In my opinion, there is no possibility to settle this generational struggle as long as a conservative hawk heads the government in Israel. It will not matter what any Palestinian leader does, or what progress Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza make. The two sides are not even talking to each other right now because of Israel's continuation of settlement activity. Our diplomatic man in the Middle East, former Senator George Mitchell, will be attempting to reinvent Henry Kissinger's style of shuttle diplomacy, going back and forth between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But he is not the only big gun in the region.
Vice President Joe Biden has also gone to Israel to work on restarting the Middle East peace process, it is well reported by Steve Clemons at the Washington Note. Just to show the United States not to get too cocky about its chances, Israel announced 1600 more buildings in the nation's continued settlement of occupied east Jerusalem disputed territory. Then Israel apologized for embarrassing Biden, according to Yahoo! News.
The chances for peace seem a bit better in Iraq, though it is still a long shot. Most of the major differences have yet to be settled. Sunday was election day in Iraq. Over 60% of the people turned out to vote for members of the new parliament. Current Prime Minister Malak, a Shiia, will probably win the most votes, though not a majority. This election the Sunnis did not boycott voting, and will gather a lot of votes. It will, thus, take some months for the PM candidate with the most votes to form a new coalition government. What will happen in the meantime?
The big question is whether Iraq will descend into civil war when the U.S. withdraws its combat forces. Will an insurgency begin to gather steam again? Or will the Shiia, Sunni and Kurdish sectors be able to work out their differences peacefully? Will all the years of the United States waging a counterinsurgency war in Iraq bear any fruit whatsoever? For background on our "Counterinsurgency Operations in Iraq," see the video of this fine conference broadcast on C-SPAN March 5, 2010. The excellent panel included Patrick Cronin, Andrew Exum, Thomas Ricks and Linda Robinson.
Possibilities for peace in the Middle East were never good under the previous Bush administration, populated as it was by neocons. It is becoming more apparent that not peace, but domination, was the goal. A new book by "Bush's brain," Karl Rove is causing a great deal of consternation as he tries to rewrite the last 10 years of history of the region. Karl Rove's book is about the wrong person, according to a recent guest post by Lawrence Wilkerson at The Washington Note. Wilkerson's theory is that Vice President Dick Cheney was in charge, and that the war in Iraq was always about the oil needs of the United States. Cheney's behavior since leaving office bears that out. He has never been a peaceful man and seems incapable of change.
Possibilities for peace in the Middle East are better under the Obama administration, in my opinion. They are smarter and more pragmatic. Its leaders are less troubled by hubris, and less beholden to the military-industrial complex. I leave you with a great new website for following President Obama's peace processes, when and if they happen:
Reference — The Middle East Channel on Twitter.
[Post date: March 10, 2010]
Blogs: My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. My creative website is at Making Good Mondays. And Carol Gee – Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.