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Posts Tagged ‘Syria

Bush Laterals to Obama. Mid-East Peace

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don't fumble my legacy, dude

don't fumble my legacy, dude

Among all the other total disasters Bush is handing over to Obama is the small matter of finding peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the current attacks on Gaza are part of an old school of thought. The future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will have a completely new landscape.

Benny Morris, a prominent historian of Israeli History wrote a superb primer on Israel’s current predicament in the New York Times. To sum it up, Israel faces unconventional enemies in both Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza, as well as the looming threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the demographic ticking time bomb of the increasingly radicalized and fast growing Arab-Israeli population that is likely to outnumber the Israeli Jews by 2040 or 2050. Read the rest of this entry »

Using Peace as a Weapon. Dealing With Iran.

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ahmadinejad

hey, barack, you wanna like talk or something?

To paraphrase Clausewitz, “Peace is war by other means”. It sounds nutty, but in certain situations, extending the hand of peace and cooperation is far more devastating to our adversaries.

In April, Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying on Good Morning America of all places that if Israel was attacked by Iran, “we would be able to totally obliterate them”. Now this was said during the heat of a brutal primary campaign that Hillary was in the process of losing to Obama, and the primaries she was fighting at that moment were in Pennsylvania, where muscle flexing is valued highly. But it also happens to be the same a quote from Hillary Clinton that has just been nominated as the nation’s next chief diplomat. And dealing with Iran will be one of her top priorities.

President Ahmadinijad is the kind of sly propagandist who can take the “obliterate” comment and turn it into more opportunities for mischief than Baskin Robbins has flavors. Hate-talk about Iran is a big fat BP fastball to the Iranian President. Every angry word about Iran can be used to keep the Iranian population fired up. It’s an old trick in the Middle East. When your people have no jobs, high inflation, a stagnant economy, a crumbling infrastructure, and no political freedom, just blame it on Israel or the Great Satan. This kind of stuff has been Iran’s second-most effective export after oil. It’s used it to finance it’s highly effective proxy networks in Lebanon, and to a lesser extent in Iraq. It’s used it to drive forward it’s nuclear policy. They all perform one profound function. Preservation of domestic power. Read the rest of this entry »

Obama and Iraq – Now Comes The Hard Part.

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04/24/95_15.58_SAIGONViet Nam

saigon 1975. will it be different when we leave Iraq?

Ivan Watson, NPR’s Baghdad Correspondent was the target of an assassination attempt today when he and his team were nearly killed by a car bomb. And in recent weeks there has clearly been a spike in violence in Iraq. Let nobody say that the situation that war-torn country is anything close to peaceful.

And yet the next President is going to withdraw our troops. Not in victory, or in defeat, but ‘believing’ and ‘hoping’ that peace will break out when we’re gone. That’s a bet many wouldn’t make.

Obama staked his early rise to prominence on a speedy withdrawal from Iraq, and superficially, facts on the ground seem to bear him out. He’s committed to a “safe and responsible” withdrawal of US troops around sixteen months from taking office. He has the support of the Maliki government, and the vast majority of the Iraqi people want us gone. The Status of Forces agreement which mandates our withdrawal by the end of 2001 also provides us with some political cover too.

So what’s the problem? Simple. When we leave, there is simply no way we won’t be leaving a power vacuum in Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »