Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Nothing 'accidental' about it

The interplay of political, religious, and humanitarian factors in poorly planned wars, and the imminent price to be paid

Update : 08 Apr 2024, 09:12 AM

Though it’s never bandied as such, former British Home Secretary, Suella Braverman subscribes to the Buddhist faith and took oath on Buddhist scripture. And while religious beliefs are private to the individual, some aspects do tend to inform views and actions. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Braverman when she describes the attack by Israel on an aid convoy, killing three British Nationals as being an “accidental” tragedy, that is somehow to be brushed under the carpet by Israeli leadership “rightfully” apologizing for the incident.

That’s in spite of the evidence that suggest three vehicles, nearly a kilometre-plus distance apart, couldn’t have all been attacked by “accident.” Braverman went on to say “we owe it to Israel” to support its right to self defence. What exactly is “owed” to Israel and why, hasn’t to date been publicly specified by her, the UK leaders, Western allies or the United States.

Europe and the United States have rallied to support the right to self-defence of Ukraine against Russia and Israel against Palestine -- both having historical legacies. The first is a conventional war between two independent countries with one fully dependent on Western support to face up to the other. As with any war, pointed out by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it happens that there are civilian casualties and “accidents.” Ukraine’s list grows, Russia’s tally has begun to be counted. The Palestinian tragedy is hopelessly tilted to a count that exceeds 33,000 deaths, mostly women and children. That’s a sordid price to pay for the 1250 Israelis killed by the senseless Hamas attack on October 7, last year. So much for precision targeting, unless the outcome is what was intended in the first case.

So much for precision targeting, unless the outcome is what was intended in the first case

The one common factor in both cases is the billions of dollars of armaments being provided to both Israel and Ukraine that will either be totted up in debts or alleviated as grants in the weird ways of geo-political-economic quagmires that lesser privileged nations find themselves in. The battles flare now. Once the guns grow silent there will be a lot to pay for. In both cases those pushing ahead with aggression beyond any tolerable limits -- if indeed there are such limits for conflagration -- are now introspecting their miscalculations. Ranging from utter intelligence failures by Israel’s once famed secret service agency Mossad to that of Russia’s KGB, the two wars appear to have been launched on badly informed decisions.

The one sided Western media is making a meal of the plight of innocent civilians though Ukrainian victims are now lower in the pecking order compared to the dastardly stranglehold bringing famine, death, and illnesses in the ghetto that Gaza is. For Braverman, the inherent message of Buddhism, that of non-violence, is conveniently circumvented as has been the case with Buddhist monks in Myanmar in their open acts of nihilism against the Rohingya. The atrocious best efforts by Israel, Russia, and Myanmar have failed at one point. They have been unable to break or bend the will of Ukrainians, Palestinians, and Rohingya.

From a juncture where fleeing refugees from the distorted Middle-East conflicts that have had doors shut in their faces, matters have moved on to benevolent asylum for Ukrainians. The Rohingya forced themselves on Bangladesh’s humanitarian resolve. The Palestinians have nowhere to go, if indeed they want that. Israel’s miscalculation has led them to opening up a new front -- a wider escalation. And as is often the case in wars, the cost of brushing over core mistakes has a tendency to bite back  where it hurts the most.

Mahmudur Rahman is a writer, columnist, broadcaster, and communications specialist.

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