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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Juan Cole is NOT happy with Ariel Sharon
Juan Cole is the University of Michigan professor whose blog informs many on the ins and outs of Iraqi and other Middle East politics. He has posted a lengthy reaction to Israel's assassination of Hamas leader Shaikh Ahmed Yassin. I'll leave the well-explained reasoning in his post for you to read; I'll just give you the highlights of his conclusions:

The US can to some significant degree thank Ariel Sharon's iron fist for the distrust and suspicion with which their presence in Iraq is greeted.
Sharon wouldn't recognize decency if he were served a steaming bowl of it next to the two lambs a day he must devour to stay at that obscene weight.

The most dangerous regime to United States interests in the Middle East is that of Ariel Sharon, not because he fights terrorists, but because he is stealing the land of another people and is brutalizing them in the process--and those are people with whom the rest of the Middle East and the Muslim world sympathizes. A US counter-insurgency fight against Muslim radical extremists requires winning hearts and minds, which is impossible as long as Sharon behaves the way he did Monday, since everyone in the region knows that the US coddles the Israeli Right. Israel once had a proper prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who knew how to make peace and how to be a good partner for America. Sharon is not good enough to shine his shoes.