Archive for August 3rd, 2013

Israeli/Washington Peace Terms: Unconditional Surrender

Israeli/Washington Peace Terms: Unconditional Surrender

By Stephen Lendman

In-depth Report: PALESTINE

The charade began Monday night. It did so over a traditional Iftar dinner. It’s the Ramadan period evening meal. It breaks the daily fast.   It was more like the last supper. According to Christian scripture, Christ shared his last meal with his Apostles. He did so before crucifixion.   Palestinians have been crucified for decades. They’re hung out to dry ruthlessly. New talks are worthless. They’re fake. They’re futile. They’re another round of duplicity, failure and betrayal.    Multiple previous efforts produced nothing. This time’s no different. Peace for our time won’t happen. Netanyahu won’t tolerate it. Nor will Washington.   The books are cooked. The game’s rigged. It doesn’t rise to the level of a bad film plot. Illusion substitutes for reality. The mainstream  media regurgitate false hopes. More on that below.   According to US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation coordinator Josh Ruebner, Israeli/Palestinian peace talks meet Einstein’s definition of insanity.    “The United States keeps doing the exact same thing over and over again, and somehow expects that it’s going to lead to a different result, and it’s not,” he said.   Ahead of talks, John Kerry introduced Martin Indyk. He’s a former US ambassador to Israel. He was Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs. He’s Obama’s Special Envoy for ongoing talks.   He’s no honest broker. He’s one-sidedly pro-Israeli. He spurns Palestinian rights. He pretends otherwise. So did Kerry, saying:  He’s “a seasoned American diplomat.” He “agreed to take on this critical task at this crucial time.”  “(H)e shares my belief that if the leaders on both sides continue to show strong leadership and a willingness to make those tough choices and a willingness to reasonably compromise, then peace is possible.”   Indyk quoted Obama saying: “Peace is necessary, peace is just, and peace is possible.” Not as long as Palestinians have no willing partner. They never did. They don’t now. Pretending otherwise reflects illusions, not reality.   According to Indyk, “(Y)ou, Mr. Secretary,” proved Obama “right. You’ve shown that it can be done.”   How he said it with a straight face, he’ll have to explain. The Middle East boils. Conflict rages. Dozens, maybe hundreds, die daily. Washington, NATO partners, Israel, and rogue Arab despots bear full responsibility.   Palestinians bear their own cross. They’ve suffered for decades. Militarized occupation terrorizes them. It does so ruthlessly. It continues during fake peace talks.   Frank Lowenstein’s involved. He’s part of the charade. He’s Kerry’s senior regional peace talks advisor.   On July 29, a White House press release headlined “Statement by the President on the Resumption of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations,” saying:   “I am pleased that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas have accepted Secretary Kerry’s invitation to formally resume direct final status negotiations and have sent senior negotiating teams to Washington for the first round of meetings.”   “This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead.”   “During my March visit to the region, I experienced first-hand the profound desire for peace among both Israelis and Palestinians, which reinforced my belief that peace is both possible and necessary.”   “I deeply appreciate Secretary Kerry’s tireless work with the parties to develop a common basis for resuming direct talks, and commend both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas for their leadership in coming to the table.”  “The most difficult work of these negotiations is ahead, and I am hopeful that both the Israelis and Palestinians will approach these talks in good faith and with sustained focus and determination.”  “The United States stands ready to support them throughout these negotiations, with the goal of achieving two states, living side by side in peace and security.”  “I am pleased that Ambassador Martin Indyk will lead the US negotiating team as US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations.”  “Ambassador Indyk brings unique experience and insight to this role, which will allow him to contribute immediately as the parties begin down the tough, but necessary, path of negotiations.”   It was typical Obama doublespeak duplicity. He deplores peace. He’s waging multiple direct and proxy wars. He’s done so throughout his tenure.  He has more death and destruction in mind. He thinks war is peace. He’s waging it at home and abroad.  He’s mindless of Palestinian suffering. He pretends otherwise. He’s no peacemaker. He’s ravaging humanity. Doing so threatens its survival.  Israeli/Palestinian talks are fake. They’re dead on arrival. Chances for a just peace are ZERO. Failure and betrayal are certain. No matter. Obama feigns feel my pain sentiment. He met Israeli and Palestinian negotiators face-to-face. He did so at the White House. He called rebooting talks “a promising step.” For whom he didn’t say. For sure not for Palestinians.   In January 2011, Al Jazeera revealed the Palestine Papers. They include hundreds of internal documents, nearly 1,700 files, and thousands of pages of diplomatic correspondence.  They cover a decade of Israeli/Palestinian talks (1999 – 2010). They include emails, maps, minutes of private meetings, accounts of high-level exchanges, strategy papers, and powerpoint presentations. They revealed:  – the PA’s willingness to concede all East Jerusalem settlements except one;  ¦PA “creativ(ity)” about Islam’s third holiest site, Haram al-Sharif (Nobel Sanctuary); Jews call it the Temple Mount;   ¦compromise on the right of return; Saeb Erekat suggested abandonment beyond token amounts;  ¦numerous details of PA-Israeli “cooperation;” they revealed PA complicity; they showed unconditional surrender to Israeli demands; and   ¦private late 2009 PA-US negotiator exchanges when Goldstone Report discussions were ongoing at the UN.   Abbas, Erekat, and PA co-conspirators are traitors. They’re double agents. They collaborate with Israel and Washington.  They do so against their own people. They’ve done it for decades. They did it since the 1991 Madrid Conference attempt to restart talks.  They’ve done it ever since. They sold out every time. They’re bought and paid for. They’re well rewarded for services rendered. Their agenda reflects treachery.   On July 29, Daily News Egypt headlined “Abbas meets Adly Mansour in Cairo.”  Instead of denouncing coup plotters, he embraced them. He did so disgracefully. He discussed “Egyptian-Palestinian relations.”   He did so ahead of fake peace talks. He showed what side he’s on. He’s been there for decades. He’s no friend of Palestine. He’s Israel’s enforcer. He terrorizes his own people.   UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s a longtime pro-Western imperial stooge. On Monday, he endorsed the charade.   He expressed his “strong support for the resumption of credible negotiations.” Deputy UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey added:  “The secretary-general expressed his strong support for the resumption of credible negotiations to achieve the two-State solution and his appreciation for the recent courageous decision of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in this regard.”  He “welcomed the positive engagement of the Arab League Peace Initiative follow-up committee.”  “He stressed the importance of creating an environment conducive to the resumption of talks, and encouraged both sides to take further positive steps in this regard.”   On July 29, Haaretz headlined “As talks kick off, recording reveals US envoy was pessimistic about peace.”   About 18 months ago, Martin Indyk said:  “I’m not particularly optimistic because I think that the heart of the matter is that the maximum concessions that this government of Israel would be prepared to make fall far short of the minimum requirements that Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) will insist on.”  “So it may be possible to keep the talks going, which is a good thing, but I find it very hard to believe that they will reach an agreement.”   His Monday statement was diplomatic doublespeak. He praised resumption of talks, saying:  “Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas have made the tough decisions required to come back to the negotiating table.”  “Perhaps we may yet be able to tell all those young Israelis and Palestinians who yearn for a different better tomorrow that, this time, we actually made it.”   Will the real Martin Indyk please stand up? He knows Israel and Washington hold all trump cards. He said so months earlier on Israeli Radio.  They call the shots. They decide. They control the process. They move things their way. They choose the wrong way every time.   Peace for our time’s an illusion. It’s always been that way. It’s no different now. Change may come some day. Not now.   Not according to New York Times columnist Roger Cohen. On July 29, he headlined “Netanyahu the Peacemaker,” saying:   “The notion that Netanyahu the Likudnik – fierce opponent of the late Yitzhak Rabin’s peace push, reluctant latecomer to the notion of two states, longtime ideologue of the Jewish right to all the Biblical land of Israel – might reinvent himself as peacemaker is not new.”   “I have heard it from several people who have spent long hours with Netanyahu, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain.”  “Skepticism is de rigueur, but it would be wrong to dismiss the idea,” he added. Don’t expect him to explain illusions substituting for hard reality.   Haaretz editors endorse them. On July 30, they headlined “Netanyahu showing signs of statesmanship,” saying:  “(H)is decision to release 104 Palestinian prisoners may attest that the prime minister has finally internalized the need to extricate Israel from the diplomatic deep-freeze to which he has thus far sentenced it during his second and third terms of office.”   In October 2011, he released 1,027 in return for Gilad Shalit. It was an empty gesture. Many were rearrested. Others are monitored, harassed, persecuted, and denied free movement. They’re in prison without cages and bars.   According to Haaretz editors, Netanyahu showed “courage. For this, he deserves praise.”  Hopefully he’ll “continue to act like a valiant statesman who is capable of coping with the challenges Israel faces and of making decisions even bolder than the one to release the prisoners.”  “This is not only the opportunity of a lifetime for Netanyahu, who until now hasn’t led any significant positive moves; it’s also Israel’s big opportunity to change its image and improve its international standing.”  “Israel must arrive at the negotiations in Washington armed not only with courage, but also with a sincere desire to reach a peace agreement.”  “In Washington last night, a spark of hope was lit. Israel must not extinguish it.”   Netanyahu’s no statesman. He’s a world class thug. He’s always been one. He’s no different now. Israel’s government is its worst in history. It reflects fascism writ large.  Israel’s history is blood-drenched. Palestinians have been terrorized for decades. They’re brutalized now. They denied all rights. They’re treated like subhumans.  They’re persecuted for wanting to live free on their own land in their own country at peace.   Chances for resolving longstanding injustice remains a convenient fiction. Why Haaretz editors believe otherwise they’ll have to explain.   Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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Reviving the Israel-Palestine Negotiations: The Indyk Appointment

By Richard Falk August 01, 2013

“Information Clearing House – Appointing Martin Indyk as  Special Envoy to the upcoming peace talks was to be expected. It was signaled in advance. And yet it is revealing and distressing. The only other candidates considered for the job were equally known as  Israeli partisans: Daniel Kurtzer, former ambassador to Israel before becoming Commissioner of Israel’s Baseball League and Dennis Ross, co-founder in the 1980s (with Indyk) of the AIPAC backed Washington  Institute for Near East Policy; handled the 2000 Camp David negotiations on behalf of Clinton. The winner among these three was Martin Indyk, former ambassador to Israel (1995-97; 2000-01), onetime AIPAC employee, British born,  Australian educated American diplomat, with a long list of pro-Israeli credentials. Does it not seem strange for the United States, the convening party and the unconditional supporter of Israel, to rely exclusively for  diplomatic guidance in this concerted effort to revive the peace talks on persons with such strong and unmistakable pro-Israeli credentials? What is stranger, still, is that the media never bothers to observe this  peculiarity of a negotiating framework in which the side with massive advantages in hard and soft power, as well as great diplomatic and media leverage, needs to be further strengthened by having the mediating  third-party so clearly in its corner. Is this numbness or bias? Are we so accustomed to a biased framework that it is taken for granted, or is it overlooked because it might spoil the PR effect of reviving the  moribund peace process? John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, whose show this is, dutifully indicated when announcing the Indyk appointment, that success in the negotiations will depend on the willingness of the two sides to make  ‘reasonable compromises.’ But who will decide on what is reasonable? It would be criminally negligent for the Palestinians to risk their future by trusting Mr. Indyk’s understanding of what is reasonable for the  parties. But the Palestinians are now potentially entrapped. If they are put in a position where Israel accepts, and the Palestinian Authority rejects, “(un)reasonable compromises,” the Israelis will insist they  have no “partner” for peace, and once more hasbara will rule the air waves. It is important to take note of the language of reasonable compromises, which as in earlier attempts at direct negotiations, excludes any  reference to international law or the rights of the parties. Such an exclusion confirms that the essential feature of this diplomacy of negotiations is a bargaining process in which relative power and  influence weighs heavily on what is proposed by and acceptable to the two sides. If I were advising the Palestinians, I would never recommend accepting a diplomatic framework that does not explicitly acknowledge  the relevance of international law and the rights of the parties. In the relation of Israel and Palestine, international law could be the great equalizer, soft power neutralizing hard power. And this is precisely why  Israel has worked so hard to keep international law out of the process, which is what I would certainly recommend if in Tel Aviv’s diplomatic corner. Can one even begin to contemplate, except in despair, what Benjamin  Netanyahu and his pro-settler cabinet consider reasonable compromises?  On what issues can we expect Israel to give ground: borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security?  It would have been easy for Kerry to create a more positive format if he had done either of two things: appointed a Palestinian or at least someone of Middle Eastern background as co-envoy to the talks. Rashid  Khalidi, President Obama’s onetime Chicago friend and neighbor, would have been a reassuring choice for the Palestinian side. Admittedly, having published a book a few months ago with the title Brokers of  Deceit: How the U.S. Undermined Peace in the Middle East, the appointment of Khalidi, despite his stellar credentials, would have produced a firestorm in Washington. Agreed, Khalidi is beyond serious  contemplation, but what about John Esposito, Chas Freeman, Ray Close? None of these alternatives, even Khalidi, is as close to the Palestinians as Indyk is to the Israelis, and yet such a selection would  have been seen as a step taken to close the huge credibility deficit. Yet such credibility remains outside the boundaries of the Beltway’s political imagination, and is thus inhabits the realm of the unthinkable.  It may be that Kerry is sincere in seeking to broker a solution to the conflict, yet this way of proceeding does not. Perhaps, there was no viable alternative. Israel would not come even to negotiate negotiations  without being reassured in advance by an Indyk-like appointment. And if Israel had signaled its disapproval, Washington would be paralyzed. The only remaining question is why the Palestinian Authority goes along  so meekly. What is there to gain in such a setting? Having accepted the Washington auspices, why could they not have demanded, at least, a more neutral or balanced negotiating envoy? I fear the answer to such  questions is ‘blowin’ in the wind.’ And so we can expect to witness yet another charade falsely advertized as ‘the peace process.’ Such a diversion is costly for the Palestinians,  beneficial for the Israelis. Settlement expansion and associated projects will continue, the occupation with all its rigors and humiliations will continue, and the prospects for a unified Palestinian  leadership will be put on indefinite hold. Not a pretty picture. This picture is made more macabre when account is taken of the wider regional scene, especially the horrifying civil war in Syria and the  bloody military coup in Egypt. Not to be forgotten, as well, are Israeli threats directed at Iran, backed to the hilt by the U.S. Congress, and the terrible legacy of violent sectarian struggle that is ripping Iraq  apart. Naturally, there is speculation that some kind of faux solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict would release political energy in Washington that could be diverted to an anti-Assad intervention in Syria  and even an attack on Iran. We cannot rule out such infatuations with morbid geopolitical projects, but neither should we assume that conspiratorial scenarios foretell the future.  Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of  the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35722.htm

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Indyk was the first US ambassador to stripped of a security clearance: http://www.wrmea.org/wrmea-archives/217-washington-report-archives-2000-2005/december-2000/3480-us-ambassador-to-israel-martin-indyks-lost-and-found-security-clearance.html

Neocons, Selective Democracy, and the Egyptian Coup

From: Stephen Sniegoski

 

Date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 4:34 PM

Friends,

Despite their purported support for universal democracy, most neocons supported, to one degree or another, the military coup in Egypt that overthrew the democratically-elected Morsi government.  In my new essay, I point out how their position here confirms what I have pointed out all along:  that the neocons are not supporters of democracy but rather identify with whatever position they believe advances the interests of Israel.

 

My new article  “Neocons, Selective Democracy, and the Egyptian Military Coup” is included below:

 

The Last Ditch will soon put up a revised version of this essay

http://www.thornwalker.com/ditch/

 

Best,

Stephen Sniegoski

http://home.comcast.net/~transparentcabal/

 

Neocons, Selective Democracy, and the Egyptian Military Coup

Stephen J. Sniegoski

 

“If one thing has become clear in the wake of last week’s military coup d’état against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, it’s that democracy promotion is not a core principle of neoconservatism,”  writes the astute commentator Jim Lobe.  Lobe points out that a few neocons (he cites only Robert Kagan) did stick with the pro-democracy position but “[a]n apparent preponderance of neocons, such as Daniel Pipes, the contributors to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board and Commentary’s ’Contentions’ blog,” tended to sympathize with the coup.

http://www.lobelog.com/neocons-and-democracy-egypt-as-a-case-study/

 

Even Kagan’s support for democracy was far less than an endorsement of Morsi’s right to govern, which he labeled “majoritarian” rather than democratic.  Kagan wrote: “He ruled not so much as a dictator but as a majoritarian, which often amounted to the same thing.  With a majority in parliament and a large national following, and with no experience whatsoever in the give-and-take of democratic governance, Morsi failed in the elementary task of creating a system of compromise, inclusiveness, and checks and balances.” (“Time to break out of a rut in Egypt,” “Washington Post,” July 5, 2013  http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-07-05/opinions/40391756_1_mohamed-morsi-egypt-dictatorships )

 

It should be pointed out that if democracy required compromise, inclusiveness, and checks and balances, it is hard to believe that many countries conventionally regarded as democracies would pass the test.  Certainly, Israel, as a self-styled Jewish State, would not. (The Founding Fathers of the United States in creating the Constitution took steps to try to prevent the liberty of individuals from being oppressed by a “tyranny of the majority” —democracy itself being negative term—but this has not been the case in all modern democracies.)

 

Instead of a military coup, Kagan held that a better approach would have been to leave Morsi in office but to rely on international pressure to compel his government to change its policies. Kagan contended that Morsi “deserved to be placed under sustained domestic and international pressure, especially by the United States, the leading provider of aid to Egypt.  He deserved to have the United States not only suspend its bilateral aid to Egypt but also block any IMF agreement until he entered into a meaningful, substantive dialogue with his political opponents, including on amending the flawed constitution he rammed through in December as well as electoral law.  He ought to have been ostracized and isolated by the international democratic community.”  In short, Kagan advocated the use of international pressure to essentially prevent the democratically-elected Morsi government from enacting measures in line with its election mandate–and the fact of the matter is that in all of the elections Islamist parties won a significant majority of the overall vote–and force it to attune its actions to the demands of the “international democratic community,” that is, the Western nations aligned with the United States.  (None of the previous statements should be considered an endorsement of Morsi’s policies but only a  recognition that his government was far more attuned to the democratic process than has been the military junta, with its dissolution of a democratically-elected parliament, arbitrary rule, mass arrests, and killing of protestors against which the neocons would react with scathing moral outrage if committed by Assad or the Islamic Republic of Iran.)

 

It should be pointed out that while few, if any, neocons actually sought a restoration of the democratically-elected Morsi government, there were different degrees of sympathy for the coup.  Max Boot, for example, viewed the coup largely in pragmatic terms, as opposed to democratic ideals.  The danger was that the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood might cause them to turn to violence.  “On the other hand,” Boot wrote, “if the military didn’t step in, there would have been a danger that the Brotherhood would never be dislodged from power,” which would seem to have been in his mind the greater danger even if the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties commanded the great majority of votes. (“America’s Egypt Policy After Morsi,” Contentions, Commentary, July 5, 2013, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/07/05/americas-egypt-policy-after-morsi/

 

More affirmative on the coup was Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute: “I never thought I would celebrate a coup, but the Egyptian military’s move against President Muhammad Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood regime is something the White House, State Department, and all Western liberals should celebrate.”  Rubin put something of a positive spin on the military’s goals: “The military isn’t seizing power for itself — but rather seeking a technocratic body to ensure that all Egyptian communities have input in the new constitution, a consultative process that Morsi rhetorically embraced but upon which he subsequently turned his back.” (“What Obama should learn from Egypt’s coup,” July 3, 2013, http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/07/what-obama-should-learn-from-egypts-coup/)

 

A similar interpretation was offered by Jonathan S. Tobin in his Contentions Blog for “Commentary Magazine”  (July 7, 2013, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/07/07/obamas-second-chance-on-egypt-coup/):  “[T]he coup wasn’t so much a putsch as it was a last ditch effort to save the country from drifting into a Brotherhood dictatorship that could not be undone by democratic means.”  Tobin continues:  “[R]ather than setting deadlines or delivering ultimatums to the interim government that has replaced Morsi and his crew, the United States should be demonstrating that it will do whatever it can to help the military snuff out the threat of Islamist violence and then to proceed to replace Morsi with a more competent government.”  This “more competent government,” however, did not mean democracy.  “In the absence of a consensus about democratic values,” Tobin wrote, “democracy is impossible and that is the case in Egypt right now.”

 

David Brooks likewise wrote on July 4 in his piece “Defense of the Coup” in the “New York Times”: “Promoting elections is generally a good thing . . . .  But elections are not a good thing when they lead to the elevation of people whose substantive beliefs fall outside the democratic orbit. It’s necessary to investigate the core of a party’s beliefs, not just accept anybody who happens to emerge from a democratic process.”  But Brooks shows little optimism about democracy in Egypt, holding that the “military coup may merely bring Egypt back to where it was: a bloated and dysfunctional superstate controlled by a self-serving military elite.  But at least radical Islam, the main threat to global peace, has been partially discredited and removed from office.”  And contrary to the neocons’ nation-building: “It’s not that Egypt doesn’t have a recipe for a democratic transition. It seems to lack even the basic mental ingredients.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/05/opinion/brooks-defending-the-coup.html?_r=0)

 

While many commentators have portrayed the neocons as naïve adherents of universal democracy, which would make it appear that their positive presentation of the Egyptian coup, or at least failure to strongly criticize it, constituted a complete reversal in their thinking, in actuality, they never adhered to the fundamental tenets of democracy without significant qualifications.  As I pointed out in “The Transparent Cabal” (which devotes an entire chapter specifically to this issue), the idea of instant democracy would seem to have been simply a propaganda ploy to generate public support for war.  When writing at length on exporting democracy to the Middle East, the neocons generally argued that it was first necessary for the United States to “educate” the inhabitants of the Middle Eastern states in the principles of democracy before actually implementing it.  For instance, in September 2002, Norman Podhoretz, one of the godfathers of neoconservatism, acknowledged that the people of the Middle East might, if given a free democratic choice, pick anti-American, anti-Israeli leaders and policies.  But he held that “there is a policy that can head it off,” provided “that we then have the stomach to impose a new political culture on the defeated parties.  This is what we did directly and unapologetically in Germany and Japan after winning World War II.” (Quoted in “Transparent Cabal,” p. 215).  Similarly, in the book, “An End to Evil: How to Win the War” (2004), David Frum and Richard Perle asserted that establishing democracy must take a back seat when it conflicted with fighting Islamic radicals: “In the Middle East, democratization does not mean calling immediate elections and then living with whatever happens next.” (Quoted in “Transparent Cabal,” p. 216)

 

Max Boot, in the “Weekly Standard” in October 2001, argued “The Case for Empire.” “Afghanistan and other troubled lands today,” Boot intoned, “cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.” (Quoted in “Transparent Cabal,” pp. 216-217)  David Wurmser supported the restoration of the Hashemites and the traditional ruling families in Iraq as a bulwark against modern totalitarianism “I’m not a big fan of democracy per se,” exclaimed Wurmser in an October 2007 interview.  “I’m a fan of freedom and one has to remember the difference.  Freedom must precede democracy by a long, long time.” (Quoted in “Transparent Cabal,” p. 218)  Paul Wolfowitz was enraged by the Turkish military’s failure to sufficiently pressure the Turkish government to participate in the war on Iraq.  “I think for whatever reason, they did not play the strong leadership role that we would have expected,” Wolfowitz complained.  Presumably, Wolfowitz would have preferred a Turkish military coup over the democratic repudiation of American policy goals. (“Transparent Cabal,” p. 219)

 

Regarding Israel itself, it would seem that if democracy were the neoconservatives’ watchword, they would work to eliminate Israel’s undemocratic control over the Palestinians on the West Bank and try to make the country itself more inclusive—and not a state explicitly privileging Jews over non-Jews.  The neoconservatives would either promote a one-state democratic solution for what had once been the British Palestine Mandate (Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank) or else demand that Israel allow the Palestinians to have a fully sovereign, viable state on all of the West Bank and Gaza.  Instead of taking anything approaching such a pro-democracy stance, however, the neoconservatives have done just the opposite, backing the Israeli Likudnik Right, which takes an especially hostile position toward the Palestinians with its fundamental goal being the maintenance of the exclusivist Jewish nature of the state of Israel and its control of the occupied territories.

 

As Jim Lobe correctly points out, it is not democracy but rather “protecting Israeli security and preserving its military superiority over any and all possible regional challenges” that is “a core neoconservative tenet.”  Thus, the neocons used democracy as an argument to justify the elimination of the anti-Israel Saddam regime.  And the neocons saw the elimination of Saddam as the key to the elimination of Israel’s other Middle Eastern enemies. They currently support democracy as an ideological weapon in the effort to bring down the Assad regime and the Islamic Republic of Iran.  To repeat, the obvious common denominator among these three targeted countries is that they have been enemies of Israel.

 

The Egyptian military, in contrast, has been quite close to Israel (about as close as possible given the views of the Egyptian populace), whereas the Muslim Brotherhood, like other Islamic groups, has expressed hostility toward Israel, even though Morsi had not taken a hostile position toward the Jewish state.  The fact of the matter is that neocons took a tepid approach to the 2011 revolution against Mubarak, though most retained their pro-democracy credentials at that time by expressing the hope that he would be replaced by liberal democratic secularists, and expressed the fear of a possible Muslim Brotherhood takeover.  (See Sniegoski, “Neocons’ Tepid Reaction to the Egyptian Democratic Revolution,” February 4, 2011, http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/02/neocons%E2%80%99-tepid-reaction-to-the-egyptian-democratic-revolution/)  Since that fear actually materialized, it was not really out of character for the neocons to support the military coup.

 

While there were definite harbingers for the current neocon support for the overthrow of a democratic government, however, what does seem to be novel is the tendency on the part of some neocons to openly express the view that democracy was not possible at the present time, at least when applied to Egypt.  This was hardly a new idea among the Israeli Right where, as pointed out in “The Transparent Cabal,” it was held that most Middle Eastern countries were too divided to be held together by anything other than the force of authoritarian and dictatorial rulers.  Oded Yinon in his 1982 article, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” (translated and edited by Israel Shahak in a booklet entitled, “The Zionist Plan for the Middle East”) recommended that Israel exploit this internal divisiveness by military measures in order to enhance its national security.  War that would topple an existing authoritarian regime would render a country fragmented into a mosaic of diverse ethnic and sectarian groupings warring among each other. If applied on a broad scale, the strategy would lead to a Middle East of powerless mini-statelets totally incapable of confronting Israeli power. (“Transparent Cabal,” p. 50)

 

Lebanon, then facing divisive chaos, was Yinon’s model for the entire Middle East. He wrote: “Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track.  The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short-term target.” (Quoted in “Transparent Cabal,” p. 51)

 

The eminent Middle East historian Bernard Lewis, who is a right-wing Zionist and one of the foremost intellectual gurus for the neoconservatives, echoed Yinon in an article in the September 1992 issue of “Foreign Affairs” titled “Rethinking the Middle East.”  He wrote of a development he called “Lebanonization.” “Most of the states of the Middle East—Egypt is an obvious exception—are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a process,” he contended.  “If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common identity. . . . The state then disintegrates—as happened in Lebanon—into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions, and parties.”  (Note that Lewis held that Egypt, which some neocons have emphasized lacks any domestic consensus, was an “obvious exception” to this problem.)

 

David Wurmser, in a much longer follow-up document to the noted “A Clean Break” study, entitled “Coping with Crumbling States:  A Western and Israeli Balance of Power Strategy for the Levant,” emphasized the fragile nature of the Middle Eastern Baathist dictatorships in Iraq and Syria, and how the West and Israel should act in such an environment.  (“A Clean Break,” which included Wurmser and other neocons among its authors, described how Israel could enhance its regional security by toppling enemy regimes.) (“Transparent Cabal,” pp. 94-95)

 

While some neocons now maintain that Egypt lacked the necessary national consensus for viable democracy, they still take a pro-democracy stance toward Syria and Iran, as they had earlier taken toward Saddam’s Iraq.  But as the neocons’ own expert on the Middle East, Bernard Lewis, indicated, these countries would tend to be less hospitable to democracy than Egypt.  Why would neocons take a position contrary to that of their own expert?  One can only repeat what was said earlier:  an obvious difference would be that these countries are enemies of Israel—the fragmentation of these enemies would advance the security interests of Israel.  In contrast, the replacement of the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood with military rule would improve Israeli-Egyptian relations; therefore, it is necessary to portray the role of democratic voting in Egypt in a negative light—that is, it would lead to chaos.  Thus, it is not so much that the neocons are naïve democratic ideologues, but rather that they use ideas as weapons to advance the interests of Israel, as those interests are perceived through the lens of the Likudnik viewpoint.  In summary, the current positions taken by the neocons confirm what I, Jim Lobe, and a few others have pointed out in the past.