Monday, February 12, 2007

Squeeze play: How the Palestinian summit in Mecca overturned Bush's Middle East policy

The recent unity government pact in Mecca between Hamas and `moderate' Abbas' Fatah has far reaching consequences for American foreign policy in the Middle East,especially since it was midwifed by Dubya's `eternal friends' the Saudis.

The agreement was graphed out by the Saudis in advance and presented to the US as a done deal, and it basically gives Hamas pretty much what it wanted while taking most of the power out of Abbas' hands. Abbas went along with it because he recognized the reality - in spite of the millions of dollars poured into the Palestinian Authority by the US to shore up Fatah, Abbas' forces were unable to dislodge the Hamas government and would have been destroyed had they tried.

Hamas will still head the new unity government. And the Palestinian Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the Palestinian security forces, will also remain in the hands of Hamas. Not only that, but Hamas's armed wing will be integrated into the Palestinian security forces - which means that just as Hamas predicted, the US money and arms will be given to them to use against Israel, and their salaries will be paid for by the US and the European Union.

Fatah will give up control over major cabinet portfolios, Foreign Affairs and Finance. These posts will be given to "independent" legislators Ziad Abu Amr and Salaam Fayad..but they will take their order directly from Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Most importantly,the new unity government is not required to recognize Israel's right to exist, and is only bound to `respect' rather than abide by all of the agreements made since Oslo with the Israelis and the US `as long as they're in the interests of the Palestinian people'.

This basically means that the new Unity government will `respect' the facts on the ground only for as long as necessary and convenient, and does not recognize the legitimacy of any Palestinian commitments made at Oslo or in the Roadmap since they were, of course, negotiated with an entity the new Unity government does not recognize...not that the Palestinians have ever kept any of those commitments anyway.

As a matter of fact, the word "Israel" was never mentioned in the Mecca Accord or in any public statements by Hamas, Fatah, and Saudi government officials. As Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan explained over the weekend, "Hamas' position remains firm and unchanged: we will never recognize the legitimacy of the Zionist entity."

Aside from torpedoing Oslo and the Roadmap, the new agreement marks the end of another effort by the Bush Administration, that of lining up Sunni Arab `allies' like the Saudis to oppose Iran. By setting themselves up as the guarantor and financier of the new Hamas government, the Saudis broke with the Bush Administration and essentially ended that gambit.

Watching the turmoil in American politics caused by Iraq and the administration's fecklessness on Iran, the Saudis are obviously hedging their bets against the US leaving the region shortly and have decided that they will need to challenge Shiite Iran not only for leadership in the region but leadership of the jihad, and to show that they are charting an independent course. Part of that quest for leadership is going to involve challenging Iran for credibility in the Arab Street as a leader in the War Against the Jews. Another part might just involve an agreement with Iran over spheres of influence in pursuing the common goal of the destruction of Israel and waging jihad against the West.

It remains to be seen whether the US recognizes what has occurred and acts accordingly, or if the Bush Administration simply performs as though it were business as usual, keeps funding the Palestinians and continues to cling to the fantasy of the Saudis as an `ally'.

If we do so, it will be seen as a major sign of weakness in the Arab World.

As for Israel, that country's weak leadership will have to be replaced in very quick order if Israel is to survive as a nation. The knives are definitely out.

1 comment:

Harrison said...

Intriguing point there, ff: that the Saudis are pandering to the Arab street against the Jews.

This seems to be a counter-move on the Saudis' part to match Iran's funding of aQ operatives in Iraq - to capture the cross-sectarian spectrum.

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