Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mideast Peace Negotiations: It's All About Obama Saving Face

I posted about this article yesterday, but just to contrast the headline with another that directly contradicted it.

At the time, I didn't pay attention to the implications in the article itself. Take a look--at this point it's not about Middle East peace, the Mideast Peace talks are all about Obama saving face:
Israelis, Palestinians leaders agree to continue talks through U.S. elections

The Obama administration has secured pledges from senior Mideast leaders to continue their fitful peace negotiations until after next month's U.S. midterm elections, largely to avoid handing the Obama administration an embarrassing diplomatic setback before the Nov. 2 elections.

Israeli and Palestinian officials told McClatchy Newspapers Tuesday that efforts to reach a compromise would continue until at least Nov. 3, a move they said "served the current American government."

"The time frame we are following has been designed around the elections in America," said a senior member of the Palestinian negotiating team. "We have been asked not to issue announcements that could embarrass negotiation officials."

He and Israeli officials declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.
I suppose this is consistent. After all, the West does not hesitate to interfere in the internal politics and policies of Israel, so why not use what is left of the talks to hide the failure of Obama's foreign policy gambit.

Still, the article seems a bit naive, when in the very next paragraph it continues:
Whether the move will improve the Obama administration's chances of brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement remains to be seen, however. The Arab League and the Palestinian government have announced that they'd seek "alternatives" to the stalled U.S.-led negotiations.
The 'moratorium' on declaring the death of Obama's Mideast peace talks has nothing to do with brokering talks. The Obama administration is avoiding the embarrassment so that it can dump the talks and pursue its next venture into Middle East politics.

As far as the 'alternative' the Arab League and PA are looking into, they will continue to be options that are heavy on creating a second Palestinian state and light on peace.

The question is: how will Obama's latest failure, together with the possibility that Abbas will go elsewhere and deprive Obama of what he thinks is a chance to notch a foreign policy success, combine to push Obama towards even greater pressure on Netanyahu.

On the other hand, Arlene Kushner points to a comment made by Aaron David Miller on the 2 broad options facing the Obama administration:
Such U.S. mediation, designed to produce “a horizon” on core issues such as borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees, could either “shut the game down until the locals are ready to play seriously,” Miller said, “or gin it up.”
We'll know which after the election.

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1 comment:

NormanF said...

If the Obamaites are smart, they'll wash their hands off it and walk away. Nothing is going to happen in a year that would produce an agreement.

The Palestinians don't want to be at the table and Israel is not ready to give without knowing what it will get - and there are no signs the Palestinians are ready to make a compromise peace.

Whatever happens next, the peace process is dead.