TheDC Analysis: Unicorns, centaurs and a ‘moment of opportunity’ for peace in the Middle East

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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Earlier this month, while motorcades zoomed past our downtown Washington office carrying important dignitaries to supposedly important meetings, you may have noticed that The Daily Caller spared barely a word covering the allegedly new and improved Middle East peace process. And last week, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in the Middle East to further those peace talks, you would have learned little about it by reading TheDC.

To be fair, we also haven’t been publishing many articles of late on unicorns, centaurs, or Lady Gaga’s understated ladylike elegance.

You see, at TheDC, we don’t cover fiction. We leave that to James Patterson, Danielle Steele and Keith Olbermann. We cover news.

Why should we waste our reporters’ time by making them follow a charade?

Unless you possess a pair of the rose-colored contacts that our president must insert every morning, you are fully aware, as is everyone in the Middle East, that there exists no special “moment of opportunity” to forge a Middle East peace deal, as the president preposterously declared earlier this month.

In fact, quite the opposite is true. This may be one of the least propitious times in recent memory to forge a peace agreement in the Middle East. The Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, can only claim leadership over part of  territory currently controlled by Palestinians – and even there, his legitimacy is sometimes contested. Controlling Gaza is Hamas, a terrorist group that is not only religiously dedicated to destroying Israel, but murdering Jews writ large (just read its charter).

So, even those uneducated in the nitty-gritty details of Middle East politics are perceptive enough to ask: How in the world can one forge peace with a leader who doesn’t even have control over a significant portion of the territory he claims to negotiate on behalf of?

But that doesn’t mean the U.S. should be pushing to include Hamas in peace talks. Hamas, after all, does not want a state next to Israel, it wants a state instead of Israel. And even if Hamas was willing to compromise, their starting position — genocide — is in all probability a non-starter for Israeli officials.

President Obama is not the first American president to chase windmills in the Middle East. President George W. Bush launched a similarly absurd peace conference during his last year in office that got absolutely nowhere and accomplished even less.

But efforts that require massive investitures of American prestige and time should be considered at least as carefully as the Obama-Biden White House cheeseburger escapes. As several astute analysts have noted, a failure of the peace process — which, in this case, is a virtual guarantee — would not only lead to a loss of American prestige and thus diplomatic clout in the region, but very possibly war.

These are life and death matters. They should be treated as such.

The problem here is that the Obama administration has bought into the mythology that the road to Tehran goes through Jerusalem. That is to say, before the Iranian nuclear problem can be solved — and, according to some, every other problem you can possibly think of from world poverty to the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s grave — there must be Arab-Israeli peace.

This is utter nonsense.

Indeed, the opposite may be true. Both the Arab world and Israel see the very real threat a nuclear Iran would pose. Saudi Arabia is so alarmed by the prospect that they reportedly have secretly given assurances to Israel — a state Saudi Arabia does not even officially recognize — that if it launched a strike on Iranian nuclear installations, Saudi air defenses would stand down so the Israeli Air Force could use their airspace. Over the summer, the U.A.E ambassador to the U.S. told the crowd at the Aspen Ideas Festival that while military force against Iranian nuclear facilities would obviously have serious negative consequences, including to his own country,  the “cost-benefit” analysis was clear: “We cannot live with a nuclear Iran,” he said. “I am willing to absorb what takes place at the expense over the security of the U.A.E.”

So if some elusive “moment of opportunity” exists in the Middle East, it is not over a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, but over possible cooperation between Israel and the Arab world with regards to dealing with the looming Iranian nuclear threat.

It just so happens that this, too, is among America’s most pressing national security concerns. Perhaps we should spend our energy focusing on it instead of a fairy tale.