Saturday, January 12, 2008

Drop your bombs between the minarets

Now confident that Iraq will be a disaster the next administration will have to repair, GWBush has set his sights a little further west, but still in the Middle East:
US President George W. Bush is an optimist. That's why he's visiting the Middle East this week in order to speed up the peace process that he started in Annapolis (more...) at the end of 2007.

He wants to use the 12 months left to him in the White House to solve the 60-year-old Middle East conflict, he says, and he gushes bravely about a two-state solution -- with Israel and Palestine living in harmony, side by side.

But during his visit, which ends Friday, he has achieved exactly the opposite. Instead of bridging the divide between the Israelis and the Palestinians, he has made it wider. Neither has he accelerated the peace process. Instead, he has merely managed to make it more difficult. On the red carpet that was laid out for him in the Holy Land, he has managed to bury the Palestinian state before it was even born.

Like Custer at The Little Big Horn, he insists on doing it his way, never mind that his was is the way of an idiot:
Speaking at Abbas' side, Bush said that he was confident that "with proper help, the state of Palestine will emerge." Sources close to the negotiations said that Bush had offered to visit the region again if this was required to give the peace process fresh impetus. And the White House also announced on Thursday that Bush had named Lt. Gen. William Fraser as his envoy to monitor the Israeli-Palestinian "road map" peace plan.

. . . By pointing out Abbas' shortcomings in public, Bush has made him even weaker. There were admittedly friendly words when Abbas received Bush in Ramallah on Thursday. In order to avoid offending Bush, Abbas even eschewed the Russian fur hat he usually wears when it is cold.

But Abbas is not in a position to fulfill the great expectations that Bush has placed on his shoulders. Since the summer putsch by Hamas in the Gaza Strip when Abbas lost much of his power, the radical Islamists have been steadily building and securing their power in Gaza. All the important functions -- from the police chief through the teachers and up to the most senior judges -- are now occupied by Hamas. For Abbas, this means there can be no return to Gaza. The division of the Palestinian territories in two is irreversible.

Sad. And yet many feel the same will happen in Iraq: Shi'a, Sunni, and Kurdish regions, or even states, may be the final result of the meddling there