Three Part Series on the Saudi "Peace Initiative"
The Saudi “Peace Initiative” – The Next Strategic Failure
B. Israel’s defeat by Syria in the proxy war or what is called the Second Lebanon War. The Hizbullah organization is a branch of the Syrian Army in every sense. Its headquarters is located north of Damascus; some of its arms arrive from Iran via Damascus and some from the Syrian Army warehouses. All of its intelligence arrives from the general headquarters of the Syrian army and the uninterrupted flow of weaponry, especially rockets, from Syria to the Hizbullah units continued throughout the duration of the fighting.
The defeat of a modern army, armed in a strategic alignment in all of its branches: Infantry, Navy and Air Force, against a few thousand terrorists equipped with assault rifles is an illustration of the process of deterioration that the IDF has undergone since the Yom Kippur War as the aptly named “People’s Army” goes from bad to worse reaching its nadir in the last war. However even the lack of readiness, substandard logistical alignment, low-level senior command echelon and failed inter-branch coordination are negligible when compared to the picture of the reserve units which on the day of reckoning are supposed to provide cover for the standing army - minuscule relative to the enemies’ armies - and therefore constitute a decisive foundation of the IDF military strategy. The sad truth, obvious to anyone with a head on his shoulders, that the reserve units, totally bereft of value as a combat force, are more a useless statistic on the document ostensibly presenting the IDF power than a fact on the ground.
In contrast to the self-deception of the common Israeli, who imagines that Israel is a military power in the Middle East, the Arabs read the map accurately and quickly reached the obvious conclusion that Israel has lost its military deterrence capability, i.e.: A rationale for existence, and that its chances in a conventional war are apparently non-existent.
C. The American disappointment. Going to war in Iraq with bravado and with the support of many allies among the members of the European community and especially the quick ground victory and the capture of Saddam Hussein aroused great expectations. However, the disappointment was proportionate to the expectations. The Europeans with their innate defeatism quickly abandoned their support for Washington. The attempt to impose order on the Iraqi chaos, and even more so to pass on the advantages of democracy to Iraq, very quickly ran aground. The number of fatalities among the American soldiers has passed 3,300 and President Bush and his Republican Party, after losing the majority in Congress are facing defeat in the presidential elections. Thus, the Americans are searching for a face-saving exit strategy from the Iraqi imbroglio. However, the one who really disappointed the Americans was Israel. No one wants pathetic, defeatist allies that are unable to take care of themselves. And that was how Israel was exposed in the eyes of the White House and even more so in the eyes of the State Department. Although the Pentagon has been following the deterioration of the IDF for years, the rout in Lebanon surpassed all expectations. It was a supreme American interest that Israel strike at Syria. A: Because Damascus is the western branch of Iran, i.e.: A central component of the Axis of Evil. The fact that the Iranian ruler never stopped demanding to wipe Israel off the map and is developing nuclear weapons for that purpose, was supposed to supply Israel with an existential reason to topple the enemy to the north with assistance from Washington. However, not only did Israel close the historic window of opportunity, but while the fire was still burning in the houses in Haifa which collapsed from Syrian firepower, “peace with Syria” was already being discussed, i.e.: Expulsion of Israel from the Golan Heights and transferring it to the worst of Israel’s enemies. B. There is consensus among the experts in the field of development of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that the weapons and the material were transferred to Syria.1 Therefore, Washington (together with Great Britain) provided Israel with all possible support on the matter. However, by means of an exercise in self-deception, Israel erased the connection between Hizbullah and Damascus and did nothing in a matter that could have brought about a sea change in the standing of the American president and his party, and to yield for Israel the fruits of American appreciation in the form of strategic cooperation in the face of the Islamic threat. This would have been manifest at the very least in the removal of the “Road Map” from the political agenda. The Israeli failure left the Americans with no alternative to buying Arab hearts with Israeli currency. That explains Mrs. Rice’s vocal support for the Saudi plan and the White House’s abandonment of its original cold attitude and its voicing support for the plan at present.
The Saudi Initiative – The Document’s Main Points
The Council of the League of Arab Nations, in the 14th session of the summit meeting, ratifies the resolution adopted in June 1996 in the special Arab summit that took place in Cairo, that just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East constitutes a strategic option for the Arab countries. It should be achieved in accordance with international law and requires an identical commitment on the part of the Israeli Government.
This was after the statement of His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah Bin Abd al-Aziz, the Crown Prince of the Saudi Kingdom, in which His Royal Highness delineated his initiative, which called for a total Israeli withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since June 1967; for the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338; the resolutions adopted at the Madrid Conference in 1991; the principle of land for peace and Israel’s agreement to the concept of an independent Palestinian State whose capital is East Jerusalem – in exchange for the normalization of relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel.
In accordance with the belief of the Arab countries in the assumption that a military solution to the conflict will neither achieve peace nor provide security for the various parties, the Council:
1. Demands that Israel to consider its policy and to declare that a just peace constitutes a strategic option for it.
2. Calls upon Israel:
· To carry out a complete withdrawal from all territories occupied since 1967 to the June 4, 1967 borders. That includes withdrawal from the Syrian Golan Heights and from the Lebanese territories occupied in southern Lebanon.
· To achieve a just solution of the Palestinian refugee problem. This will be reached in accordance with UN Resolution 194.