September 09, 2003

Flypaper at Work Carnage in

Flypaper at Work

Carnage in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The situation in the Middle East is detiorating very seriously. The roadmap has flopped again--like Tenet, Zinni and Oslo before. Adult supervision is needed urgently.

Where is the President? He needs to convene a summit with a high-ranking Palestinian delegation (including PM-designee Qurei) and Sharon in Washington as soon as feasible. The message to Queri should be that, if PA security forces are not consolidated asap so as to begin to effectively crackdown on Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the U.S. will give a green light to Sharon to expel Arafat from the Occupied Territories. And the message to Sharon should be to halt all assassinations of Hamas leaders (except for so-called ticking bombs) while the PA attempts to consolidate its security forces.

What's unsaid in all this is the danger that a real PA crackdown on Hamas could lead to a Palestinian civil war. To help avoid that, Bush must extract immediate and material concessions from Sharon if the PA finally moves to really disarm the military wing of Hamas. That means evacuation of settlement outposts, a freeze on settlement construction, reduction of curfews/roadblocks and the like--actions that would need to occur concomitantly with a PA crackdown on Hamas.

At the same time, the President needs to very seriously consider dramatic peace proposals that jettison the incremental, confidence building approach. Other long-time observers of the region agree. Time to take a look at Martin Indyk's trusteeship ideas again too--with simultaneously executed concessions made by the parties as international forces phase in to oversee assuring Israeli security as '67 land is gradually handed over to the Palestinians.

Dubya's bet big in Iraq--he now needs to do the same in the Holy Land.

Meanwhile, John McCain reportedely couldn't get Undersecretary of State Mark Grossman to provide an answer as to when we could expect international troops in Iraq according to a NBC report today. In other words, our diplomatic efforts at the U.N. aimed at securing a multinational contingent under an American commander are still very nascent.

But troops (whether international, reconstituted Iraqi forces, or U.S.) are needed now. The (increasingly chimeric) Indian contingent and such that pundits have been scribbling about for months, even if a U.N. resolution were passed tomorrow, wouldn't be there for many months.

All kinds of contingencies could occur during that time frame necessitating greater force presence. Who in Washington doesn't get this?

Posted by Gregory at September 9, 2003 11:19 PM

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