Scowcroft at it again

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A little while ago, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft was roundly criticized for stating in a New Yorker article that there had existed "50 years of peace" in the Middle East under previous diplomatic policies  — which consisted of tolerating autocratic regimes.

Of course, as pointed out by many critics, Scowcroft conveniently did not remember that in those 50 years there was the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, the Iran—Iraq War, the Gulf war, the various Palestinian intifadas against Israel, the Yemen civil war (which involved Egypt), two Sudanese Wars, Syrian oppression of Lebanon and the destruction of its own city of Hama.

Despite this fine record of expertise, the Washington Post offers him a megaphone to articulate his views that now is the time for a U.S.—Led Comprehensive Settlement. He simplistically blames the region's problems on the founding of Israel in 1948. His solution:

A Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with minor rectifications agreed upon between Palestine and Israel.

Palestinians giving up the right of return and Israel reciprocating by removing its settlements in the West Bank, again with rectifications as mutually agreed. Those displaced on both sides would receive compensation from the international community.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia unambiguously reconfirming his 2002 pledge that the Arab world is prepared to enter into full normal relations with Israel upon its withdrawal from the lands occupied in 1967.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia working with the Palestinian Authority to put together a government along the lines of the 18—point agreement reached between Hamas and Fatah prisoners in Israeli jails in June. This government would negotiate for the Authority.

Deployment, as part of a cease—fire, of a robust international force in southern Lebanon.

Deployment of another international force to facilitate and supervise traffic to and from Gaza and the West Bank.

Designation of Jerusalem as the shared capital of Israel and Palestine, with appropriate international guarantees of freedom of movement and civic life in the city.

No mention of the fact, widely recognized by others, that the crux of the problem is not the Palestinian refugees, most of whom are abused by their Arab brethren who deny them rights, citizenship, and normal lives (in contrast to the Israelis, who welcomed fellow Jews from Arab lands, expelled and stripped of their possessions).

Of course, the crux of the problem is the refusal of Israel's neighbors to abide by the existence of the state of Israel. He refuses to even mention the deep divisions and pathologies that rend the Middle East: the tensions between Arabs and Persians, the hatred between Shiites and Sunnis, the oppression of Kurds and Copts (and other minority groups); the geopolitical rivalries between various governments, many of whom have artificial borders; the ideological disputes between various forms of governments within the region; the rise of theocratic fundamentalism that in the case of the Iranians have  genocidal and apocalyptic goals.

The putative Saudi Peace plan that Scowcroft praises is a fiction: Saudi Arabia cannot dictate to the Arab world that it reach a peace with Israel (after all, the Saudis are the promoters of anti—Semitism around the world, and fund Hamas, which pledges to destroy Israel). Many people loathe the Saudi Royal family, including Osama bin Laden.

The Prisoner's Document that Scowcroft praises and wants to be the framework is a plan created by terrorists and murderers. Some Peace Plan. Maybe the provenance of the drafters can help win the Nobel Peace Prize. After all, Yasser Arafat had one bestowed upon him. Regardless, the Prisoner's document calls for the return of all the refugees into Israel; leaves open the option of attacks within the pre—1967 borders of Israel; and does not renounce that the destruction of Israel is the final goal. Such nuances seem to escape Scowcroft. Since nuances are the basis of diplomacy maybe Scowcroft should brush up on the basics.

Maybe Scowcroft has been spending too much time monitoring his growing wealth that derives from his involvement in the Saudi—funded investment firm the Carlyle Group.

One should question why Scowcroft — with this track record and involvement with Saudi Arabia — was given an opportunity to spread his views in the Washington Post. However, since they ran a myth—filled op—ed by Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader who became the Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, maybe this has become a standard operating procedure over at the Post. Or maybe its normal editors have taken the summer off.
 
Ed Lasky    7 29 06

A little while ago, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft was roundly criticized for stating in a New Yorker article that there had existed "50 years of peace" in the Middle East under previous diplomatic policies  — which consisted of tolerating autocratic regimes.

Of course, as pointed out by many critics, Scowcroft conveniently did not remember that in those 50 years there was the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, the Iran—Iraq War, the Gulf war, the various Palestinian intifadas against Israel, the Yemen civil war (which involved Egypt), two Sudanese Wars, Syrian oppression of Lebanon and the destruction of its own city of Hama.

Despite this fine record of expertise, the Washington Post offers him a megaphone to articulate his views that now is the time for a U.S.—Led Comprehensive Settlement. He simplistically blames the region's problems on the founding of Israel in 1948. His solution:

A Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with minor rectifications agreed upon between Palestine and Israel.

Palestinians giving up the right of return and Israel reciprocating by removing its settlements in the West Bank, again with rectifications as mutually agreed. Those displaced on both sides would receive compensation from the international community.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia unambiguously reconfirming his 2002 pledge that the Arab world is prepared to enter into full normal relations with Israel upon its withdrawal from the lands occupied in 1967.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia working with the Palestinian Authority to put together a government along the lines of the 18—point agreement reached between Hamas and Fatah prisoners in Israeli jails in June. This government would negotiate for the Authority.

Deployment, as part of a cease—fire, of a robust international force in southern Lebanon.

Deployment of another international force to facilitate and supervise traffic to and from Gaza and the West Bank.

Designation of Jerusalem as the shared capital of Israel and Palestine, with appropriate international guarantees of freedom of movement and civic life in the city.

No mention of the fact, widely recognized by others, that the crux of the problem is not the Palestinian refugees, most of whom are abused by their Arab brethren who deny them rights, citizenship, and normal lives (in contrast to the Israelis, who welcomed fellow Jews from Arab lands, expelled and stripped of their possessions).

Of course, the crux of the problem is the refusal of Israel's neighbors to abide by the existence of the state of Israel. He refuses to even mention the deep divisions and pathologies that rend the Middle East: the tensions between Arabs and Persians, the hatred between Shiites and Sunnis, the oppression of Kurds and Copts (and other minority groups); the geopolitical rivalries between various governments, many of whom have artificial borders; the ideological disputes between various forms of governments within the region; the rise of theocratic fundamentalism that in the case of the Iranians have  genocidal and apocalyptic goals.

The putative Saudi Peace plan that Scowcroft praises is a fiction: Saudi Arabia cannot dictate to the Arab world that it reach a peace with Israel (after all, the Saudis are the promoters of anti—Semitism around the world, and fund Hamas, which pledges to destroy Israel). Many people loathe the Saudi Royal family, including Osama bin Laden.

The Prisoner's Document that Scowcroft praises and wants to be the framework is a plan created by terrorists and murderers. Some Peace Plan. Maybe the provenance of the drafters can help win the Nobel Peace Prize. After all, Yasser Arafat had one bestowed upon him. Regardless, the Prisoner's document calls for the return of all the refugees into Israel; leaves open the option of attacks within the pre—1967 borders of Israel; and does not renounce that the destruction of Israel is the final goal. Such nuances seem to escape Scowcroft. Since nuances are the basis of diplomacy maybe Scowcroft should brush up on the basics.

Maybe Scowcroft has been spending too much time monitoring his growing wealth that derives from his involvement in the Saudi—funded investment firm the Carlyle Group.

One should question why Scowcroft — with this track record and involvement with Saudi Arabia — was given an opportunity to spread his views in the Washington Post. However, since they ran a myth—filled op—ed by Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader who became the Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, maybe this has become a standard operating procedure over at the Post. Or maybe its normal editors have taken the summer off.
 
Ed Lasky    7 29 06