09 December 2006

Finishing up the Diplomatic Advice of the ISG

OK, besides the Iranians, the ISG also recommended getting the Syrians to stop offering safe haven and weapons to the Sunnis. I'm less warm and fuzzy about negotiating with Syria because we have fewer disincentives and fewer incentives. They are also Arabs.

ISG wants us to get the Gulf States and Saudi in on this. That should be easier. It will only have a small payoff, but any payoff is worth doing. What do we have a striped-pants brigade for if not negotiating their butts off? Won't cost anything, might pay off. The biggest issue is that they hold huge chunks of Iraqi debt and aren't in a forgiving mood. That's bad.

The issue of Palestine comes up again. Well, on this I can't entirely sign off on the ISG's proposals. Let's be real: To Joe Iraqi, these conflicts do not look linked. To anyone we would realistically negotiate with, these conflicts don't look linked.

Solving the Palestinian question requires one thing. The Israelis have agreed to the basic principle on which a solution rests, that is to say the trade of territory for peace. What is required is a Palestinian authority with the ability to control the militants and an inclination to offer peace for land. Hamas's core guiding principle is the murder of another six million Jews. You can't negotiate. What do you offer them? "OK, we'll let you kill one million Jews if you leave the rest alone" is not a useful stance. Yet that's more or less the only thing they want. As long as the Palestinian people continue to democratically elect thugs and terrorists on a platform of violence over negotiations, the Palestinian people will be treated as enemies of Israel. And that's pretty much all she wrote.

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