Tag Archives: Islam

What’s Obama’s Plan B after Arab League monitors?

From Jpost

The Arab League’s observer mission in Syria is coming under criticism a mere couple of days after its initial deployment, as the regime of Bashar al-Assad continues to gun down its opponents, seemingly unfettered.

Already, France has cast doubts on the effectiveness of the mission while the US has wavered between a cautious wait-and-see attitude and an unspecific threat to consider “other means to protect Syrian civilians.”

The lack of a credible, clearly articulated Plan B has been a critical problem in the Obama administration’s Syria policy. So far, Washington has viewed the Arab League’s initiative as a possible vehicle for a peaceful transition that would require no direct foreign intervention or further US involvement.

An anonymous Arab League official explained this line of thinking, which is shared by some Arab governments. “The League wants regime change but at the lowest possible cost,” the official, who is skeptical about the monitor mission, said on Tuesday. He then laid out the scenario envisioned by those who supported the League’s initiative: “If the regime implements the removal of tanks and troops from the streets, 10 million Syrians will take to the streets and occupy all main squares, making the regime’s collapse a matter of time.”

This was the Obama administration’s hope as well. But as that Arab official proceeded to note, “Assad will never allow this, and the Arab League will be accused by more Syrians of complicity.” And that is precisely where we find ourselves today, with some prominent Arab commentators making that exact same argument.

Consequently, one could deduce precisely why the Russians advised Assad to sign the League’s initiative. In the weeks of haggling that preceded the signature, a group of states in the Arab League led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar were pushing to refer the Syrian case to the UN Security Council. But, according to some Arab officials, other League members remained wary of foreign intervention, and the observer mission was “their best compromise.”

There is, therefore, a divide within the Arab League that the Russians and Assad may have sensed they could exploit to prevent the emergence of a consensus calling for further, international action against the regime. If the Gulf Arab states were seeking referral to the Security Council, another camp, led by Egypt, was more invested in the success of the monitor mission, believing it could lead to more popular protests that may force Assad’s departure.

One risk now is that these states, which include Sudan – whose former head of military intelligence is leading the monitor mission – will hesitate to declare the mission a failure, allowing Assad more room to maneuver.

While it may be slightly premature to speculate about how this process will unfold, it is safe to say that the administration’s desire for the Arab League to take the lead on Syria simply won’t pan out as initially hoped.

Which brings us to the heart of the matter: what is the Obama administration’s plan after the likely failure of the Arab League initiative?

Foreign Policy reported yesterday that top officials in the administration are “quietly preparing options for how to assist the Syrian opposition,” including “preparing for another major diplomatic initiative,” whose details remain unclear.

The preparation of these contingency plans emanates from the recognition that the scenario reportedly espoused by the Egyptians – and until recently, the Obama administration itself – is unlikely to come to pass. However, none of these plans involve intervention in any form, which raises questions about their effectiveness.

In fact, one administration official even said bluntly that Washington was “intentionally setting the bar too high [for intervention] as means of maintaining the status quo, which is to do nothing.” One critic of the administration’s policy recently called this approach “masterful inaction.”

In the Arab divide between those (Gulf) states seeking international intervention and those wary of it, the Obama administration continues to fall on the side of the latter. Even as it realizes that “the status quo is unsustainable”, the administration believes that “the risks of moving too fast [are] higher than the risks of moving too slow.”

We are, therefore, in a waiting period. The Saudi commentator Jamal Khashoggi may have said it best: “We are all buying time, not only the Syrian regime [but also] the Arab League, the Turks, the Arabs in general… They’re avoiding the inevitable, which is direct involvement in Syria.”

He, of course, is not alone in this assessment. Earlier this month, Congressman Steve Chabot told the administration’s point man on Syria, Frederic Hof, essentially the same thing: “ultimately [physical force] is probably going to be necessary.”

In the end, there is one constant, recurring theme. While the Obama administration entertains hopes that regional states would take the lead, in reality, these governments are waiting for the US to assume its traditional leadership role. Whether it’s Turkey or the Arab League, everyone, one way or another, is throwing the issue back at Washington. The notion that the US can remain above the fray in Syria and still shape an outcome in line with its interests was never a realistic option.

[Tony Badran is a research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He tweets @AcrossTheBay. This article was first published on NOWLebanon.]

 

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The Coming World War and Can We Stop It?

As we ring in the new years, the specter of war is again upon us and the entire free world. Going into 2012, America is already worn down from a decade of war and bad governance. Our southern border is helplessly unguarded as the drug war in Mexico threatens to engulf the country in civil war.

Our allies in Europe, some on the verge of bankruptcy from mismanagement and rising debt, others suffering from the rise of Islamic extremism, are badly in need of nothing short of a miracle in order to retain their sovereignty from collapse. To say we need a break is a gross understatement that threatens everything we have worked for in the last two hundred plus years.

Asia was rocked from the Taliban and other Islamic extremist groups in Af/Pak, to the earthquake/tsunami of Japan, from a stolen Russian election to the death of the Dear Leader, to the complexities of the Iranian problem, There is no light at the end of this tunnel.

With Africa and the Middle East collapsing country by country, and the enveloping rise of sectarian violence fueled by Muslim extremism, the chance of all out war grows every day. Saudi Arabia has joined with Jordan, Bahrain, and the Gulf States to stop the spread of Iran’s mullahs. Syria and Yemen engulfed in violence and poverty will fall in the next 6 to 12 months. Lebanon, controlled by Hezbollah is also on the edge as the Christians and the opposition movement of March 14th square off daily with the Iranian puppet government, how long that lasts will most likely be in contrast to how fast Assad falls.

The Palestinians, go back in forth on a unity government, while Hamas opens other avenues to join the Muslim Brotherhood, and openly calls for a Jerusalem Army to destroy Israel, all the while begging the United Nations for a state free of Jews, and most likely the Christians soon there after. They still, don’t get it.

And then there is Iran. Both the key to all that ails the Middle East and defiantly, the fuel to its fire. Are we too step in and stop them before they complete their genocidal nuclear mission? Or will we sit idly by and watch it burn, while awaiting it to come to our shores? My arguments are valid, and just the tip of the iceberg. This country needs to talk, now.

This is the question of the year, that year being the year of Iran.

Jeff Treesh is @IranAware

United Nations and Israeli settlements

A majority within the United Nations Security Council announced the primary obstacle to Arab-Israeli peace: Israeli settlements. Nine members, including France, Britain and Germany united as one, condemning Israel’s decision to construct 1,000 homes within existing settlements.

Baso Sangqu, Ambassador to South Africa, released a statement for the non-aligned movement, endorsing the Western European sentiment by describing the settlements as “the main impediment to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” The non-aligned movement makes up a supermajority within the United Nations General Assembly.

It is difficult to defend the argument that the peace process is predicated on the behaviors of only one party. The Oslo Accords placed no limitations on settlement construction. Instead, the agreements mandated Israel’s civilian presence in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza would be negotiated according to a final status agreement.

But the UN has ignored these contracts signed by the Palestinians. The UN demands Israel commit to unilateral concessions in hopes of winning the affection of the Palestinian Authority to negotiate.

Enumerating the actual harm the settlements have on the peace process is quite simple. An overwhelming majority of Palestinians oppose a ban on settlement construction and very few see it as an impediment to negotiations. Some may argue settlements pose an existential threat to the territorial integrity of a future Palestinian nation, but the Palestinian government’s refusal to negotiate or at least accept an interim border agreement reveals their desire to preemptively undermine the continuation of peace talks. After all, Israeli settlements constitute less than 2% of West Bank territory. In other words, the settlements are not a territorial threat to the establishment of a Palestinian nation.

While one can debate the legality of Israel’s settlement enterprise in the what the Palestinians claim to be their land, it is certainly an overreaction to attack projects in cities that would remain in Israel under any future peace deal with the Palestinian Authority.

The United Nations has maintained a deafening silence regarding the hundreds of rockets and projectiles fired at Israel from Gaza each week. Dozens of Israelis have been killed and maimed and millions are forced to flee to bomb shelters each week. These homicidal acts of violence have yet to provoke the collective outrage of the United Nations.

In addition to the lack of concern for Palestinian violence, the United Nations refuses to comment on the “moderate” Palestinian’s declaration of war against normalizing relations with Israel and engaging in blatant diplomatic lawfare.

UN representatives should ask themselves, what truly is undermining the peace process? Could it be the 566 rockets and mortars fired by Palestinian militant groups at Israeli cities in the last year? Or perhaps it is the unanimous opposition to Jewish rights, and more specifically the Jewish people, among the general Palestinian electorate?

It is reported less than one third of all Palestinians support a state side-by-side with Israel, and more than three quarters endorse the Hamas Charter which espouses the “need to kill Jews hiding behind stones and trees.” Is this not an impediment to peace? Is it the the Palestinian Authority’s persistent denial of Jewish history and ties to the land of Israel that impedes the peace process? So far, the United Nations hasn’t released an official resolution on the matter.

Out of the 131 UNSC resolutions concerning the Israeli-Arab conflict, the organization has failed to issue a single condemnation of Palestinian violence, and each resolution almost always assumes the Arab position without hesitation and thought. It took less than 24 hours for the Security Council to formulate a bitter one-sided attack on Israeli settlements. Meanwhile, close to 5,000 Syrians have been butchered by the Baathist regime and the Security Council still cannot agree on a final language resolution nine months since the killings began. Nearly 150 Syrians were killed on one day alone recently. But the United Nations decided that Jewish malls in the West Bank were of greater importance and international significance than mass murder by a state-sponsor of terrorism.

It is more than clear the United Nations has no interest in promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian government is allowed to behave like spoiled children, never to be condemned and punished for their actions. Israel, on the other hand, is given endless grief for what is ultimately a minor infraction in the Middle East peace process.

Dangerous Company is a pen name of a conservative studying in an intolerant academic environment. He or she can be contacted at dangerouscompany1948@gmail.com

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/01/united_nations_and_israeli_settlements.html#ixzz1iCDpdbDA