President Obama's Mideast retreat speeds up....
IRAN. Ex-CIAer Reuel Marc Gerecht explains why Team Obama's irresolute Iran policy makes Israel more likely to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Imposing SWIFT financial network sanctions may be too little, too late. The New Republic's Leon Weiseltier assesses whether deterrence can work with a nuclear Iran; he concludes that he does not know, but regards as complacent those who flatly assume that it will work just as deterrence worked during the Cold War.
SYRIA. President Obama's ceding the Syria lead to Turkey despite (because?) of its blatant tilt towards Islamist rebels at the expense of more moderate factions is, fortunately, coming apart at the seams. Barry Rubin notes that and suggests that the second time around we back moderates, but Team Obama can be counted upon to pass up a superior opportunity to deal Iran a severe blow.
The Washington Post recognizes what US UN Ambassador Susan Rice does not: former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's mediation in Syria means not peace & regime change but intensified war:
In fact, there is virtually no possibility that the new initiative will accomplish any of those aims — as the Obama administration should know by now. Instead, it will likely provide time and cover for the regime of Bashar al-Assad to continue using tanks and artillery to assault Syrian cities and indiscriminately kill civilians. That’s exactly what the regime was doing Thursday — pounding the city of Hama, where at least 20 people have been reported killed in army attacks in the past two days.
The Annan plan won’t work because, like the Arab League plan before it, it calls for the Assad government to take steps that would lead to its swift collapse — and the regime has no intention of capitulating. It says that Syrian forces should stop using heavy weapons in cities, begin a pullback of troops, permit a daily “humanitarian pause” for the delivery of aid and accept a U.N.-supervised cease-fire, while allowing freedom of assembly and the free circulation of journalists. To buy time last year, the regime accepted nearly identical demands by the Arab League, admitted its monitors — and then proceeded to ignore its obligations completely.
Right on target, the WaPo editors conclude:
What the Annan mission does not offer is “the best way to put an end to the violence.” It is just the opposite: a guarantee that the bloodshed will continue, and probably worsen. The fighting in Syria will end only when Mr. Assad is forced to stop — or he succeeds in killing his way to victory.
WaPo editors expanded upon their Annan mission assessment today:
The Obama administration’s de facto choice to tolerate the survival of a regime that is Iran’s chief ally in the Middle East and the sponsor of Hamas and Hezbollah might have many motivations. But neither the will to prevent mass murder nor the pursuit of U.S. strategic interests could be among them.
So what does the UN's Human Rights Council do? Once again it calls for an inquiry into human rights abuses in ...NOT Syria ... but (you guessed it) Israel.
EGYPT. Egyptian liberals are resigning from a constitution-writing process dominated by Islamists. And a new poll shows that Egyptians, bless their hearts, prefer to receive economic aid from Shia theocracy Iran & Sunni Islamist Turkey instead of from the U.S. A stunning 82% of respondents oppose US aid, up from 71% last December & 52 percent a year ago. So much for the Facebook revolution last year in Tahrir Square. The new Islamist governing elements in Egypt seek agreement with Hamas - PA alliance as part of new posture towards Arab - Israeli conflict, which will ratchet up pressure on Israel. The US looks away as funds sent the PA wind up with Hamas.
LIBYA. Libya's post-NATO life is escalating disorder driven by al-Qaeda types, as Obama & NATO wash their hands of things. That Gaddafi is dead & gone is good; but by failing to leverage success there into a strong position in Syria the one real benefit of dumping the dictator is being needlessly forfeited.
ISRAEL. Israeli's Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, writes that after 12,000 Gaza rockets landing inside Israel the UN remains silent, whilst condemning Israel's efforts to defend itself. This, he says, only makes a bigger war more likely. David Frum explains how anti-Zionists support those undermining the idea of a Jewish state, oblivious to the efforts of those seeking to destroy it.
Meanwhile, Israel faces growing animosity from an Arab Fifth Column--disloyal Israeli Arabs:
My interlocutors generally brushed aside questions about Islam. It almost felt impolite to mention the Islamic imperative that Muslims (who make up 84 percent of the Israeli Arab population) rule themselves. Discussing the Islamic drive for application of Islamic law drew blank looks and a shift to more immediate topics.
This avoidance reminded me of Turkey before 2002, when mainstream Turks assumed that Atatürk’s revolution was permanent and Islamists would remain a fringe phenomenon. They proved very wrong: In the decade since Islamists democratically rode to power in late 2002, the elected government has steadily applied more Islamic laws and built a neo-Ottoman regional power.
Pipes sees Israel unable to respond to this threat. He notes that
most Israeli Arabs emphatically wish to remain disloyal citizens of the Jewish state, instead of loyal citizens of a Palestinian state. Further, many other Middle Eastern Muslims aspire to become Israelis (a phenomenon I call “Muslim aliyah”).
The Palestinians stage violent protests on Land Day weekend. Victory goes, however, to Israel, for having not let the protesters provoke them into the kind of response that wins propaganda points for the Palestinians (unjustified, but a fact of international political life for Israel).
Bottom Line. Team Obama's "transformational" diplomacy will prove transformational indeed, but vastly for the worst for American interests. Such are the wages of Islamic outreach fantasy and leftist ideology. Naturally, the bill will come due for the taxpayers, as always.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Foreign Policy, National Security, WMD, Nuclear Proliferation, Terrorism. Conservative Politics