Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Next Mideast Flashpoint

So you want to have a war, Mr. Bush? Well, let's see. There's Fallujah, of course, where the majority of the civilians support the insurgency, and the major attack planned is sure to kill hundreds of them (you can't do a surgical strike on a residential neighborhood, especially when the very people you're targeting make up most of the populace), and create thousands of new insurgents with revenge on their minds.
But while you're revving up for that video game, there's the little matter of Arafat's resting place that Sharon is inflating into a point of honor so absurd that it threatens to become a rallying point for all Muslims in the region. Here's what The Guardian is reporting today:

But, yesterday, the top Muslim cleric in Jerusalem, the Grand Mufti, Ekrima Sa'eed Sadri, said Mr Arafat's wish should be granted.

"President Arafat has a will and in that will he wants to be buried in Jerusalem. Under Sharia law, the righteous thing is to obey the will of Arafat. We must abide in full," he said.

The Grand Mufti said he would not seek Israeli permission to bury Mr Arafat in the old city. "We are expecting the refusal of it. They have already said so. I am not willing to ask Sharon's permission to bury our dead. If I ask Sharon's permission it is as if I give legitimacy to his control over our land," he said.

This threatens to become the ill-reported issue that blindsides us with a punch so hard it could pull us into a worldwide conflict. You think you're worried about terrorism now? Bush will hold his nose and stay away from the fray, as he has done all along, and Israel will read into it, rightly, that they can do as they please. Before you know it we will be painted as the facilitators of this fresh outrage, and we will have lost any ragged remnants of political credibility with any Muslim countries anywhere.

Get off your ass and do something presidential, Bush. I know it sounds like hard work, but just pretend you're clearing brush.

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