Obama is in bed with the Iraq Study Group.
By Ted Belman
A number of people have written to me to tell me Brzezinski, either is not on Obama’s foreign policy team or is just one member of it. Ever since Brzezinski introduced Obama last summer, Brzezinski has remained in the background for fear of alienating Obama’s Jewish support. It makes little difference because all the others on the team are generally in agreement with his policies.
Now Lee Hamilton has officially joined the team. And as you know Hamilton and Brzezinski are joined at the hip. They both were on the Iraq Study Group and they both signed a letter among others, calling themselves “realists”, pre-Annapolis, in which they urged Bush to do a number of things to make Annapolis a success.
I would be remiss if I did not mention a third “realist”, namely James Baker, who was co-chair of the ISG. It was Baker who sold Lebanon out to Syria to get its support for the Iraq invasion first time around.
He won over another Baathist dictatorship, Syria, to the anti-Iraqi operation by allowing it to occupy Lebanon in its entirety, including the last Christian bastions. In other words, the United States authorized one Arab country [Syria] to subjugate another [Lebanon] in order to prevent a third [Iraq] from absorbing a fourth [Kuwait]. It might well be, obviously, that Baker wanted to create –through a Syrian protectorate over Lebanon– a precedent applicable to Kuwait, as long as Saddam Hussein renounced formal annexation [of Kuwait]. Up to 9 January 1991, the American secretary of state was negotiating with the Iraqi minister of foreign affairs, Tariq Aziz, in the hope of finding a compromise [allowing Iraq to keep on occupying Kuwait without formal annexation].
Bush Sr following Baker’s advice, pressured Shamir by the withholding of funds to get Israel to attend the Madrid Conference and to put Jerusalem on the table. Now that’s “realism”. We can expect the same this time around if the ISG has anything to say about it.
The unsolicited Brzezinski-Hamilton Report
The surprising recommendation that will probably make the most news is that Washington should participate in starting a “genuine dialogue” with the fundamentalist Hamas group, although the proposal stops short of calling for Hamas to be invited to the November conference. While commending Bush for planning to invite Syria, they say that the invitation should not be symbolic but “genuine engagement.” The letter argues that if Syria or Hamas are ostracized, “prospects that they will play a spoiler role increase dramatically… By the same token, a comprehensive cease-fire or prisoner exchange is not possible without Hamas’ cooperation.”
Perhaps the most significant recommendation concerns what the U.S. should do if Israeli and Palestinian leaders fail to reach a pre-conference understanding on the endgame contours of a permanent peace agreement on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute: the authors say that the so-called Quartet (a mediation group including the U.S., Russia, EU and UN) should lay down an endgame outline for them. They say that such an outline would be based on based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the Clinton parameters of 2000, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and Bush’s 2003 Roadmap, and should include the following points:
–Two states, based on the lines of June 4, 1967, with minor, reciprocal, and agreed-upon modifications as expressed in a 1:1 land swap.
–Jerusalem as home to two capitals, with Jewish neighborhoods falling under Israeli sovereignty and Arab neighborhoods under Palestinian sovereignty.
–Special arrangements for the Old City, providing each side control of its respective holy places and unimpeded access by each community to them.
–A solution to the refugee problem that is consistent with the two-state solution, addresses the Palestinian refugees’ deep sense of injustice as well as provides them with meaningful financial compensation and resettlement assistance.
–Security mechanisms that address Israeli concerns while respecting Palestinian sovereignty.
Another significant recommendation: rather than having the U.S. mediate the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, as during the Clinton administration, “credible and sustained permanent-status negotiations” should proceed “under international supervision” with a timetable for their completion. According to the authors, that will enable the peace process to proceed to the next step, negotiations on the “”normal, peaceful relations between Israel and all Arab states” outlined in the Arab peace initiative.
The letter repeats calls for reciprocal confidence-building measures by Israelis and Palestinians contained in the Road Map. But, echoing recent Arab urgings, the authors say that “of utmost importance, if the conference is to have any credibility, it must coincide with a freeze in Israeli settlement expansion.” Their letter argues that “it is impossible to conduct a serious discussion on ending the occupation while settlement construction proceeds apace.”
This is what Obama’s team, with or without Brzezinski, will attempt to achieve. This is what the liberal/left Jews want and why they have formed a new lobby group.
And this is what I and most Jews don’t want.