Why the Arab Peace Initiative Can't Bring Peace

In a recent speech, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has suggested reviving the long-moribund peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabia in conjunction with other Arab states. That 2002 initiative, however, includes an unrestricted right of return to Israel for all 1948 Arab refugees as well as their descendants. Nor does it allow for adjustments of the pre-1967 lines to accommodate Israel’s security or the longstanding Jewish communities on the West Bank, even though such adjustments have been confirmed by UN resolution and in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But the real problem, writes Zalman Shoval, is the lack of interest in peace on the part of Palestinian leadership:

The way toward an independent Palestine for Arafat was a combination of cheating and violence—and for Abbas it is to play the UN card. Peace doesn’t come into it, certainly not if that were to be contingent on concessions on such items as refugees, Jerusalem, borders, etc. Thus for Abbas it isn’t “peace now,” but “state now”—with peace, whatever its contours, later or not at all.

If the Arab peace initiative had been presented, as Jordan’s esteemed foreign minister, Marwan Muasher, suggested at the time, as a straightforward “simple and powerful explanation of the Arab position” and not as an “either-or” dictate, it could perhaps have served as a suitable platform for meaningful negotiations. In its present form, it is not.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Arab peace initiative, General Sisi, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process

If Iran Goes Nuclear, the U.S. Will Be Forced Out of the Middle East

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in May that Iran has, or is close to having, enough highly enriched uranium to build multiple atomic bombs, while, according to other sources, it is taking steps toward acquiring the technology to assemble such weapons. Considering the effects on Israel, the Middle East, and American foreign policy of a nuclear-armed Iran, Eli Diamond writes:

The basic picture is that the Middle East would become inhospitable to the U.S. and its allies when Iran goes nuclear. Israel would find itself isolated, with fewer options for deterring Iran or confronting its proxies. The Saudis and Emiratis would be forced into uncomfortable compromises.

Any course reversal has to start by recognizing that the United States has entered the early stages of a global conflict in which the Middle East is set to be a main attraction, not a sideshow.

Directly or not, the U.S. is engaged in this conflict and has a significant stake in its outcome. In Europe, American and Western arms are the only things standing between Ukraine and its defeat at the hands of Russia. In the Middle East, American arms remain indispensable to Israel’s survival as it wages a defensive, multifront war against Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hizballah. In the Indo-Pacific, China has embarked on the greatest military buildup since World War II, its eyes set on Taiwan but ultimately U.S. primacy.

While Iran is the smallest of these three powers, China and Russia rely on it greatly for oil and weapons, respectively. Both rely on it as a tool to degrade America’s position in the region. Constraining Iran and preventing its nuclear breakout would keep waterways open for Western shipping and undermine a key node in the supply chain for China and Russia.

Diamond offers a series of concrete suggestions for how the U.S. could push back hard against Iran, among them expanding the Abraham Accords into a military and diplomatic alliance that would include Saudi Arabia. But such a plan depends on Washington recognizing that its interests in Eastern Europe, in the Pacific, and in the Middle East are all connected.

Read more at National Review

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy