Friday, January 26, 2007

Blind man with a pistol: USA in the Middle East:

"Whether four Islamic absolute monarchies and Israel represent the democratic future in the Middle East seems to me doubtful, but never mind." - William Pfaff
David Seaton's News Links
"Blind Man with a Pistol" was the title of a wonderful Chester Himes, Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones detective novel set in Harlem, however it describes perfectly America's present policies in the Middle East.

Here is the skinny from the excerpted article below,
"Rice's comments were an unusually detailed public explanation of the new American effort to create a de facto alliance between Israel and moderate Arab states against Iranian extremism."
This, in my opinion, is perfectly insane. Israel is pure poison in the entire Islamic world. Israel is probably the one single, greatest, cause of Islamic extremism in the world and the one that attracts the most general sympathy in the "Arab street" for extremist positions.

You may remember that one of the principal achievements of Bush/Baker in the first Gulf War was to maintain Israel on the sidelines during that conflict. If Israel had counter-attacked Iraq at that time, the entire complex web alliances that James Baker managed to weave to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait would have fallen apart instantly.

The infinitely corrupt, "moderate rulers" of "moderate" Arab countries are held in enough contempt by their populations: their positions (vital to US interests) are shaky enough as it is; all they need is to be seen collaborating with the "Zionist entity and the Crusaders" against other Muslims to expose them to all the internal forces that eliminated Anwar el Sadat. These are forces that are infinitely more powerful now than they were in Sadat's day.

As non-Muslims, the United States taking part in what is essentially a family quarrel between Sunnis and Shiites is stupid enough, but to bring Israel in to it is simply insane and shows that the United States is no longer in control of its own foreign policy.

Condoleezza Rice would do well to remember an old Afghan proverb that is applicable in any clan and tribal based society. "Me against my brothers. My brothers and me against my cousins. My brothers, my cousins and me, against the world." DS

Rice's Strategic Reset - Washington Post
Abstract: Rice said the new approach reflects growing Arab concern about Iran's attempt to project power through its proxies: "After the war in Lebanon, the Middle East really did begin to clarify into an extremist element allied with Iran, including Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. On the other side were the targets of this extremism -- the Lebanese, the Iraqis, the Palestinians -- and those who want to resist, such as the Saudis, Egypt and Jordan." America's recent show of force against Iran -- seizing Iranian operatives in Iraq and sending additional warships to the Persian Gulf -- was part of this broader effort to reassure the Saudis and others that, despite its troubles in Iraq, America remains a reliable ally against a rising Iran. "The U.S. has to demonstrate that it is present in the Gulf, and going to be present in the Gulf," Rice told me.(...) Realignment is linked with a new U.S. effort to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Rice is encouraging both sides to explore "final-status issues" -- such as borders, the status of Jerusalem and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to a homeland -- rather than remain deadlocked over the so-called road map.(...) Critics may see Rice's realignment strategy as another high-risk roll of the dice by the Bush administration in a region that is already polarized by the Iraq war and sectarian conflict. These critics may also question the central role of Saudi Arabia, a conservative Islamic monarchy that many Arabs regard as a bastion of the status quo. "The reception will be very skeptical" among some Arabs, cautioned one prominent official who is normally among the most pro-American in the region. "Increasing the fault line between Sunnis and Shiites is a mistake," he argued. State Department officials would counter that it was Iran that moved the fault line by encouraging Hezbollah's provocative behavior in Lebanon. The Bush administration's thinking about realignment helps explain why it has resisted engaging Syria and Iran, as recommended by the Baker-Hamilton report. As Rice put it, "You have a 'pan' movement, across the region. The war in Lebanon crystallized it for everyone. You can't just leave it there. . . . If you concentrate on engaging Syria and Iran, you may lose the chance to do the realignment." READ IT ALL

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