The Legacy of the Black September Revolt, Five Decades On

In September of 1970, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), then led by Yasir Arafat, launched a violent rebellion against the Jordanian monarchy, which was not quelled completely until the following summer. Examining the many lasting effects of the revolt for both Israel and the region, Alberto Miguel Fernandez writes:

After its Jordanian defeat, the PLO would move to Lebanon, where a few years later it would play a key role in igniting the Lebanese Civil War and triggering Syrian military intervention and then decades of occupation in Lebanon. . . . Meanwhile, the “cause of Palestine” would be the flag of convenience and bloody shirt for every rogue and genocidal maniac in the region—Assad father and son, Saddam Hussein, Moammar Qaddafi, Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and others.

The Palestinian leadership would use and be used by all of them. Hafez Assad (using his Lebanese and Palestinian proxies) would kill more Palestinians during the “War of the Camps” in Lebanon in 1985-1988 than were killed by the Lebanese forces at Sabra and Shatila. The PLO itself would support Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and even send fighters to Uganda in 1979 to try to prevent Idi Amin from falling to Tanzanian forces.

For the corrupt and feckless Palestinian political leadership, and for a host of Western pundits and think tankers who have made a lucrative career on the “process,” recent events have come like a bucket of ice-cold water. It is not that Palestine is not important, but that rather than falsely and dishonestly placing it on some sort of artificial pedestal, an increasing number of states in the region are seeing it as one of many issues, and for most players not the most pressing one.

Read more at MEMRI

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Jordan, Middle East, PLO

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy