Reporters might like to consider the Arab point of view

The Australian Committee for Truth in the Middle East, a group with a fine pedigree, offers some advice to journalists covering the Middle East:

1. In Gaza and the West Bank Hamas won popular support – enough to win an election generally regarded in the West as fair (except for the result, of course) – by providing health and other social services to people forsaken by everyone else. It looks like the Taliban are moving this way.

2. General Stanley McChrystal is not looking too smart by calling for another “surge” in Afghanistan. The “surge” in Iraq did not lessen the carnage there. The improvement, such as it was, came about after the US occupiers discovered, after more than three years, that tribal relations played a crucial role.

3. Russia has just swung a little America’s way, towards putting anti-nuclear pressure on Iran. This did not come about by pressuring Russia but by de-pressuring Russia, that is by moving to downgrade NATO’s missile presence in eastern Europe.

4. Don’t think that President Obama’s domestic health problems are unconnected with his administration’s efforts to get Israel out of parts of Palestine. If his health program can be weakened, or preferably wrecked, Obama will be in a weaker position to lean on Israel. Most neo-cons are pro-Israel Republicans so they have two reasons for upsetting Obama’s health program.

5. The great financial crisis is far from over and the weaker the US gets economically the less influence it can exert on Israel.

6. Similarly, if Obama can be weakened in Afghanistan, or in dealing with Iran, or anywhere else, he will have less weight to bring to bear on Israel.

7. If Israel can weaken Obama’s efforts to reduce nuclear weapons, even by drawing attention to its own nuclear weapons and making clear it is going to keep them, this will play into Israel’s hands by encouraging Iran to persist with its alleged nuclear weapons program. This diverts attention from the settlements issue. See yesterday’s Washington Times.

8. The more international or domestic damage the Obama administration suffers, the better things will look for Israel. Would Israel act to damage the US in any of the above ways? Stranger things have happened.

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