TWO DESPERATE MEN:
PRESIDENT BUSH & PM SHARON
by Emanuel A. Winston
Middle East analyst & commentator
We have learned that nothing is as dangerous as a politician who has reached the top of his particular career and is threatened with rejection by the public.
The two politicians I have in mind are President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Each is on the edge of a political disaster of his own choosing but, in many ways, they are each linked to the other. Both are trapped in a corner and desperate to escape.
PM Sharon came to office on his record in a landslide vote as a General who was well known for defending the nation in Six Wars and the Terror in between. Then he became a political figure and his previous straight-forward values seemed to change. He cut off all his previous friends and contacts who had worked hard to put him in office. As I said, he became a politician and is now desperate to retain the office he had finally won.
President Bush is facing his own dilemma in an election coming Fall 2004 - which, at first, looked like a guaranteed shoe-in. But now, with the body bags of American soldiers moving steadily toward the number of 500 - coupled with a downward spiral of the economy, he, too, is desperate to retain office.
Clearly, sacrificing an ally, Israel, on the chance that his Road Map will look successful is one of his choices. Both Sharon and Bush seem ready to do desperate things to win the prize of office. Desperate men see things differently. Their value systems are those of addicts who have overdosed on the glories of office.
Ariel Sharon gives every appearance that he is ready to sacrifice large parts of the historic ancient ancestral homeland of Eretz Yisrael, the roots of the Jewish State of Israel. He seems ready to abandon the sovereignty and the security of the Jewish nation to satisfy the demands of President Bush to keep to the Road Map Bush proposed. The State Department redesigned it - with the rest of the Quartet (the U.N., E.U. and Russia) - so that, if it were ever really enacted, its parameters would totally destroy the Jewish State.
One sleeper in the planning stages for years is a European Rapid Deployment (or Response) Force led by France, Britain and Germany - with the U.N.'s blessings. As I have pointed out several times (1) over the past 3 years, such a Force would first be headed toward the Middle East under the guise of a "Peace-Keeping Mission". Expect this Force to begin as a modest 1500 but to rapidly escalate to some 60,000 as planned earlier by the E.U. This may be Israel's first defensive battle with Europe in the near future. (2)
I recall when Sharon, in a rare moment of political honest moral clarity, stated plainly: "Israel will NOT be the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia sacrifice to the Arabs". This drew an angry response from Bush and the State Department because that was exactly what was planned to happen. Many of the nations who had tried to appease Adolph Hitler's Nazi Fascism by giving him the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia are now the same nations who are preparing to trade Israel for a brief peace with the world of Islamic-Fascism,
The nations of Europe, particularly France, England and Germany are in an agonizing panic because of the flood of unruly Muslims immigrants into their countries, many of whom are 'Jihadists' pressing these nations to accommodate strict Muslim Shariah Koranic laws - or else! They too are desperate and are grasping at the straws of appeasement by trying to sacrifice the Jewish State of Israel. The Sudetenland formula is definitely in play.
To further illustrate the hypocrisy of this short-sighted policy, Bush is upping the pressure on Sharon to cease building the security barrier which has proven its effectiveness in blocking most Terrorists trying to enter Israel from Gaza.
Concurrently, Bush, as a matter of comparison through the Patriot Act for Homeland Security, is further tightening American borders, scooping up illegal Muslim aliens through the National Immigration Agency and deporting them back to their countries of origin. Here again, the threats to cut loan guarantees have been made unless Israel allows Arab Palestinians into Israel, opening the checkpoints - even as Bush increases the security checkpoints in Iraq.
Arik Sharon has accepted the onerous terms of the Road Map as it has been re-designed by the U.S. State Department and the Quartet - dropping his government's numerous legitimate objections. But, Yassir Arafat and his interconnected Terrorist organizations detonated any rational basis for accepting the Road Map. In effect, the Road Map has not only failed but was actually never begun, because its first clause demanded that Arafat demolish his Terror infrastructure, collect his army's illegal weapons and cease Terror attacks.
Later, Abu Mazen, Arafat's first PM appointee, refused to engage the Terrorists and now Arafat's second PM appointee, Ahmed Qureia (aka Abu Ala), has plainly stated that he will make no attempt to disarm any of the Terrorist organizations. Meanwhile, Arafat's second proxy, Qureia, has cancelled a meeting with Sharon, demanding that Sharon pre-agree to release of Terrorist prisoners, removal of key checkpoints, etc. Qureia, on the directions from Arafat, acts as if he believes Bush is sufficiently desperate to agree with Qureia's terms.
Sharon, in what looks like abject obsequiousness to Bush's unreasonable demands, continued to speak of the Road Map and its necessary "painful concessions" as if it was still alive and operational. Well, folks, the Road Map by the Quartet is dead and buried along with the countless "sacrifices for peace", all the innocent men, women and especially the children who have been murdered by fire, bombs, truck and car bombs, road-mines, firebombs and guns given by Peres to Arafat.
To Bush it's imperative that his Road Map was not viewed as a failure by the American electorate. Moreover, the White House was already in a panic as orders (which leaked to the public) went out from Arafat's Murata HQ in Ram'Allah to continue Terror operations full tilt.
Arafat first appointed Mahmoud Abbas (ala Abu Mazen) as Prime Minister of the 'Palestinian Authority' in deference to pressure from the White House. Abu Mazen could not force Arafat to release his grip on the 14 or so Security Forces who were also Arafat's Terrorist arm, intended to keep operational contacts with the other Terrorist groups operating primarily in Gaza. Those would include but not be limited to Al Aksa, Tanzim, Hamas, Hezb'Allah and many believe also Al Qaeda.
President Bush desperately needed some sort of Middle East claim of success as Iraq and Afghanistan became an albatross around the President's neck. Even his War on Global Terrorism was not entirely successful - as yet. (Note! In this writer's opinion Bush did the right thing in declaring the War against Global Terrorism.) However, he is doing the wrong thing by offering a different policy for stopping Arab Palestinian Terrorists who continue to attack Israel.
At the same time, PM Sharon was facing similar desperate times. The Terrorists kept coming while he was receiving considerable pressure from the White House and State Department to reduce his military response to incoming Terror. Israel's successful interdiction of Terrorists through their aggressive IDF military force irritated the Arab nations, the U.S. State Department, the E.U. and the U.N.
The need to put a good face on the failed Road Map was imperative for the President coming into the 2004 elections . But, despite Israel's anti-Terror actions, the Jews of Israel were still being murdered and they looked to Sharon to intensify his War Against Terror. Sharon, still trying to please Bush, has just announced that he will unilaterally follow the Road Map, notwithstanding the on-going Terror which has infuriated members of his own Party and Cabinet - as well as the people of Israel.
The public threats to Sharon from the White House/State Department were 'polite' and seemingly understanding of Israel's difficult situation as suicide bombers blew up restaurants, buses with children and shoppers as their main targets. Each suicide event brought a public statement from the Bush Administration, expressing condolences and speeches about the need to aggressively confront Terror.
But, their 'back channel' (i.e., non-public) threats were more mean-spirited. Loan guarantees were stalled; contracts were threatened with cancellations; intelligence would be cut off; spare parts for U.S.-made aircraft would be slowed down or stopped; aviation fuel supplies would be shut off - along with the spare parts which might ground much of the Israeli Air Force. The State Department, writing the Bush foreign policy, has pulled out every threat possible to make Sharon fall into line - despite daily Terror attacks, deaths and grievous injuries.
Since the signing of Oslo September 13, 1993, more than 1500 Jews (including at least 43 Americans) have been slaughtered with tens of thousands more wounded - many maimed for life - including too many children.
Avi Dichter, Director of the Shin Bet (Israel's Secret Service) said that in the last 6 weeks alone, 14 suicide bombings were foiled and the number of Terror alerts has increased recently from some 30 per day to 50 per day.
Israel, in the meantime, was aiding American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan with Intelligence, methods of fighting Terrorists, including the training of American Forces with intercity warfare and the re-fitting of American ships at Israeli ports. (Israel was of substantial assistance to American Forces, offering aerial protection during the 6 month mobilization before the first Gulf War, key intelligence, and training - all vital services which were not acknowledged by then President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker.)
There was more but that should give you the picture of the pressure put upon Israel.
As the Bush/Quartet Road Map was looking like a great liability to the President, another initiative began which would move the Road Map off of Bush's political plate and over to the U.N. Bush would then be removed from the Road Map debacle and the dirty work of compromising Israel's security and sovereignty would be done by the U.N., the E.U., and the rest of the Quartet.
This scheme, in many ways, was coupled with what is now called the "Geneva Initiative or Accords". This newest suicide pact was first started in Britain 2 years ago as a document of appeasement to the Arabs, to be closely monitored by the E.U. who actually funded the planning by illegal, self-appointed representatives of the Israeli government, Yossi Beilin, Avraham Burg, Avrum Mitzna - all Labor Party politicians rejected by the Israeli people - and Yasser Abd Rabbo also illegally representing the Arab Palestinians. Shimon Peres acted as the guiding 'elder' statesman - as he did in shaping the Oslo Accords. In effect, 'Geneva' followed the same 'secret' format of failed Oslo - only this time there were the fingerprints of the President and State Department. Even Paul Wolfowitz, bowing to Bush Administration pressures, suddenly found the 'Geneva' document very interesting and acceptable. (I hope he proves me wrong about him.)
So now, Israel is faced with the double threat of both the Road Map and the Geneva Accords converging, which will transfer the controlling power back to the United Nations, as recently submitted by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite Sharon's personal appeal NOT to involve the U.N. Within the Geneva Accords (a 112 page document recently mailed to all Israelis - paid for by the E.U.) is an even more hostile version of capitulation than the failed Oslo Accords. The Geneva Accords are supposed to be signed on December 1st by what can only be called the "Sudeten Conspirators".
The Beilin-European Geneva Initiative minimally called for the division of Jerusalem, the abandonment of the entire territories of YESHA and the transfer of at least 220,000 Jewish citizens, the evacuation of the Jordan Valley - considered an irreplaceable natural barrier to invading Arab nations from the East, the Judean/Samarian Water Aquifer that rests under the hills and supplies 30% of Israel's water, the release of thousands of convicted Terrorists ready to renew their Terrorist activities - and much more. (As an aside, Bush complained bitterly about Saddam's release of convicted criminals who have now joined with other Terrorists, both Iraqi and other nationalities, to kill American soldiers.)
Ariel Sharon gives every indication that he is preparing to compromise Israel's security and sovereignty - as Josephus did when he went over to the Romans. (Again, I hope he proves me wrong.) It is inconceivable that Sharon, the Warrior 'par excellence', now an elder statesman, will betray the trust of the Jewish nation, merely to keep the power of his position. Clearly, with the influence of his Leftist sons, he has deluded himself that creating another Arab Palestinian State is good for the Jewish nation - despite ongoing Terrorism and more promised. Various Terrorist groups have stated plainly that, with or without another Arab Palestinian State, they'll continue their war until Israel ceases to exist, whether it takes 100 or 1000 years. Remember, Islam's written aim for Global Domination is preached by the Mullahs in every Arab/Muslim nation. Everything Sharon now says is suspect and considered a 'trial balloon' to test the political atmosphere. The questions that swirl in his head are by their nature, unanswerable. If he moves to please Bush to help his image for the 2004 elections, will Bush be grateful? Probably not. Once he is elected to a second term, he won't need to be 'nice' to the Jewish State to pander to those States needed for their Jewish majorities in electoral votes.
If Sharon creates another Arab State of Palestine by forcibly removing the settlements, will the Jewish people be grateful - particularly if there is more Terror? Of course not.
The follow-on question is: Would the Palestinian Authority or Arab Palestinians be grateful? Unlikely and more likely to copy the Iraqi model of ingratitude as they kill Americans with their new freedoms.
Will whatever he does allow him to remain as Prime Minister or will he be forced to leave in permanent disgrace?
Is Sharon relying upon the idea that the Left, that is, Peres, Beilin, Sarid, Burg, Lapid and the Europeans will want to keep him in office with the belief that only Sharon of the Likud (and the Commander who dismantled Yamit) could possibly dare to use the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) to force out the settlers of YESHA - just like they cut down their radio station Arutz 7, the only free radio voice in Israel?
It would seem prudent NOT to wait for Sharon to make up his mind as to whether he is the old Sharon or Josephus. It would be better to democratically change governments now and allow Sharon to retire in dignity.
Two Desperate Politicians, trapped by circumstance, cannot be trusted to make rational decisions for the safety and sovereignty of their nations but, only for themselves - regardless of who must be sacrificed.
1. "European Union Want to Use NATO Against Israel" by Emanuel A. Winston 8/27/03
"E.U.- Rapid Deployment Force Aimed at Israel" by Emanuel A. Winston 12/22/02
2. "Blair, Chirac Unite on Peacekeeper Plan" by Ed Johnson AP CHICAGO TRIBUNE 11/24/03
3. "Palestinian Official Delays 1st Meeting with Sharon" by Evan Osnos CHICAGO TRIBUNE 11/24/03
Emanuel A. Winston is a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.