All Hail the "Rest in Peace Process"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Old saw Middle East hands like myself tend not to go too giddy on diplomatic handshakes (especially those that take place under the approving eye of US presidents), but the Annapolis gathering did achieve a measure of success, once again breathing oxygen into the adage that in the so-called Peace Process hope springs eternal.

Today, just to prove that Annapolis was not merely a Rice-inspired self-promoting photo-op, President Bush is meeting with the Israeli and Palestinian leader to shore up their commitments and set the stage for developing a strategy of engagement that may, just may, result in a schedule of regular negotiations under the active, watchful eye of the US in the months ahead.

However, lurking on the sidelines stewing and plotting to sabotage the new found spirit is Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas -- the Axis of the Uninvited.

Just to make sure you have an accurate score card what actually was achieved, here is a short list of encouraging deliverables out of Annapolis to the Middle East hope-starved:

1. A Joint Statement (which until the last minute was not in the cards), that can be found on Page A 19 of today's Washington Post ( But don't get too carried away, much of what was stated in this Joint Statement are old hats dressed up in new boxes.

2. A commitment to negotiate a comprehensive peace treaty by the end of 2008.

3. A personal commitment by President Bush to dip more than a toe into the Middle East peace process swamp.

4. Faint Morse code signals from Syria that it is willing to consider a parallel peace track with Israel despite Israel's recent bombing of Syria's suspected nuclear installation in September. Note: for those who really want to know why Syria attended, just take into account that Syria is hosting the next Arab League summit and if it had not attended Annapolis the Saudis may have snubbed the Damascus summit.

But as I said in a telephone interview at 9am on Fox News Channel this morning, the process will require full U.S. engagement (Dr. Rice may now discover she has a day job again, after all) and a Saudi commitment at the next Arab League Summit in Damascus to get into the game of incubating the Annapolis commitments.

Later, what really went on behind the scenes at the Annapolis Conference.
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1 comment:

  1. And what do you think of Obadiah Shoher's arguments against the peace process ( )?


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