Monday, February 21, 2011

What are Israeli strategists thinking? One example.

The setting for these remarks was the Herzliya National Security Conference, in early February.  They are reported in Defense News, Feb. 14, 2011, pp. 1 and 8.
Retired U.S. Marine Gen. James Jones, who up until last October served as Obama’s national securi­ty adviser, dismissed claims of Washington’s decline.

“I reject the idea that the United States is in decline or even in rela­tive decline,” Jones told conference participants here. “To be sure, there is much to be done to ensure we are as successful in the 21st century as we were in the 20th ... and Egypt is just a small sign of the potential for change.” Alongside efforts to prevent a nu­clear-armed Iran and to fortify a coalition of the moderates com­prised of pro-Western Arab states respectful of the universal rights of its people, Jones cited the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as “a mat­ter of urgent necessity.” Jones said the lack of a peace deal jeopardizes regional stability by un­dermining moderates, provoking the young and hopeless classes, and empowering Iran.

Time is not on Israel’s side, Jones warned: “The growing isolation of Israel is a very real concern. The number of countries that recognize a Palestinian state can outrank the number of countries that recognize Israel.” Jones urged Israel’s leaders to restart peace negotiations.

“Failure to act could ignite a rep­etition of Egypt on streets in neigh­boring countries,” he said. “Will ex­tremists win the hearts and minds of the young Arab street? Or will moderate voices prevail for a two­state solution? This could be the most important national security
question of our time, and if we fail, history will not forgive us.” Amos Gilead, director for politi­cal-military affairs at Israel’s Min­istry of Defense, was brutally direct in rejecting Jones’ premise.

“Even if we sign an agreement to­morrow with the [Palestinian Au­thority], they won’t honor it,” Gilead said. “Look around the Middle East: If there is a democratic process here, it will bring, for sure, hell.” In tactless and borderline racist remarks here, Gilead insisted that democracy and stability cannot co­exist in the Arab Middle East.

“In the Middle East and the Arab world, there is no place for democ­racy,” he said.

Gilead said free elections in the region would breed either a Gaza­like “Hamastan,” or Lebanon, which he described as a so-called democracy.

“In Lebanon, there is a constitu­tion without a state. They have an elected president, prime minister, speaker, but the country is losing it­self when it allows entities more powerful than Lebanon to drive the agenda,” Gilead said, alluding to Hezbollah.

“The only place in the region with a real chance of democracy is Iran,” a non-Arab nation, he said. “But what was the reaction to Iranian democratic forces? Indifference. And so dissenters in Iran got the message and we lost the opportuni­ty to change Iran.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is not Lebanon once called Switzerland of the East with a Muslim President, Christian Prime Minister etc enjoying rotation in power.It is Israel which killed this Democracy but then the foolish Muslim masses are being led the garden path is not known to them with intervention from Syria. Muslim brother hood in Egypt, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hmas in Gaza are the democratic voices. But west has stomach to digest this?