Friday August 1, 2014
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01.08.2014
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Richard Baehr

Destabilizing the Middle East

New York Times reporter Jody Rudoren accuses Israel of destabilizing both Israeli-ıPalestinian relations and the new "unity government " of the Palestinians, and ısentencing the Palestinians to collective punishment as it seeks to find the three ıboys kidnapped a week back, almost certainly by Hamas operatives. The three kidnap victims and their families are, ıof course, only deserving of a modicum of international sympathy, since they supposedly ıbelong to "settler families" living on land "promised to," and rightfully belonging to ıthe Palestinians. (In fact, only one of the three families lives in a settlement.) In pretty much every story on the three boys in European papers ıor The New York Times, it is obligatory to mention the settler aspect, since this ısuggests the families to some extent had it coming to them for their participation in ıa colonial enterprise. Perhaps the only thing that could have muddied the waters ıfurther would be if the three boys had been wearing Washington Redskins tee ıshirts at the time of the kidnapping, which ıwould have conclusively demonstrated their lack of concern for all those less ıprivileged and more deserving of the world's concern.ı

There are of course, plenty of destabilizing things going on in the Middle East, ıthough hitchhiking teenage boys, and the Israeli government's interest in finding ıthem while they are still alive, hardly fall in that category. The unity agreement ıbetween the Palestinian Authority and Hamas was a particularly destabilizing ıevent. With no change in any of the expressed objectives of Hamas, the unity ıagreement was essentially a formal marriage between the PA and a terrorist entity ıcommitted to the murder of Jews in Israel and anywhere else they could find them. ıThat agreement was bound to destabilize Israeli-Palestinian relations, as was the ıkidnapping of three teenage boys by the new partner in the PA government. ı

The Israeli search for the kidnappers and their victims is what governments in ıcivilized countries do to protect their people. Kidnapping children is what terrorist ıregimes do and is designed to destabilize. Hamas clearly sees a path to power in ıthe West Bank, much as it has achieved power in Gaza. Forcing the PA on the ıdefensive -- appearing to accede to Israeli demands to cooperate in the search for ıthe kidnappers, while Hamas remains resolute in supporting such attacks, is bound ıto improve Hamas' standing versus the PA among a population that loves to glorify ıterrorist killings and kidnappings and prefers them over deals with the "Zionist ıentity."ı

The Hamas message of how Jews should be treated anywhere you can find them ıseemed to have been well understood in Europe -- in Paris and Brussels and ıAntwerp in recent days. In Antwerp, it ıappeared to be Jewish 5-year-olds that proved so unsettling and destabilizing to ıthe Muslim attackers. ı

It is of course no surprise that the attacks in Europe are occurring now with such ıincreased frequency. The European governments, as evidenced by the latest ıcraven capitulation by their diplomats to Arab and Muslim demands in the ıı"Declaration Adopted at the Third European Union-League of Arab States Foreign ıAffairs Ministerial Meeting" in Athens last week have ıeffectively become mouthpieces for the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League. ıSince the Palestinian Authority now also means Hamas, it is no surprise that ıEuropean nations have been speaking with forked tongues about the kidnapping ıand its aftermath. One might say that the attacks on Jews in European cities have ıbeen destabilizing to the normal life that has been promised to all the citizens of ıthe social welfare paradises that presumably exist on the continent. But fear not, ısince most of the attacks are characterized by these governments as actions by ıı"lone wolves," and there can't be too many of those types around among Europe's ımore than twenty million Muslims, a significant number of whom have clearly been ıradicalized in recent decades. That very destabilizing radicalization process is one that the EU nations are afraid to confront due to their near total commitment to ıthe multicultural enterprise, despite its evident failure to produce any real ıassimilation.ı

Outside of the Israeli-Palestinian arena, there have been plenty of destabilizing ıevents the past few years and days in the Middle East. Unfortunately for those who ıclaim that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is so central to calming the ıregion, the instability in Egypt, Syria, Libya, and now Iraq appear to be completely ıunrelated to the flow and the ups and downs of the so-called peace process. On the ıother hand, the perception of a disappearance of American resolve in the region ıhas undoubtedly played a real destabilizing role. Would Sunni jihadists be in the ıposition they are now in Syria and Iraq had the Obama administration been ıclearer on our goals and on whom we were supporting in the Syrian civil war, and ınot wavered on enforcing our red lines? Had we left a small military force in Iraq ıand applied more pressure on the Maliki government to be more inclusive, would ıthe country be in its current state of near collapse with the possibility of splitting ıapart into religious/ethnic areas dominated by Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites? ı

To hear what comes out of the State Department these days, or for that matter from NASA, or the Veterans Affairs Department, American domestic and foreign policy objectives seem to focus on just a ıfew areas -- climate change; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender initiatives, and a little further down the list, ıcelebrating Muslim achievements in space so as to lift their self-esteem. Of course, ıalso near the top of the agenda is insuring that the United States and other ıcountries have healthy school lunches

The triviality of American foreign policy initiatives and the leadership vacuum we ıhave created abroad, which others are moving quickly to fill (in very destabilizing ıfashion), appear to be deliberate -- an attempt to reduce our American footprint ıand avoid even the threat of military engagement. ı

The next shoe to drop will probably be with Iran and its nuclear program. What will be sold as a "victory" for the United States in the negotiations ıwill be a deal that culminates Obama's five-year courtship of the mullahs, and has ıled to "their rejoining the community of nations" and presumably behaving more ıresponsibly (as in our subcontracting to them the military effort to derail the ıassault by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as it approaches Baghdad). The nuclear deal if it is signed, will preserve ıIran's ability to enrich uranium, maintain existing stockpiles of enriched uranium, ıenable only those inspections Iran is comfortable with, and significantly reduce ıcurrent sanctions directed against the regime -- a reward presumably for not ımaking a bomb this week, but only a bit later or whenever it chooses to. The fact ıthat American and European pressure on Iran will have been removed, will be ıdestabilizing. Iran will be freer to throw its weight around, with its economy on the ımend, and the "international community" moving on to worry about other things ıthan its nuclear program.ı

The killing of Osama bin Laden was supposed to be the capstone to the president's ıforeign policy achievements -- ending the wars abroad, and wrapping up our ıbusiness with al-Qaida, producing a new stable world order, with a more ıcomfortable, reduced American role as one among many. It seems more likely ıtoday that what the administration views as its achievements are seen abroad as ıneglect and negligence. Unfortunately, neglect and negligence are destabilizing.ı

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