ago!

What I want to read is something like How we can help Syria to release the burden from American sanction. Not something like this! We need an ACTION. Not just condenm and repeating telling the story without doing anything.

ps:anyway this article only good for widen the information only. But information without an action is NOTHING!
2003-10-18

H.A. FROM TORA BORA said:
THE UNITED STATES AND ISRAEL UNDERSTAND ONLY ONE THING....
HOW MANY NUKES IT WOULD TAKE TO OBLITERATE THEM COMPLETELY AND SIMULTANEOUSLY...

SO why waste time...ACQUIRE THEM... and if their airplanes ever cross your border (even if accidently)...press on the switch.. EVER WONDER WHY THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT MESS WITH RUSSIA????????????????????

2003-10-17

ZANIB FROM UNITED STATES said:
Lets be real and face the facts, this is not a war
on "terrorism" or "rouge states", this is a war on Islam. This war will go to all Muslim States, including Saudi Arabia (Makka) and Pakastin. The U.S, U.N, Isreal, Europe, all of them are fighting Muslims, they are all waging a crusade. Allah The Most Great, tells it in the Qu'ran, we need no other proof, they want to destroy this religion which they can never do and will never do. We are not sunnies, shiates, kurds,
arabs, turks, if you believe in God All Mighty and
his last messenger peace be upon him, then your nationality is Islam. I am sick and tired, of punk
Muslims who appoligize for their deen, saying they
worship the same God as Jews and Christians. NO! We worship Allah, the One and Only God of this Universe whom all creatures need, who has neither a son or coequal. O Muslims you are the best nation, we will never succeed until we go back to the Qu'ran and ask help from Allah, not the United
Nations. Allahu Akabar!
2003-10-17

YAHYA BERGUM FROM USA said:
Assalamu alaikum. I am grateful for any mention of the oppressed (before, during and after Ramadan).

Regarding this particular article, I would have to agree. There does not seem to be any obvious connection between the atrocity in Haifa and the act of war committed against Syria - other than (of course) that the fruits of oppression would be used as an excuse for starting wars against neighboring countries.

If I might suggest an additional possibly, perhaps the "Sharonites" are in a hurry to do unto their immediate neighbors before someone else does it for them. It would appear that controlling their immediate neighbors' real estate is part of every plan the "Sharonites" formulate.

--Yahya Bergum
2003-10-17

SUHAYB FROM CANADA said:
well i've stopped trying to understand the politics around that area...it's just too much mafia and oil and NO religion so... on the other hand i was explained recently that syria president is part of a weird current of islam, and so not muslim, is that true?
2003-10-17

SAIF FROM U.S.A. said:
I agree with the author's assessment of the current situation that is unfolding in the middle east. With great saddnness I have come to the conclusion that the "muslim world" is incapable of doing anything against this growing storm, it is a nightmare evolving before our collective eyes, and we muslims are responsible for what is happening.
As a community we are only that in name, the so called "ummah" only exists as an ideal that is far from the truth in reality. Take a look at muslim countries, it is muslims who have persecuted muslims throughout the world, take as an example the recent history of the kurds. The 1971 war between east and west Pakistan resulting in Bangladesh, the repression within "Islamic States" (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt), take it a step further and consider how we treat each other at an individual level, light skinned arab Egyptians verses dark skinned afro-egyptians(sidi}, Arab vs. non arabs, really it is a sorry state. Yet all we focus in on is the Israeli oppression of Palestinians, or the Kashmiri issue, when the house that we own is one big disgusting dirty mess. As muslims we need some consistancy, Islam teaches us to be just all the time, to stand up for the truth even when it doesn't involve involve "muslims", to stand for truth and to be an example for humanity, We should ask, what kind of example have we set in the last 50yrs, for that matter the last five centuries? I would say we have failed miserably.
Today we are leaderless, uneducated, subjugated, the enemies know this better than we do, so the nightmare will go on, until we change ourselves or Allah has mercy on us.
Here is food for thought, if Sharon decides tomorrow to truck Palestinians of and drop them off in the Sinai, what muslim ummah can do anything, the answer is very little or absolutely nothing, that is the reality we have brought upon ourselves by calling ourselves muslims but not living Islam.

Thank you
2003-10-17

PEACE FROM BANGLADESH said:
Muslims rise. This was inevitable when we allowed and helped the Kuffars to attache first Afghanistan and then Iraq. We thought that as long the fire is not in my house, I am safe. Now they will take one at a time.

With the help of the Gulf States such as Kuwait, Bahrain they had the opportunity to build up there forces to attack Iraq. And now they have over all control in the middle east. They dont need any other countires permission to build up there forces to attack the next muslim coutnry.

I wonder how the rulers of these Gulf States will stand before Allah. And may Allah SWT forgive us for still sleeping and enjoying our lives.

Oh Allah please wake up the Muslims and give them to bring peace and justice to this world. Ameen.
2003-10-17

ABDI FROM USA said:
I could not say it any better. Currently, the problem is the rulers of these so called Arab nations who oppress their people and never make a step forward. To be independent from American influence and Israeli oppression/ocuupation, the Arab people must get rid of their own rulers and elect smart and strong leaders first. The obstacle to the middle east is those pubbet rulers who oppress and kill their best to satisfy their ego. Those include but are not limited to Husni Mubarak of Egeypt, Abdullah of Jordan, Fahad of Saudi Arabia and so on.
2003-10-17

CRYSTAL KHAN FROM AMERICA said:
asalaamaleikum,

i have only three words in comment, much like those of Shaikh Habib Ali Jiffry of the Ha'baib...."JESUS (ALAYIS SALAM) IS COMING!!!"
2003-10-17

MUSLIMUN FROM SINGAPORE said:
Brother Khai,your call for Jihad fisabillilah is reasonable but we must plan,strategise then counter attack.Right now we need to keep the peace in Palestine through peaceful means we cannot afford to attack ! remember Hudaibiyah the prophet signed the treaty eventhough it was unfair,we must follow the prophet we cannot be rash and Attack the unjust with our bare hands.....get peace for our brothers and sisters in Palestine then we counter attack,and after counter attacking we must forgive them for whatever they did and build an Islamic gov there then that will be better for us than blowing people up,astagfirullah.
2003-10-17

SHUJA FROM TORONTO, CANADA said:
And still, the criminal countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are still cooperating secretly and openly with United States. Shame.

Shuja
2003-10-17

HASSAN FROM US said:
every empire has a reason to fall and that is inevitable. the reason american empire has started its downfall is twofold. the ignorance of the people which has resulted in an administration concerned about their own welfare and the hijacking of the mighty empire by vicious lobbies that serve the least to the american interests and welfare. it is time for the american people to take a hard look at the direction their country is being hijacked and fight to bring it back under its control. this is a very crucial moment in history as americans have armed and unleashed a blood thristy regime in the middle east, which in fact would stop at nothing to acheive its unsustainable ambition even it means bringing down its master. history will once again prove that violence is not the way to the peaceful future. also, it is time for the muslim regimes to think about Islamic way of governance.
2003-10-17

BROTHER KHAI FROM SINGAPORE said:
Salam. I agree with the writer absolutely only God
knows how my heart cried our to our brethren being oppressed all over the globe. How i really wish i could help them but what could i do even the Muslim nations never even once in this modern time had ever given the call of Jihad to help our brethren in need for a just cause! what happened to the holy cause of jihad where many great early muslims had heeded when they are oppressed? Don't we remember the Prophet(PBUH)? The Companions? King Salahuddin(Saladin)? from my point of view we could give the call of jihad against the zionist government for i see this is just! we should not abuse the call of jihad..true i totally agree cause we will be accounted for our actions. But what about thecall of Jihad when justice needs to be uphold? i plead all of us muslims to think of this for we are suppose to uphold Allah's laws on this earth! remember before we were created, our Souls had all promise the Merciful Lord that we will obey and worship His Highness. But my dear breathren...have we fullfil that sacred promise?
2003-10-17