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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Update on the peace process

For once there is good news about the progress of peace talks that have been stalled for the past five years or so. US Foreign Secretary (Secretary of State) John F. Kerry has been able to get a tentative framework endorsed by the entire Arab League, which would be enough coverage for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make the case to the already skeptical Palestinian public that negotiations within the newly announced framework are within their national interest. While it will be a simultaneously tough sell for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to both his cabinet and his people, it will give him a stronger incentive to make a real meaningful dialogue knowing full well that his American partner, US President Barack Obama, will give him plenty of backup in the international sphere so that there can be an ongoing dialogue. By mentioning Obama's support, Netanyahu can make the case to the equally skeptical Israeli public that reengaging in a dialogue with the Palestinians will help make Israel more secure for future generations. Full credit for the breaking of this story goes to the Associated Press via Yahoo News.

I find this to be a very positive step towards ending the nearly century-old dispute, and one of the biggest sources of violent outbreaks in the Middle East. In addition, to the tough sells involved, doing so will undoubtedly isolate both Syria and Iran. The Arabs' main source of rage now is not so much with the Israelis, as I've mentioned in previous posts, but with the Iranians. The reason is simple: Iran has a relatively strong history of dabbling in the Arab states' internal affairs, and for the past 30 years or so, the Arab states have long complained to the Americans about this. Now this is not to say that the Americans and the Iranians have any business launching threats at each other, because they don't, but that's not the main point here. The Iranians after the Islamic Revolution have long cowed their Arab neighbors threatening to back radical Islamic elements in their borders unless they heed Iranian guidance in the Islamic struggle against Israel. Now this is the main reason for the Arab push for peace with Israel since 2002, as it would free up resources for them to go after elements backed by the Iranians.

Now for the American perspective of this: it's a massive interest for there to be a final accord to the Arab-Israeli dispute as it would finally allow a fully unified front against the main source of terror, the Iranians. For America, like Israel and the Arab states, Iran's reach across the Middle East is a credible threat and the fact that it has not made the proper disclosures for its nuclear program as mandated by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty creates an even larger crisis that threatens the whole non-proliferation regime put in place by both the Americans and the Russians at the end of the Cold War. This is primarily why America wants to see this dispute end, as it would only aggrivate an arms race, but of a smaller proportion to the extent of what it faced with Russia for 40 years (1947-87).

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