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The Aesop’s Fables diplomacy

May 15,2019 - Last updated at May 15,2019

Aesop’s Fables, written by the Greek writer Aesop in the fifth century BC, is a great book of fun and wisdom that I read in Arabic at the age of 12. It contains short tales, fables, each illustrating a particular moral lesson. All the fables’ characters are animals, but they mostly impersonate humans in the way they act, feel and speak.

One of the most memorable fables, the Wolf and the Lamb, offers a perfect depiction of the warped reasoning behind many of the wars of choice that have devastated our region during the last few decades: Wars that were not only based on fabricated evidence, but openly absurd as well.

The tale as extracted from Google is this:
A wolf was drinking at a spring on a hillside. On looking up, he saw a lamb just beginning to drink lower down. “There’s my supper,” thought he, “if only I can find some excuse to seize it”. He called out to the lamb, “How dare you muddle my drinking water?”

“No,” said the lamb; “if the water is muddy up there, I cannot be the cause of it, for it runs down from you to me”.

“Well, then”, said the wolf, “Why did you call me bad names this time last year?”

“That cannot be,” said the lamb; “I am only six months old.”

“I do not care,” snarled the wolf; “if it was not you, it was your father”; and with that he rushed upon the poor little lamb and ate her all up.

End of the story.

The moral of this tale is clearly obvious, and serves to illustrate a common feature of absurd political conduct that places a defenceless target in front of a strong invincible assailant; where power overrules logic.

The wolf’s decision to eat the lamb was taken the moment the poor prey was spotted. In a feeble attempt to legitimise his decision, the wolf had to fabricate a series of excuses, hence, his “excuse” of muddling the water was just a convenient cover to the claim that the wolf was actually retaliating rather than committing aggression, truth notwithstanding.

The truth, in this instance, is the word of the strong, no matter how absurd, even if that means the water runs upstream.

This is exactly the same convoluted reasoning that was applied in 2003 when the US and the UK took a decision to attack Iraq. They needed an excuse, so they simply invented one. Their claim was that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. He did not. Inexhaustible inspection efforts failed to locate any evidence. Despite the fact that the invented evidence was widely exposed as fake, it was still deemed to be adequate to justify the preplanned war, without UN approval. The punishment was decided before the crime. The crime had to be tailored in a way that matched the size of the desired punishment.

The war plan went on. The devastation was indescribable. Trillions of dollars were squandered. Iraq was destroyed with hundreds of thousands of deaths and endless suffering, giving rise to the emergence of brutal terror trends and organisations, and resulting in massive regional instability and political retardation and more. Up to this day, the complications and aftershocks are as active, with no end in sight.

Such a disastrous and reckless decision was all in vain, as it seems that the lesson of the futile 2003 war was not learned; nor does it appear to have even been considered.

A new war plan seems to be brewing, not so surprisingly by some of the same hawks of the previous 2003 war.

Israel for the last three decades has been pushing for another war in the region, this time to destroy Iran, preferably, as was the case with Iraq, done by the US and the usual previous wars’ allies.

The claim that Iran was seeking nuclear weapons was dealt with by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action three years ago. Iran did not tamper with the nuclear agreement’s terms. Washington decided to withdraw from the treaty against the loud advice of all the other signatories, the other Security Council permanent members, plus Germany. Iran remained committed too. As the precipitated crisis was not enough to lead to war, severe sanctions were followed by more severe sanctions to bring Iran on its heels. Still not enough to start a war.

Hence, Israel stepped in, passing to Washington fake intelligence that Iran is planning attacks on American interests in the region. Huge warships armed with missiles and aircraft carriers are being sent to the Gulf, with the drums of war beating louder by some known Washington hawks. Iran affirmed that it neither muddied the water, nor that it intends to. Not enough. Any attack by any other party on American targets would be Iran’s responsibility, claim the hawks. The escalation, threats and preparation for war continues to mount.

Will this lead to war? Difficult to say. There are strong forces that continue to push, justify and search for a pretext. There are also wise voices advising against, warning of the cost in blood and treasure, the destruction and the consequent human tragedies. The wise also caution the warmongers of the fact that starting wars is much easier than ending them. The previous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen are far from over.

If the war occurs it will not remain confined within the intended locations, and no one in the region will be able to escape the destruction and the lethal consequences it may cause. It will be much more devastating than the region has ever experienced before. Disruption of oil supplies may push the price of oil to $400 dollars a barrel. Let us hope the wise voices will prevail. That should not be difficult to understand.

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