Monday, March 24, 2008

More Bush Divide and Conquer

Just as one can spin weapons as offensive or defensive, people can spin violence as stabilizing or destabilizing. After five years of war in Iraq, a stable democracy is yet to be built in the Middle East. Our Saudi friends warned us of the destabilizing impact of invading Iraq, but U.S. President George W. and company ignored their dark foresight. The man who rode through the region inciting war against Saddam Hussein just finished his war encore tour, this time aimed at Iran.

Headlines this morning indicate V.P. Richard B. Cheney gave a good rap on the hornet's nest.

1. The New York Times had Cheney offering the Iran threat at every turn. He added "darkening shadows" to the Bush lexicon of "mushroom cloud" and "destroying people". While visiting with Cheney, Israeli President Shimon Peres put it more bluntly, ""Iran's only intentions of developing ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads are to destroy Israel and threaten the entire world." Combine that with America's unshakable support for Israel and you have bombs away on Tehran.

2. General David Petraeus told the BBC he thought Tehran had trained, equipped and funded insurgents who fired the barrage of mortars and rockets. He said Iran was adding what he described as "lethal accelerants" to a very combustible mix. "The rockets that were launched at the Green Zone yesterday, for example... were Iranian-provided, Iranian-made rockets," he said, adding that the groups that fired them were funded and trained by the Quds Force.

3. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah will boycott the annual meeting of the Arab League in protest of Syria's tampering with political progress in Lebanon.

With everything going on in the Middle East, this would seem to be a must make meeting. A quick look at the members of the Arab League shows the Saudi's to be one of the most politically powerful members. The group's goal is to "draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries."

It seems the Saudi's should attend to have their voices heard vs. boycotting the event. Of course there is the Muslim tradition of warning your enemy before attacking. Does King Abdullah know something about future U.S./Israel actions against Syria and Iran? Would he feel compelled to warn President Bashar al-Assad if the King attended the meeting?

4. The Jerusalem Post reported, "Regarding a peace deal with Syria, Peres told Cheney that Israel will not agree to a deal involving the return of the Golan Heights. "If the Golan is given back, it will boost Iran's influence in Lebanon and the territory will effectively be under Iranian-Syrian control," said Peres.

The return of the Golan was part of an Arab League Peace Initiative for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict offered in 2002 and renewed last year's meeting in Riyadh. Ironically, the King might not attend this year because he threw Syria under the bus. This leaves Dick Cheney's other words in serious quicksand.

5. Cheney said that “history has clearly shown” that Israelis were prepared to make sacrifices for peace when they encountered Arab partners like Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan, “who accepted Israel’s permanence, and are willing and capable of delivering on their commitments.”

Bull hockey! The Arab peace plan met such criteria and for six years Israel dragged its feet. Dick Cheney and his Israeli counterparts don't want peace, they want their way. That should be obvious by now...

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