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3/19/04

The Tale Of The Fox And The Elephant

By Kam Zarrabi, San Diego

Clearly, a regime change in Iraq was the primary objective, which needed a more acceptable rationale in the eyes of the public, as well as some of the potential coalition formers, before the mission could get off the ground. But, why embark on a regime change in Iraq or, as the Administration hawks and conservative media opinion-molders maintain, Iran and Syria?

As a young man many years ago, I came up with a rather novel approach at parties or social gatherings to have my way with some attractive, unattached lady whose charm I could not resist. It seldom failed.

The first step was to spot some physical characteristic or idiosyncratic habit in the young lady, like a dimple on her cheek when she smiled, or a slight lisp when she spoke, that could hardly be consciously controlled by her. I would then find the opportune moment to let her know about my psychological vulnerability and irresistible attraction to that dimple or the lisp. Of course, if the subject lady had a slight limp rather than a lisp, it would be the limping that I'd use as the trigger for this attraction.

Once that premise was established, every time the young lady smiled or spoke with her lisp, I'd look at her inquisitively, as though pondering her motives for trying to attract my attention. Soon my reaction to her non-deliberate smile or lisp would take the form of a friendly admonishment, pretending that I was truly confused and troubled by her attempts to seduce me. Of course, I knew she was doing no such thing; this was simply my excuse to blame her for enflaming my passion.

Since it was not possible for the young lady to change her smile or stop her lisp, she had the option to get up and leave the party or, if she preferred to stay, tell me politely or rudely to seek psychiatric help for my sensitivities to dimples and lisps. Lucky for me, and I prefer to believe also for the ladies, my charades led to some memorable liaisons.

Now, what does this story have to do with the fuss by the Bush administration over Iran? What dimple or lisp does Iran or, for that matter, Syria and Lebanon have, or Iraq had, that trigger the passions in Washington, halfway around the planet? What makes this particular group of countries uniquely different from all others?

Trigger mechanisms are many; among them we can list international terror campaigns by militant groups, the Al-Ghaeda menace, development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, oppression and violation of human rights, famine, poverty and disease, and international drug trafficking, among other issues.

The pretext for the invasion of Iraq a year ago was a combination of some of these issues: the presence of large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, Iraq's connection with the Al-Ghaeda terror organization, and an imminent threat against the security of the United States and its allies. As most international observers already knew, and now as even Mr. Bill O'Reilly of FOX television admits, there were no WMDs or Al-Ghaeda connections, and Iraq was posing no threat against the United States and America's allies - bar one: Iraq was considered a nuisance by only one American ally, Israel.

Clearly, a regime change in Iraq was the primary objective, which needed a more acceptable rationale in the eyes of the public, as well as some of the potential coalition formers, before the mission could get off the ground. But, why embark on a regime change in Iraq or, as the Administration hawks and conservative media opinion-molders maintain, Iran and Syria?

If we use the pretext of international terrorism, like the 9/11 disaster or the train station bombing in Spain, none of the terrorists had roots or connections in Iran, Iraq, Syria or Lebanon. The 9/11 terrorists were Egyptians and Saudis, not even headquartered in Egypt or Saudi Arabia, but based in Western Europe and right here in America. The tragedy in Spain was caused by people with no connection to the Middle East.

Bin Laden's Al-Ghaeda has taken the opportunity to claim credit for the 9/11 attack and the terrorism in Spain; and whether or not Al-Ghaeda was truly the mastermind behind those events, there is no doubt as to its capacity for calamitous terrorism. This terrorist organization is actually responsible for many acts of terror against the Iranian regime, and admittedly considers the Shi'a Moslems as enemy. If we understand what Bin Laden and his Al-Ghaeda organization stand for, their association or cooperation with Iran, Iraq, Syria or Lebanon can be no more than conjecture and fantasy.

Now, concerning the last pretext used for the invasion of Iraq, a much stronger case for the presence of an imminent or, to put it more succinctly, a clear and present, danger to America's security, could be made against North Korea. North Korea with its claimed nuclear arsenal and demonstrated missile capabilities is just as far away from the American shores as is the Middle East with no known nuclear weapons or delivery capacity. So, why the focus on the Middle East?

Other issues of international concern, such as slaughter and genocide, political unrest, violation of human rights, etc., are rampart in many areas of Africa and Asia, orders of magnitude greater than anything seen in the Middle East. Again, why the focus on the Middle East?

What is it about Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon that is unique and not true of, say, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, China, Ghana, Nigeria, Somalia, Colombia, Cuba, etc., etc?

If you say oil; well, Syria and Lebanon don't have any. Weapons of mass destruction, you might say; Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has these weapons, and in staggering numbers. How about harboring Al-Ghaeda terrorists who have struck at America? Wrong again!

Is a mistrust or dislike of America's foreign policy agendas unique to Iran, Syria and Lebanon, or is it these countries' fault that this unfortunate trend has spread globally?

So, again, what is the trigger mechanism unique to these particular Middle Eastern states that makes them the primary target of our global agenda?

The only common denominator among Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, what separates these countries from the rest of this troubled world, is their proximity to and antagonism against Israel. Forget about concerns over oil, international terrorism, or imminent threat against the security of the United States or our European allies; it's Israel, stupid!

There is an old legend or anecdote, the story of the elephant and the fox, which is worth retelling:

The little fox was finding his reign threatened and his domain shrinking in that corner of the forest. Hyenas were getting too close to his burrow, jackals were becoming too numerous, and a warthog had already made several attempts to take over his den for her own brood.

Deep in thought of how to overcome his troubles, he spotted a lone elephant that appeared lost and quite lonesome.

"O, I am so happy to finally find you, my long-lost brother." said the fox. "Brother you say?" responded the elephant in amazement, "But you are so tiny and I am so large; how could we be brothers, little fellow?"

"Well, believe it or not, we are of the same parents, but I was born a miserable dwarf." sobbed the fox as he slyly examined the skeptical look on the elephant's face. "Because I am so small, I have suffered so much ever since I was separated from you and my other siblings. I was too embarrassed to hang around the herd and shame my fellow kinfolk." lamented the fox.

The elephant was already in tears. "My poor little brother;" said the elephant to the fox, "you are indeed a true hero to have managed to survive against all odds, all by yourself. We should all learn from you; you are a true role model for all of us."

In his friendship with the elephant, the fox gained a sense of security he had not experienced before. He'd ride on the elephant's back and move around the forest with a sense of pride and invulnerability, unafraid of the ugly hyenas, troublesome jackals and nosy warthogs. But, for the fox that wasn't enough.

One day, as the two were merrily exploring the forest, they came across a couple of hyenas. "Look at these ugly beats;" said the fox, "they have been nothing but trouble for me. And, look at their smiling faces and listen to them laughing. I know their language; they are ridiculing your beautiful long nose."

At this, the elephant chased the hyenas to their den and trampled it to oblivion.

On another occasion they encountered the warthog with her little ones following behind. The fox seized the moment again. "Look, brother, there it is, the jealous beast that has vowed to destroy me."

The elephant was somewhat puzzled. "But, can't she see that I am your protector, that I can kill her with one stroke of my trunk?"

"Yes, of course." answered the fox. "But, look at her mouth and see those short tusks protruding from each side of her face. She has been bragging to her friends that she has a special potion that will make her tusks grow bigger than your tusks. That's when she will strike at you when you are asleep; and that means the end for both of us, brother!"

The elephant chased the warthog and her piglets to their den and trampled them to death.

Next were the jackals. Showing his gullible friend how the jackals group together in large numbers for the hunt, the fox convinced him that the jackals were actually banding together in larger and larger numbers so that they could gang up on the elephant with a surprise attack. Rather than wait for what he thought was the inevitable, the elephant took preemptive action on the fox's advice, and chased the jackals out of the forest and destroyed their dens.

For a time things were going quite well for the little fox. Then came big trouble!

One day, the elephant's sensitive nose detected the arrival of his herd he had been separated from. He gave the fox the good news that their relatives were approaching and that they'd all be reunited once again.

"Don't worry little brother, I'll tell the folks what a hero, indeed what a treasure, you are, and what a shame that you had left us when we could have all learned so much from your bravery and wisdom." said the elephant to the fox.

The fox was understandably alarmed, fearing that the elephant would soon learn the truth about his lies and deception. In one last moment of utter brilliance the fox jubilantly approached the elephant and showed his delight at the news. "Look, I know a shortcut through the forest that will get us to the herd in half the time. Let's go without a moment's delay."

He led the elephant straight into a deep quicksand and watched as its huge body sank into the abyss.

Now, is the picture clear enough? Next time you hear some Israeli official offer directives to the White House as to whom we should strike next, remember this story.

About the author:
Kam Zarrabi is a Freelance writer, lecturer; former President - World Affairs Council of San Diego, North County.

... Payvand News - 3/19/04 ... --



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