Foreign Policy Blogs

Must Read Article on Gaza

Vanity Fair has an excellent article by David Rose about the Bush Administration almost forcing Gaza into a Civil War.  I am not positive I agree with the thesis- I tend to think that a battle would have happened eventually- but the capriciousness, stubbornness, and willingness to work with very shady people simply because they were on “our” side makes this a maddening read.   The outcome of the Gaza debacle is that the hand of the US was weakened while strengthening Iran, not to mention further hurting any chance at an Israeli/Palestinian settlement, and bringing more misery and death to people on both sides of that blighted divide.  

The article talks a bit about how this fit into Condoleeza Rice's broader goals of an anti-Shi’ite coalition made up of cooperating Sunni states, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  For a good background on this read David Samuels’ June 2007 Atlantic piece, “Grand Illusions.” 

Helping Lebanon free itself from the Syria/Hezbollah axis is a worthy goal.  Helping the only party in Palestine that has even a decent shot at reform, Fatah, is somewhat more ambiguous, but still a decent goal.   But the policy of gathering allies behind the scenes and aiding the enemies of our enemies is short-sighted and only helps to fuel the idea of America as a conspiracy-mongering, entirely self-interested war machine. 

(Of course, one could point to the success of arming former insurgents in al-Anbar against al-Qaeda.   And that is true- they have hurt Islamic militants.  But I still think it is a desperately short-sighted plan.  It is putting out one fire, which is good, but pouring fuel into another.)



Brian O'Neill

Brian O'Neill is a freelance writer currently based out of Chicago. He has lived in Egypt and in Yemen, and worked as a writer and editor for the Yemen Observer publishing company. He currently is an analyst with the Jamestown Foundation.