Op-Ed in Asharq Alawsat

David Perlmutter, Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies & Research at the University of Kansas’s School of Journalism & Mass Communications, and I have written an op-ed on peace in the Middle East. The piece appears in today’s Asharq Alawsat. David is author of VISIONS OF WAR, blogs at PolicyByBlog, and was the author of a much-linked piece in Editor & Publisher on “fauxphotography”, Photojournalism in Crisis.

At my blog: For Middle East Peace: Both Sides Must “Drink Poison”

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Middle East, Published Elsewhere, World Politics, , , ,
John Burgess
About John Burgess
John Burgess retired after 25 years as a US Foreign Service Officer, serving predominantly in the Middle East. He contributed 35 pieces to OTB between February 2006 and April 2014. He was the proprietor of the influential Crossroads Arabia until his death in February 2016.


  1. James Joyner says:


  2. Sal says:

    Sir I agree with your article but you try to simplify the most complex issues shrouding the conflict. I feel strongly that Israel would sign up for this to have peace, however, you left out key people in the equation. First Hezbollah is like a dog belonging to Iran and Syria that bites your children. You send it over to your neighbors yard and feed it, promising to support it until it eliminates the neighbors. Then you will strike a deal that would benefit both parties. Hezbollah feels it necessary to continue until its objectives have been met. Can you imagine Iran and Syria giving the Hezbollah a place in their society? Hamas on the other hand has nothing to lose. Without Israeli support their would be no economic system. Even if Israel gave them land, they have no way of self support, therefore they will fight until they take Israel’s land and support system. Palestinian leaders have only shown the plight of their people and have not acted to secure their own self reliance. The world has thrown money at this problem, but what has it bought?

  3. John Burgess says:

    I think everyone involved would end up losing something. Some would lose more than others.

    The experience of the former “hard men” of the IRA and the various Protestant militias in N. Ireland is not very different from what you decribe for Hamas and Hezbollah. They had to give up their very reason for being, at least the violent part of it.

    Some got on with life, putting down their guns and bombs and playing more productive roles in the province. Others, unable to do so, became common criminals, dealing in drugs, extortion, and general thuggery. Yet others couldn’t bring themselves to even that and try to continue “the struggle” with whatever support they can find.

    What also happened, though, is that the terrorism generally stopped. People were no longer afraid to go shopping or to a restaurant. Walls that divided communities started to come down. The crime problems were addressed by the poliice and the far smaller number taking part in terrorism have been gradually squeezed out of both power and their communities.

    N. Ireland isn’t problem free these days. There are still a lot of issues that are being worked out, but by generally peaceful means. There are still hotheads and irredentists, but the problems they create (as during the annual “Marching Season” are becoming lesser problems.

    All of this is, to my mind, preferable to what currently going on in the Arab-Israeli conflict.