Thursday, May 22, 2008

Juan Cole: Appeasement Breaks out Everywhere

After all that trouble George W. Bush caused with his foolish speech before the Israeli Knesset condemning negotiation with bad guys, it turns out that no one in the Middle East, including Israel, is paying the slightest attention to him. Even his own secretary of state seems to be disagreeing with him in public. Such are the wages of the lame duck, more especially when his favorability rating is 22%.

It turns out that Israel has been negotiating indirectly through Turkey with Syria, over Bush's strong objections.

This interview with Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to the US, on the Israel-Syria negotiations. (see linked YouTube Video)

And now the March 14 Movement in Lebanon has come back from Doha, Qatar with an agreement hammered out with Hizbullah. The agreement was made necessary because Bush had been pushing the Lebanese government to take on Hizbullah, and when it did, Hizbullah beat the pants off them. Although it is being said that the agreement makes Hizbullah powerful, actually it seems to me just to take us back to the status quo ante of 2005-2006 when Hizbullah was part of a national unity government and there was a relatively pro-Syrian general as president. (Gen. Michel Suleiman may have become more independent of Damascus recently, but he has a long history of close cooperation with Syria.)

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