This Monday, two high US envoys are arriving in the Middle East: Assistant Secretary of State William Burns and new US special representative to the region, General Anthony Zinni.
US President George Bush and Secretary of State Colim Powell charged the envoys with the task as of organizing negotiations about a cease-fire between the Israelis and Palestinians as soon as possible and to recommence political negotiations this January.
The new US initiative foresees the withdrawal of Israeli troops from occupied territories and the stop of building Israeli settlements on the territory controlled by Palestinians. Arafat is expected to crack down on Islamic radicals and to arrest persons suspected of terrorist activities.
This is not a new idea, but, at least, today’s US administration has a plan of settling the Middle-Eastern conflict. As is well known, the Bush program does not contain a “Middle-Eastern” point at all. While the continued escalation of force from both sides with the unexpressed position of Washington could cause involving some Arab countries in the conflict, which is not profitable for the US. Open military actions of Israel would automatically engage its transoceanic ally into the conflict.
The American envoys’ task is to categorically inform the conflicting sides about US intentions. The Israeli position of negotiations “under fire” is profitable only for Israel. Israeli settlements on the occupied territory is a serious argument for Israeli troops’ presence on this soil. According to numerous evaluations, the cease of opposition between Israel and Palestine is necessary for the United States first of all, because this opposition negatively influences US aspiration for creating a wide anti-terrorist coalition, in which Islamic states also could participate. Though, while the Israeli army is fighting against Palestinians with US arms, participation in this coalition is inadmissible for many leaders of Middle-Eastern countries. Now, in many Islamic capitals, the position is being expressed that their governments should unite not with the US, whose battle aircraft is bombing Afghan Moslems, but against “ the Zionist enemy, shooting at Palestinian brothers.” This situation can not satisfy the United States. According to some information received from sources in London and Washington, after the military campaign in Afghanistan is finished, the war on terrorism will be spread to three more countries. Targets in Somali, Sudan, and Yemen are at the top of the list of countries implicated in Osama bin Laden’s terrorist activities. British Prime-Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush J. agreed about the necessity to support success inertia of the anti-terrorist coalition with quick actions in other countries. “We have caught fair wind and we do not want to loose it,” – a source of high rank in Washington said. This is why Washington needs the Arab countries’ support so much. In this case, America seems to keep distance from Israel, which can be appreciated by Arab countries.
Unfortunately, another cosponsor of the Middle-Eastern settlement is not to be observed. I mean Russia, which has been successfully working in this direction, or it is a part of its agreements with the US, which is even harder to understand. Therefore, again, there are only questions.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2001/11/26/34191.html