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

February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
Farzana Versey
Of Beyoncé, Trudeau and Culture Predators
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail