Friday, February 16, 2007

The Man Behind the Mecca Agreement

The American Prospect
By Jo-Ann Mort

How the recent Palestinian-Israeli peace talks were brokered from an Israeli jail.

The Palestinian unity agreement negotiated last week in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, comes with some big "ifs": whether it will last more than a few news cycles, whether it puts a halt to the low-grade civil war between Hamas and Fatah, whether the international community -- and Israel -- recognize this new government, and whether they will restore its funds and international recognition. But there are a few important certainties in this process that shouldn't be missed by Israel or the United States.

For starters, consider who attended and who did not attend the meetings. And consider that the meeting was in Mecca -- not Tehran or Damascus. One of the many unintended consequences of Bush’s sloppy Middle East policy has been Iran's surge as a regional power, including their arming and supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon, insurgents in Iraq, and reportedly, insurgents in Gaza. The Iranian challenge has made the Saudis nervous, so they have made a more active effort to be moderators. That's one reason for the Saudi peace initiative that has been knocking around the region for the last year.

No comments: