Middle East Update – 31 January 2000

I have reviewed my notes of commentaries written in August, November and December 1999 with regard to the Middle East peace process. I feel no need to adjust these forecasts. If anything, I am a bit surprised at how fast Arafat is moving toward the Israelis. The pace on the Syrian front is tactical and predictable with both sides seeing the deal as much a matter of timing as substance.

To reiterate: During the first quarter of 2000 we will see the frameworks of package deals to be signed later this year with the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. The Palestinians will come first with announcements in February/March and the Syrians in April/May.

The PA will get a state with a capitol in East Jerusalem and a trading of some territories along the Green Line which allows the PA to get territory and for the Israelis to keep settlement blocs under their control. In reality, very little will change – the Arabs will be under Arab rule, the Jews under Israeli rule. The finesse will be that the state will not be called a “state” by the Israelis, the capital will not be called a “capital” and wherever it is will not be called “Jerusalem.” There will be some sort of reference to Palestinian right of return but it will be aspirational without implementation devices. 

The Syrians will get the Golan and whatever border line is drawn will be called the June 4, 1967 line. Again, semantics. Since the parties are a couple hundred feet apart (less than a football field) and the importance of water on the Golan to Israel is a hyped issue since it turns out little of its water comes from there, I suspect they will agree whenever they decide the time is ripe to agree. The peace will be cold and there will be no economics but Syria has it this way with Europe and most of the world and that really is its problem.

The various scandals in Israel are a red herring and have no bearing on this process.

Please pay attention to the Iranian elections late February. Indications are that the clerics are quite unpopular. They see the writing on the wall and are actually involved in a public relations campaign to improve their image domestically. Even though they are doing their best to knock out reform candidates and rig things, me thinks they are going to get their butts kicked in the voting and another round of student demonstrations could follow in the spring. It will not be enough to put a figurehead like Khatami up front to cover the schism. However, this is not to say that there will be anything more than continued incremental change over a period of several years but the direction toward a more worldly engaging Iran will become more clear.

hd seks filmleri hd hd film izle online film izle