Thursday, January 10, 2008

Middle East Peace and President Bush

I sincerely believe that President Bush would like to see peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. I also don't believe that he has either an understanding or an acceptance of the realities that are necessary to make peace.

Currently there seems a continuation of past policies in that there are "boogeymen" who are "the problem" in the minds of the U.S. Government. It seems faintly possible that in a post-Bush administration this may change, though this would be a dramatic change if it went in directions that could bring about peace.

Iran seems to be "the demon" in the eyes of President Bush. It is unfortunate that in Iraq the Shiites had been "the most good guys" and that these Shiites closest ties outside of their own country were generally with Iran, a Shiite country, in the midst of a mostly Sunni Muslim world.

The Iranian leadership has been justifiably angry at the U.S. Administration. They had naively thought that they could be a major player in bringing peace within Iraq. They have not done much, if anything, to bring chaos/war in Iraq. They have primarily tried to help bring peace to Iraq.

This is not to say that the Iranian leadership are "good, honorable gentlemen" or similar. Clearly they have said some pretty nasty and naive things about Israel and Jews in general.

Iran is a major player, perhaps The Major Player in the Middle East besides Israel. We need to talk with the Iranian Government. The major Democratic presidential candidates and at least one Republican front runner have called for dialog with the Iranians - a definite change in policy - and an important, necessary change.

We need to talk and communicate with those who Don't Like Us! We don't need to like them, of course.

A second important party in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is Hamas. Hamas is in control of the Gaza strip in as much as the Israeli Government doesn't interfere with it. Hamas, like the Iranian leadership, is probably not a "good guy" of an organization. It is, however, an important participant, who can not be ignored (as it is being ignored) in any potential peace settlement.

The Sunni leadership of countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt as well as Pakistan and other Muslim countries can not afford to make Iran into "the enemy" as the U.S. Government attempts currently to do. While they may not publicly criticize Bush and his stands, there is a deep understanding among many that his peace proposals have little behind them and that a future administration is more likely to live in the realities of Iran (at least).

The U.S. and Israel may push all kinds of negotiations with the Fatah leadership of Mr. Abbas and his allies, but he can't make peace without at least some cooperation with Hamas. Hamas was the largest vote recipient in the last elections. Abbas currently is stuck - because if he gets the support of the U.S., he likely will be forced to compromise in his negotiations to a position that essentially "sells out his people" - which will result both in No Peace and in Hamas becoming the Sole viable force for Palestinians, hardly what the U.S. or Israel wants.

I hope for the best, but I'm not optimistic! I hope that I'm wrong. Thanks!

No comments: