The Risk Factor: Another Bush Faction Blow to Middle East Peace

(A brief follow-up to the previous post.)

Not content with shooting down the 2003 concessions-loaded offer from Iran, the Bushists have also scuttled what would have been an historic security pact between Syria and Israel, as Gabriel Kolko notes in CounterPunch. And this was not in 2003, during the high palmy days of the Potomac Empire; this was just a few weeks ago, with both U.S. and Israel in low water, their images of military invincibility badly mauled by the debacle in Iraq and the brutal failure in Lebanon. Once again, as was the case with Iran, Syria was offering almost everything that Bush and his Blair-like minion Ehud Olmert say that they want. But once again, Bush -- or rather, the actual bossman, Dick Cheney -- said no deal.

It is by now undeniable that the Bush Administration does not want peace in the Middle East -- not in Iraq (obviously), not in Iran, or Syria, or Palestine. The Administration omits no opportunity to scuttle any chance for a peaceful settlement to the tormented region's many problems, while taking active and vigorous steps to exacerbate these difficulties. War and the threat of war: this is the only policy they have in the Middle East, because they believe war is the only way to get what they really want -- domination of the region's energy resources and hegemony for their Israeli satrap over a region of shattered, internally riven Arab and Muslim states. That this idiotic and bloodthirsty policy is inimical to the best interests of the American people -- and the very survival of the Israeli people -- cuts no ice with these ruthless radicals, these boardroom Bolsheviki. Why should they care? They have their millions, they have their security details, they have their ranches and sumptuous hideaways; they will never be touched by any of the real consequences of their actions. And so their power plays go on, no more real to them than a game of Risk. And the piles of the dead grow higher and higher.

Regional War or Peace? Israel, Iran and the Bush Administration (CounterPunch)
Excerpt:When the Baker-Hamilton Study Group filed its recommendations last December, negotiations with Syria were especially stressed-a point Baker reiterated when he testified to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations last January 30th. Baker undoubtedly knew about the secret talks and Syria's explicit statements it wished to break with radical Islamic movements and was ready to discuss its ties with Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas.

These nominally secret talks were made public on January 8, 2007 when Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak accused the United States in an interview with an Israeli paper of obstructing peace between Israel and Syria.
Ha'aretz' Akiva Eldar then published a series of extremely detailed accounts, including the draft accord, confirming that Syria 'offered a far reaching and equitable peace treaty that would provide for Israel's security and is comprehensive -- and divorce Syria from Iran and even create a crucial distance between it and Hezbollah and Hamas. The Bush Administration's role in scuttling any peace accord was decisive. C. David Welch, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, sat in at the final meeting, two former senior CIA officials were present in all of these meetings and sent regular reports to Vice President Dick Cheney's office. The press has been full of details on how the American role was decisive, because it has war, not peace, at the top of its agenda.

Most of the Israeli Establishment favors it. On January 28 important Israelis met publicly in Jaffa and called the Israeli response "an irresponsible gamble with the State of Israel" since it made Cheney arbiter of Israeli national interests. They included former IDF chief of staff Amnon Lipkin Shahak, former Shin Bet chief Ya'akov Perry, former directors of the Foreign Ministry David Kimche and Alon Liel (who negotiated the deal and believes it is very serious), and the like. Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Foreign Minister, has since supported their position and argued that it is "too important" for Israel to endorse yet "another failure in the U.S. strategy."

But Olmert has explicitly said that the Bush Administration opposes a negotiated peace with Syria. Therefore he is opposed to it also.