The Trouble with Talking to Hamas

[Power Line] Lee Smith - Next week Jimmy Carter is headed to Damascus to speak with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Meshaal is not a Hamas "hardliner" ostensibly at odds with more "moderate" Hamas figures; rather he is the man who calls the shots. This is why chief of Egyptian military intelligence Omar Suleiman dealt primarily with Meshaal during the Gaza breakout in February, and not Ismail Haniyeh. In Damascus, Meshaal gets his marching orders from Tehran, which means that the former American president, during whose tenure the U.S. lost a pillar of its Persian Gulf security strategy to the Khomeinist revolution, will effectively be talking to a representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran. One of the goals of the Iranian revolution is to overthrow the established order by routing the U.S. and driving it from the region. In the Persian Gulf, Iran is bullying Washington's Sunni allies and, as Gen. Petraeus' Senate testimony made plain, waging open war against the U.S. in Iraq. In the Eastern Mediterranean it is fighting U.S. allies in Lebanon and Israel and threatening Egypt. Egypt's alliance with the U.S. is the fruit of the 1978 Camp David accords, and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt is the one foreign policy achievement the Carter White House can point to with pride. The Iranian project is to put an end to all that, and this is what lay behind Hamas' breakout in Gaza, to force Cairo eventually into a situation that would lead to it breaking the treaty with Israel. Unfortunately, it is difficult not to conclude that Jimmy Carter is unaware that the man he will be sitting down with is plotting to turn his legacy into dust. The writer is a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Future Security Strategies.

2008-04-10 01:00:00

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