Friday, February 16, 2007

Saudi’s Tired of Bush’s Bobbles

The Saudi monarchy appears to be growing tired of President Bush’s heavy handed tampering in the Middle East. Sec. of State Condoleeza Rice shows up irregularly in the region, with her “political capital” deep in red. After five years of ignoring the Palestinian situation, last year the Bush team decided to play their civil war trump card when it cut off funds for the new democratically elected government. To Condi’s surprise, Hamas won the majority of seats and controlled their legislature.

The Saudi’s encouraged engagement with the new Palestinian government but the Bush team ignored their advice yet again. (In 2003 Saudi foreign minister warned invading Iraq would lead to sectarian violence and destabilize the region.) After a year of suffering, Hamas and Fatah escalated their finger pointing into outright violence, the beginnings of a civil war. President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert pulled out the stops to support one side in the conflict. Money and arms began flowing to Fatah. Can anyone say Iraq Redux?

Apparently the Saudi’s didn’t like what they saw and pressed both parties to meet in Mecca where they brokered a deal on a unity Palestinian government without U.S. or Israeli presence . What is the reaction from the great tamperer who claims to want peace?

Sec. of State Condoleeza Rice noted peace efforts were "obviously more complicated because of the uncertainties surrounding the national unity government.” Rice spoke ahead of a trip to the Middle East for a three-way summit with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday. Initially billed as a step toward resuming peace talks, frozen for more than six years, the summit will now likely be overshadowed by the disagreements over the Palestinian government.

Peace talks frozen for more than six years, which happens to coincide with Bush’s term in office, may not thaw. However, America’s regional divide and conquer strategy may temporarily be on hold in the Palestinian Territories due to the Saudi’s. It’s still raging within Iraq/Lebanon and escalating between U.S./Israel and Syria/Iran. If peacemakers are blessed what happens to warmongers?

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