An attempt is made to share the truth regarding issues concerning Israel and her right to exist as a Jewish nation. This blog has expanded to present information about radical Islam and its potential impact upon Israel and the West. Yes, I do mix in a bit of opinion from time to time.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Can the U.S. Government Buy Moderation in the Middle East? No
Can the Obama Administration turn radicals into moderates with money?
back in 1979, shortly after the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini said that people in the West didn't understand revolutionary
Islamism. "They think," he explained, "the revolution is all about the
price of watermelons. It isn't." In other words, this is an ideological
cause not a money-making attempt where people can be bribed.
1. The Palestinian Case
May 26, at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, Secretary of State John
Kerry proclaimed a new plan. He wants to find $4 billion from
investors. If he does this, he claims, the Palestinian economy will be
doing great, people will be employed, and there will be peace.
this is a bribe to get the Palestinian Authority back to negotiations
with Israel which would also mean, of course, that the Obama
Administration can claim a foreign policy success. That's $4 billion to
buy a negotiations'process that will meet a few times and break down in
deadlock, as has happened over 20 years under far better potential
conditions and additional billions of dollars of aid to the
Palestinians. The initiative is also intended to get the Palestinian
Authority to drop plans to seek statehood at the UN; file cases against
Israel at the World Court; and to try to join other international
institutions as an independent state.
should the money be spent on according to Kerry? Why on tourism! No
doubt tourists are just lining up to go to the West
Bank (they certainly aren’t going to go to the Hamas-controlled Gaza
Strip where the rockets' red glare has a different meaning).
incidentally that these are not productive investments. Perhaps he
could have proposed investment in green energy. After all, the West Bank
has much better prospects for solar power than does the United States.
supposed uses to which the money would be put further signals that this
is a political bribe. If this money is found Kerry said the result
would be to:
“Increase the Palestinian GDP by
as much as 50% over three years…and reduce unemployment by
two-thirds…and increase the median wage by 40%.”
Should the secretary of state be talking on such a level of fantasy? Does a single one of his listeners believe this?
Blair, to whom the tourism project was turned over by Kerry, has been
the negotiator for the
quartet for 11 years. Guess how many visits he has made to Jerusalem?
Answer: 87. And basically he's accomplished zero. Here is the short list
of achievements that he even dares claim after 11 years, 87 trips, and
vast amounts of money.
believe that we can increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50% over
three years. Their most optimistic estimates foresee enough new jobs to
cut unemployment by nearly two-thirds - to 8%, down from 21% today -
and to increase the median annual wage along with it, by as much as
How about their more pessimistic
estimates or even their realistic ones? Kerry has chosen the worst
possible plan, investment in an industry that is incredibly sensitive to
Are Palestinians going to become hotel managers, waiters, lifeguards at swimming pools, and so on?
What will Hamas think about
the influx of massive numbers of Western tourists?
The sale of alcohol?
Western women coming in wearing whatever they want?
What would happen to this investment if there was a single terrorist attack in the West Bank, much less one against tourists?
Might events in nearby Egypt and Syria affect Western tourism?
while Israel is successful at tourism it is a developed country with
far more to see. Remember east Jerusalem—the main tourist attraction—is
controlled by Israel, not the Palestinian Authority. Once you get beyond
Bethlehem which tourists can visit easily while spending a night in an
Israeli hotel—what’s there to do in the West Bank?
Is this a good idea for a $4 billion investment?
economics will never work properly or fully
without the political process....President Abbas, the economic approach
is not a substitute for the political approach. The political approach
is essential and it is our top priority. In fact, none of this
vision...will happen without the context of the two-state solution."
Question: If billions of dollars have not bought PA support for a two-state solution in 20 years why should anything change now?
the PA reaction was that Israel would have to give still more
concessions before it would do Israel and the United States the favor of
returning to negotiations so that it could obtain a state, even though
it is so weak that these two have to prop it up and it only controls
half the territory it is bargaining for. No matter how much time and
money Kerry takes to restart the "peace process" nothing is going to
happen. It is remarkable that the West still doesn't understand this. Or
does and is putting in all this effort for show?
2. Syria, the Bashar al-Assad Regime
two years, during the first half of the Obama Administration, the
United States tried to buy Syria out of its alliance with Iran by
dangling trade and other financial inducements. We were assured that the
Syrians would eagerly "sell out." But of course this never happened.
3. Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood
the civil war began, when the United States tried to isolate the Syrian
branch of al-Qaida (Jabhat al-Nusra) in December 2012 by designating
it as a terrorist group, even the Free Syrian Army, supposedly the
moderates, denounced the move as did more than 30 Syrian Salafist rebel
groups. This was despite the offers of weapons and money. U.S.
officials dealing with the Islamist rebel groups knew that they could
not get them to do anything the United
States wanted. Nevertheless, at the recent meeting of the Syrian
opposition, the State Department spokesman explained:
have recognized the coalition as the legitimate representative of the
Syrian people, and we will work with Prime Minister Hitto. Our
assistance will be channeled in large part through him and his team into
these towns in liberated parts of Syria.”
One among several opposition groups--the one controlled by the Muslim
Brotherhood--is recognized by the United States as the legitimate
representative (even though many groups are boycotting it); the Muslim
Brotherhood's guy is the "prime minister;" and the U.S. government
intends to disburse a total of $1 billion raised internationally through
the Muslim Brotherhood. How much patronage will that buy for the
Kerry also announced that $250
million in U.S. taxpayer money is going to go
directly to a group directed by the Muslim Brotherhood to spend as it
wishes, presumably to go mainly to local Brotherhood groups and
But what was the Brotherhood-dominated in the
so-called National Coalition which is the U.S. recognized opposition
group doing at the same time? Answer: refusing to broaden its
membership. Even proposals that the Brotherhood be left with two-thirds
of the seats were ultimately rejected by the Brotherhood. And who were
the proposed new members? Michel Kilo and his allies, courageous
moderates who the West should have been supporting all along!
playing games on adding these people the Brotherhood leadership turned
it down. Kilo's moderate group by the way was not the one recognized by
the United States as the "legitimate representative of the Syrian
people." The National Coalition also leaves out the Kurds whose
leadership is secular and, except for tokens, the
Alawites, Druze, and Christians, too. It basically represents the
roughly 25 or 30 percent who support the various Islamist rebel groups.
also came up with a new scheme to empower the Brotherhood's local
councils within Syria as a basis for an internal opposition government
that would disburse any funds. The situation is not good in
rebel-controlled Syria as there is no source of money. Would the West
raise funds that would be handed out by the Muslim Brotherhood to its
Turkey and Qatar, supposed U.S.
partners, are doing everything possible to support the Brotherhood. Even
the Saudis now see through these scheme and reportedly realize that
their helping the Salafists is suicidal to their interests.
is it that the "official" Syrian opposition group refuses to broaden
its base to non-Islamists but still gets U.S. support? Isn't money and
weaponry supposed to
provide U.S. leverage?
Obama stated recently that the United States has spent $1 trillion--a
considerable part of the deficit--on anti-terrorism measures.
For detailed accounts by two reliable observers of the Syrian scene see here and here.
My colleague, Dr. Jonathan Spyer, was on a BBC show with a British
Conservative member of parliament who insisted that Syria was a secular
country and that none of the rebels were Islamists. This is the level of
ignorance among many politicians and others in the West.
you are interested in reading more about Syria, you're welcome to read
my book The Truth About Syria online or download it for free.
For a discussion of what I think U.S. policy toward terrorism and Islamism should be, see here.
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Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs
(GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International
Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His next book, Nazis, Islamists and the Making
of the Modern
Middle East, written with Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, will be published by
Yale University Press in January 2014. His latest book is Israel: An
Introduction, also published by Yale. Thirteen of his books can be read
and downloaded for free at the website of the GLORIA Center including
The Arab States and the Palestine Conflict, The Long War for Freedom:
The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East and The Truth About
Syria. His blog is Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at