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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why Iran and the 'Palestinians' cannot cut deals in their own favor

Barry Rubin explains why regimes like Iran and the 'Palestinians' are not capable of closing deals that are handed to them on silver platters.
First, all these forces really are radical and extremist. They don’t want a deal; they want total victory, all the disputed land, total rule, complete dictatorship, the expulsion or extinction of their adversaries. And they can also rightly argue: these methods got me this far.

Second, they really believe their own propaganda. They think they can win and assume that those on the other side—whether Israel, the West, or other regimes they want to overthrow-- are weak and doomed. And, in turn, their enemies give them enough signals to this effect to make them continue to believe this is true.

Third, they are wedded to brutal methods. Terrorism is no accident; it is the tool of people who exult in deliberate violence against civilians. And in such political groups the gunmen and their values rise to the top.

Fourth, they are afraid of internal rivals and their own followers. They know that the people have been so conditioned by extremism as to reject moderates as traitors. This is obviously less true in Iranian but more true in Palestinian politics.

But the other part of this factor is even if a given leader, say from Hamas, wanted to follow a more moderate policy he knows that this would be used against him by rival leaders to destroy his power and maybe even kill him. They must continue to ride the tiger or be eaten. And the fact that they helped give birth to the tiger in the first place won’t save them.

Finally, this is the region’s political style, which to some extent mirrors Western history. Toughness counts; fear is better than popularity.

Many Western leaders and much of the Western intelligentsia are like someone sleeping through a burglary. But not only their friends are trying to wake them up, so are—however inadvertently—their enemies.
Read the whole thing.


At 7:32 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

In truth, Abbas cannot make a deal with Israel without losing his own life. The Palestinians cannot get off their own tiger without consuming themselves. That is why negotiations with them are going to go nowhere.


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