The word is out that President Bush, concerning the current Middle East clambake at Annapolis, Md., has announced that both sides, Israel and the Palestinians, who have yet to create a nation, have agreed to a joint document that commits them to work toward a treaty by the end of 2008, assuming, of course, that there is such a state as Palestine to enter into a treaty. The meeting is being attended by the Arab League and most Middle East countries, including Syria.
How many times has such a statement from a high-ranking American official been made? The subject is so ho-hum that it hardly receives more than the usual yawn, though it is perhaps the most important matter affecting all the nations of the world, not just the nearly 50 represented at Annapolis. Conspicuously absent from Annapolis is a representative from the Middle East’s most corrupting and threatening nation – Iran, whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said that participation in the meeting is a sign of political ignorance on the part of some politicians.
In the previous offering in this space, the point was made that nothing the United Nations does or purports to do has a chance for success – at least matters that require enforcement – unless the United States takes on the responsibility for such actions. This is abundantly true in the case of Annapolis. This meeting should be held at UN headquarters, with the whole panoply of member-nation representatives looking on. Instead, it’s held at Annapolis, just as the “peace meeting” for the Balkans was held in Dayton, Ohio, in 1995.
The so-called UN peace-missions in Africa are a laugh (actually a disgrace), the peace-keepers often participating in the looting of the land and the raping of the women in the manner of the oppressors, from whom they are supposed to be protecting the vulnerable. The primary reason: No U.S. troops are involved. They’re trying to bring a semblance of order in Afghanistan and Iraq, and paying a much higher price in both treasure and blood than they would in Africa. By contrast, U.S. GIs are involved in the former Yugoslavia (although in NATO operations), and there is a modicum of peace there, just as there is in South Korea, where the American presence has been extant since 1950 and counting.
Ahmadinejad knows the situation. Iran, which has vowed the absolute obliteration of Israel, understands that all that stands between it and achieving that goal is the United States. No other nation, despite Israel’s standing as a democratic member-nation of the UN, would make an effort in other than verbal denunciations to stay Iran’s pursuit of its goal, though the Israelis likely would win the day, as they always have with respect to armed conflict throughout the region. In this case, however, there can be no doubt that nuclear war would be the outcome, meaning a world conflagration of unimaginable dimensions. The UN would be powerless, so it would just be worldwide dog-eat-dog until the last dog stood atop the pile.
The presence of Syria at the meeting is anathema to Ahmadinejad, since he must send his minions and supplies to Hamas through Syria, though even that didn’t work in 2006, when the Israelis destroyed southern Lebanon fighting Ahmadinejad’s proxy warriors. The Syrians are interested in two things: getting back the Golan Heights taken by Israel in 1967 and trying to foreclose another Israeli air-strike against Syrian objectives, like the recent one in October, following which there was no Syrian response.
Little will be accomplished vis-à-vis peace between Israelis and Palestinians until the main threat to the process – Iran – is neutralized. If Syria begins to look out after its own interests, thus no longer kowtowing to Iran, a start will be made, but Ahmadinejad may scare Assad into a turnaround. Even though France has made menacing sounds toward Iran, it is still the U.S. that guarantees the fragile stability regarding the Israeli-Palestinian circumstance. Whether by diplomacy or force, Iran must be neutralized if any lasting accord is to be realized.
As for Annapolis, it can’t hurt anything. Indeed, some good might be realized, especially since the economic plight of the Israelis is so much better than that of the Palestinians, who view this disparity up close and personal every day. Sooner or later, they’re bound to understand that creating a viable, stable existence is far superior to waging – or expecting some other nation to wage – a pseudo-religious jihad practically guaranteeing their own destruction.