Strange things have occurred the last few weeks as new alliances are drawn in the tumultuous Middle East. Consider the following:
1. Sunni Saudi Arabia brokers internal peace in the Palestinian Territories. Hamas and Fatah agree to work together to govern on behalf of their people. The U.S. and Israel indicate their unwillingness to recognize such a pact.
2. Sunni Jordanian King Abdullah speaks to a joint session of Congress on the critical need for Palestinian peace. This gets virtually no media coverage.
3. Hamas turns away from other sources of support with $3 billion a year in Saudi funding for the new unity government.
4. Israel unequivocally states it will not recognize the new Palestinian government.
5. The Israeli Security Chief cites Hamas fighters are being trained in Iran. He stated dozens have been trained with hundreds more ready to go. Would their new found Saudi benefactors find this agreeable? And what about this chance of violent disagreement between Hamas and Fatah prior to March 23rd? Might Israeli security forces prompt it through “black ops”?
6. The Israeli lobby in America, AIPAC held their annual policy meeting attended by Vice President Dick Cheney, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader John Boehner. Rising star Israel Foreign Minister Tzip Livni attended in person while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke via satellite.
7. Prime Minister Olmert personally invited every AIPAC attendee to visit Israel soon, to enjoy spring in Jerusalem. Might Israel gain tourists from previously popular Lebanon, bombed back 25 years by its neighbor to the south last summer?
8. Several news items boosted the President’s hard nosed strategy in the war on al Qaeda, the confession of Guantanamo terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the conversion of several Sunni tribal leaders from loyalty to the terrorist group.
9. Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to a litany of terrorist acts including the beheading of American reporter Daniel Pearl. This confirms the “worst of the worst” are being held in Guantanamo Bay thus nullifying world requests to shutter the facility. (Be sure to forget about those “non-enemy combatants” Chinese Uighers still being held.)
10. Sunni tribal leaders convert from Al Qaeda warlords to supporters of Iraq’s official government. This puts a positive shine on the President’s escalation strategy. (However it involves equipping of the tribal leaders’ private army, not local police or Iraqi government troops. Recall the Mahdi Army? Especially as their aim in driving out al Qaeda is then the Americans can leave. Who decided to arm this bunch?)
11. Congressional Democrats dropped their efforts to limit President Bush’s ability to attack Iran. Is it a coincidence this happened March 11th while the AIPAC Policy Conference ran from March 11-13? The Fox News report indicated Nancy Pelosi and other leaders dropped the restriction based on the wishes of “conservative Democrats” concerned about Israel.
The situation could be described as fluid as the various parties try to realign. America and Israel will continue to hold hands. From the reception Jordanian King Abdullah got from last week’s visit, the Sunni Alliance is second fiddle. Coming in last is Iran and Co. All signs point to Israel conducting a unilateral raid against Iranian nuclear facilities with the U.S. in place to contain any blowback.
Troops moved northeast of Baghdad in the direction of, yes the Iranian border! General Petraeus said it is “very likely there will be additional forces going to Diyala.” The clock ticks down….