World View: Death of Palestinian Prisoner Threatens Third Intifada Against Israel

World View: Death of Palestinian Prisoner Threatens Third Intifada Against Israel

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Afghanistan’s Karzai expels U.S. special forces from province
  • Death of Palestinian prisoner threatens third intifada against Israel
  • West Bank demonstrations are not yet a third intifada
  • Historical analogy: 1936 Spain to Syria today

Afghanistan’s Karzai expels U.S. special forces from province

Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai has ordered that U.S. specialforces immediately end all operations in Wardak province, the provinceadjacent to the capital city Kabul, and that they be expelled withintwo weeks. According to a presidential spokesman:

“In today’s national security council meeting…President Karzai ordered the ministry of defense to kick out theUS special forces from Wardak province within two weeks.

The US special forces and illegal armed groups created by them arecausing insecurity, instability, and harass local people in thisprovince.”

The charges are not specifically targeted at U.S. forces themselves,but rather at Afghan national forces that work with the Americans andunder the direction of the Americans. According to Karzai’sspokesman:

“After a thorough discussion, it became clear thatarmed individuals named as US special force[s] stationed in Wardakprovince engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and evenmurdering innocent people.

A recent example in the province is an incident in which ninepeople were disappeared in an operation by this suspicious forceand in a separate incident a student was taken away at night fromhis home, whose tortured body with throat cut was found two dayslater under a bridge.

However, Americans reject having conducted any such operation andany involvement of their special force. The meeting stronglynoted that such actions have caused local public resentment andhatred. …

There are some individuals, some Afghans, who are working withinthese cells, within these [US] special forces groups. But theyare part of US special forces according to our sources andaccording to our local officials working in theprovince.”

According to a U.S. forces spokesman:

“We take all allegations of misconduct seriously andgo to great lengths to determine the facts surrounding them.

Until we have had a chance to speak with senior (Afghan) officialsabout this issue we are not in a position to comment further. Thisis an important issue that we intend to fully discuss with ourAfghan counterparts.”

The expulsion of U.S. forces has come as a surprise, and it’s notentirely clear who the “Afghans, who are working … within these [US]special forces groups” actually are. There has been growing frictionbetween Karzai and the U.S. forces, against a backdrop of discussionsof how many, if any, foreign troops will remain in Afghanistan afterNato’s exit in 2014. BBC and AFP

Death of Palestinian prisoner threatens third intifada against Israel

There had already been several weeks or demonstrations in the WestBank protesting the detention of some 4,500 Palestinians in Israelijails, but the sudden death of Palestinian Arafat Jaradat while beingheld in an Israeli jail has threatened to push the demonstrations to aboiling point. Jaradat, a gas station attendant and married father oftwo small children, was arrested on February 18 for throwing rocks andfirebombs at Israelis near Hebron. The apparent cause of death was aheart attack, but following an Israeli autopsy observed by aPalestinian doctor, Palestinian officials say that Jaradat’s body wasbruised and showed signs of being beaten on the chest, back, arms andmouth and had two broken ribs, implying that “severe torture” led tothe heart attack and Jaradat’s death. According to an Israelimilitary commentator, Jaradat’s death may become “the opening shot” ina third intifada. Palestinian officials are demanding that the UnitedNations investigate Jaradat’s death and conditions in Israeli prisons.Jerusalem Post and LA Times

West Bank demonstrations are not yet a third intifada

Analysts are questioning whether the West Bank protests are anywherenear a third intifada. The first intifada occurred in 1987, withPalestinians throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the IsraeliDefense Forces (IDF), blocking roads and burning tires. The IDF wastotally unprepared for the protests, and the IDF was blamed forbrutality. The second intifada occurred in 2000, when thousands ofPalestinians clashed with the IDF, and once again the army lostcontrol of the situation. In contrast, this Sunday’s protestsinvolved 100-200 Palestinians throwing rocks at soldiers in a fewlocations, and the IDF quickly dispersed the protesters. However, thefear is that a new spark could cause the situation to deterioraterapidly. Jerusalem Post and Haaretz

Historical analogy: 1936 Spain to Syria today

For those who enjoy historical analogies, here’s one from George Willon Sunday’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”:

“No analogy is perfect, but go back to the Spanishcivil war that began in 1936. By the time it got in full-blownproportions, there was no happy choice. It was going to be thecommunists who were going to control Spain or Franco was going tocontrol Spain. And we may be at that point in Syria.”

Will’s point is that just as Spain was going to be controlled by theFascist Francisco Franco or by the communists, Syria today is going tobe controlled either by the Fascist Bashar al-Assad or by al-Qaedalinked terrorists.

There seems to be a growing feeling that the West has waitedtoo long to intervene in Syria. In this view, if the Westhad intervened as soon as the al-Assad began his bloodbath,then it might have been possible to force al-Assad out andturn the government into a democracy. This is probably afantasy, but the feeling persists. And the Russians areparticularly being blamed from allowing this situation toarise by blocking all Western attempts to intervene.ABC News

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