US giving Israel leeway: win-win

July 23, 2006 at 8:42 pm (Islamism, Israel, Middle East, Palestinian Territories, The United States, US Government)

In a previous post (“America: Right and Wrong Reasons for Inaction”), I fisked an article by Nathan Guttman of The Jerusalem Post, disagreeing with his opinions on why America has not sought to become directly involved in the Arab-Israeli War.

On July 20, he wrote another article (“US Affairs: Seal of approval”) revising his opinion:

What seemed in the first days of the conflict to be just another demonstration of the administration’s helplessness in facing international crises turned out to be a well-devised strategy led by the White House and State Department. It wasn’t because President Bush was too busy with the G-8 gathering, nor was it the fact that the US has little power to pressure any of the sides in the region. The reason for the administration’s inactivity was simply the belief that there was no need to intervene, that Israel was doing a fine job and that it deserved to be cut some slack to make the most of the military operation.

But giving Israel leeway is not an expression of a sudden American belief that Middle Eastern countries should be left to their own devices. It is mainly a result of a combination of American interests and a sense that an opportunity is looming for getting some things straight in the troubled region.

He also points out:

Veteran Middle East mediator Dennis Ross suggested this week that the surprising reaction of Saudi Arabia, condemning Hizbullah and blaming it for dragging Lebanon into war, could be the sign of a significant shift.

According to Ross, the Saudi understanding that Iran is using the Lebanese conflict, and perhaps the Palestinian one too, for its own interest, can lead to a joint “Arab umbrella” in which Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan join forces to help strengthen the Lebanese government and keep Hizbullah sidelined. Further down the road this “umbrella” could maybe even take action to bolster the moderate forces in the Palestinian Authority to curb Hamas. Such a grand plan may be just a pipedream right now, but if the current conflict ends with anything similar to such a change in the reality on the ground, this would be the first and most important achievement the US has had regarding the Iranian issue for years.

His entire article is edifying: I’d recommend reading it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: