By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
Mr. Bush must be ecstatic these
days. Although the loss of Tony Blair, his
lapdog, must have eroded his comfort level, a more tantalizing pet ally has
sprung on his lap. The recently
elected French President, Mr. Sarkozy, seems to be far more aggressive and
protective of this President’s ambitions, ready to pounce on any obstacle
standing in the way of Mr. Bush’s crusade to sacrifice the Middle East to
While telling Iran to ‘back-down’ in the nuclear standoff, Mr.
Sarkozy has also told the Arabs that he respects them although he is a friend of
Israel’s, but, would not “allow” a
"Hamastan”.[i] In other words, France, along with the other arrogant terrorizing
nations such as Israel and
the United States would
decide who rules in Palestine, and elsewhere.
Obviously, Mr. Sarkozy is oblivious
to his country’s history. Perhaps
he ought to be reminded of it, and once he reviews the history, he can teach a
thing or two to the occupant of the White House. Here is a simple
Rent Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1965
production of “The Battle of
Algiers”. It will undoubtedly remind him that Guns
can crush a man’s frail body but not his resistant spirit; ideology will always
prevail over bullets. He will also
learn that like today, it was not Iran or Palestine that were the aggressors. His country, France started the act of
terrorism against the Algiers by placing a bomb in the Casbah killing innocent
women and children (by definition, terrorism is an act of violence against
civilians, the Algiers were not targeting civilians, only the representatives of
the government, that is, the policemen, after the French killed women and
children so brutally, a political reaction was put into play and the National
Liberation Front (FLN) started their bombing campaign). So it was that the Israelis incited
In the 2-3 year period before the
second Intifida in 2000, Hamas was no longer calling for political or military
action against the occupation, but was instead shifting its attention to social
works and the propagation of Islamic values and religious practice (Roy, 2003, 3)[ii]. The start of the second Palestinian
Intifada on September 28, 2000, coupled with the impact of September 11, dramatically changed the environment in
the West Bank and Gaza(Rabbani & Roy, 2002, 1).[iii]
Preexisting political arrangements had been severely disrupted, economic
conditions had deteriorated, and key social structures and mediatory
institutions had weakened. Within this context of desperation and hopelessness,
the Islamist opposition, notably Hamas, had reasserted itself.
All the time, Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon continued the Israeli land expansions through land expropriations
and economic dispossession. The United
States uneven handling of the conflict encouraged Sharon’s plans. With a weak Palestinian leadership in
place, and the increasing significance of Hamas influence, the
U.S. opened dialogue with a senior
Hamas leader in early September of 2002.
Israel clearly did not
want to have any Palestinian engaged in dialogue with the U.S. for fear
that there may be a political solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. United States-Hamas contacts, of which
Israel was fully aware, ended when the Israeli army arrested a politically
moderate Hamas official in Ramallah on September 9, which Hamas interpreted as a
deliberate attempt by the Sharon government to undermine its exchange with the
Americans. A few days later, Israel launched an attack in Rafah
that killed nine Palestinians, including civilians. Predictably, a suicide
bomber staged an attack on a bus in Tel Aviv on September 19, killing six
Hamas, has been the victim of
terrorism, much like France
terrorized the Algiers.
Mr. Sarkouzy’s loyalty as the new
poodle in the White House is proving to be indispensable, so much so that George
W. Bush has gotten rid of faithful liabilities such as Rove and Gonzales. It seems the new ally has sharper teeth and may even execute a
coup for him. Given that Mr. Maliki
has traveled to Iran and
insisted that Iran is an ally
and not a meddling enemy, Mr.
Sarkouzy was quoted as saying: “he
had told the US that there
was strong support in Iraq for Mr Maliki to resign and he
"has got to be replaced".[iv]
Mr. Bush is intolerant of any news
which may indicate Iran to be a force for progress and
peace in the region. He, too, has
had his orders to attack Iran. Mr. Sarkozy has proven to be most
instrumental in staging a coup to remove Maliki and once again, taking
Iran to the Security Council for the
marching orders. But Mr.
Sarkozy ought to review another history – that of Iran’s. Their Zoroastrian cultural heritage, is
the belief in their spiritual and cultural superiority. Steadfastly clinging to the Zoroastrian
pride and uncompromising stance, they refuse to capitulate to foreign dictates,
Iranians do not take favorably to threats.
In revolt to unreasonable demands by America and others that their right
to nuclear technology be stopped, they are keener than ever to pursue it; not as
a violation or as a threat to world order, but as their inherent right as a
signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty.
It is the Zoroastrian sense of superiority coupled with the Shiite sense
of martyrdom that energizes the nation.
Mr. Zarkozy must not judge 70
million Iranians by a handful of terrorists his country is hosting – the
Mojaheeden-Khalg (MEK). Of
perhaps the past is haunting France which has made Mr. Zarkozy so
In 2006, the French government and
the national railroad association lost a court case regarding their role in
deporting Jews during World War II.
The court of Toulouse ordered the state and the railroad to pay $81,000
in reparations to the Lipietz family, who filed the complaint because George
Lipietz was deported to Drancy in 1944. The judges ruled that the
railroad network “never objected or protested the execution of these
transports.” Of note is that
Alain Lipietz, George Lipietz’s son, is also a member of European Parliament.
This is the first time a suit like this has been successful in
France[v]. This is one of 1800 suits
expected. Is Mr. Bush paying for this lawsuit as a
‘treat’ for this brave show of loyalty?
Mr. Zarkozy, go back to the drawing board and take a
page from history books. Serve
France well, she is a
magnificent. Do not betray her by
allowing the lion head terminal of France’s coat of arms to take on the
face of a poodle. Do
not succumb to might, but to what is right.
[ii] Roy, Sara. “Hamas and the transformation(s) of
political Islam in Palestine”. Current History. Jan
[iii]Rabbani, M & Roy, S. "Palestinian Politics and September
11th: Critical Changes in Policy and Structure," Middle East Policy, December 2002