Saturday, July 28, 2007

Slim Chance of Mideast Peace

If Blair applies the same principles as he did to Northern Ireland... All parties must negotiate a lasting peace.

By Liam Bailey

Some say that making the second most hated man in the Muslim world, Tony Blair, the envoy to the region with the highest Muslim population in the world, is like making an ex klu-klux clan leader a liaison to the black community. If Blair sticks to his pro-American roots he will be as much use as Middle East envoy as an indoor wind-farm. Current American policy is, as usual, exactly the same as Israel's policies for dealing with the Palestinians and Arab states, favouring Abbas' Fatah and trying to isolate and squash the more-popular-because-they-are-more-militant-Hamas.

Blair brokered the Northern Ireland peace process by realizing that peace would only last if all parties were involved in negotiations.

So if Blair realizes that his pro-Americanism was responsible for his fall from grace, which I think he must, his personality and character dictating that he seek to do well in his new job, should mean he will start going against America and applying the same principles to the Middle East as he did to Northern Ireland.

I hope he does so soon. This week, U.S. foreign secretary Condoleeza Rice has said "there will be a Palestinian state" and there is talk of U.S. President Bush pushing both sides to find an agreement before he leaves office early 2009. Israel's Prime Minister Olmert said he thought it was necessary to pull out of the West Bank and made Abbas an offer to discuss the principles of a Palestinian state, such as its institutions and government – leaving final status issues such as borders and refugees to the end of negotiations.

This just days after Israel released 250 Fatah prisoners from its jails, was undoubtedly another attempt to bolster support for Abbas' new emergency cabinet currently controlling the West Bank, but also a possible sign that Israel is realizing the occupation can't go on forever.

There is much hype about the planned peace conference later this year, scheduled to see all the major players, Abbas, Olmert and leaders of the neighbouring Arab states, everyone except Hamas. Some would ask why Hamas would be needed; if an agreement were reached surely the Palestinians would force Hamas to go along with it?

Fatah have lost all credibility in the eyes of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian people don't trust Abbas, any agreement would be met with scepticism. Palestinians would think he had betrayed them behind the scenes, in order to reach a favourable deal and line his pockets.

Also, for any deal Israel will need to give up control of the land taken in the 1967 war, Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, creating a Palestinian state therein. Although a land-swap agreement where Israel gives back some of its land in order to keep Palestinian land where it is thought to be necessary for security or to encompass settlement blocs. Israel agreeing to this will hinge on the Palestinians guaranteeing Israel security. Without Hamas on board they would likely wage a terror campaign throughout the negotiations, as we saw during the Oslo process. This would prevent the Palestinians making any such guarantee.

What's more, Israel knows that the Palestinians can't guarantee their security unless all the parties are behind any cease-fire or peace-process. So, their current attempts to prevent Hamas from taking part in any thing democratic or peaceful back-up those that say Israel is trying to prevent peace.

On the bright side, if Blair manages to wangle Hamas and Islamic Jihad a seat at the peace conference table, a Palestinian guarantee of Israeli security can be believed. Obviously Israel won't trust them but hopefully the international community and Blair will make them give the benefit of the doubt. What's more if a deal is reached, it will have the trust and support of all Palestinians -- who know Hamas won't sacrifice their rights -- making cessation of attacks even more likely.

With Northern Ireland, once thought to be the most intractable conflict, now enjoying peace and prosperity, hopefully Blair can shake off his American-poodles tail and end the world's truly most-intractable conflict.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

BOOK REVIEW: Here's an interesting article.

SAN FRANCISCO - When it comes to spy novels and Middle East intrigue, after 16 spell-binding years, the gripping story behind the Middle East quagmire - its issues of nuclear weapons and the quest for a Palestinian State - is finally being told in a ground-breaking new book entitled, THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY.

Author Robert Spirko created the work in such a way that every reader in the world would understand all the intricate issues in the Middle East and how close the region actually came to the brink of nuclear Armageddon. THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY, a genre spy-thriller by Robert Spirko, was fourth on the best-seller list at Atlasbooks, Inc., a national book distributor. Ingram Books is the worldwide distributor.

Mr. Spirko has a unique way of holding the reader in his grasp as the plot of THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY unfolds. He literally takes you from your armchair and immerses you into the lifestyle of the Bedouin, the Israeli, the PLO and the mindset of the Middle-Easterner.

THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY is not just another spy-novel; it is the quintessential spy-thriller because it forces the reader to understand how both sides "think" and why that thinking ultimately led to repeated wars in the Middle East.

Spirko, a financial and geo-political analyst, turned his attention to the Middle East in 1987, after discovering several common elements related to the Middle East question. In working for peace, and after several frustrating years, he put down his analysis in writing and when he was finished, he not only had a solution to the quagmire, he had a story to tell.

But, nobody was listening.

Today, all that has changed, thanks to Olive Grove Publishers who decided to give his book a chance.

When the Palestinian question came to a festering crisis in 1990, he had already predicted several of the actual events before they occurred. For instance, Spirko predicted the Intifada and Persian Gulf War, missing the actual invasion date of Kuwait by only one week. He did this through spectacular supposition, analysis and prediction based on what he was "seeing" in the region.

When Spirko typed his manuscript, he set the work to fiction, about what he thought might occur soon in the Middle East involving weapons of mass destruction, nuclear proliferation, the Palestinian uprising before it occurred, and how the Palestinian question begged to be answered, little did he realize that every event he described in the book would eventually transpire.

His story of what was really happening behind the scenes in the Middle East is truly astounding and remarkable, and his contribution to the Camp David Peace Talks in 2000, formulated a solution to the Jerusalem question. When the BBC got wind of it, they termed it "as nothing short of brilliant" - Jerusalem becoming the simultaneous capitals of both Israel and Palestine in congruous or concentric zones.

Spirko originally copyrighted his book on October 20, 1987, in the U. S.
Library of Congress where intelligence agencies reviewed his work.

Today, finally, somebody is listening.

Spirko feels that both sides must return to the Camp David Peace Talks and resume where they left off and "freeze in place" the already-agreed-upon negotiating points.

“It's like a marriage where both spouses storm away mad in an argument.
They don't divorce and then try to resume their relationship, they come back together, settle their differences, and resume their marriage. It must be the same for the Middle East Peace talks," Spirko says.

The story begins in Beirut, Lebanon, once a great financial capital of the Middle East, which lay in ruin, having been systematically blasted to rubble during 20 years of inexhaustible civil war and siege by Israel, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah and Lebanese factions. Soon, the quest for a Palestinian State would be framed by these events; namely, the invasion of Kuwait by a neighboring rogue state, Iraq, with Saddam Hussein's goal of seeking nuclear parity with Israel.

In Mr. Spirko's story, Rick Waite, a forgotten UPI correspondent, and Adrienne Waters, a Pulitzer Prize journalist from the London Times, meet-up in Beirut with a PLO operative named Ahmed, who discovers a secret intelligence memo about a secret plan to destroy Israel.

In the ensuing chase to find the answer to this secret communiqué and what it means, a deadly race against time begins as the unlikely trio tries to halt the launch of a secret weapon from a hidden PLO base camp in the Syrian Desert. U. S. and British intelligence operatives have their own agenda, and attempt to stop whatever is going on to save the entire region from a nuclear holocaust.

Spirko weaves a tale of chilling duplicity and thrilling action, as the characters evade and devise a method to announce the discovery of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles to the rest of the world - all while United Nations' delegates bicker endlessly.

An executive at BookMasters, Inc., says, "The book is absolutely stunning in the manner in which Mr. Spirko, tells his tale. He is truly a master as an analyst, and it's totally unlike anything else we've ever read in a spy-thriller. It keeps you turning pages and won't let you quit - until the very end. And, what an ending it is! If you crave twisting plots, thrilling spy-action and intriguing characters, then this is the book for you."

Spirko, whose own background includes a stint in the U. S. Air Force and has given his advice to the National Security Council in Washington, D. C., has a degree in journalism and knows first-hand about the newsroom and what it takes to be an intelligence field agent. His knowledge of the trade makes the story real, daunting, and strikingly similar to "The Year of Living Dangerously."

"THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY drips with reality," quips a book reviewer from Olive Grove Publishers. "If books were rated by Siskel & Roeper, it would be given a two-thumbs up."

Not since, Casablanca, do characters as earthy as Rick Waite, or as beautifully mysterious as London Times reporter, Adrienne Waters, or as desperate as PLO operative, Ahmed, bring fresh characters to a story that will be remembered by readers for a long time.

The novel is a mass market paperback produced by Olive Grove Publishers, and can be purchased at area bookstores through Ingram Book Group, New Leaf Distribution, and Baker and Taylor, priced at $14.99, ISBN 0-9752508-0-9. THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY can also be ordered on the web at, or email orders from:, or from Barnes & Nobles, Border's, Dalton's, & Follett bookstores at colleges and universities, WaldenBooks,,, and other popular retail bookstores. Or, readers and store managers can call 1-800-BOOKLOG, or 800-247-6553 direct, to order.

For readers who want to know what was really going on in the Middle East prior to the Persian Gulf War, Sept. 11th, and Iraq War, THE PALESTINE CONSPIRACY, is a must read.