Last week, President Obama virtually declared war on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. But it is hard to reconcile the seemingly urgent need to confront the threat posed by this organization with the chosen means of doing so.
By opting to support the “moderate” Syrian opposition and running the risk of an open confrontation with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the West appears to be primarily appeasing Arab Persian Gulf allies that have turned the overthrow of Mr. Assad into a policy fetish that runs against any rational calculation of how to defeat Islamist terrorism.
The persistent belief in Western policy circles that there is a “moderate opposition” in Syria — reiterated at the close of a NATO summit meeting in Wales on Sept.… Seguir leyendo »
As President Obama seeks to jumpstart the Middle East peace process with increasingly disappointing results, a new approach has begun to emerge from within the upper circles of the Palestinian Authority.
In essence, this approach puts "statehood first" – without waiting for negotiations to resume, or for a full final status agreement with Israel. From this point of view, and in a kind of Zionism in reverse, unilateral actions on the ground can lay the foundations for an independent Palestinian state, irrespective of Israel's demands or strategy.
This approach has recently been formalised in the PA government's two-year plan, which includes an ambitious range of economic and developmental projects and is intended to tally with the growing international consensus on setting a two-year time frame for the two-state vision and a comprehensive Palestinian-Israeli settlement.… Seguir leyendo »
The Obama administration is gearing up for its impending and possibly decisive moves towards relaunching the Middle East peace process, with a series of consultations with Arab leaders, including the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, later this week. After meeting with Barack Obama in Washington last week, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, pressed his demand that the Palestinians should recognise Israel as a Jewish state, posing it as the sine qua non for any future agreement. This demand seems to be gaining some traction in the US and in western capitals.
But Washington and the international community should be very wary of progressing any further down this path; for behind what may appear an innocuous demand to accept Israel for what it deems itself to be lies an ideologically motivated attempt to force the Palestinians into an unprecedented repudiation of their history.… Seguir leyendo »
As Israel celebrates the 60th anniversary of its establishment, an inescapable counter-reality lingers over the occasion that is inextricably twinned with it. It is the nakba or catastrophe, the 60th anniversary of the destruction of Arab Palestine in 1948.
Despite a public discourse that often claimed the opposite, the Zionist movement set out to build a Jewish state in Palestine with a Jewish majority. This could only come about at the expense of the local inhabitants, the vast majority of whom were Palestinian Arabs - both Muslim and Christian. From this perspective, neither the Zionists' intentions nor the reactions of the Palestinians are at issue: Israel could not have been built as a Jewish state except on the ruins of Arab Palestine.… Seguir leyendo »