Tough Road Ahead in Middle East

(The Hill) Mike Singh - Even if the president achieves his stated goal of commencing direct Israeli-Palestinian talks by the end of September, the parties will be no closer to an actual agreement than they were three years ago, when the Annapolis Conference kicked off the last round of negotiations. The primary barrier to progress will not be the issues themselves, but rather the zero-sum mindset that pervades their relationship. After decades of hostility, each party sees any gain by the other as a loss for itself. To overcome the zero-sum mindset, Washington must begin the process with a focus on "win-win" issues, the foremost among them being Palestinian economic development and institution-building. Finally, Washington must use its unique position and capabilities to clear away potential distractions and obstacles to progress. It should counter potential spoilers such as Iran by interdicting Iranian shipments to Hizbullah and Hamas. While the U.S. administration may be called upon occasionally to prod the parties or provide them with bridging proposals, the majority of its energies should be expended on working with or against the ancillary players in the region and beyond who can help or hinder progress. The writer is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and former senior director for the Middle East on the National Security Council during the George W. Bush Administration.

2010-07-14 09:18:23

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive