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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's first order of business: Turning Israel into Northern Ireland

The Washington Post reports on Tuesday that with the American and world economies in shambles, the first order of the Obama Hopenchange administration on Wednesday morning will be to go back to the future by appointing former Senator George J. Mitchell as the administration's new 'Special envoy to the Middle East' (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). Mitchell, whose mother, Mary Saad was Lebanese, is best remembered in these parts in recent years for his report on the causes of the Oslo War ('Second Intifada') that rewarded eight months of murderous violence by the 'Palestinians' with a 'settlement freeze' to which then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was forced to agree.

And you all expected Dennis Ross to be the bad news....

As an aside, look at the kind of partisan threats we can look forward to for the next four years:
An Obama adviser said the exact timing of Mitchell's appointment will depend on Clinton's confirmation vote, which is scheduled to take place by "unanimous consent" and so cannot be stopped by filibuster.

But a Republican senator could demand a voice vote, thus delaying Clinton's confirmation by another day. "If any Republican holds her over, they are stalling the entire administration from hitting this problem," the adviser said.
I guess dissent isn't going to be stylish in Washington anymore, is it?

Oh yes, Mitchell's main qualification for the position isn't his 'commission.' It's his role as a negotiator in 'resolving' the ethnic dispute in Northern Ireland earlier this decade. That plays into Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair's constant comparisons of the Middle East with Northern Ireland and former Italian foreign minister Massimo D'Alema's desire to see Hamas and Hezbullah metamorphose into from terror groups into political groups like the IRA and ETA. Apparently the Hopenchange administration hopes to turn Israel into Northern Ireland.

This prophetic article from 2004 shows how the British (and Tony Blair in particular) have been trying to bring Northern Ireland-type 'conflict resolution' to the Israeli-Arab 'Palestinian' conflict and why all Israelis had better pray that it not work here. Here's the bottom line with some comments about why it's so bad for Israel interspersed.
The arguments for indulging insurgent, revolutionary movements are wonderfully flexible. In the first phase, the "oppressors" must indulge the "moderates." [That would be Fatah. CiJ] As time goes on, that changes to the "pragmatic hardliners," [Hamas. CiJ] who are the only faction that can deliver. There are vague echoes here of the mission of Alistair Crooke, the former MI6 officer who served in Northern Ireland and who has been seeking to bring Hamas into the fold as the only people who can "deliver" on a settlement. Judging by past form, future British and EU diplomatic efforts may focus increasingly upon influencing the less "ideological" element within Likud [That would be Kadima. This was written a year before Kadima broke off from the Likud. CiJ]. Many British officials see Hamas and Likud as mutually reinforcing "hardliners."

A key theme in this mindset is that there can be no purely military defeat of insurgents [Is this why Israel was pressured not to finish the job in Gaza? CiJ]. If this is true, then one has to make a massive number of political concessions. Some of the more robust elements within the British system believe that the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the police force which was at the cutting edge of the struggle against terrorism, was stopping between 7 and 8, and in some cases even 9 out of 10 IRA operations during the latter years of the Troubles. Indeed, year by year we learn just how riddled the IRA was with British informers [Just like Israel has put an almost total stop to 'Palestinian' terror originating in Judea and Samaria since 2003. CiJ]. But notwithstanding that achievement, the British government decided to give disproportionate political concessions to ensure that the IRA never had "an excuse" to go back to armed struggle. In other words, they believe that the IRA, like the Palestinians, has a great number of very good excuses to go back "to war." That process, of depriving the insurgents of "excuses," inevitably comes at the expense of Unionists and the Israelis.

But what is the definition of victory in Northern Ireland? The British do not define "victory" as the military defeat of the IRA. Firstly, they do not believe it was possible, but even if it was possible, they do not believe in such a defeat as a matter of principle. Victory, as far as they see it in Northern Ireland, is to persuade Sinn Fein/IRA to accept the use of democratic methods. In other words, they have a methodological definition of victory, but have no particular end point of a settlement in mind (which reinforces instability by convincing Republicans that "one last heave," whether politically or militarily, will do the trick).

Indeed, one unique aspect of policy in Northern Ireland is that the British state is well-nigh unique in advertising, quite openly, that it does not really mind if it is dismembered - subject, of course, to the consent principle. All it wants is that the IRA and the Republican movement - in the main - abandon full-scale violence, and then all other roads are open. To ensure that abandonment of violence, the British will maintain the pace of concessions, at least for as long as the Unionists are prepared to tolerate them. And because the British have been working on the Unionist community for so long, they reckon that they have a very good chance of maintaining that grip on events.
This all sounds familiar, doesn't it? If it doesn't, I think I have pointed out enough striking similarities for you. Do we really want Israel dismembered?

Read the whole thing to understand what is apparently the Hopenchange administration's 'new approach.' And keep in mind that radical Islam is not the Irish Republican Army's ideology. The IRA didn't have suicide bombers.


At 1:19 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Irish Republican Army never sought the destruction of Great Britain. It simply wanted the British out of the whole of Ireland. In contrast, both Fatah and Hamas are committed to the destruction of Israel. There is no compromise that will ever satisfy them and a Palestinian reichlet would only be a down payment on their ultimate demand, not the end of it. Israel is not Northern Ireland and Israel cannot give up its heartland to be used as a base by its enemies to destroy it. There is nothing left for Israel to give up and let's hope that Israeli voters elect a government that will ensure the West's misguided plans to impose a Northern Irish-style solution upon the Jewish State come to naught.

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Just Cause said...

I'll post more later but have a look at this in the meantime - relates to using the NI approach for Sunni/Shia division is Iraq:


The immediate point of interest;

"Mr McGuinness, who co-chaired the sessions with Mr Meyer, said it had been made clear the Irish experience was not a prescription but that lessons from it could be learned, in particular that meaningful negotiations had to be inclusive of all parties. "

I can think of one party who don't want to negotiate any on their terms!

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Daled Amos said...

Whenever I see the comparison being made between Israel and Ireland in order to encourage Israel to be more open to negotiating with Abbas and Hamas--or criticizing them for failing to do so--I like to point out the following from a 2001 press conference:

Joint Press Availability with British Secretary of State of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
October 24, 2001

...QUESTION: Secretary Powell, does the situation in Northern Ireland not show us all that negotiations is really the only way forward in all of these situations? And just secondly, when you met Martin McGuinness yesterday, did he give you assurances that there is no link between the IRA and the FARC guerillas in Colombia?

SECRETARY POWELL: We didn't, when I met with him yesterday, we didn't discuss that. We were just sort of celebrating the progress that was achieved yesterday. And I think negotiations are always to be preferred to military conflict, and even when you have military conflict, it doesn't always result in the kind of classic military win. Very often, it sets the stage for negotiations.

And so I hope what we have seen in Northern Ireland in the last 24 hours, which culminates a process that took many, many years long to get to this point, is an example of what can be achieved when people of good will come together, recognize they have strong differences, differences that they have fought over for years, but it's time to put those differences aside in order to move forward and to provide a better life for the children of Northern Ireland.

FOREIGN MINISTER STRAW: Could I just add one thing to that, if I may? Of course, negotiation is far, far better -- infinitely better -- than military action. As far as Northern Ireland is concerned, we welcome hugely the progress that has been made following the Good Friday Agreement. It also has to be said that before that happened, there had to be a change of approach by those who saw terrorism as the answer. And that approach partly changed because of the firmness of the military and police response to that terrorism. And if there had not been that firm response by successive British governments and others to the terrorist threat that was posed on both sides, we would not have been able to get some of those people into negotiations. We would not be marking what is a satisfactory day in the history of Northern Ireland today. [emphasis added]

And that is the lesson to take away when comparing Israel to Ireland.

They want to compare Israel to Ireland?
Bring it on.


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