The Two-State Delusion?

Feb. 14 2017

Conventional wisdom—whether in Riyadh or Washington, Brussels or Jerusalem—insists that the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel (or, more precisely, on both sides of it) is the one tenable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Therefore, writes Joel Fishman, it’s worth noting that the PLO’s leaders came to the idea not as a goal, but as a ruse—inspired by North Vietnam:

During the Vietnam war, the North Vietnamese originally employed the “two-state” formula in order to hide their strategic goals. They thus presented themselves as fighting for the North’s independence alone and concealed their aspiration to rule over South Vietnam as well. They adopted a strategy of phases which, by devoting attention to the intermediate stages of their struggle, would enable them to reach their goal by gradual steps. Their real intention was that North Vietnam would conquer South Vietnam, but they spoke of the “two-state solution,” a tactic whose purpose was to disguise their aims and manipulate world public opinion. . . .

In the early 1970s Salah Khalaf—one of the founders of the Black September [terrorist group], led a PLO delegation to Hanoi to learn from the North Vietnamese. There, they met the legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap and political advisers who coached them on how to present their case before the international community, and how to cease to be perceived as terrorists. . . . Khalaf recounted [in his memoir] that the North Vietnamese advised the Palestinians to devote attention to the intermediate stages of their war and to accept the need for “provisional sacrifices.” . ..

We live in a high-technology culture of sound bites and text messages, of quick and simple communication, of one-line messages, and such habits discourage the public from the careful study of past experience. In order to understand what is wrong here, we must remember the history of the slogan “two-state solution,” which was designed from the start to be a swindle. It began as a tool of political warfare, and its purpose never changed.

Read more at Mida

More about: Israel & Zionism, PLO, Two-State Solution, Vietnam War


To Undermine Russian and Iranian Influence in Syria, the U.S. Must Go on the Offensive

March 22 2018

When Iranian-lead, pro-Assad forces attacked U.S. allies in Syria last month, they found themselves quickly overwhelmed by American firepower. The incident, writes Tony Badran, makes clear that the U.S. has the capability to push back against the Damascus-Tehran-Moscow axis. By taking a more aggressive approach while working closely with Israel, Badran argues, Washington can at once prevent Russia and Iran from cementing their control of Syria and avoid getting drawn into a wider conflict:

Israeli assets can augment U.S. capabilities considerably. A few days after the skirmish in Deir Ezzour in February, Iran flew a drone into Israeli air space. Israel responded by destroying the Iranian command center at the Tiyas military air base near Palmyra, and then proceeded to bomb a large number of Iranian and Assad-regime targets. The episode again underscored the vulnerability of Iran, to say nothing of the brittle Assad regime. Close coordination with Israel to expand this ongoing targeting campaign against Iranian and Hizballah infrastructure, senior cadres, and logistical routes, and amplifying it with U.S. assets in the region, would have a devastating effect on Iran’s position in Syria.

By going on the offensive, the U.S. will also strengthen Israel’s hand with Russia, reducing Jerusalem’s need to petition the Kremlin and thereby diminishing Moscow’s ability to position itself as an arbiter on Israeli security. For instance, instead of haggling with Russia to obtain its commitment to keep Iran five or seven kilometers away from the Israeli border, the U.S. could adopt the Israeli position on Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and assist Israel in enforcing it. Such a posture would have a direct effect on another critical ally, Jordan, whose role is of high importance in southern Syria and in the U.S. zone in the east.

Assad and Iran are the scaffolding on which the Russian position stands. Targeting them, therefore, undercuts Moscow and reduces its leverage. By merely forcing Russia to respect Israeli and Jordanian needs on the border, the U.S. would undermine Russia’s attempt, more generally, to leverage its position in Syria to make headway into the U.S. alliance system. In addition to adopting a more offensive military posture, the U.S. should also intensify the economic chokehold on Assadist Syria.

Read more at Caravan

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy