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Politics of the impossible

By       Message sameh abdelaziz     Permalink
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Bismarck, the grandfather of modern politics stated almost one hundred and fifty years ago that politics is the art of the possible. However, the Middle East politics have always been any thing but art or possible.

The Arab rejection of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947 (Resolution 181) resulted in the 1948 war, the defeat of the Arab armies, and arguably created a stronger and larger Israel.

The decision by United States and Britain to withdraw a loan guarantee offer to help Egypt build the High Dam in Aswan resulted in nationalizing the Suez Canal, the war of 1956 and more importantly pushing most of the Arab countries to the Soviet sphere for the next three decades.

The war of 1967 gave Israel Sinai, the Golan Heights and the west bank, while destroying three Arab armies, and instead of the expected white flags flying high on the Arab capitals, the result was the birth of the PLO, the war of attrition and the 1973 war.

This short list of major historical events in the region provides striking examples of failing political objectives whereby the consequences contradict the intended goals by the initiating party, even when the immediate results are positive as in the case of the six days war.

Recent events prove that the same pattern continues, where it is possible to argue that the American administrations refusal to work with Fatah (PLO) brought to power Hamas, which is an anti western organization and far more radical than the PLO. The Israeli's rejection of many of the road map recommendations as well as the Saudi's peace initiative adapted by all Arab countries in Beirut in March 2003 became a catalyst for hard liners in Iran and their satellite organizations such as Hezbollah, as well as Sunni insurgents in many parts of the Middle East.

The American adventure in Iraq without a doubt produced more dangerous, unstable and furious sentiment in the region. The political miscalculations over all these years produced a reality that endangers the American and Israeli interests in unprecedented way. These new conditions can be summarized as follow:

1- The rise of the religious radical movements in many of the Muslim and Arab countries. This rise produced alternative underground movements to the so called moderate governments in Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. These movements in addition to their social outreach programs attain effective military networks as demonstrated in the war between Israel and Hezbollah over the summer of 2006.

2- The vacuum created by the Iraq invasion, and the quagmire that followed. This vacuum helped strengthen Iran's influence in the region, which is likely to extend even beyond the boundaries of Iraq through high concentration of Shia in the gulf and north Saudi Arabia. This area produces today 27% of the oil, while holds 57% of the worldwide reserve.

3- The failure of the Israeli Defense Forces to produce a clear victory in Lebanon over Hezbollah, and the failure of the American forces to stabilize Iraq after the invasion put to question many of the old invincibility theories of America and its Allies.

These conditions or at least some of them might explain the sudden interest of the American administration in renewing the peace process between Israel and Palestine, as well as the recent direct talks between US, Syria and Iran as part of the Iraq conference. However, the question remains if these new realities will create enough political courage to stop the endless deterioration in the region.

The rejection of the new Palestinian unity government by many of the major western powers under the pretense that the new government supports the destruction of Israel will be one more example of the lost opportunities in the Middle East. The American and EU governments need to re-examine their position in light of Hamas's concession accepting all previous Palestinian agreements with Israel, and use this important step to start a real negotiation. The alternative will further alienate the moderate governments of the region, embolden the radical forces, and increase the animosity against US and Israel. This policy will guarantee one more example of the art of impossible.

 

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I am an Egyptian American born in Alexandria. I immigrated to the US in the late eighties, during this time lived in many places in US and Europe. I work as an IT manager and love it. I love to travel, it makes me feel young, and it awakes in me (more...)
 

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