Friday, October 05, 2007

Right of Return and the Conference

The US is planning a conference to be held in November in Annapolis to advance a settlement of issues between Palestinians and Israel.

One issue that I find interesting is how the right of return will be handled before, during and after this conference. Condoleeza Rice a few months ago said that the US was considering making public the US position of what a fair settlement would look like. Peres' office in Israel said a little before that it his office was considering a counter-proposal to the Arab proposal.

Neither has happened because a detailed US or Israeli position would either say no refugees can return or some amount of refugees can return. To say no refugees can return would be a tremendous propaganda victory for Hamas and Iran. To say some can return, an amount determined by what Rice or Peres perceives as the need for there to be a cap on the amount of non-Jews in Israel, would also hurt the pro-Zionist Arabs and help the anti-Zionist Arabs.

(Pro-Zionist is not, in some sense, a fair way to describe the Saudi or even the Egyptian or Jordanian leadership, but it is probably more accurate than "moderate" since their position is only shared with an extreme fringe in their own societies. Even though Abbas for example is not pro-Zionist in an absolute sense, not like Olmert, he can fairly be called relatively pro-Zionist compared to Hamas. The Saudi, Egyptian and Jordanian leaderships can also be fairly called relatively pro-Zionist.)

The other issues: water, Jerusalem and borders are similar to the refugee issue, the same dynamic is present but they are not as emotionally potent as the refugee issue.

So the US and Israel have not, can not and will not commit themselves to a publicly known policy on refugees, while the Saudi position is that a conference that does not include a commitment to a policy is worthless and should not be attended or supported.

Why did Rice and Peres make public that they were considering making their positions public? I chalk that up to the same lack of strategic judgment that led to the Hamas elections in Palestine and the UIA elections in Iraq. They really believe their own propaganda and sometimes it hurts them.

The Saudis and other relatively pro-Zionist elements of the Muslim world are really saying, and this is easy to miss, that they expect to see the US and Israel begin to publicly stand down from positions they have historically held. The pro-Zionist Muslims believe they have more leverage than before and that a peaceful stand-down is better for Israel and the US than the alternative.

Enter Iran, otherwise known as leverage.

The idea that time is on the anti-Zionist side is closely associated with the perception now that it will not be possible to get serious (oil-for-food-level) sanctions, Iraq-level bombing or much less an Iraq-style invasion of Iran. Given this, the anti-Zionist Palestinians now have more strategic depth than they have had since at least Nasser, but in some ways more than they had then because Egypt is within Israel's reach and Iran is not.

If Iran cannot be dealt with the way Iraq was, and either remains as powerful as it is now or more likely becomes more powerful, the help it will be able to give anti-Zionist Muslims throughout the region will increase as will the strategic threat Iran's support for anti-Zionists poses to Israel. The pro-Zionist Muslims are saying that the US and Israel must accept an accommodation now, (and truth be told, this accommodation will not have the guarantees of a permanent Jewish majority in Israel that the US and Israel want) or they'll accept a worse accommodation later.

There is a new dynamic in the post-Iraq Middle East. For the US and Israel to begin to stand down, the pro-Zionist Muslims need the US and Israel to have a public position to stand down from. The current US and Israeli position of wanting a "just" "negotiated" settlement of especially the refugee issue but not detailing what such a settlement would be, is the best position for the US and Israel. But in the post-Iraq world, it is unacceptable for the pro-Zionist Muslims.


Richard said...

And yet this is another reason why Bush and Cheney and Israel MUST attack Iran.

If you drop the assumption that they will not attack Iran, it makes it obvious, as I've said elsewhere, that the goal is to destroy any country that is not a puppet of the US.

Iran's support of the anti-Zionist Muslims must be destroyed. The fact that it cannot BE destroyed is not relevant. This is what the US and the Israelis believe.

So therefore, to minimize the effect of this increasing anti-Zionist and/or pro-Zionist Muslim pressure on the US and Israel to compromise, the US and Israel must destroy the major anti-Zionist regimes: Iran, Syria and Hizballah.

This is the plan.

Far from arguing against a war in Iran, it augers for a war with Iran, Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon.

I firmly believe that not only will the US attack Iran (or allow Israel to start the war by bombing Iran, then attack when Iran retaliates), but that Israel will coordinate its attack on Syria and Hizballah at the same time.

The neocons and Zionists are going for broke this time. They intend to take out all their enemies at one time.

They will fail, but this is their intent.

Arnold Evans said...

All I can say is we'll see.

If the US was really controlled by people whose first concern is Israel, the US would bomb. But Iran can turn the whole region into a war zone and I think it would and that would, as you've said, mark the beginning of the end of the US empire.

The only question is would the US first lose its will or its capacity to be Israel's regional protector.

Adam Smith said a nation of merchants wouldn't have colonies. Because colonies are too expensive and they aren't worth the cost. But nations of non-merchants with overly powerful merchants in government would have colonies. Because even though the cost to the country is high, the merchants get the benefits and pass of the costs to the rest of society.

That principle would be demonstrated remarkably if the US bombs Iran. I don't see it happening though.

Richard said...

I agree. The military-industrial complex and the oil companies are running the show. And no matter the damage to the US economy from a war with Iran, SOMEBODY is going to make money from it. And that "somebody" are the people paying the campaign contributions and the bribes to the people who are making the decisions.

That's what the public doesn't understand - or if they understand it, in some unclear way, they don't know how to deal with it.

It's not that the US is controlled by people whose first concern is Israel (although certainly some of them do.) It's that the US is controlled by people whose first concerns are their power and their pocketbooks - and those people see Israel as an important ally to keeping that situation going.

You'd think otherwise. You'd think that if the US had any rational policy at all, we'd be sucking up to the Arabs for the oil and screwing Israel. But it doesn't work that way. It's more complicated than that. Human psychology doesn't work that way.

Humans that objectively need other humans have to deal with the basic primate competitiveness that prevents them from needing others. So they turn that into a need to control those others for their benefit.

So the US needs the Arabs for the oil. So that means instead of sucking up to the Arabs and demonstrating that we need them, we seek to dominate them - to force them to support our needs. Because deep down we're afraid we can't rely on them to support us, or we aren't good enough for them to support us, or a variety of other pre-rational, unconscious primate emotions.

So we've got Israel. They need us to assist them in their plans to dominate the ME as a result of THEIR fear of the Arabs - which, of course, they caused by their own actions. So we use them to screw the Arabs and they use us to screw the Arabs.

It quickly turns into the usual human mess.

And the kicker is: there's no solution to this as long as you have chimpanzees running the show.

So you end up with perpetual war.

The problem for the rest of us is that today, these wars can become global or jump national boundaries. It's not just a local bunch of monkeys throwing shit at each other and hitting each other with swords. Now its nukes and terrorism and guys flying planes into buildings.

This is why we Transhumans really aren't going to tolerate the continuation of this nonsense as soon as we have the tech to do something about it. Might be another fifty years though before we can pull that off.