Monday, July 31, 2006

"Root Causes" by Scowcroft

Brent Scowcroft sums up the wisdom of moderate republicans on how to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is the fundamental part of the present conflict. The troubles in Palestine set into motion many of the other regional problems that animate the Lebanon debacle we are presently dealing with. The Lebanese Civil war was provoked, in part, by armed Palestinian refugees, who had been expelled from Palestine. The Golan Heights were captured by Israel in 1967 because of the on-going conflict, making Syria an intractable part of the present conflict - so were the West Bank and Gaza. Hizbullah was created in response to the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in 1982, which in turn was an attempt to destroy the PLO. Scowcroft is courageous to bring us back to the fundamental cause of the regional mess that was left to fester after 1948. Too few in Washington are willing to address this issue, despite all the talk of "root causes." The neocon nostrum that the road to Jerusalem runs through Baghdad has proven to be utter nonsense. Scowcroft knows this. He is trying to put the horse before the cart in this opinion piece he wrote for the Washington Post this weekend.

Beyond Lebanon
This Is the Time for a U.S.-Led Comprehensive Settlement
By Brent Scowcroft
Sunday, July 30, 2006; B07

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has stated that a simple cease-fire in Lebanon is not the solution to the current violence. She says it is necessary to deal with the roots of the problem. She is right on both counts. But Hezbollah is not the source of the problem; it is a derivative of the cause, which is the tragic conflict over Palestine that began in 1948.

The eastern shore of the Mediterranean is in turmoil from end to end, a repetition of continuing conflicts in one part or another since the abortive attempts of the United Nations to create separate Israeli and Palestinian states in 1948. The current conflagration has energized the world. Now, perhaps more than ever, we have an opportunity to harness that concern and energy to achieve a comprehensive resolution of the entire 58-year-old tragedy. Only the United States can lead the effort required to seize this opportunity.

The outlines of a comprehensive settlement have been apparent since President Bill Clinton's efforts collapsed in 2000. The major elements would include:

· A Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with minor rectifications agreed upon between Palestine and Israel.

· Palestinians giving up the right of return and Israel reciprocating by removing its settlements in the West Bank, again with rectifications as mutually agreed. Those displaced on both sides would receive compensation from the international community.

· King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia unambiguously reconfirming his 2002 pledge that the Arab world is prepared to enter into full normal relations with Israel upon its withdrawal from the lands occupied in 1967.

· Egypt and Saudi Arabia working with the Palestinian Authority to put together a government along the lines of the 18-point agreement reached between Hamas and Fatah prisoners in Israeli jails in June. This government would negotiate for the Authority.

· Deployment, as part of a cease-fire, of a robust international force in southern Lebanon.

· Deployment of another international force to facilitate and supervise traffic to and from Gaza and the West Bank.

· Designation of Jerusalem as the shared capital of Israel and Palestine, with appropriate international guarantees of freedom of movement and civic life in the city.

These elements are well-known to people who live in the region and to those outside who have labored over the decades seeking to shape a lasting peace. What seems breathtakingly complicated, however, is how one mobilizes the necessary political will, in the region and beyond, to transform these principles into an agreement on a lasting accord.

The current crisis in Lebanon provides a historic opportunity to achieve what has seemed impossible. That said, it is too much to expect those most directly implicated -- Israeli and Palestinian leaders -- to lead the way. That responsibility falls to others, principally the United States, which alone can mobilize the international community and Israel and the Arab states for the task that has defeated so many previous efforts.

How would such a process be organized? The obvious vehicle to direct the process would be the Quartet (the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations), established in 2001 for just such a purpose. The Quartet, beginning at the foreign-minister level, would first organize the necessary international force for southern Lebanon and Gaza and then call for a cease-fire. The security force would have to have the mandate and capability to deal firmly with acts of violence. Ideally, this would be a NATO, or at least NATO-led, contingent. Recognizing the political obstacles, the fact is that direct U.S. participation in such a force would be highly desirable -- and perhaps even essential -- for persuading our friends and allies to contribute the capabilities required.

With a cease-fire and international security force in place, the Quartet would then construct a framework for negotiating the specific elements of a comprehensive settlement, after which Israel, the Palestinian Authority and appropriate Arab state representatives (e.g. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon) would be added to the process to complete the detailed negotiations.

The benefits of reaching a comprehensive settlement of the root cause of today's turmoil would likely ripple well beyond the Israelis and the Palestinians. A comprehensive peace settlement would not only defang the radicals in Lebanon and Palestine (and their supporters in other countries), it would also reduce the influence of Iran -- the country that, under its current ideology, poses the greatest potential threat to stability in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan.

A comprehensive settlement also would allow Arab leaders to focus on what most say is a primary concern: modernizing their countries to provide jobs and productive lives for their rapidly growing populations.

Removing the argument that nothing can be done because domestic constituencies are fixated on the "plight of the Palestinians" would allow creative energy, talent and money to be rechanneled into education, health, housing, etc. This would have the added benefit of addressing conditions that encourage far too many young Arabs to glorify terrorism as a legitimate means for dealing with the challenges of the modern world.

It is even possible that a comprehensive settlement might help stabilize Iraq. A chastened Iran, bereft of the "Israeli card," might be more willing to reach a modus vivendi with the Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq, and with the United States as well. All countries in the region -- not to mention Iraq itself -- need a stable, prosperous and peaceful Iraq. The road to achieving this may well lead eastward from a Jerusalem shared peacefully by Israelis and Palestinians.

This latest in a seemingly endless series of conflagrations in the region just may present a unique opportunity to change the situation in the Middle East for the better for all time. Let us not shrink from the task.

The writer was national security adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. He is now president of the Forum for International Policy.


At 7/31/2006 08:59:00 AM, Blogger norman said...

Peace talks hinge on direct contact with Syria
By Kim Murphy and Tyler Marshall

Damascus: As international leaders search for a negotiated end to the violence in Lebanon, there is little doubt that the go-to state is Syria, Hezbollah's powerful ally and perhaps the only Arab state capable of guaranteeing a lasting peace.

But who will go?

The Bush administration's policy of isolating the government of Bashar Al Assad has left Washington with no high-level contacts in Syria.

With no US ambassador in Damascus, a strong regimen of economic sanctions in place and a refusal to talk with Syrian leaders, Washington is negotiating the most serious Middle East crisis in years through Arab and European intermediaries whose influence is doubtful.

The policy has frustrated some US diplomats and prompted a growing chorus in Washington to call for direct contacts not only with Syria, but possibly with its ally, Iran the two biggest backers of anti-Israel groups in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Without Bashar's intervention, no agreement to end Hezbollah rocket attacks or to safely place a new peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon is possible, say those who advocate opening new lines of communication.

By contrast, an order from Syria to halt weapons and other logistical shipments at the Lebanon border could strangle Hezbollah's military operations within weeks, military analysts say.

"Of course, Syria has the power to make Hezbollah stop fighting. Because while Hezbollah is to a certain degree independent, it needs a political umbrella, and Syria and Iran are that umbrella,'' said Redwan Ziadeh, a Damascus-based political analyst.

"In 1998 when Hezbollah was firing rockets into Israel, Clinton phoned Hafez Al Assad to stop Hezbollah, to stop the rockets. And Hezbollah stopped the rockets," he said.

In Washington, on Friday, Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska became the latest prominent foreign policy expert to call for contacts with Syria.

"America's approach to Syria and Iran is inextricably tied to Middle East peace," Hagel said in a speech to the Brookings Institution.

"Whether or not they were directly involved in the latest Hezbollah and Hamas aggression in Israel, both countries exert influence in the region in ways that undermine stability and security.

"Both Damascus and Tehran must hear from America directly," he said.

Bush on Friday appeared to be avoiding any repeat of his earlier criticisms of Damascus. When asked what message he had for Syria and Iran, the president offered what may be an invitation to get involved.

Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service

At 7/31/2006 09:33:00 AM, Blogger ugarit said...

So he wants Syria to put a stop to Hezbollah's firing of missiles? That would be suicide for Assad to do at this point in time. Why does'nt the US talk to Hezbollah directly? Why does it need a middle man? Since when can't a superpower talk to a para-military group?

If I were Assad I would not talk to the US until Israel stops its attack on Lebanon.

At 7/31/2006 09:46:00 AM, Blogger ugarit said...

What I find interesting is how Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan played their cards so rapidly in condemming Hezbollah abduction of the Israeli soldiers.

The leadership of the above mentioned states is clearly a group of political whores and their pimp is the US.

At 7/31/2006 09:46:00 AM, Blogger President Bush said...

Interesting Josh! For the first time you present an article with no Syria in it! What a change? But after all it is not your own article! One last word to your commentators who insist on pointing to the Syrian backyard a something with any relevance. Your beloved Syria does not have a single neighbor happy with its behaviour. Why should we in the US be otherwise? So open your eyes to the world around you and get out from the backyard. As a rule, we do not reward arsonists! Instead we send them to jail

At 7/31/2006 09:59:00 AM, Blogger ugarit said...

Let's look at Syria's neighbours.

Jordan a whorish puppet state of the United States.

Iraq an occupied and crushed land: thanks to the US. Syria is helping tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees.

Israel: occupies Golan and Palestine and now is destroying Lebanon. Creating refugess and not allowing refugees to return home.

Turkey a fine relationship.

Lebanon: they're thankful for syria in helping the Lebanese refugees.

At 7/31/2006 10:59:00 AM, Blogger Akbar Palace said...

Dear Professor Landis,

Gee, we sure like to reference opinions from the most anti-Israel administration officials. First Warren Christopher, and now Brent Scowcroft.

Isn't it interesting that when both of these "astute" statesmen were running the show, no peace was ever hammered out.

What is their excuse??

I can only imagine;)

But you know, there is a peace between Israel and Eygpt and also with Jordan, so you can't say Israel doesn't want peace.

However, I'm still not sure what Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran want in exchange for peace except the utter destruction of Israel.

Maybe you know something different?

At 7/31/2006 11:34:00 AM, Blogger norman said...

Crisis Could Undercut Bush's Long-Term Goals
Others are not so hopeful. Outside the White House, the mood among many foreign policy veterans in Washington is strikingly pessimistic, especially as leaders of Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, traditional rivals based in different Islamic sects, began calling for followers to take the fight to the enemy.

Analysts foresee a muddled outcome at best, in which Hezbollah survives Israel's airstrikes, foreign peacekeepers become bogged down, and U.S. relations with allies are severely strained. At worst, they said, Hezbollah and Iran feel emboldened, Islamic radicalism spreads, and a region smuggling fighters and weapons into Iraq fractures further along sectarian lines.

VIDEO | The latest video about the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

Mideast Conflict
Violence escalates as Israel responds to militant attacks from Gaza, Lebanon.

Latest Headlines
More Photos, Videos and Panoramas
Latest Developments
Interactive map tracks latest headlines, photos and video on the conflict.

After the Bombs Have Fallen
The fighting and bombing intensifies in Lebanon and Israel.

More photos: Caring for the InjuredBombs Shake Hospital Shelter In Tyre, Caring for the Injured Americans Evacuate War Zone Foreigners Flee Lebanon Anxiety Grips Civilians Caught in Growing Violence U.S.-Israeli Friendship Mideast Conflict Escalates Israeli Offensive Expands Israel Launches Gaza Operation __________________________

Deciding to Stay
As cities and villages in southern Lebanon empty, some families choose to stay.
More videos: Sectarian Tensions Paths to Escape Perilous Heightened Sectarian Tensions Lebanese Americans Divided Evacuees Land in Baltimore Prisoners and Soldiers Reminders of War in Gaza Life Returns in Gaza __________________________

Hezbollah Office Destroyed
A seven-story building, which housed the offices of a Hezbollah commander in Tyre, Lebanon, is reduced to rubble after an Israeli airstrike.
More panoramas: Hezbollah Office Destroyed Recovering in Lebanon Hospital Bomb Crater in Lebanon Beirut Suburbs in Ruin Beirut Bridge Destroyed Warplanes Strike Beirut Evacuees Gather Finding Refuge in Beirut Gaza Bridge Destroyed Palestinian Interior Minsitry Family Injured in Gaza Jabalya Refugee Camp __________________________

Live Discussions
Transcript:Crisis Unabated in Middle East
Transcript:No Cease-Fire in Lebanon, Israel
Transcript:Fighting Continues in Israel, Lebanon
Transcript:Live from Syria
Transcript:Post Magazine: Is the Israel Lobby Too Powerful?
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"What the conflict has exposed in a really clear way is how linked all these issues in the region are to each other," said Mara Rudman, a deputy national security adviser in the Clinton White House now at the liberal Center for American Progress. "The worst-case scenario . . . is a much more radicalized Islamic fundamentalist Middle East and much more isolated Israel and a much more isolated United States and fewer people to talk with."

Haass, the former Bush aide who leads the Council on Foreign Relations, laughed at the president's public optimism. "An opportunity?" Haass said with an incredulous tone. "Lord, spare me. I don't laugh a lot. That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. If this is an opportunity, what's Iraq? A once-in-a-lifetime chance?"

In the long run, he and others warn, the situation could cement the perception that the United States is so pro-Israel that a new generation of Arab youth will grow up perceiving Americans as enemies. The internal pressure on friendly governments in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere could force them to distance themselves from Washington or crack down on domestic dissidents to keep power. In either case, Bush may have little leverage to press for democratic reforms.

Jon B. Alterman, a Middle East specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, outlined "not even the worst-case scenario, but a bad-case scenario: South Lebanon is in shambles, Hezbollah gets credit for rebuilding it with Iranian money, Hezbollah grows stronger in Lebanon and it's not brought to heel. The reaction of surrounding states weakens them, radicalism rises, and they respond with more repression. None of this is especially far-fetched. And in all of this, the U.S. is seen as a fundamentally hostile party."

All of this is far too gloomy for administration officials, who see such dire forecasts as the predictable reactions of a foreign policy establishment that has produced decades of meaningless talks, paper peace agreements and unenforced U.N. resolutions that have not solved underlying issues in the Middle East.

"Some of the overheated rhetoric about how the United States can't work with anybody, we've lost our leadership in the world, is just completely ridiculous, and this crisis proves it," said the senior administration official involved in the crisis. "We are really indispensable to solving this crisis, and you're not going to solve this problem merely by passing another resolution."

While the diplomats work, the Pentagon is studying the possible impact on an already-stretched U.S. military. Commanders have diverted the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group from a training mission in Jordan where they were available as reserves for Iraq. Now they are on ships in the Mediterranean Sea to help with humanitarian efforts, and another unit has been put on alert as backup for Iraq.

The Pentagon has done contingency planning for U.S. troops participating in a multinational peacekeeping mission, but Bush aides have all but ruled out such a scenario. A more likely option, officials said, would have the United States provide command-and-control and logistics assistance.

Peter W. Rodman, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said that officials are studying the possibility of putting troops in Lebanon but that it is too early to comment on what such a force would look like. "The concept is still under development, and discussion of any potential U.S. participation would be premature."

Some analysts acknowledge the varied challenges the United States faces but consider the possible gain worth the risk. "It's a Rubik's Cube. It's very, very difficult to resolve," said Peter Brookes, a former deputy assistant defense secretary under Bush who is now at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "But if we were able to dismantle Hezbollah, that would be very positive for the war on terror."

The White House is acutely aware of the dangers of stirring up anti-American sentiment in the region. "There may be times when people say that they're unhappy with whatever methods we pursue," the White House's Snow said last week. "We are confident that in the long run, people are going to be much happier living in freedom and democracy than, for instance, in nations that are occupied by terrorist organizations that try to hijack a democracy in its formative stages."

Staff writer Josh White contributed to this report.

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At 7/31/2006 11:55:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Akbar Palace,

Did you realise that maybe the killing of Prime minister Rabin had something to do with destrying the chances for peace with Syria? ... if Mr. Netenyahu respected the negotiated settlement reached between the Syrians and the late Rabin, things would have been quite different now.

If Prime minister Barak did not "get cold feet" at the last minute, Hafez Assad would have signed a peace agreement with Israel that kept your northern borders quiet and peaceful.

You won't get security through your aggressive army. YOU are generating most of the hatred directed against you in the future.

With time, the fundamentalists on the other side would become a smaller and smaller minority when the state of Israel does not act selfish and paranoid.

At 7/31/2006 12:29:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Jeffrey Sachs had a similar comment in today's Daily Star. What he does not seem to realize is that there are hardly any (mainstream) Israeli politicians who would fit his own definition of "moderates". After all, this is what a "large majority of Israelis" voted for: neither is it "essentially along the pre-1967 boundaries" nor a viable "two-state solution".

Unless there is pressure on Israel, this is not going to change. And where should that pressure come from?

At 7/31/2006 12:33:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

as a result of this conflict, Nasrallah ,if he survive, will become a leader, a lot of arab leaders will be jealous of, he will emerge stronger locally, and in the Arabic world, his followers will spread in Iraq ,and this is bad for USA,Sunni and She-ah, will unite behind him,bin laden is sure to have less respect.Asad lifted himself a lot,even that he avoided involvement,while Mubarak,Abdullahs,are embarrased,this creates major division in the arab world,Syria and Iran will be closer to each other,and no wedge is going to develope between them,with Iraq ,palastine and Lebanon are in fire now, I will not be surprised if jordan is next or may be Egypt.

At 7/31/2006 12:48:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Bombing on Israeli patrol road in Golan: military

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A Syrian-made bomb was detonated next to an Israeli army patrol road in the occupied Golan Heights, causing no casualties, an Israeli military source said on Monday.

A military source said the overnight explosion was triggered apparently by the detonation of an anti-tank mine east of the Israeli settlement of Ein Zivan on the Syrian side of the Golan armistice line.

At 7/31/2006 01:49:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Paul Krugman:

"For the moment, U.S. policy seems to be to stall and divert efforts to negotiate a cease-fire as long as possible, so as to give Israel a chance to dig its hole even deeper. Also, we aren’t talking to Syria, which might hold the key to resolving the crisis, because President Bush doesn’t believe in talking to bad people, and anyway that’s the kind of thing Bill Clinton did. Did I mention that these people are childish?"

(my emphasis)

At 7/31/2006 03:03:00 PM, Blogger Frank said...

Looks like somebody was listening to you Josh. Apologies for the very rough and ready

Rough and Ready translation

Die Welt 31/7/06‎

Steinmeier calls on Syria to adopt a constructive stance

The German foreign minister opens up the prospect of a closer connection to the EU.‎

Berlin: Foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier has called on Syria to take part ‎constructively in a solution to the conflict between Israel and Lebanon. Steinmeier ‎outlines in an interview with Suddeutsche Zeitung (Tuesday Edition) the prospect of a ‎closer relationship to the EU if the country actively takes part in the peace process.‎

Syria must decide whether to take the road to isolation with Iran said the SPD ‎minister. I suspect that isn’t in Syria’s interest said Steinmeier according to the ‎précis.‎

He undertook to seek talks with the Syrian Leadership. Steinmeier offered the regime ‎support in Economic reform. It was however clear that Syria could not expect any ‎reward in terms of further influence in Lebanon.‎

The minister was of course sure that a peaceful resolution of the Middle East Conflict ‎is possible.‎

In the centre of the diplomatic efforts Steinmeier sees the Peace plan proposed by ‎General Secretary Kofi Annan. To that belongs the first step of determining the fate ‎of the captured Israeli soldiers. Steinmeier warned against the confusion of daily ‎adding further peace plans.‎

Much more so must Known elements implement a Truce. Once again Steinmeier ‎warned the Israeli government to be careful in their attacks. To every right of self ‎defence belong a measurement of the response and the protection of the civil ‎population.‎

At 7/31/2006 03:10:00 PM, Blogger Atassi said...

Akbar Palace,

This reading for you form the Syrian people.. Peace will come for sure. trust me me on this one

Elderly Jews at home in Damascus
Martin Chulov, Damascus
656 words
1 August 2006
The Australian
1 - All-round Country
Copyright 2006 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved
HEZBOLLAH flags flutter from wires above the almost empty neighbourhood of the 62 remaining Jews of Damascus. But here, in the heart of the dying centre of Syrian Judaism, the residents do not object to the presence of their homeland's mortal enemy.
The Jews who have remained in Damascus seem disconnected from the fighting in Lebanon and the rage that is building against Israel across the Arab world.
They are mostly too old to travel, too established in their tiny community to bother with the incendiary troubles of the region and accustomed to a society where diverse views and customs are tolerated.
Most of Damascus's Jewish population departed in 1994 after the Syrian government said they could leave for the US. Several thousand Jews took the opportunity, bolting the front doors of their homes shut as they left.
Most have never returned to what was once an up-market district of the ancient Syrian capital. Only about 20 homes are now inhabited. Others have been bought by wealthy local Muslim consortiums, which are spending millions to restore them. A grand 19th-century manor was opened three weeks ago as an expensive hotel in the middle of the area.
"I hate it," said an elderly Jewish woman whose nephew sold the family property.
"Every day I wake up and curse him," she said, refusing togive her name as she fed straycats.
The shopkeepers who have moved into the neighbourhood are mostly Shia Muslims who have brought their Hezbollah loyalty with them.
But the three vendors we spoke to were keen to emphasise that their support for the anti-Zionist guerilla group did not mean they hated Jews. "They were our friends," said pastry-seller Hassan al-Sadr. "We wish they would come back."
At the grand Shia mosque near Damascus's old bazaar, the foreman, Mazhar Ashkov, also lamented the absence of the Jews.
"The Jewish families we used to have here we used to have good relations with, which we still try to keep up," he said. "Most of them have left the area, but we still get by on the memories."
In the laneway leading to the mosque, a Star of David has been painted on the ground so people defile it as they walk past. But around the corner a sign written in Arabic, Hebrew and English respectfully marks the remnants of an ancient synagogue.
Syria has established two offices to handle the affairs of its absent Jewish community. The first, the Office of the Missing Jews, was set up to protect the old decaying homes, most of which their owners refused to sell.
The second has been entrusted to the remaining Jewish residents who administer the inhabited homes through the Office of the Jewish Committee.
When President Bashar al-Assad was sworn into office six years ago, one of his first appointments was with the leader of the local Jewish community. And his Government has taken pains ever since to embrace Judaism, while attacking Zionist expansion. This stance has fuelled the hostility felt by Syrians towards Israel.
"Crazy people say Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is fighting for Iran," Mr Ashkov said.
"But he encourages people to believe Jerusalem is the holy place. It is one city that belongs to all of us. All the Jews in the land of Palestine, in their religion they are not my enemies. My enemy is the Zionist who is dealing with the Arabs in a very ignorant, arrogant and racist way.
"We as Arabs and Muslims did not commit the Holocaust. We did not hurt the Jews. It was theEuropeans who did this, and they are now the ones claiming we are terrorists.
"Hezbollah and the Lebanese only want to have a return of the justice that has been taken from them by the state of Israel."

At 7/31/2006 03:16:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

US stance delights neo-cons, dismays moderates

A growing number of moderate Republicans and former Bush administration officials are alarmed by what they call Condoleezza Rice’s “uneven-handed diplomacy” in the Middle East. Critics include Richard Haass, head of policy and planning at the State Department during the first Bush term and Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state.

However, after months of disillusionment, America’s neo-conservatives have fallen in love again with the Bush administration because of its support for Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon. ...

“What we are seeing are precisely the same divisions as we saw over Iraq with the neo-conservatives rallying behind Mr Bush and almost everyone else feeling rising panic at the direction of American diplomacy,” said Francis Fukuyama, a former neo-conservative. ...

In spite of the American public’s scepticism, Mr Bush is largely insulated from a political backlash by the muted stance of the opposition Democrats, who are nervous of being painted as weak on national security in the build-up to mid-term elections in November. Last week Hillary Clinton, a potential presidential candidate, scolded Nouri al-Maliki, the visiting Iraqi prime minister, for having criticised Israel. ...

“It is absolutely baffling to me and almost everyone I know – Republican or Democrat – how Ms Rice and Mr Bush think this strategy will achieve their objectives,” said Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former head of the National Security Council. “The Bush administration is allowing itself to be suckered into believing it can achieve political goals through military means. They seem to have learned nothing from Iraq.”

Mr Armitage, the last senior US official to talk to the government of Syria in 2004, said he “completely disagreed” with Ms Rice’s des-cription of the conflict as the “birth pangs of a new Middle East”. He said: “The administration has an irrational fear that talking is a sign of weakness. It is the best way of gathering information and influencing events.”

Top Republican asks Bush to push for immediate Lebanon ceasefire

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A leading Republican senator urged US President George W. Bush to call for an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"The sickening slaughter on both sides must end now. President Bush must call for an immediate ceasefire. This madness must stop," Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a possible candidate in the 2008 presidential election, said on the Senate floor.

At 7/31/2006 11:50:00 PM, Blogger EngineeringChange said...

Excellent article by Scowcroft. He understands the true root of this whole mess is 1948. Without giving justice to 1948, there will never ever be peace in the region or for Israel.


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