Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Moving Middle East Chess Pieces

The match continues with the forces of light against those of extremism (black). The Palestinian pawns continue to be sacrificed on both sides. To bolster the white front line, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert recently announced the release of $100 million in withheld taxes. Other steps to strengthen the good pawns include a possible prisoner release and reducing the number of checkpoints in the West Bank.

The Egyptian foreign minister dressed as a rook, took a shot at the Iranian King by denouncing President Ahmadinejad’s recent statement that Iran is "a nuclear state". Might the Israeli leader be planning to check the “forces of darkness” via a surprise attack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities?

What will the pawns do after the surprise move as they need money to survive, with only a pittance of that $100 million released? The Prime Minister is contemplating some prisoner releases while proposing to reduce only a fraction of the over 400 permanent barriers in the West Bank. Will the dangling carrots of prisoner releases and reduced checkpoints have the white pawns thinking twice about a retaliatory response?

The board is clearly divided from the West’s point of view. White includes the U.S., Britain, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Black represents Syria and Iran. The ones in play are the newest Middle Eastern democracies, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories. Watch each one after the looming Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. Carrot and stick diplomacy may soon be front and center in your living room…

No comments: