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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

To Know Others is Power, To Know One's self is Virtue

Ruch Limbaugh, Bill O, and Sean Hannity seem like clowns to me.
Limbaugh is on drugs, O'Reilly is an oppressive pervert, and Hannity, I think, means well, but he is not very bright.

I get most of my news from summaries, on line.
I read what is interesting, and I decide on the veracity of the stories based on my own knowledge of world events and history.
If I'm uncertain, I double check, I come at the story from different angles and read opposing views.
There are some sources that I just don't find credible, and we've discussed three of them.
Have you seen the O'Reilly meltdown on youtube?
The guy is a bum, I suggest readers view the clip and see what he is like when he doesn't know the cameras are rolling.
He has ruthlessly, sexually harassed female underlings.
He is not a nice man, and he is not very honest at all.
The appeal of all three of these “gentlemen “ is that they say what their viewers want to hear.

It is difficult to seek out the truth, it is not for everyone, it leads to frustration and uncertainty, but for my personal well-being it is a must.
I believe that for me to feel that I am a moral person it behooves me to learn what is right and what is not.
Thats just my feeling, for me, I don't necessarily ask others to follow that path.
And yet, throughout history, people, countries, have don't horrible things because they believed propaganda that would have been easy to see for what it is if they had opened their minds and listened to opposing views.
I do not believe that America needs to fear an Arab invasion in the near future.
Israel does.
Israel is being attacked as we speak and yet Bush is demanding a Palestinian terrorist state, a new one, which he has promised to subsidize.
In an article Professor Barry Rubin pointed out that
President George Bush recently stated that a Fatah-ruled Palestinian state should be quickly developed since, "It will serve as an alternative vision to what is happening in Gaza."
This is rubbish. No matter how much money the West pumps in, the nationalists are not going to offer an attractive regime. Fatah's lower level of still-considerable repression is counterbalanced by the corruption and anarchy included in the package. Jawad Tibi, a former Fatah cabinet minister, explained, "Hamas is Fatah with beards."

The American people are being manipulated into believing that a rag tag group of Arabs will be fighting in our streets, but told to provide money for criminals that bomb Israel daily.
That we are doing nothing to protect Israel, and spending billions to turn Iraq into a more powerful Shiite terrorist enclave is ridiculous and maddening.

For people to continually repeat the Bush mantras is close to a kind of insanity.
And to view the “pundits” we've discussed here is like going to meditate with the Maharishi , it may feel good, but the bottom line is the only real benefit is to the Maharishi.

Back to

They're Dictators and Terrorists But What Clean Streets!

Barry Rubin
June 24, 2008


Hamas celebrated its first anniversary of power in the Gaza Strip amidst massive misinterpretations regarding the situation there.

Ironically, Hamas's victory and survival has less to do with Israel than the rotten strategy of Yasir Arafat. He ruled the Palestinian movement for 35 years by establishing a weak, anarchic, corrupt, and factionalized structure which he played like a violen. After Arafat's death, Fatah paid the price by collapsing in the Gaza Strip, first electorally then militarily. Having proved a failure in government, Fatah then showed itself a failure as an opposition.

Hamas's power rests repression, radical ideology, international protection and an incompetent enemy. A Palestinian storeowner told an American reporter, "What can we do? Hamas is even stronger than a year ago. They can take me and put me away whenever they want." This is the kind of situation which elsewhere makes the West, especially the left, sneer at dictatorships that--as was once said of Italian fascist Benito Mussolini--take away freedom but take credit for making the trains run on time.

Yet while the world prevents Israel from defeating Hamas through military action and very tight sanctions, Fatah is its own worst enemy in combating Hamas.

President George Bush recently stated that a Fatah-ruled Palestinian state should be quickly developed since, "It will serve as an alternative vision to what is happening in Gaza."

This is rubbish. No matter how much money the West pumps in, the nationalists are not going to offer an attractive regime. Fatah's lower level of still-considerable repression is counterbalanced by the corruption and anarchy included in the package. Jawad Tibi, a former Fatah cabinet minister, explained, "Hamas is Fatah with beards."

True and that lack of differentiation is the problem. Moreover, Fatah continues its own old tricks. When it does arrest those involved in terrorism, they are quickly released. Incitement to commit violence continues on the Palestinian Authority (PA) media, and the PA is far more eager to reconcile with Hamas than to make peace with Israel.

Yes, the PA's survival is a U.S., Western, and Israeli interest but let's not get sentimental or naןve about these weak, corrupt, and largely radical allies of necessity.

As for Hamas, it possesses three key weapons.

The mainstream appeal of extremism and terrorism. "Hamas is strong and brutal but very good at governing," Eyad Sarraj told the New York Times, which describes him as a British-trained psychiatrist and secular opponent of Hamas, After all, he continues, it's distributing gas coupons, getting people to pay electricity bills, and keeping the city clean.

Suddenly, people considered "progressive" see the up side of having a police state. Imagine this kind of thinking applied to other dictatorships all over the world: they are brutal but boy do they keep law and order! Sarraj also forgets that Hamas's war policy resulted in reducing the gas and electricity supply.

But Sarraj is no moderate. In 1999, he wrote that Palestinians were better off without the peace process. Refusing to recognize Israel had been a "nuclear weapon" and armed struggle a great asset. Giving these up was a mistake, Sarraj insisted, and might lead to ending the conflict without eliminating Israel.

Sarraj, while a member of Gaza's tiny left, advocated a strategy parallel to that of Hamas today. Perhaps that's why he protested Arafat's repression but now seems content to accept Hamas's, however much he dislikes its Islamism. The continued extremism of mainstream Palestinian activist opinion makes Hamas's rule seem an acceptable tradeoff because of its militancy.

The success of ideological demagoguery. One Hamas supporter told a reporter: "Israel is trying to pressure us to make us forget that the real problem is the occupation." Of course, there is no Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip, which is one reason why Hamas was able to seize power. "We can take it," she continued, "The Koran teaches that in the end we will be victorious."

This expresses widespread sentiments: Israel is the only enemy; everything else is irrelevant, suffering isn't important, victory is inevitable. Shortly after Hamas seized power, Sarraj told a Canadian reporter about how Hamas threw Fatah men off the tops of buildings, murdered them in hospital beds, and tortured them in a "horrific" manner.

But that isn't important. Whether Hamas brutalizes Palestinians, creates conditions that destroy living standards, drags people into endless war, turns Gaza into a mini-Iran, or causes numerous casualties, its militancy and refusal to compromise is what counts. That may seem irrational to Western observers but that's how Palestinian politics work.

Pretended moderation as a scam. Since Westerners can't understand the culture of ideology and extremism, they're sure Hamas will moderate. This is supposedly proven when Hamas leaders say that if Israel only returns to the 1967 borders; gives the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip to a Hamas-ruled state; and lets millions of Palestinians live in Israel, they'll make a truce until they decide otherwise.

This is a very silly evaluation, reminding me of an American high school textbook which said Israel should try this idea and if that didn't work we would all know better.

Finally, there's the strange conclusion that since Hamas isn't about to fall from power, this proves sanctions have failed. One could say it shows economic and military pressures should be raised further. But at least it should be understood that the sanctions' purpose is to make Hamas less able to kill even more people, take over the West Bank, damage Israel, or turn Gaza into--to stand Bush's view on its head--an "attractive alternative."

Any policy that prevents those things seems pretty valid; any Westerner favoring a strategy that strengthens Hamas should be forced to live under its rule.



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Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). Prof. Rubin's columns can be read online.
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Monday, June 23, 2008

Fear and Loathing In America

Do you want to know about fear?

Listen to C-Span in the morning.
The call in show.
Caller after caller chimes in, the supporters of the left and the supporters on the right repeat, almost verbatim, the talking points of the political candidates.
No one seems to have an original or illuminating thought.

I was watching Michael Reagan on Larry King last recently and I thought, how unlike President Reagan he is.
Well, he's not a blood relation, he is adopted, but he is making a good living trading on the popularity of his adopted father, and spouting his views of his father's views.

Ron Reagan Jr., on the other hand, reminds me of his father, his biological father.
He is charming and intelligent.
Like his father, (until he swung to the right) Ron Reagan is a liberal.
Michael Reagan seems like a not terribly bright man, rather typical of commentators on the right, and Ron Reagan seems bright and intellectually gifted.

There are good arguments to be made on both sides of many of the issues in the political contest for the White house, the major problem is the doctrinaire adhesion to political dogma.
And some of the choices being offered to voters are bad anyway one looks at them.
Take the issue of Israel, for example.
The right wishes to push through a Palestinian State, although it seems that they have empathy for Israel.
The left's sympathy is with the Palestinians.
The left is so far from the truth on this issue, that it is hard for many to take them seriously on the issues that they are correctly addressing.

The right has good issues, but they can't seem to attract anyone with personality and intellect to get their random good ideas across.
Their message seems to be fear, fear of women having equality, gays not being repressed and government losing power over the poor.
Many of the fears of the right are completely irrational, such as their fear of an army of Arabs invading and conquering America.

The left has the personalities, and they are generally right on the issues.
They have the brain-power and educational endowments that the right lacks.
However, at least on the issue of Israel, and the middle-east in general, they fall back on beliefs that once were true, in general terms, and extrapolate them to any “minority”, such as the Palestinians.
The Palestinians are not being oppressed by Israel, and the Arab culture is the most backward culture on the planet in terms of human rights, particularly in regards to women.
Until the left understands reality vis a vis the Islamic sub-culture, the generally irrational and confused politics of fear and hate which is the staple of the right will continue to be a thorn in the side of civilization.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Don't be Fooled by Good Reviews

Barry Rubin June 16, 2008

Golda Meir once said that a bad press was better than a good epitaph. In other words, pragmatic considerations must take precedence over public relations.
Sometimes it seems as if contemporary Israeli governments have forgotten that concept. Yet in general, especially where it counts, this principle continues to prevail in Israel.
Not so in the Arab world. There, maintaining a rhetoric of war, militancy, and refusal to compromise--as proof of the regime's impeccable Arab nationalist and Islamic credentials--has always been a powerful factor in governance. This method has great benefits by mobilizing popular support for dictators and a high cost because it blocks their making peace and leads them into costly foreign adventures.
For rulers, the good news is that they remain perpetually behind the steering wheel; the bad news, at least for their citizens, is that the vehicle never gets anywhere good. But this is not to say that the masses are mere dupes in this process. Tempting as it is to say, dictators bad; people good, the fact is that even if the masses don't (in the words of George Orwell's classic on modern dictatorship, 1984) love the ruling Big Brother, they at least like what Big Brother says.
What Big Brother, and all his helping little brothers, says, however, has changed internationally if not locally. The old script, still used in Arabic, was very macho: We'll fight forever, spill oceans of blood, and win completely in the end.
The new script, available only in English, is: we're poor victims who want peace and. In tune with current world thinking, this generates much sympathy.
But the resulting public relations' victories avail them not.
First, let's ask: what, in material terms, has the shift in Western opinion and media coverage actually cost Israel? It's easy to say Israel has been restrained from triumphs by Western pressure as a result of this change. Yet that situation dates back to the early 1970s, before the public relations' blitz, and has more to do with geopolitics than public opinion.
One can argue that there have been some costs to Israel (beneficial advantages from the European Union) and some benefits to the other side (more money to the Palestinian Authority). There's been a lot of personal discomfiture for Israelis treated as pariahs and Jews abroad dismayed by waves of hatred and misunderstanding.
Yet this has amounted to relatively little material disadvantage for Israel and not much real benefit for its adversaries. After all, there's still no Palestinian state, Palestinians are more divided than ever, Hamas is isolated, there's not much pressure on Israel for concessions, the Israeli presence on the Golan Heights remains, Israel's economy thrives, Israel's relations with the major European countries are good, the international campaign against Iran's nuclear drive is as strong as can be expected, and so on.
In short, the radical Arab nationalists, Islamists, Arab regimes, and Palestinian movement have squandered their public relations' victories in the West. The main reason for this is their extremist goals. They are like a bettor who wins at the gambling table but never cashes in his chips since defeat makes him more determined and success makes him over-confident.
If, for example, Palestinian leaders had wanted a deal to get an independent state or Syria had preferred to get back the Golan Heights in exchange for full peace they would have succeeded. A good press and favorable Western opinion, reflected through government policies, would have helped them make a better deal. As it is, however, they are merely enabled to continue their endless struggle with a smile on their faces.
A second way they have lost is by failing to be constructive. Aid given Palestinians was thrown away rather than used to build a productive stable society. The same principle applies to many Arab countries, with a partial exception for high-income, low-population Gulf Arab oil-producing states. Fickle fortune doesn't favor one forever. If you don't grab an advantage it flies away. The moving finger writes and having writ moves on, as Omar Khayyam put it. And sometimes, within a very short time, the very same finger that once praised you gives you, so to speak, the finger.
Third, specific actions undermine temporary popularity. Such events as September 11, the London subway bombings, the Islamist specter, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's demagoguery turn off the Western audience.
Finally, what Arab nationalists and Islamists often cite as their strongest card that time is on their side--because of high birth rates, which also mean lower living standards, or due to Israel's impending miraculous collapse--is among their worst mistakes. You could call it the vulture strategy, wait around in hope your adversary will die. They go on fighting and suffering--postponing peace, progress, and prosperity--while Israel, despite costs, prospers and its people live much better lives.
Rather than being used as part of an integrated strategy to obtain the best possible deal, public relations' successes act as morale builders to keep fighters going in the belief that victory is inevitable. In short, the more sympathetic stories about suffering victim Palestinians, the stronger the impetus to continue policies ensuring Palestinians continue in that status.
One reason for this malady is that most Arabs and Muslims are misled by a history often characterized by the cycle famously described by the historian Ibn Khaldoun. City-centered civilizations grown rich and decadent were destroyed by warlike tribes who reveled in battle. Sheep-like peasants were preyed on by nomadic warriors who raided them like wolves, killing and pillaging.
This was before, however, developed societies built technology, organization, discipline, and identity which gave them real military superiority beyond the strong right arm of individual hero warriors who courted death in battle. Now would-be conquerors sacrifice all for a future that'll never come. A strategy based on loving death and hating life reaps the commensurate result.
Jews know well from history that it is wrong to say "sticks and stones" are physically damaging while "words will never hurt me." Experience has shown that one day, blood libel; next day, pogrom. Yet Golda Meir was in fact right: progress trumps propaganda; quality triumphs over quantity; building beats destroying; and pragmatism is superior to ideologically-based wishful thinking.
Having a nice scrapbook of press clippings doesn't equal victory. Indeed, it can spell defeat.



Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). Prof. Rubin's columns can be read online.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Drowning In Solutions


Drowning in Solutions

Barry Rubin

June 9, 2008


Suppose that debate over the world's most obsessive issue is based on nonsense. Consider if the policy options of governments, discourse of universities, and rivers of word in the media on this matter are clearly illogical. What if thousands of diplomats, journalists, and professors are racing down the wrong path and billions of dollars are being tossed away in a futile pursuit?

To make matters worse, if all that time, attention, energy, and resources is being devoted to the wrong things, they cannot be used to solve real, pressing problems that might be better handled.

That's a pretty horrendous scenario, right? But that is basically the situation we face regarding the absurd belief that the Arab-Israeli, or more immediately, the Israeli-Palestinian, conflict can be resolved at this time.

So let me say it again: despite the mountains of speeches, conferences, articles, committees, foundation grants, projects, currencies of every description, and policies expended on it, there is no solution in sight for the conflict. It will continue for decades, Hamas is not about to become moderate, even Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which few reporters can even mention without inserting the word moderate before their names, isn't anywhere near moderate enough to make peace.

If you examine in detail the composition of the PA or Fatah, the nature of its leadership, the articles in its newspapers or the talking heads in its television shows, the slogans at its rallies, the contents of its textbooks, the themes of its officially appointed clerics sermons, and so on, the combined inability and unwillingness to make peace could not possibly be more obvious.

Yet, no, it is not obvious at all, I guess. For some it isn't obvious because they know nothing about the region, its history or politics. For others they simply don't want to pay attention because their goal of peace is too precious to have to take facts into account.

In fact, they have no shortage of explanations why they are repeatedly proven wrong and no lack of solutions--a long list of things that are not going to happen. That list includes: believing in Hamas moderation; negotiating with Hamas; asking Jordan to step in to govern the West Bank; Egypt talking sense to the Palestinian leadership; extending Gaza into Sinai; back-channel dialogues (I've been to those, the Israelis apologize and the Palestinians blame Israel for everything); person-to-person contacts; making an agreement to sit on a shelf until there is an agreement; making an agreement in principal until there's an agreement; a one-state solution; a two-state solution; a three-state solution; changing the shape of the table; giving more concessions (Israel, that is, funny how you never hear about the Palestinians making concessions); economic development; and so on ad infinitum.

The real point is that Hamas (along with Iran, Syria, and Hizballah) doesn't want a solution (except one through total victory after decades of Islamic revolutionary warfare) and the Fatah/PA side is incompetent, disorganized, and still too radical to accept one. Fatah and the PA prefer a deal with Hamas, not Israel. They are fostering an ethos which basically says, Blessed is the suicide bomber for he is a national hero. Their alternative solution is still the destruction of Israel, though many people in various Arab states know that is a disaster not for Israel but for the Arabs.

Yet the idea of finding the solution and a speedy one at that--the opiate of the policymakers? holy grail? philosopher's stone?--negates both all of our previous experience plus any sensible analysis of the current situation.

Why is this? Ignorance is an important factor, as is arrogance (I will make peace!), and opportunism (there's a lot of money, fame, and career advancement in the peace industry!). There is also a baffled rationalism--why wouldn't the Palestinian or Arab leaders make peace when it is so much in their interests? (Answer: they don't think it to be in their interests, as well as believing it to be unnecessary and immoral.) Finally, there are just plain old good intentions, which have killed almost as many people in history as bad intentions.

It would be better to devote ourselves--and governments, their time--to real issues and policy alternatives. But the starting point must be based on one simple admission: There is no solution in sight and no gimmick that will bring such an outcome. Let's begin the discussion there.

Don't worry! There's plenty to talk about and even more to do: the politics of Fatah/PA; will Hamas destroy them and how to prevent it; how can Lebanon be kept from being a state dominated by Hizballah-Iran-Syria; the best strategy in Iraq; stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons; defeating Tehran's ambitions; promoting a positive stability in Jordan and Egypt; keeping Islamism from destroying what's left of the region; reducing terrorism; and you can add another twenty issues to that. Why, people could even figure out how they should support Israel, which has to deal with constant attack attempts by those who refuse peace and embrace--at least when they aren't being interviewed in English by the Western media--extremism and violence.

But as long as we spend a disproportionate amount of our time pretending there's some imminent Arab-Israeli solution (or attending to the ridiculous notion that the failure is Israel's fault), we won't give enough attention to the real threats, issues, and options.

And, yes, that's one of the reasons why the Middle East is often such a mess, the Western attempt to deal with the region is usually such a shambles, and the effort to understand the area is generally such a disaster.


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Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).





The Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center
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Saturday, June 7, 2008

THE GREAT GAME



By Barry Rubin
Ramat Gan, Israel
Forget all the wimpy claptrap about Israel disappearing. Anyone who believes such nonsense has obviously never been to an Israeli soccer game.
One thing for sure: if Israelis are so tough and determined over team loyalties in football, anyone who actually threatens our freedom and existence has pretty dim prospects.
I’m at the national championship match between Betar Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Hapoel along with 50,000 other Israelis. The crowd is mostly male and young but quite a mixture. Many might pass muster at a Puerto Rican day parade; a lot could raise a, “Funny you don’t look Jewish,” remark elsewhere in the world.
It’s a laboratory of essential Israeliness, not as an exact cross-section of the country but as a reminder of just how three-dimensionally real Israel actually is. It shows how Israel has evolved from historical Jewish experiences through distinctive Zionist and Israel society ones.
This event has nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel’s image in the Western media, or Middle East politics. And that’s precisely the point.
What a cultural clash this match seems. In one corner, the Tel Aviv Worker team. Can you imagine another sports team—outside of the old Soviet bloc—with such a name? Colors are red and white. It comes out of the labor movement (and Labor party) pre-state movements.
This is one aspect of basic Israeliness. The glorification of labor is a big part of the Zionist movement’s history, a large part of how the state and society was built. We have no capitalists and little capital so the people who do the work have to create the companies and thus the jobs. After centuries of being forced into mercantile pursuits, Jews must return to the land and the factory, basic production, and depend on themselves.
Now, it is something like a joke, though also integrated into the mentality and society. While Israel may have become less egalitarian in many ways, the psychology is still there. When workers come into my house, we sit around, drink coffee, and are on a first-name basis. A strong sense of community persists. In school, kids in a class stay together several years. More effort—sometimes relatively too much—is built on teaching social skills and personal interaction than on academics.
A big banner at the last game over the fanatic fan section read, “Long Live Hapoel!” which could be more literally translated as, “Long Live the Working People,” adorned with a hammer and sickle. That’s not literal politics though it does reflect something. One of my colleagues, who came to Israel at age 15, said the first question she was asked by another girl at school was, “Are you left or right?” a question that life in Ohio had not prepared her for.
Today, Hapoel is a Tel Aviv local team. Yet Tel Aviv is also something of a state of mind: Mediterranean, secular, somewhat bohemian, Israel’s intellectual and cultural capital. It is not so much to the left politically—elections are close and there is often a small majority for the political right—but Tel Aviv is a deeply rooted, multi-level phenomenon.
Then there’s the other side. Jerusalem Betar, colors black and yellow, equally legitimate as basic Israel. Betar was the last place to fall in the revolt against the Romans. It’s the name of the youth movement of Herut, now Likud, Israel’s conservative party. Its self-image is nationalistic, poorer, Sephardic, Middle Eastern, and religious, reflecting Jerusalem’s ethos as much as any political stance.
Betar fans are intense. If there’s any football hooliganism in Israel it’s from them, though tame stuff compared to Europe. In the last minute after Betar won a critical game recently, fans flooded the field in celebration. As a result, the game was cancelled, a disaster for their team.
Security is tight; the police out in force. All plastic water bottles are confiscated at the gates. “But it’s plastic!” one fan protests while handing it over. “You can still throw it on the field,” says the policeman.
The stadium is packed, half yellow; half red. Yet while there’s a sense of war in it, civility is good, by Israeli standards fantastic. When players fall, the guy on the other team who knocked them down often helps them up. About one-quarter of the players is foreign, non-Jewish and often black African, though Hapoel has one Ethiopian-origin Jewish Israeli player. Hapoel’s big fan favorite is Fabio Junior, from Bulgaria.
Despite the overtones, the rivalry is good-natured. Israelis scream at each other but confrontations that in the United States would end in violence stay verbal.
This game is a good metaphor for Israeli politics. There is passion and even hatred but people know where to stop. And tragic events to the contrary—the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin being the most obvious—actual clashes only reinforce those limits. There is an underlying sense of something so much in common that it cushions these conflicts. Few remember that a couple of decades ago the Ashkenazic-Sephardic and religious-secular rifts were thought likely to bring down the state. Now they are at most minor nuisances.
Nevertheless, while deep down everyone may know that we are all one family, the emotional experience is so intense that when I think a huge amount of time has gone bye and think I am completely exhausted, I look at the game clock to find that only 18 minutes has actually elapsed. The seats are for decorative purposes only. No one sits down during the almost four hours.
Another element is the subtext of Jewish/Israeli history embedded in the society. Those noxious noisemakers going off full-blast in my ears are modeled on the shofar and sound just like one. When another team’s fans wanted to convey their certain victory over Betar they proclaimed, “The walls of Jerusalem will crumble!” Israel has a foundation as solid—more so in many cases—than that of any other country in the world.
And there’s something else, very important, that I want to convey to you. It’s hard to do so but I will do my best. The basic view of Israel in the world, whether pro or con, is pretty flat. It comes from media reports and focuses on the Arab-Israeli conflict. As a result, the actually existing country gets short shrift. Yet Israel is a fully realized state with a mass of subcultures, an overarching national ethos and sense of unity, a distinctive language, and a powerful set of cultural-psychological norms built on history, both 3,000- year history and 60-year history.
Those who support Israel, including the great majority of Jews elsewhere, are largely reacting to two concepts. First, Israel is imperiled, a very familiar theme in Jewish history. Second, Israel is religious, relating to their own basic definition of Jewishness. For some, though this is fading, there is a nostalgic, ethnic shtetl-oriented perspective, and also the charitable impulse toward poorer Jews.
Yet Israel is a fully realized vision of what Jews as a people should be and be doing. It could certainly stand to learn some very good ideas and examples from Jews elsewhere, but the opposite is also true. The world view is different here, based on relying on ourselves, not dealing with assimilation, existing in a Jewish environment in which religion as a direct factor is greatly diminished yet, indirectly as a diluted cultural influence, very powerful. Friday evening to Saturday evening is the weekend; Jewish holidays are the public cycle of the year; and so on.
From far away, Israel is small and its future may appear dim. From close up, apart from a small set of café intellectuals often the main source for foreign journalists, Israel looks very strong.
Oh, and what happened in the game, you ask? Double overtime, 0-0; settled by a sudden-death, alternating one-on-one, face off between players and goalkeepers. Betar won. Left meets right. End of the game: fireworks and unity. Colors: blue and white.
Well, look at it this way. Two thousand years ago we lost a critical game to the Romans. It was very bad. Israel sunk to last place for a long time, but also stayed in the league when many apparently stronger teams went kaput.
Now, Hapoel, after winning two consecutive championships, lost a game. If Israel has lost a few lately, it’s still high in the standings. And if it didn’t collapse that evening, Israel is going to go on for a very long time.

A version of this article was published in the Jerusalem Post Magazine, March 23, 2008.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA and other GLORIA Center publications or to order books, visit http://www.gloriacenter.org.


Professor Barry Rubin,
Director, (GLORIA) Center Global Research in International Affairs


Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal
Editor, Turkish Studies

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Olmert's Dilemma and Israel's Multi-front Negotiations:

By Barry Rubin

Clearly, the conduct of negotiations by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government with Syria, the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas, has an Israeli political dimension. Yet it is easy to misunderstand this relationship.
Olmert’s unpopularity and personal involvement with strong corruption allegations give him an incentive to conduct such talks. His basic argument is: I’m engaged in such important efforts to achieve peace as to render unimportant all these other petty issues. Stop distracting me.
But two other neglected points must be added. First, this message is aimed at the political left and the Israeli media most of all. By saying he’s working for peace, Olmert believes—with good reason—that they won’t criticize him. Second, though, this same gambit makes him more unpopular with the right.
Additionally, Israeli public opinion is generally cynical. It isn’t against negotiations and very much wants peace but is doubtful that Syria, Fatah, or Hamas are willing to make real peace.
Consequently, Olmert’s activist policy on talks also has negative effects on his domestic popularity and political support.
In brief, then, Olmert may be influenced by political considerations but the result is not all positive, nor is his diplomatic strategy by any means responsible for his survival. Parliamentary politics are far more important in this regard. He has a majority coalition, his partners are afraid of elections, and his party colleagues know that his mismanagement would lead to their destruction in case of elections. These points--not rushing to talks, sometimes overestimating their results, or making huge concessions--are the main reasons why Olmert has remained in office.
Here there enters an important irony. The fact is that—for reasons which cannot be fully covered in this short article—Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, and Syria don’t want to make peace with Israel, while Fatah (and hence the Palestinian Authority, PA) is entrapped in a mixture of rejection and, to the extent that some of its leaders are more moderate, weakness which prevents it from doing so.
Given this reality, Olmert and other Israeli leaders know that achieving agreements is unlikely. Consequently, they can engage in negotiations and offer concessions in the relative security that they will not have to implement deals. This is not to imply they are motivated by cynicism—they’d prefer success--but that’s the situation in which they work.
There has been a withering and heated criticism of the Olmert government from the right, sometimes crossing the border to incitement. Yet this storm has been based on the words of Olmert and the government. It is much harder to show that their actual deeds have involved extreme unilateral concessions, jeopardizing the country’s security, or giving away assets for selfish political gain. The talks have remained just that, talks. And there is an important structural reason in terms of the other side’s positions, interests, and needs why this has been so.
An additional factor in this situation is a search to meet shorter-term goals. Even granted that negotiations will not succeed in achieving total peace and an end to the conflict, certain things might be gained which benefit both Israel and the government. In many cases, there can be a debate over specific ideas but they are not irrational ones.
Most important is how this works in Israel-PA talks. There is a broad consensus in Israel that the country’s interests require the survival of the PA, whose replacement by Hamas in the West Bank would create a more dangerous and violent situation. Equally, it is vital to give the PA a higher capacity to block terrorism, improve its people’s well-being, and reduce the level of direct conflict. Talks, easing tensions, some concessions, and allowing the PA to get resources it needs are worthwhile even for such partial successes. And, of course, by showing its flexibility and desire for peace, Israel also improves its relations with the West.
Talks with Syria have a different but parallel set of criteria. On one hand, there is the hope (which this author believes mistaken) that somehow, no matter how unlikely, this might somehow lead to peace and to the detachment of Syria from its alliance with Iran. Yet there are also more modest expectations.
It is important to remember that Defense Minister Ehud Barak has long believed that advancing on the Syrian track is a way to sidestep the deadlock he perceives on the Palestinian track and gain leverage over the Palestinians. This was his policy as prime minister in 1999.
Another goal is to give Syria an incentive to keep the Israel-Lebanon border quiet, reining in Hizballah to avoid destroying talks which also benefit itself (though the Syrian regime is uninterested in achieving peace with Israel).
In contrast to the PA policy, however, the Syria initiative arguably undermined U.S.-Israel relations to some extent.
Any talks with Hamas offer far less in all respects, which is one reason why they have lagged behind the other two tracks.
Finally, the idea that the problem in negotiations is the Olmert government is too weak to make peace should be laid to rest. This is superficially appealing yet unquestionable if Olmert could show any real progress he would be much stronger politically. And if he fell his successors would probably pursue roughly similar policies—definitely so on the PA track. Olmert’s problems stem not from his negotiations policies, while his negotiations’ policies stem only partly from his political problems.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition, Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

A slightly different version of this article appeared in Bitter Lemons,

Reprinted with permission.



Professor Barry Rubin,
Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center
Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal
Editor, Turkish Studies

Monday, June 2, 2008

SHATTERED ENGAGEMENTS





Engagement doesn’t always produce marriage.

In the U.S.-Iran case, diplomatic engagements have been repeatedly disastrous. Yet many think the idea of engagement was just invented and never tried.

1. President John Kennedy pressed Iran for democratic reforms in the early 1960s..

The Shah responded with his White Revolution which horrified traditionalists and moved them to active opposition. One of them was named Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

2. President Richard Nixon urged Iran in the early 1970s, under the Nixon Doctrine, to become a regional power since America was overextended in Vietnam.

The Shah embarked on a huge arms-buying campaign and close alliance stirring more opposition and fiscal strain, contributing to unrest.

3. In the late 1970s, President Jimmy Carter pushed Iran to ease restrictions. The result was Islamist revolution. Next, Carter urged the Shah not to repress the uprising, helping bring his downfall.

4. After the 1979 revolution, Carter engaged the new regime to show Khomeini that America was his friend.

National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, today advising Barack Obama, met Iranian leaders.

Tehran interpreted this engagement as an effort to subvert or co-opt the revolution, so Iranians seized the U.S. embassy and took everyone there hostage.

[1]5. The Reagan administration secretly engaged Iran in the mid-1980s to help free U.S. hostages of its terrorism. Result: a policy debacle and free military equipment for Iran. 6. In recent years there was a long engagement in which European states negotiated for themselves and America to get Tehran to stop its nuclear weapons’ drive. Iran gained four years to develop nukes; the West got nothing.

[2]The history of U.S. engagement with the PLO and Syria is similar. The Oslo era (1992-2000) was engagement as disaster, establishing a PLO regime indifferent to its people’s welfare, increasing radicalism and violence, with no gain for peace. Aside from the worsened security problem, Israel’s international image was badly damaged by concessions made and risks taken. America’s making the PLO a client brought it no gratitude or strategic gain.

[3]Similarly, Syria used the 1991-2000 engagement era to survive its USSR superpower sponsor’s collapse while doing everything it wanted: dominating Lebanon, sponsoring terrorism, and sabotaging peace. U.S. secretaries of state visited Damascus numerous times and achieved nothing, a process that continued up to 2004. Syria first helped Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, then sponsored terrorists who disrupted Iraq and killed Americans.

[4]There have, of course, been successful engagements—but not with Iran, Syria, or the PLO. The most successful was Egypt’s turnaround by Nixon and Kissinger. A partial success was changing Libya’s behavior.

In those two cases, American power, not compassion, achieved success.

Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi and Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat (“America holds 99 percent of the cards”) knew they were weak and needed to stop America from hitting them hard.Engagements, of course, have effects other than direct success. One is to buy time for someone. But who? If one party subverts other states, builds nuclear weapons, demoralizes the other’s allies, and sponsors terrorism during talks while the other side…just talks, the first side benefits far more.Second, if one side gets the other to make concessions to prove good faith and keep talks going, that side benefits. Keeping engagement going becomes an end in itself as the weaker side uses a diplomatic version of asymmetric warfare to make gains.Finally, while using talks to deescalate tensions apparently benefits everyone, matters are not so simple. By talking, a stronger side can throw away its leverage.

The weaker side does not have to back down to avoid confrontation.

So engagement, without pressure or threat, benefits the weaker side.

If the stronger side is eager to reach agreement, the weaker side has more leverage. The advantage is transferred from the strongest side to the most intransigent one. Here, Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah have the upper hand.

Senator Obama doesn’t understand these points.

To see how alien a normal liberal concept of foreign policy is for him, note what he could have said:“America must be strong to protect its interests, values, and friends against ruthless adversaries.

But if America is strong, it can also be flexible. Let us engage countries and leaders by telling them clearly our demands and goals.

Once Iran understands the United States will counter its threats of genocide against Israel, involvement in terrorism against Americans, and threats to our interests it may back down. If Iran gives up its extremism, we are ready to offer friendship.

But if Iran remains extremist we will quickly abandon engagement and never hesitate to respond appropriately.”

This way, a leader shows he knows how to use both carrots and sticks.

But Obama has never said anything like this. He has no concept of toughness as a necessary element in flexibility, or of deterrence as a precondition to conciliation.

Nor does he indicate that he would be steadfast if engagement failed.

He defines no U.S. preconditions for meeting or conditions for agreement.

He offers to hear Iran’s grievances but says nothing about American grievances.

Radical Islamists interpret this strategy as weakness of which they will take full advantage. That’s why Iran, Syria, and Hamas favor Obama.

Thus spoke Lebanese cleric Muhammad Abu al-Qat on Hizballah’s al-Manar television on May 10: “The American empire will very soon collapse….This won't happen as a result of war….An American Gorbachev will surface in America, and he will destroy this empire.

[5]Islamists and radicals want Obama because they understandably expect him to play into their hands. By the same token, more moderate Arab regimes and observers are horrified.Obama is so scary and is accused of appeasement not because he wants to meet enemies in person but because he doesn’t want to meet them in struggle.

He doesn’t know how international politics work through power, threats, deterrence, self-interest, and credibility.

He doesn’t comprehend that totalitarian ideologies cannot be moderated by apology or weakness.

Whatever you think of Senator John McCain, he understands these basic concepts. That’s why he’s a centrist who can be trusted to protect American national interests.

Whatever you think of Senator Hillary Clinton, she understands these basic concepts. T

hat’s why she’s a liberal who can be trusted to protect American national interests.

And that’s why Obama is both a dangerously naïve amateur and a leftist posing as a liberal.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); andThe Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA and other GLORIA Center publications or to order books, visit http://www.gloriacenter.org/.[1] On Points 1-4, see Barry Rubin, Paved with Good Intentions: The American Experience and Iran, (Oxford, 1980; Viking-Penguin, 1981)[2] On Point 5, see Barry Rubin, Cauldron of Turmoil: America in the Middle East, (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1992.) available for free at http://www.gloriacenter.org/submenus/freebooks/download/cauldron.pdf]. See also Barry Rubin, "Lessons from Iran," in Alexander T. J. Lennon and Camille Eiss, Reshaping Rogue States: Preemption, Regime Change, and U.S. Policy toward Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, (Boston: MIT Press, 2004), pp. 141-156, and “Regime Change and Iran: A Case Study,” Washington Quarterly, 2003.[3] On U.S. policy and the PLO, see Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography Oxford University Press 2003; paperback, 2005.British/Commonwealth edition: Continuum 2003. Australian edition: Allan & Unwin. Italian edition: Mondadori, 2004; Hebrew edition, Yediot Aharnot, 2005; Turkish edition, Aykiri Yayincilik, 2005.[4] On U.S. policy and Syria, see Barry Rubin, The Truth About Syria, Palgrave-MacMillan (2007); paperback, 2008.[5] http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/1772.htmProfessor Barry Rubin,Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center <http://www.gloriacenter.org/>Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal <http://meria.idc.ac.il/> Editor, Turkish Studies

Jewish Refugees mentioned for First time in British Parliament


This article was posted on http://Jerusalemposts.com
It was posted by a lady I am proud to call a friend, Simone Simmons, Author, Raconteur and Spiritual Advisor to the Royal Family.



Friends,
As you may or may not know, I've had many discussions about the Jewish Refugees with Lyn J, who is the UK contact for Justice for Jews from Arab Countries.
We were wondering about how to promote the issue to become high profile. After much deliberating, I eventually wrote to Andrew Dismore, my MP, on 4th April this year, sending him the necessary information, as well as the resolution passed in the US Congress - saying we should do the same here - to get the plight of Jewish Refugees from Arab countries recognised. We had a nice little correspondence, culminating in a meeting today when I went along with Lyn who was highly efficient and well prepared with her wad of papers and information. Andrew himself had managed to find more information online since I first wrote to him, but thanks to our correspondence had virtually all he needed anyway. We had gone there initially to ask for an Early Day Motion, but were in for a wonderful surprise when he said he'd already mentioned it at the previous Adjournment Debate on 20th May as below:
"When talking about the problems of the Palestinian refugees, we overlook the Jewish refugees from Arab lands. In 1945, some 800,000 Jewish people were living in Arab countries; today, there are fewer than 7,000. I am thinking of the Jews from Iraq and Yemen, who had to flee the pogroms there. The net result was what can only be described as an exchange of populations, because of the number of Palestinians who left and the number of Jewish people who went to Israel, having been expelled from Arab lands."
We'd very much like to congratulate him on being the first MP ever to raise this issue in the House. Mazel tov! :-)
Simone
Westminster Hall Debate 20 May 2008
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2008-05-20a.1.0&s=Internet Mr.
Andrew Dismore (Hendon) (Lab): I
congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham and Stamford (Mr. Davies) on
securing this very important debate and on his tour de force of historical
analysis. That said, I would like to mention one or two points of particular
relevance to the UK. First, it was, of course, the UK that created the Balfour
declaration, which led to the state of Israel. That was the positive. The
negative was how very soon afterwards, under the British mandate, we made every
effort that we could to limit immigration by Jewish people into Israel. The most
appalling decision was made in May 1939. I am referring to the White Paper that
limited immigration, on the eve of the holocaust, to 75,000 people over five
years. When considering the history, we should remember, not as a side note but
as an important point, that hundreds of British service people and civilians
gave their lives during the period of the British mandate, trying to fulfil what
was an impossible task given to them by the British Government and the League of
Nations in the mandate. The graves of those people are often forgotten. When
talking about the problems of the Palestinian refugees, we overlook the Jewish
refugees from Arab lands. In 1945, some 800,000 Jewish people were living in
Arab countries; today, there are fewer than 7,000. I am thinking of the Jews
from Iraq and Yemen, who had to flee the pogroms there. The net result was what
can only be described as an exchange of populations, because of the number of
Palestinians who left and the number of Jewish people who went to Israel, having
been expelled from Arab lands. Now, of the population of Israel— 7.2
million—some 20 per cent. are Arab, yet there is still immigration not just from
Russia and Ethiopia, but from Europe. Of course, there are people from my
constituency who like to carry out aliyah—to return to what they consider their
homeland of Israel. We also see, in the rest of Europe, people fleeing to Israel
from the fear of anti-Semitism, which has been growing dramatically. In
the short time available, I would like to remind hon. Members of the founding
principles of Israel. The declaration of independence stressed the values of
liberty, justice, peace and equality—traditional values. Israel has been able to
maintain that democracy against all the threats with a vibrant supreme court,
which challenges its own Government in the same way that our courts challenge
our Government, of whichever political hue—often to the regret of the
politicians involved. Although Israel has won the wars that it always has to
fight against threats that exist—I am thinking of the events of 1948, 1956, 1967
and 1973—unfortunately it has lost the battle for public opinion. When we
compare how people perceived Israel in 1967 with how they perceive it now, we
need to ask why the perception has changed. It is partly because Israel has not
gone out to court world opinion. Also, people forget that Israel is surrounded
by an enormous population of people who are hostile to it. That has fed
anti-Semitism around
the world. It has led to terrorism, hostage-taking, the missing Israeli service
personnel, from Ron Arad to Gilad Shalit, and now we see for the first time threats to
Israel’s existence from Iran and the nuclear programme of President Ahmadinejad, who refuses
to negotiate about that. Although the threat to Israel’s existence—though not to
its population—through terrorism has declined, a very different world is now
developing. We will perhaps see some realignment as Arab states, too, are
threatened by the growth of Iran’s armoury. There is little time left in the
debate, so I will simply say this. If there is to be progress and a peace
agreement, the three international conditions of an end to terrorism,
recognition of international agreements and recognition of Israel by Hamas must be met.
_________________

Sunday, June 1, 2008

An Empty Package

So many issues are basically unknown to Americans.
Most Americans couldn't tell you, for example, the name of the Prime Minister of Israel.
Recently, on C-Span, current events in Israel were covered, and one could assume from the callers to the program that education and knowledge concerning Israel are desperately needed.

Israel is very much like the canary in the coal mine.
My thanks to http://www.gloriacenter.org/
for these excellent articles covering the Middle-East and Israel.

By Jonathan Spyer

Haaretz May 30, 2008

At this past Sunday's cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued a public statement relating to the revived negotiations with Syria. The talks, the prime minister wished to assure us, were "serious" and would be conducted with "all due caution." All the ingredients familiar from peace processes past were present in Olmert's statement: the gravitas; the quiet sense that history is presenting us with a chance that must not be missed; the necessary discretion. However, in the manner now familiar from Olmert's tenure as prime minister, what we were presented with was the form of something, without its content.
The revelation of negotiations with Syria last week came wrapped in the packaging of a diplomatic breakthrough. But it was nothing of the kind. The basic flaw relates not to Israeli domestic politics (though this may certainly be a factor). The reason why the current negotiations are almost certain to lead nowhere relates to the Syrian regime, and to its perception of its own interests. Syria should not be expected to break with Iran, for the following, central reason: The Iranians and their friends are winning. The Iran-led bloc can look around the region today, and feel a quiet sense of satisfaction. In all the various areas in which it is engaged in its long war with the West, Iran is gaining ground.
Hamas, hosted by Syria and increasingly sponsored and trained by Iran, is holding on in Gaza. In doing so, the Hamas enclave there offers living proof of the muqawama (resistance) doctrine to which the Iranian-led bloc adheres. According to this doctrine, Iran and its clients can paralyze their enemies' decision-making ability, by making the cost of a preferred action too high. Israel knows that it ought to conduct a large-scale military operation in Gaza, in order to remove a regime that makes any peace process with the Palestinians an impossibility. But Israel doesn't act, because of the cost in lives that such an operation would entail. For Iran and its allies, this confirms a basic dictum: namely, that the shiny outward appearance of Western and Israeli strength conceals an inner weakness - a lack of will.
Iran and its clients have just scored an additional major victory in Lebanon. This, similarly, was gained by raw intimidation. The result was that in Doha last week, Hezbollah gained the key demand for which it has been campaigning over the previous 18 months: veto power in a new cabinet.
This is of direct relevance to the Syrians. The Assad regime's interests have been aptly described as regime survival, returning to a position of influence in Lebanon and regaining the Golan Heights - in that order. If Assad is currently interested in talking, it's because he genuinely would like to gain the third item on this list - but not if it has implications for the other two items, which are more important. If quitting the Iran-led bloc is the price, it has direct relevance to both the stability of the regime and the Lebanese question.
Hezbollah's new strength in Beirut will enable it to block and perhaps kill the tribunal investigating the murder of former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The tribunal has been one of the chief fears of the Assad regime since the assassination, in February 2005. More fundamentally, the rise of Hezbollah to the status of arbiter of power in Lebanon represents a very significant and clear gain for the Iran-led bloc in what has been one of the key arenas of its contest with the United States and its regional allies.
Now, if Syria were to depart the Iran-led bloc, its place in all of this would evaporate: no more blocking of the Hariri tribunal, because there would be no more backing of Hezbollah. No return to Lebanon - with its many economic opportunities - because its new American friends will want to respect Lebanese sovereignty. No more influence over the Palestinians through the support of Hamas. Instead, the Assad regime would gain the basalt plateau of the Golan Heights - the absence of which causes it no tangible discomfort - and would in return become a vulnerable, minority-led dictatorship with no immediately obvious justification for its own existence.
Why would the Syrians go for such a deal? Why would they leave the tutelage of a power that appears to be successfully defying the West over its nuclear program, and whose allies are managing to hold up well across the region? The answer is that they wouldn't, which is why the process is packaging without substance.
Indeed, the very desire of Israel at the present time to break with American attempts to isolate Syria offers further proof that defiance works. Who is splitting whose alliance in this process, exactly?
The bottom line is that peace will become a possibility in the region only when the pro-Iranian alliance is challenged and faced down. The attempt to decouple elements of it at the moment of its ascent is worse than useless. It conveys confusion, disunity and hesitancy at a time when the precise opposites of all of these are urgently needed.

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Dr. Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya Israel.
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The Chomsky Hoax

The Chomsky Hoax
Exposing the Dishonesty of Noam Chomsky