Friday, April 05, 2002

UN backs Bush peace plan


Today's blog-fodder: "UN backs Bush peace plan" intones the Guardian headline, and I, curious as to the content of this 'peace plan', read on. Only to find this so-called 'peace plan' is no peace plan at all, just a Shrubya-endorsed ceasefire. The man is wobbling, bigtime. The item goes on:
He called on Mr Sharon to pull his tanks out of West Bank towns and added: "Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop."

Mr Bush pointedly blamed Mr Arafat for failing to crack down on terrorists and stop a wave of deadly suicide bombings...

So, between this "calling upon" and "pointedly blaming", Bush is basically letting Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade and of course Arafat himself know that he can be relied upon to "restrain" Israel from what is in effect self-defence. How far does Shrubya's influence run on the West Bank? Not very far. And if he can't provide a credible stick for Arafat it's hard to see how he'll be able to come up with a credible carrot either. Arafat needs to understand that there is no back-door way to getting what he wants - but Bush is holding that back door open for him as we speak. And of course everything that applies to Arafat applies to the terrorists also.

And don't expect miracles from that great non-event Kofi Annan either:
[He] also welcomed Mr Powell's mediation, but delivered a bleak assessment of the prospects for peace. It was, he said, "a grave mistake for the more powerful party to believe that power alone will ultimately subdue the weaker party".

No mention of right or wrong here - just the same tired relativist sophism of 'weak' vs. 'strong'. No mention either that the 'weak' are sending suicide bombers to murder civilians and concealing weapons in ambulances. Doubtless this unorthodox use of medical transport will be quietly forgotten when the next Fisk comes to splutter and rage at Israeli 'brutality' in holding up and searching those same ambulances. Notch up another propaganda coup.
USS Clueless has some pretty harsh words to say about all this too:
What [the Palestinian leadership's acceptance of Bush's 'conditions'] really means is that they're on the ropes and grasping at straws and are willing to accept anything that will stop the Israeli assault, secure in the knowledge that they'll be able to cheat their way out of it later once the crisis has passed.

And besides: what does it matter what the 'Palestinian leadership' sign up to anyway? It's the terrorists who need to be making the pledges.
A couple more things stick out about this: the White House has made it clear Sharon's actions against Arafat and Palestinian terrorists are not part of the WOT since the Palestinian Authority is involved in a 'peace process'. Two questions: what peace process? and why do they need to be a part of the WOT to be legitimate? Is the US now in the business of deciding when other nations may be permitted to defend themselves? Let's hope not.
The other thing is this: Bush is coming under pressure - not least from Blair over hot dogs and pork ribs at Crawford, Tx - to 'sort out' (ha!) the Israeli-Palestinian issue before attacking Iraq. So, as has been pointed out elsewhere on USS Clueless, this gives Saddam an incentive to support and foment more Palestinian terrorism, as it gives other Gulf States like Saudi Arabia, who 'compensate' the families of Palestinian 'martyrs' and are not overly keen on seeing Iraq attacked. Of course, Blair's objections could be a sneaky and subtle way of putting the kybosh on the whole enterprise - after all, his public support for an attack on Iraq isn't doing his domestic political position much good. Wouldn't it be better for him to postpone it indefinitely? Then again, maybe I'm just being paranoid.
Hey, who's that lurking about on that grassy knoll over there?