Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bush & Omert Brandish Middle East Sticks

Violent division took a brief break between Israel and the Palestinians as U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice tried to achieve Bush's vision of a two state solution. When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to play, the U.S. and Israel sharpened their canes. Consider the switches they're ready to throw.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni threatened to re-occupy Gaza. Whack! Take that Abbas.

Another Israeli leader suggested Egypt and Jordan might need to rule the Palestinian Territories given the current government's inability to address terrorists. Thwack! Did that sting Mahmoud?

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested Israel needs help in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat. "I don't think the Iranian issue is primarily Israel's responsibility," Olmert said during a meeting with Druse students in the village of Julis. "It is the responsibility of the United States and the responsibility of other members of the international community that are convinced that Iran constitutes a threat."

Oh yea, military force remains on the table. One could infer the U.S. and other countries would have a responsibility to support Israel if they choose that option. Olmert doesn't believe sanctions to date are enough to halt Iran in its race to attain nuclear weapons. "Israel definitely considers itself threatened by Iran, but Israel has the might to defend itself from any threat - no matter the circumstances."

And where was George W. while the Middle East continued fracturing? He met with Jordanian King Abdullah II at the White House. Ever the slacker, Bush thinks there's plenty of time to cram for a peace agreement. The current violence is but a simple step back. similar to a bad roll on a late night RISK game. Consider his words:

"Ten months is a long time. It's plenty of time to get a deal done." He said Rice was pushing the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to resume talks (recall those switches?). "I am optimistic that they can conclude tough negotiations," he said. "I'm still as optimistic as I was after Annapolis."

But is he still underhanded in his divide and conquer machinations? Eight years ago, I voted for a uniter. It appears I was way too optimistic. Still waiting...