U.S. Middle East Policy after the Gaza Flotilla Incident

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Robert Satloff - Washington still has not made a public, ironclad commitment to prevent the UN from creating its own inquiry into the Gaza incident. And the U.S. did not stop the Security Council from adopting a condemn-first, ask-questions-later approach on the incident. By its own admission, the Security Council said it had no idea what actually happened on the Turkish vessel, but that did not stop it from issuing, with U.S. acquiescence, a presidential statement condemning Israel. Ten days after the Gaza episode, the U.S. scored a diplomatic success by gaining Security Council assent to a new resolution tightening sanctions on Iran. One fact is abundantly clear: once again, the "linkage argument" - that U.S. diplomatic interests suffer from America's close connection to Israel - has been shown to be totally wrong. The Gaza crisis had no impact on the Iran sanctions vote. The "no" votes were "no" votes before the crisis; the "yes" votes were "yes" before the crisis. In the view of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, Hizbullah is a responsible actor in Lebanon; Hamas is a legitimate resistance group; and Iran and Syria are Ankara's strategic partners. The question for the U.S. is whether and how to exact a price for Erdogan's brazen decision to spit in its face by leading the opposition to the Iran sanctions effort. The writer is executive director of the Washington Institute.

2010-06-22 08:12:47

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