Well-written, well-informed article from the Indepent on the political background to all this.
September 13, 2001 3:51 AM   Subscribe

From a perspective that ignores a few items such as the need to make peace not war--countries simploy do not give back territories taken during war unless for strategic reasons or through a peace treaty. The Independent has long been (for me) very sympathtiic to the Palestinian cause (and plight) and while it is of course true that the Palestinians need and deserve their own state and have for years lived in humiliating conditions, they are not totally without some blame in all this mess. Examaple: The Right of Return--who would approve of such a right now when one of the suicide bombers was an Arab Israel citizen and the Right wants some 3 million people to go back.
posted by Postroad at 4:20 AM on September 13, 2001

Weird. I'm in the process of reading Lawrence of Arabia's book, "Seven Pillars of Wisdom", and in it he talks about how he lied to the Arabs to get their help in attacking the Turks (the allies of the Germans in WWI) - promising that the West would help the building of independent Arab states. Help that wasn't forthcoming. The seeds of this hatred we're seeing now go back a very long way.
posted by jfinnis at 4:23 AM on September 13, 2001

Here's another historically based article from The Guardian (UK). Pretty strong stuff...
posted by nico at 4:38 AM on September 13, 2001

nico: Excellent link. Thanks.
posted by talos at 4:50 AM on September 13, 2001

The seeds of this hatred would not have flowered into such a vicious attack had they not been fertilised by the manure of american foreign policy (UN culpability notwithstanding).
No longer can the US dabble in world affairs (read use innapropriate force in countries far away via UN military presence) safe in the arrogant belief that no-one would be able to attack their homeland.
posted by asok at 5:32 AM on September 13, 2001

These articles are obscene. The US has done nothing to deserve what happened. The lists of supposed crimes of America are incredible.
posted by mw at 5:56 AM on September 13, 2001

I saw an interesting documentary yesterday, about the Jyhad that was started in Afghanistan. When the Russians were defeated there, the warriors of the Jyhad looked at other areas in the world they thought should be 'liberated from oppression'.

For example Kashmir was supposed to have democratic elections, even according to UN resolutions, but as a politician said: "there is no oil in Kasmir" and the resolutions were not enforced. I think the elections never took place in Kashmir.

Algeria had elections but the winners were shoved aside regardless. No interventions seem to be forthcoming from the western world, unless there is economic gain to be had.

The resentment and bitterness seems to be not about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict alone, it is so much bigger than that.

Does anybody have some more backgrounds on the reasons for the situations in Kashmir and Algeria?
posted by Icestorm at 5:57 AM on September 13, 2001

These articles are obscene. The US has done nothing to deserve what happened. The lists of supposed crimes of America are incredible.

Well, sure--no one "deserves" this. But are you really saying the US is totally without blame here, that we have never played any role but a virtuous one?
posted by rodii at 6:12 AM on September 13, 2001

Icestorm, you will find plenty of material at www.znet.com
posted by acrobat at 6:14 AM on September 13, 2001

The original 1998 Fisk interview of Bin Laden from the Nation.
posted by talos at 6:20 AM on September 13, 2001

At last, a rational, historically informed, article that goes beyond the simplistic "good versus evil" (read West vs Arab) viewpoint. What is obscene is what is being described: the way in which the lives of innocent civilians are ruined and destroyed for the sake of political and economic power.

As for America's "supposed crimes", mw, they were all reported in the papers when they happened.
posted by Anchovy at 6:25 AM on September 13, 2001

jfinnis: Help was forthcoming. The Brits and the U.N. said there sshould be two nations: Israel and Palestine. The Arab world rejected this and launched an attack to eliminate Israel. You may or not like the way things have played out in that region but history shows that when the British empire "expired" the seeds were planted for (1) Ireland division, (2) India/Pakistan division, (3) Israel/Arab division. The problem is that some on these sides did not accept or want a division.
posted by Postroad at 7:14 AM on September 13, 2001

Postroad, I think the "seeds" you mention pre-date the end of colonial occupation of India, Ireland and Palestine. The British kept nationalism under control in those regions; when they left, things fell apart. And in Palestine, the violence didn't start when the Arab armies invaded; there was much horrible terrorism/freedom fighting created by both the Palertinian Arabs and the Palertinian Jews. Here's a map of the 1948 partition.
posted by tranquileye at 7:45 AM on September 13, 2001

"The lists of supposed crimes of America are incredible."

Watched an interesting discussion on the BBC this morning, with the editor of Newsweek. They were discussing how many Americans find it hard tho grasp that the US isn't necessarily loved by all outside of its borders.

They quoted a figure that only 7% of the US possess a passport and hence have little knowledge of foreign affairs. (many members of this board excluded of course)

The following line from the Guardian is especially relevant:

.. any glimmer of recognition of why people might have been driven to carry out such atrocities, sacrificing their own lives in the process - or why the United States is hated with such bitterness, not only in Arab and Muslim countries, but across the developing world - seems almost entirely absent.
posted by MintSauce at 8:04 AM on September 13, 2001

mw - These articles are obscene. The US has done nothing to deserve what happened. The lists of supposed crimes of America are incredible.

mw, I think if you read the articles again, you'll see that no one there is suggesting that the US deserved what happened - they're simply seeking to explain why many people may have acquired (in many cases inherited/been taught) the belief that the US is their enemy. Some one on another thread (sorry that I can't find it again right now, I've been through so many in the last hour or so) noted that "explaining something is not the same as justifying it", and they're absolutely right.

As for the list of supposed crimes being incredible, well, that supposed is your viewpoint, to which you're entitled. From very many other people's equally valid viewpoint, crimes is what they are, and all too credible at that.
posted by jonpollard at 8:29 AM on September 13, 2001

this article is insightful. The world will be a better place if more of us understand how horrific such events always are. Terrorism has plagued the Middle East for half a century. Maybe now we will have the necessary resolve to end it.
posted by mattpfeff at 10:39 AM on September 13, 2001

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