In need to find something?
Custom Search
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Whinges of War

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Complex problems rarely, if ever, have simplistic solutions to overcome them. Assigning simplistic reasons to explain complex problems, too, doesn't help. And neither does blame-storming.

Image originally from Wikipedia, hosting by PhotobucketIn Walski's mind, as things stand today, the problem that is the Middle East is an extremely complex and convoluted problem. Walski has purposely refrained from writing anything about the conflict thus far. Not because he doesn't care, but because it is a very difficult and complex subject to write about.

But let's make one thing crystal clear - and get it out of the way - the disproportionate response that Israel has inflicted upon Gaza is definitely something that needs to be condemned, and in that regard, the UN has been an abject failure in putting a stop to the attacks.

What Israel is doing with this military exercise is akin to solving the problem of a termite infestation with a flamethrower, which in the process totally burns the kitchen down. If not the entire house.

The target of the Israeli assault - Hamas (via Al-Jazeera), popularly voted into the Palestinian Authority in 2006, defeating their rivals, and then Authority incumbent, Fatah. Since then, the in-fighting between Hamas and Fatah has been ongoing.

And herein lies part of the problem.

Hamas, in part, gets its support from Iran, and written as part of the Hamas charter is the call for the destruction of the state of Israel.

Plus, they have this nasty habit of shooting rockets into Israel's backyard...  
(many sides to the Middle East story, and more, in the full post)

This recent mini-war in Gaza comes after the expiry of a six-month long ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, from June 19 until December 19 of 2008.

The ceasefire, which was brokered by Egypt, started to break down earlier, when in November, 6 Hamas militants were killed in an incursion by the Israeli military into Gaza, after the discovery of a tunnel being built under the border fence system, which Israel claimed was planned to be used to abduct Israeli soldiers, stationed about 250m away from the fence (source: The Guardian).

Hamas then responded by firing a barrage of rockets into southern Israel, which they claim was their response for Israel's breach of the truce. Hamas refused to renew the truce, upon its expiry on December 19, citing the refusal of Israel to keep it's end of the deal, by lifting the blockade put in place since June 2007, when Hamas seized control of Gaza. Israel, on the other hand started to ease the blockade initially, but backtracked claiming that Hamas, too, did not live to their end of the bargain, which included halting rocket and mortar fire, plus putting a stop to weapon smuggling.

And so, Hamas resumed their firing of rockets, which increased drastically towards the end of December. Now, knowing full well how Israel would react, it would be reasonable to ask: why the heck did Hamas start shooting rockets across into Israel again?

So, who's to blame? Is it really as one-sided (hat-tip: OutSyed the Box) as some of us prefer to think?

To Walski, in this case, everyone involved in the current (and ongoing) conflict is to blame. Israel, Hamas, the neighboring Arab states, the United States, Iran... every single damned party to the conflict has blood on their hands.

The "stakeholders" in the Middle East conflict, so to speak.

Funny, but when "stakeholders" are involved in any argument or conflict (remember the "stakeholders" in Malaysia's own fracas about the language to be used for the teaching of Math?), it's always the children that eventually suffer (hat-tip: Marina M.). Every stake being held represents a self interest, usually, without so much as offering holistic solutions to the problem(s) at hand.

In a conflict as long-lasting and emotional as the Arab-Israeli conflict, it's also sometimes easy to take sides. Yes, Israel must be condemned for their over-zealous and over-the-top military action - of that there's no doubt whatsoever, and most of the world agrees (via Al-Jazeera). But at the same time, Hamas, too, bears responsibility over what has happened in recent weeks.

What's most imminently critical, at this point in time, is a total ceasefire. On all sides.

And then the tougher part comes - how to once and for all solve the problem that we know as the Middle East.

In any argument or conflict, the two things critical towards complete resolution are trust and compromise. Usually in that order, too.

Israel needs to be convinced that its neighbors are not out to destroy and dismantle it. On the part of Hamas, Fatah and all the other Palestinian "stakeholders", the rhetoric of calling for Israel's destruction has got to stop. And rather than fighting each other over who has the rightful claim over the problem, the factions need to ensure that the welfare of the people they claim to speak for is paramount.

And for all sides to agree that PEACE must be central to the solution.

The time has come to collectively move forward, not analyze root cause anymore. This continued path of assigning blame may be the easier route, but it certainly is not the most productive one. And the time has also come for all parties to realize - both within the blast range of the killing fields of conflict, and amongst the parties that support the belligerent participants - that this is not about religion or religious/moral high ground anymore.

It's about territory, stewardship over said territory, and most importantly, it's about being good neighbors. And in general, the realization good neighbors don't go whacking each other off just because someone's idiot dog or cat made a mess on the neighbor's lawn. Regardless of what the equally idiotic relatives of the aggrieved neighbor have to say.

Complex problems generally can't be solved with simple solutions, as Walski said initially. But when a problem, involving lots of people and a long history, gets so complex and convoluted, arriving at a solution may just require a complete cease and desist maneuver, of any and all action in progress, allowing a look at the bigger picture of what it is exactly that needs getting solved.

The eventual solution(s) may still not be simple, but at least it makes getting to the solution a lot less painful... for all "stakeholders", but more importantly, the innocent victims caught in between.

In the case of the whining, whingeing and warring parties that make up the never ending mess we call the Middle East, all this is easier said, of course, than done.

But, more importantly, not impossible.