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June 11, 2007

Another Reason Not To Listen To James Baker And The ISG: Iran, Syria Orchestrated This Weeks Raid On Israel

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives
"This operation was an Iranian and Syrian way to explode things and have another card on the table." - Palestinian security official.
How much evidence does the Bush administration need to realize that the James Baker foreign policy paradigm based on the belief that it is possible and desirable to reach a stable balance of power in the Middle East, has even the most remote possibility of resulting in anything less than more violence? Take for instance today's news that according to security officials associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, the attempted Palestinian raid of the Israeli border this weekend, purportedly to kidnap an Israeli soldier, was orchestrated by Syria and Iran:
JERUSALEM - An , according to security officials associated with .

The Israel Defense Forces on Saturday thwarted an attempt by the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad terror group to kidnap a soldier on the Israeli side of a major crossing into the Gaza Strip.

Four terrorists approached the Israeli border in an SUV bearing "TV" signs in an attempt to disguise themselves as journalists. Reporters working in Gaza usually travel in cars with "TV" symbols to identify themselves. Upon reaching the crossing, the terrorists blew a hole in the border fence and attempted to storm an IDF position.

IDF troops rushed to the scene, chasing three of the gunmen back to the Gaza Strip. One of militants, 19-year-old Mohammed Jaabari, became separated from the group and hid inside Israel. Jaabari was shot dead after he opened fire when soldiers approached him, the IDF said.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

"The aim of the operation was to retreat with a prisoner," said Abu Ahmed, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad. "This was prevented by the use of Israeli helicopters."

This attempted kidnapping took place just before the one year anniversary of the kidnapping by Hamas and two other groups of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held in Gaza and is being used as a bargaining chip by the Hamas-led Palestinian government to release Palestinian prisoners, including arrested terrorists, held in Israeli jails.

As Caroline Glick points out in her piece at Real Clear Politics, Baker believes that balance can be reached by forcing Israel to shrink to its "natural" proportions and assisting supposedly moderate and stable states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia to grow into their "natural" proportions. Once the states of the region (including Syria and Iran, which Baker wishes to appease) have settled into their proper proportions, stability will be ensured.

I get the feeling that Baker actually believes, and now President Bush, the Democratic leadership, and even some very naive Republicans, that following the James Baker school of thought will result in Iran and Syria, and their puppets in the PA, will then sit down with Israel and the U.S. and live in a big Kumbaya (and I'm referring here to it's ironic usage as a blandly pious and naively optimistic view of the world and human nature) . This absurd line of reasoning will only result in more violence and a better strategic position for Iran.

Getting back to Glick on the problem with the Baker paradigm:

The problem with the Baker paradigm is that it has never been borne out by reality. It collapsed during the Cold War, both as the Soviet Union worked tirelessly to destabilize countries allied with the US and when the states of East-Central Europe revolted against the teetering empire and gained their freedom with its collapse.

In the 1990s, Baker's stability paradigm failed to foresee the post-nationalist movements that swept through Western Europe and the Muslim world, and embraced the Soviet goal of weakening the US. Baker still denies the phenomenon and ignores its policy implications.

Today, the notion that stability is a realistic aim is even more far-fetched. Specifically, the willingness of Muslim secularists to form strategic relations with jihadists and the willingness of Shi'ites to form strategic partnerships with Sunnis was unimaginable 20 years ago. Aside from that, the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran throws a monkey wrench into any thought of regional stability. A look around the region shows just how absurd Baker's notions truly are.

In Lebanon today, Fatah al-Islam, which is apparently allied with al-Qaida, is fighting the Lebanese army in a bid to bring down the Saniora government at the behest of its sponsor - the secular Ba'athist regime in Damascus. Fatah al-Islam is also aligned with Hizbullah, which shares its goal of bringing down the Lebanese government, and with Iran, which gives the Syrians their marching orders.

This state of affairs is also the name of the game in Iraq, where Iran and Syria support both Muqtada al-Sadr's Shi'ite Mehdi army and al-Qaida's Sunni death squads. It repeats itself in Afghanistan, where Iran is arming the Taliban, and in the Palestinian Authority.

Furthermore, the paragons of moderation and stability in Egypt and Saudi Arabia that Baker and his followers are so keen to strengthen are neither stable nor moderate. Both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi King Abdullah are old men of uncertain health. To "stabilize" their regimes, they wrought unholy alliances with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahabis, the only forces in Egyptian and Saudi societies that have not been flattened under their jackboots.

This week, Channel 10 reported that the Bush administration recently informed Israel and the Gulf states that it has no intention of launching military strikes against Iran's nuclear installations. The Americans explained that they need Iranian assistance in stabilizing Iraq to pave the way for an American withdrawal from the country before Bush leaves office. Under Baker's regency, the administration apparently now subscribes to the belief that they will be better off out of Iraq and with a nuclear-armed Iran, than in Iraq without a nuclear-armed Iran.

As Glick points out in her piece, following the James Baker school of thought, the Bush administration is pressuring the Olmert government to agree to Palestinian Authority and Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas's request to bring millions of bullets, thousands of Kalashnikov assault rifles, RPGs, antitank missiles and armored personnel carriers into Gaza from Egypt. Fatah forces use their arms to attack Israel. So even if there was no chance of Hamas laying its hands on the weapons, allowing Fatah to receive them would still endanger Israel. And the Bush administration is not just asking Israel to facilitate the arming of its enemies. It is also placing restrictions on Israel's ability to arm itself:
As The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday, the Pentagon has yet to respond to Israel's request to purchase the F-22 stealth bomber. Moreover, the US seems to be torpedoing Israel's acquisition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Pentagon recently voiced its objection to Israel's plan to install Israeli technology in the jets that are to be supplied starting in 2014. Israel's installation of its own electronic warfare systems in its F-16s and F-15s is what has allowed the IAF to maintain its qualitative edge over Arab states that have also purchased the aircraft.

THE ADMINISTRATION'S display of hostility toward Israel is unfortunately not an aberration. It is the result of a policy shift that occurred immediately after the Republican Party's defeat in the Congressional elections in November.

Read all of Caroline Glick's piece: James Baker's Disciples.

Related reading: The Evil of Two Lessers, By Mortimer B. Zuckerman:

Now 40 years after Israel's stunning victory in the June 1967 Six-Day War, the Israelis are still ringed by enemies but with even more menace. Radical Islamic forces and a global jihadist movement offer no room for compromise. The Arab state media fester with anti-Semitic hate. And looming over all this is a radicalized Iran striving to build nuclear missiles--an Iran that in 1967 was a covert ally of Israel but is now itself the single greatest threat to world peace.

As President Bush considers a new approach to finding peace, it's worth remembering some things that haven't changed. The Palestine Liberation Organization, created three years before the Six-Day War, was dedicated to taking back all of Palestine from the hated Jews. We forget that the PLO carried out terrorist attacks in 1964, 1965, and 1966, when Israel was in possession of no occupied territories whatsoever. We forget that a victorious Israel immediately offered to return Sinai to Egypt and the Golan to Syria, only to be met with the Arab League's famous three "nos": no peace, no recognition, and no negotiation. If the Palestinians had wanted a viable state of their own, they could have had it long ago.

What the world may not remember the Israelis can never forget. How could they forget that unbearable month in 1967 when the entire Arab world was methodically preparing for their extinction--and the rest of the world did nothing?

Right to exist. At the very heart of the impasse, then and now, is the Arab refusal to accept Israel's existence. Peace would not come even if Israel pulled out of every bit of land defensively captured in 1967. Look what happened when Israel turned over Gaza. The world expected the Palestinians to develop a viable state. Instead, they turned Gaza into a launching ground for rockets and suicide terrorists, and then elected those terrorists in the form of Hamas.

Continue reading ...

Posted by Abdul at June 11, 2007 5:15 AM

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