Friday, March 26, 2004

Speaking of not being safer....

Israel's success in assassinating Sheik Ahmed Yassin continues to reverberate across the region, reaching far beyond Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, reaching, in fact, into Iraq.
Baghdad, Iraq (CNN, March 26) - An influential Shiite cleric in Iraq called Israel's assassination of the spiritual leader of Hamas a "dirty crime against Islam" and the September 11, 2001, terror attacks "a miracle from God."

Moqtada al-Sadr delivered a charged sermon at Friday prayers at a mosque near the holy city of Najaf, blasting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas. ...

He accused the United States of complicity in Yassin's killing and said Iraqis should react to the assassination "in the way that satisfies God."

Al-Sadr led the worshippers in chants: "No, no Israel! No, no to the Jews! No, no America! No, no to terrorism!"
Sadr is the more radical rival of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Sadr was the one who turned out tens of thousands of demonstrators in January to demand immediate elections, an event which was believed to be behind Sistani's stiffening resistance to the plans for an interim government and delayed elections. His is an extremely powerful voice and for him to assert that the US was involved in the killing of Yassin is to endorse additional levels of violence against Americans in Iraq and those seen to be associated with them.

I wonder if Israel thought of that. I wonder if, if it had, would it care?

Footnote: Israel stands by its "marked for death" policy.
Israeli Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that even if a harsh response from Hamas was likely, the long-term effect of the killing will be to rein in militants "because their leaders will know that they will be destroyed"
reported the BBC on March 22. Now, considering the result has been to prompt Hamas to select as its new leader in Geza one of its most "combative," "vitriolic" figures, one who even denounced a truce declared by Hamas and other Palestinian groups last summer, I wonder if when the next suicide bomb goes off Netanyahu will tell the families of the dead with a shrug that their deaths were only what was expected and were "worth it" to combat Hamas?

And by the way, just when has a policy of "kill their leaders" worked against terrorism for Israel? For anyone, for that matter? Why is it that attacks on "us" supposedly make us "stronger, more determined," but attacks on "them" will "destroy them?" Why is it that "our" leaders are brave, noble, true, while "their" leaders are cowards who will run and hide, taking their supporters with them, if they think their own lives are at risk?

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