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Here's an article from today suggesting that war on Iraq could inflame other areas of the middle east, particularly Palastine/Isreal. The US takes a lot of intrest in Isreal, so perhaps this is a consideration the 'war party' might take seriously. The latter half of the article goes on to talk about Iraqi christians. ------------------- Attack on Iraq could start a war in Israel A U.S. military strike against Iraq could rupture the fragile peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. As the prospect of an attack against Iraq looms, angry Palestinians are taking to the streets to express their support for Saddam Hussein. They are threatening retaliation against Israel if the United States attacks Iraq. Hamas, the terrorist group that has carried out numerous bombing raids against Israel, has said it will not tolerate U.S. aggression against Iraq. "We will not stand by with our arms folded if Iraq is subjected to American military aggression," a Hamas publication recently distributed in the West Bank warned. Palestinians are angered by the economic boycott against Iraq. "There is so much hatred in the street, such a sense of humiliation and defeat," a Palestinian political science professor said. "And the greater the effort to bottle that anger up, the more likely it is that it will explode." There is a danger that the Palestinians "will drag Yasser Arafat into action," said David Dolan, an American journalist who has lived in Israel for 17 years. Arafat, under pressure from Israeli and U.S. leaders to control Palestinian protests, has cracked down on pro-Iraq rallies in the West Bank and shut down a television station for airing commentaries supporting Saddam. The situation could deteriorate beyond Arafat's control, or he might even sense an opportunity to carry out a successful uprising against Israel, Dolan told Religion Today. The situation differs drastically from seven years ago. During the 1991 Gulf War, Israel controlled the West Bank, and its troops sealed off the area. Since then, in accordance with the 1993 peace accords signed by Arafat and then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli troops have pulled out of the Gaza Strip, about a quarter of the West Bank territories, and almost all Palestinian towns. These areas, now controlled by the Palestinian Authority, could be used by armed Palestinians to stage attacks on Israel, Dolan said. If Israel responds with force to a Palestinian uprising, the consequences could be terrible. "If they are forced to go all out and bomb Palestinian towns that would be very dramatic and stir up great passions," among neighboring Arab nations, Dolan said. Arafat might call on sympathetic nations such as Syria and Iran to aid the Palestinian effort. While Saddam is Arafat's closest political ally, Syria and Iran have a greater military capability, he said. Israel would almost certainly retaliate if it was attacked by Iraq. In 1991, under great pressure from U.S. President George Bush, Israeli leaders did not respond to 39 Iraqi Scud missiles, which killed one person and wounded several dozen. Although President Clinton has made the same request, it is unlikely that the Israelis will again withhold a response. "They felt it was a mistake not to respond in 1991," Dolan said. If Iraq uses non-conventional weapons such as biological or chemical agents, Israel will retaliate with overwhelming force, he said. A limited attack on Iraq by the United States will stir up trouble without bringing a resolution to the situation, Israeli leaders say. "They feel there should be only two options: No attack at all, or a total strike that eliminates Saddam and his regime," Dolan said. Anything less will only "stir up the hornets' nest, allow Saddam to shut out the United Nations inspection teams, and embark on an unencumbered pursuit of the development of nuclear weapons." A full-scale attack on the country is justified because Saddam has developed the weapons in violation of U.N. prohibitions, many Israelis believe. Christians in the Middle East fear a backlash against their churches after an attack. Christians are generally viewed with suspicion in Middle Eastern countries because Christianity is seen as a Western religion, said Ed Epp of the Mennonite Central Committee. Church leaders in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iran fear that mob violence could break out against Christians if the United States attacks an Arab nation, he said. Epp visited Iraq as part of humanitarian effort in 1997 and maintains frequent contact with Christians there. Christians in Iraq are generally well treated and view the West with greater suspicion than they do Saddam, Epp said. "It is hard to tell them about the brutality of Saddam's regime, when the U.N. embargo is killing thousands of children a month," he said. Although a minority in the country, Saddam has given government money to Christians so they can build churches. Christians are allowed to hold government positions. Some Iraqi Christians, however, have expressed misgivings about their relationship with the government. "There are leaders who have said that at some point they will have to answer for their connection with the government," Epp said. In another category altogether are Kurdish the Christians of northern Iraq, who are subject to persecution by militant Muslim groups. The Christian community in Iraq has dwindled since the Gulf War. Almost one-third of all Christians have left the country because of economic sanctions imposed by the U.N. in 1990. "There's no stability," said Chaldean Roman Catholic Bishop Emmanuel Delli. Others are leaving because they fear that the ouster of Saddam would result in the rise of an Islamic fundamentalist regime. "They know there are elements in society that could erupt. It will be violent," one bishop said. Iraqi Christians living outside their country say they fear for their families back home. A church located in one Mideastern nation prayed recently for expatriate Iraqi Christians. Jordanian, Palestinian, Syrian, Dutch, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, and American Christians gathered around the Iraqi believers and prayed for their families and for a peaceful solution to the crisis, an American missionary in the country said. One of the Iraqi women asked for God's forgiveness and mercy for Iraq, and prayed that God would give President Clinton and Saddam wisdom. ------------------------------------------------------------ "Reprinted with permission from Media Management, http://www.ReligionToday.com" -------------------------------- SUPPORT THE IRAQI PEOPLE! Check out the facts - see http://www.middleeast.org/newslet.htm for info. http://users.ox.ac.uk/~ball0368/ AOL instant messenger handle: TheLongdog -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html