FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Mullen-Petraeus Report on the Middle East

by BOUTHAINA SHAABAN

Amidst a cacophony of statements, commentary and analyses about the American-Israeli relationship, and the events since Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, Mark Perry wrote an article in Foreign Policy magazine on March 13, 2010 titled “The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story”.  Perry explained that on January 16, 2010, a team of central command officers and officials responsible for American national security in the Middle East made a presentation in the Pentagon to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, headed by Admiral Michael Mullen, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The team had been sent by General David Petraeus to “underline his growing concerns at the lack of progress in resolving the issue”.  The conclusion of the presentation was that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel.  That is why Arabs have started to lose faith in the United States and its promises, and that Israeli intransigence in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was paralyzing the position, role and status of the United States in the region.   It added that “America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding, despite the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of American troops in the region”.

Perry says that the briefing given to Mullen, at Petraeus’ request, fell like a bombshell on the White house.  That is why the Obama administration sent Mullen to meet Gabi Ashkenazi.  Mark Perry adds that Biden passed the content of the Mullen-Petraeus report to Netanyahu saying: “This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace”.  The message was very clear.  “Israel’s intransigence could cost American lives”.  He concludes his article by saying that some people think that Biden’s visit to the region changed the Israeli-American relationship, while the real change happened last January when David Petraeus sent a clear warning to the Pentagon through the team which made the presentation: “America’s relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America’s soldiers”.

This review of what was published in the media since Biden’s visit is important because it shows that the Obama administration realizes the links between Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict, on the one hand, and what is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the other.  It also recognizes, albeit indirectly, that the question of Palestine and the occupied Arab territories is at the heart of what is going on in the region; and that the region will not know peace and quiet until justice is achieved in Palestine.

But the real message which the West should hear would be that of the concerned parties, the Arab leaders who are in charge of protecting Arab and Muslim sacred places.  The clearer and more forceful and serious the message is the more seriously others would take and contemplate it.

A week of speculation about the course of American-Israeli relations did not lead to releasing one Palestinian prisoner, protecting one house in Jerusalem against demolition or allowing unarmed Palestinians without protection to praying in al-Aqsa mosque.  American, European and quartet positions did not go beyond verbal criticism of settlements such as expressing ‘concern’, accompanied by invoking the strategic alliance between the United States and Israel and of course stressing for the billionth time the United States’ and Europe’s commitment to ‘Israel’s security’ without any consideration for the security, freedom and rights of the Palestinians.

All Western statements will remain mere media bubbles unless accompanied by the tools which the United States uses in dealing with Arabs and Muslims such as  passing a binding resolution accompanied by sanctions.  But these bubbles have two objectives in American policy: diverting attention from daily Israeli crimes against unarmed Palestinian civilians; and helping those who do not want Arabs to support the Palestinian people.

The importance of the Petraeus-Mullen briefing lies in its implicit suggestion that an Arab and Muslim stand can be effective, not only against Israeli occupation, but also against all those who support Israel  with arms and money and all those who provide with international cover to enable it to continue Judazing land and sanctities.  It is equally effective in supporting the Palestinian people uprooted from their land, deprived of their freedom and independence and subjected to crimes against humanity, under the full gaze of the ‘civilized’ world.

BOUTHAINA SHAABAN is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She has been the spokesperson for Syria and was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She can be reached through nizar_kabibo@yahoo.com

 

WORDS THAT STICK

Bouthaina Shaaban is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She has been the spokesperson for Syria and was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She can be reached through nizar_kabibo@yahoo.com

Weekend Edition
April 29-31, 2016
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail