Israel/Palestine: The Politics of a Two-State Solution

  • Israel/Palestine and the Politics of a Two-State Solution
  • When Peace Fails: Lessons from Belfast for the Middle East

Thursday, October 11, 2012

No peace for Syria; no peace process for Obama

This article by Tony Karon indicates that the war in Syria is at a stalemate, with the Sunni rebels lacking the heavy weapons to contest the planes and tanks of the regime in the cities. Those who can remember the civil war in Libya will remember the important role played by NATO air forces. NATO has no plans to get involved in Syria, which has a serious air defense system. Bashar al-Assad also did not support terrorism in Europe the way Muammar Kaddafi did. For Britain, France, and the U.S. intervention was a means of settling scores with an old foe and possibly deterring future terrorism by demonstrating that Western democracies have long memories. The only outside country showing any interest in getting involved militarily in Syria is Turkey, but the Turkish population is not up for the cost of a major war. Thus, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will have to limit himself to running refugee camps for Syrian refugees and supplying a few small arms and other aid. If he did intervene it would enhance the political role of the Turkish military, Erdogan's main domestic political foe. 

With the Palestinian track of the peace process blocked at both ends by the Palestinian demand for a mass refugee return to Israel and Greater Israel advocates within the ruling Israeli coalition, there appears to be no likely peace process in the Middle East for at least the first half of the next president's term, whether Obama is reelected or Romney replaces him. This will allow the new president to work on the economy while the Syrian insurgency sorts itself out. 

No one in Israel sees a different prime minister after elections in Israel, now scheduled for some time in January or early February. Opinion surveys show Kadima imploding into fragments and Labor increasing its total but well short of the 26 seats that it had under Ehud Barak in 1999. This means that American-Israeli relations will be centered on Iran.

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