Nov 27, 2007

No peace deal in Annapolis but ...

Today begins the much hipped Annapolis Middle East conference meeting, widely attended but also widely expected to yield nothing but smiles and handshakes. The level of attendance is impressive; the Isrealis, Palestinians, Syrians and a host of other Arab and European diplomats will all be there. However the three main leaders who can really effect the outcome of this meeting, namely presidents Bush and Abbas and PM Olmert, are sitting ducks unable to take any giant steps towards peace (or anything else for that matter). By their admission, the Israelis and Palestinians haven't made any progress in the last few months towards resolving the major hurdles of settlements, right of return, borders and security. Therefore, there's nothing of substance to be expected from this meeting in terms of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, except a committment to discuss these issues (as always).

There are however two important issues the meeting could help in resolving. The meeting can help is calming down the rising Syrian-Israeli tensions after Israel bombed sites in Syria few months ago. The Syrians have proved resilient in the face of American and Arab efforts to isolate them and they've played their cards right in Iraq and Lebanon. But Syria remains venerable. Syria has time and again reached out to the United states but their efforts weren't well received. Syria didn't want to be seen as desperate, so they demanded Golan heights to be included in the agenda as a condition to attend the meeting, and it was added. US, Israel (and Saudi) are keen on separating Syria from Iran, will they use this summit to do so? I doubt it but they just might.

The other major issue is the current crisis in Lebanon. America tried in the past few years to create a New Middle East and used Lebanon as an experiment. US supported the Sunni government against the pro-Syria camp but this move has backfired after the Shia pulled out of the government. US also supported Isreal's bombing of Lebanon last year which didn't sit well with most Lebanese. Now, America wants a pro-US president but it isn't going to get that, so the only way out of this crisis is to reach some type of comprise with Syria. Will this American administration finally change it's ways, of bullying, and reach a comprise with Syria?

1 comment:

TheAdvocates said...

I was wondering where this newly found optimism leaped out of for some days now. One minute the realpolitik on the ground had appeared doom and gloom, and the next minute, Annapolis is mentioned with such great enthusiasm. I can't help but think that Bush's top neo-cons (namely Rumsfield) mistakes humanity for low-grade imbeciles.

How on earth Bush's camp has convinced so many deligates that there is 'hope' in solving M.E. problem, is by itself a miracle if you ask me. Lol.