The Middle East Drifts Away


Pages: 1 2

If you threw a dart at the map of the Middle East and North Africa, you almost couldn’t miss hitting a spot where an historic event was unfolding.

In the headlines of just last Saturday and Sunday (normally slow news days), one could read of Syrian tanks slaughtering the rebellious civilians of Daraa; NATO bombs killing Gadhafi’s son and grandchildren (with the U.N. pulling out its staff from Tripoli as a result); 80 percent of Jordan’s gas supply taken off line by sabotage; the Taliban starting its spring military offensive in Afghanistan and President Saleh of Yemen refusing to sign a transition deal involving his removal from power, threatening to derail efforts by the Gulf states to control months of unrest in that key U.S. ally. The Washington Post headlined the question “Will Pakistan erupt like Egypt?”

Or perhaps you saw the headline that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal arrived in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials on the unity deal between Hamas and Fatah, where Hamas officials reiterated Hamas’ refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Or perhaps you didn’t.

With so much going on simultaneously, neither the world’s statesmen nor the leading editors of worldwide journalism can agree on what to focus the world’s limited attention. This provides a golden opportunity to the world’s nefarious leaders for the foreign policy equivalent of getting away with murder in broad daylight — unnoticed.

And it brings to mind the observation in 1864 of Europe’s most brilliant diplomat, then-Prussian Chancellor Prince Otto von Bismarck, that the practice of diplomacy “teaches that one can be as shrewd as the shrewdest in the world and still at any moment go like a child into the dark.”

Last week’s news that the Egyptian government has brokered an agreement between the main Palestinian factions — Gaza-based terrorist Hamas and Fatah’s West Bank-based Palestinian Authority regime — should be shedding more light in the United States than it so far has on the darkness that is current Middle East events.

The U.S. identifies Hamas as a terrorist organization, thus by including Hamas in the PA regime, almost a billion dollars in yearly U.S.-led aid will presumably have to be cut off (and should be).

Already, Israel has cut off its prorated $80 million annual contribution.

Pages: 1 2