Middle East Action Items for the Obama Administration
In an op-ed in the Washington Post this morning, former ambassador from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States Turk al-Faisal proposed an approach to achieving peace in the Middle East with five action items for the incoming Obama Administration:
- Call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Shebaa Farms in Lebanon.
- Work with the U.N. Security Council for a resolution guaranteeing Iraq’s territorial integrity.
- Encourage Israeli-Syrian negotiations for peace.
- Declare America’s intention to work for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, with a security umbrella and other incentives for countries that sign up and a sanctions regime for those that don’t.
The first of these items is clearly intended to defuse the situation among Lebanon, Syria, and Israel and, particularly, to reduce the influence of Hezbollah by eliminating its claims that it’s fighting a war of national liberation. The second item is presumably intended to head off any move towards an independent Kurdistan forming in northern Iraq. The fourth item appears to be aimed most directly at both Israel and Iran.
I hope that my associate here John Burgess will weigh in to comment on this op-ed since he’s been involved directly in some of the negotiations over the years IIRC. As I recall he’s more sanguine about the prospects for a durable peace between the Israelis and Palestinians than I am.