Annapolis is About War, Not Peace

Those claiming to see signs of a plausible peace process in the events that began at Annpolis on Tuesday are clutching at straws. You only have to look at the joint declaration adopted by the Israeli and Palestinian sides under U.S. prodding to see why: As I wrote on today, if it looks a little implausible that the Likudniks of yore (Olmert and Livni) are now sitting down to discuss the Camp David agenda with the PLO, that’s because they know they’ve reason to expect the discussion to be anything more than academic. The key statement in the declaration adopted at Annapolis, however, is in its concluding paragraph: “Implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map, as judged by the United States.”

The process launched at Annapolis really has no greater real-world meaning than the one conducted in Geneva by Yossi Beilin and company. It’s about a political “horizon,” a set of hypotheticals that can only come into play once the “roadmap” is completed. The Roadmap, of course, requires Mahmoud Abbas to dismantle Hamas. Fat chance. And the Israelis know it better than anyone — Olmert reassured Israelis straight after the conference that Abbas is weak and ineffective. In other words, this whole process is hypothetical.

Taking down Hamas and uniting “moderates” against “extremists” is the purpose of the Annapolis process, not moving the Israelis and Palestinians, and the wider region, closer to peace. As I concluded in the piece, “the strategic thinking behind the Annapolis initiative has less to do with the state of Israeli-Palestinian relations than with the wider regional situation: an effort to resolve differences in what the U.S. considers to be the anti-extremist camp in the Middle East in order to strengthen its anti-Iran front. But if that is the goal, Annapolis could as easily inflame the region as calm it.”

In fact, though, I think Annapolis itself was kind of a wake for a political order in the Middle East that has passed. Pax Americana quite simply no longer prevails, and those gathered at Annapolis were mostly the regimes most dependent on it, desperately trying to revive it although they can’t really hide from the fact that Washington no longer has either the will nor the capacity to take the steps required to stabilize the region. The future of the Middle East, right now, is well and truly unwritten. (More on this soon…)

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29 Responses to Annapolis is About War, Not Peace

  1. Pingback: Annapolis is About War, Not Peace

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  3. Jorge says:

    I really would rather have had the Bush administration sit out the Middle East as it promised to do unless both sides agreed to negotiate in good faith.

    But coming to the table at the last minute, the Bush administration is putting on a show and everyone knows it.

    The reality is we have to deal with Hamas. Hamas, in my view, doesn’t have to accept Israel as a state, but Israel will continue to exist as a state. The Palestinians can also have their state.

    Who CARES!

    Call me a STATE.

    Who CARES!

    What is in a name? A group of people huddled together for a common cause is a STATE!

    Okay, Palestine, you’re a STATE! NOW WHAT?

    I believe that “fighting for statehood” actually helps the Palestinians more than actually being a state. That’s why Arafat never made the final push. CONFLICT is so much more “sexy” than real, day-to-day governance.

    The issues about Jerusalem are also overblown. It all boils down to religions that mess with human frailties.

    As a Christian, I don’t care what ANYONE – Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu – cares about my faith. It is MY faith. And I don’t care about anyone else’s faith and I have no desire to convince ANYONE that my religion is the only true religion in the enormous expanse of the universe.

    The problem with religious institutions is that they want as much money as possible and they convince the flock to make converts so that the cash can flow in.

    Don’t believe me? Look at how the Catholics fight the Lutherans and the other Christians. The same can be said about Sunnis and Shia in the Muslim faith (and the different sects in the Jewish faith).

    That doesn’t diminish the true nature of Chritianity (or Islam or Judaism). It’s only the religious sects that are making a mess of it all.

    So the bottom line is that Jerusalem should be a city for everyone and no one should have any “rights” over any of it.

    So it is written. So it should be.

  4. Matthew says:

    Tony: You use the word “wake.” Any ideas on what the coming political order will be?

  5. Harris says:

    The Allon Plan Marches On:
    The continued implementation of the Allon Plan and Road Plan 50 and the creation of three or four Arab Bantustans. Settlements continue with 450,000 settlers now in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Today at the call of Israel lap dog United States pulls a draft Security Council resolution that would reflect the words of Annapolis. The UN knows what the facts are through OCHA so we can`t have the Security Council call for two states, they might make it happen. Well, so much for the U.S.- sponsored Mideast conference in Annapolis, Maryland. It didn`t make it to the end of the week. Israel continues to call the shots.

  6. Harit P Trivedi says:

    Jeff Halper of ICAHD raised very detailed and instructive objections discussing these very points about the US roadmap in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post of Nov 6 or – way in advance of the Annapolis conference. The piece can be read at
    – Harit

  7. Already the title summarizes it all succintly and very well.

  8. ajea says:

    Even more importantly, Harit, is to direct Americans and American Jews to this Dr. Jeff Halper video, which is compelling. Halper was a 2006 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    If American Jews understood this, perhaps they would stand their ground. Maybe they would act. At the very least, get their asses out of the air and replace it with their heads and hearts. Tony has done his level best to make Americans understand. Here’s another guy, an American but now an Israeli trying to make the world understand.

    And Don Bacon? Nothing came out of Annapolis. DebkaFile is a Mossad mouthpiece, BTW.

    Laney, watch this video.

  9. pangean says:

    it certainly is about regional questions.

    Confronting Iran is only piece of the puzzle, or one manifestation of it.

    The underlying, inevitable driving force is the unification of the Arab people.

    The US is trying to hijack it and redirect it against Iran, but the Arab street wants to unite against their leaders, plus Israel and US.

    PanArabism never died, only the provincial manifestations of it proved their corruption. Thus, the Sunni Islamist movements are a distorted reincarnation of PanArabism.

    Significant similarites to the Protestant Reformation/Peasant War in Germany wherein religion was the banner under which German unification was being pressed for.

    Although in the modern case, we have two Reformation movements from both rival sects that overlap existing borders in several locations – Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and GCC overall.

    Palesrael remains the only viable approach to resolving the contradictions between the most capitalistically developed elements in the ME – but it will come, no doubt, as part of an overall regional conflagration, and not through the charade of “Peace and the Two State Shuffle.”

  10. FredJ says:

    If a Palestinian State is created it could develop in a number of ways. Several of those ways are more violent and destructive than even the current situation. We would like things to develop peacefully, but we cannot be sure.

    Just about the only thing we know for sure is that the Palestinians will have access to better weapons as a State than they do now. Everything else is unknown. We can say, however, that Abbas is already weak, already an old man, and may not last.

    I think for a “Peace Process” to be real it has to outlast the administrations of both Olmert and Abbas. Otherwise people won’t believe it. And it has to beat down Hamas. Hamas doesn’t even believe in peace conferences, never mind peace itself.

    While peace is unlikely, war isn’t especially likely either. Mainly because the same players that are now not actively at war will have the same motives and beliefs and resources in 2008 as they’ve had in 2007.

    The recent announcement about Iran having stopped it’s nuclear weapons development in 2003, and the bombing raid on Syria a month or so ago, are both wild cards that make prediction even harder.

  11. dass says:


    I just read your article on Time regarding Iran..the fallout from Iran’s Nuke report. I am a bit disappointed by the way you wrote part of the article.. you say…

    “The report “empowers the Iranians and weakens everybody else,” says one Pentagon official who asked to remain anonymous. “I think it is nauseating.” ”

    You basically quoted a pentagon official without actually mentioning his or her he or she a neocon who wants war with Iran. How are you any different than Joel Klein or Judith Miller or Michael Gordon who faithfully and uncritically fullfilled their stenographical duties by quoting anonymous government sources who claimed that Iraq had wmd’s and now in the case of Iran they claim that Iran is intentionally attacking US troops in Iraq and is attaining the know to build nukes, which Iran will then use to attack Israel. where is the critical analysis from your end?

    why is this report nauseating, according to this govt official? is it because Iran was telling the truth all along and hence now the neocons don’t have a causus belli to attack it, and hence have been caught with their pants down? why else would it be nauseating? when you quote someone uncritically and give the govt official the cloak of anonymity, all you are doing is making their point of view into a fact.

    and exactly who is this pentagon official mad at? the intelligence agencies? for actually doing their job this time?

    please do reply.

    btw..i bet this NIE was actually watered down. there is no way the VP’s office would have let such an eye opening report to be declassified, unless the NIE analysts deleted part of their analysis. remember Cheney is in charge, not Bush

  12. R. Krell says:

    Mark Elf gets it right. Exterminate all Jews Everywhere.

  13. Alex says:

    And what do you think of Obadiah Shoher’s arguments against the peace process ( )?

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