Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Clean Break

Once again Sidney Blumenthal stuns me with his sources and his analysis.

Have you, like me, been harboring the suspicion that some secret BushCo agenda is being carried out in the middle east? An agenda that involves walking away from Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution, twiddling our thumbs while Beirut burns, and leaving another Secretary of State twisting in the wind?

Yeah, well, welcome to A Clean Break (registration required & worth it):

In order to try to understand the neoconservative road map, senior national security professionals have begun circulating among themselves a 1996 neocon manifesto against the Middle East peace process. Titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," its half-dozen authors included neoconservatives highly influential with the Bush administration -- Richard Perle, first-term chairman of the Defense Policy Board; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense; and David Wurmser, Cheney's chief Middle East aide.

"A Clean Break" was written at the request of incoming Likud Party Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and intended to provide "a new set of ideas" for jettisoning the policies of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Instead of trading "land for peace," the neocons advocated tossing aside the Oslo agreements that established negotiations and demanding unconditional Palestinian acceptance of Likud's terms, "peace for peace." Rather than negotiations with Syria, they proposed "weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria." They also advanced a wild scenario to "redefine Iraq." Then King Hussein of Jordan would somehow become its ruler; and somehow this Sunni monarch would gain "control" of the Iraqi Shiites, and through them "wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria."

Netanyahu, at first, attempted to follow the "clean break" strategy, but under persistent pressure from the Clinton administration he felt compelled to enter into U.S.-led negotiations with the Palestinians. In the 1998 Wye River accords, concluded through the personal involvement of President Clinton and a dying King Hussein, the Palestinians agreed to acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel and Netanyahu agreed to withdraw from a portion of the occupied West Bank. Further negotiations, conducted by his successor Ehud Barak, that nearly settled the conflict ended in dramatic failure, but potentially set the stage for new ones.

At his first National Security Council meeting, President George W. Bush stunned his first secretary of state, Colin Powell, by rejecting any effort to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. When Powell warned that "the consequences of that could be dire, especially for the Palestinians," Bush snapped, "Sometimes a show for force by one side can really clarify things." He was making a "clean break" not only with his immediate predecessor but also with the policies of his father.


Grant Miller said...

I need to renew my Salon subscription. Thanks for the tip. Does Joe Conason still write fairly regualrly for them?

vikkitikkitavi said...

Joe does still write for them, although less frequently than he used to.

Larry Jones said...

Oh, jeez. Bush used that "clarity" thing again last week in explaining why he wasn't calling for an immediate end to the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon. He is truly the Jesse Ventura of national politics. Maybe things will be clear enough for him when everybody is dead.