Friday, May 26, 2017

Peace Starts in Saudi Arabia?

Sword dancing...can it lead to peace? 

Why Middle East peace starts in Saudi Arabia - Charles Krauthammer, MD
[N]o great harm has, as yet, come from President Trump's enthusiasm for what would be "the ultimate deal." It will, however, distract and detract from remarkable progress being made elsewhere in the Middle East.
That progress began with Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia, the first of his presidency -- an unmistakable declaration of a radical reorientation of U.S. policy in the region. Message: The appeasement of Iran is over.
Barack Obama's tilt toward Iran in the great Muslim civil war between Shiite Iran and Sunni Arabs led by Saudi Arabia was his reach for Nixon-to-China glory. It ended ignominiously.
The idea that the nuclear deal would make Iran more moderate has proved spectacularly wrong, as demonstrated by its defiant ballistic missile launches, its indispensable support for the genocidal Assad regime in Syria, its backing of the Houthi insurgency in Yemen, its worldwide support for terrorism, its relentless anti-Americanism and commitment to the annihilation of Israel.
These aggressions were supposed to abate. They didn't. On the contrary, the cash payments and the lifting of economic sanctions -- Tehran's reward for the nuclear deal -- have only given its geopolitical thrusts more power and reach.
The reversal has now begun. The first act was Trump's Riyadh address to about 50 Muslim states (the overwhelming majority of them Sunni) signaling a wide Islamic alliance committed to resisting Iran and willing to cast its lot with the American side.
That was objective No.1. The other was to turn the Sunni powers against Sunni terrorism. The Islamic State is Sunni. Al-Qaeda is Sunni. Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. And the spread of Saudi-funded madrassas around the world has for decades inculcated a poisonous Wahhabism that has fueled Islamist terrorism.
Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states publicly declaring war on their bastard terrorist child is significant. As is their pledge not to tolerate any semiofficial support or private donations. And their opening during the summit of an anti-terrorism center in Riyadh.
After eight years of U.S. policy hovering between neglect and betrayal, the Sunni Arabs are relieved to have America back. A salutary side effect is the possibility of a detente with Israel.

That would suggest an outside-in approach to Arab-Israeli peace: a rapprochement between the Sunni state and Israel (the outside) would put pressure on the Palestinians to come to terms (the inside).
[A]part from being delusional, the inside-out strategy is at present impossible. Palestinian leadership is both hopelessly weak and irredeemably rejectionist. Until it is prepared to accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state -- which it has never done in the 100 years since the Balfour Declaration committed Britain to a Jewish homeland in Palestine -- there will be no peace.
[M]aking the Israel-Palestinian issue central, rather than peripheral, to the epic Sunni-Shiite war shaking the Middle East today is a serious tactical mistake. It subjects any now-possible reconciliation between Israel and the Arab states to a Palestinian veto.
[T]he real action is on the anti-Iranian and anti-terror fronts. Don't let Oslo-like mirages get in the way.
[Washington Post via Jewish World Review]

Trump to Launch Unconventional Peace Plan - Daniel Siryoti

U.S. President Donald Trump will launch an unconventional peace plan based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, focusing on upgrading Israel's relations with Arab states rather than on reaching an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, a senior Palestinian Authority official told Israel Hayom

 According to the official, Trump told Abbas that if progress would be made in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, he would try to strike an interim peace deal that would focus on the various paths toward a final status agreement culminating with the creation of an independent Palestinian state and a joint Israeli-Palestinian statement declaring an end to the conflict.

The president reportedly said that the first phase would include some form of normalization between moderate Sunni-Arab states and Israel. Later on, depending on how much progress is made, the U.S. would try to launch direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians with a set timetable aimed at finding a compromise on the core issues. This marks a shift, since Arab leaders have repeatedly said that normalization of relations must come only after core issues are resolved and a Palestinian state is established with Jerusalem as its capital.

The Palestinian official said Abbas responded by saying the Palestinians were vehemently opposed to such a move.

(Israel Hayom)

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