Iran-Contra 2.0

A number of people are talking about David Rose’s article on US clusterfuckery with its Palestinian policy. If you need any convincing that the entire Administration–and Condi Rice above all–is dangerously incompetent, read this article.

The story explains how the Administration pushed an election for the Palestinians, not seeing what every sane observer saw–that Hamas would win. Immediately after the election, Condi started pressuring Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve Parliament. When he refused, the Administration started backing the Fatah strongman, Mohammad Dahlan, in hopes that he could strengthen Fatah and the Palestinian Authority’s security organizations–which had been devastated by Israel during the intifada–sufficiently to overcome Hamas. This set off a civil war between Fatah and Hamas. To end the bloodshed, Saudi’s King Abdullah brokered a national unity government, without warning the US he would do so. In response to Abdullah’s unity government plan, the State Department developed its own $1.27 billion plan, what Hamas considered "a blueprint for a U.S.-backed Fatah coup." The US handed that plan to Abbas and had him adopt it as if it were his own. Hamas responded by taking over Gaza and capturing the Egyptian weapons intended to strengthen Fatah.

In other words, the story is a description of the US’ profoundly incompetent Palestinian policy, one which has exacerbated problems with each new development. As one Fatah commander described it, the whole plan seemed destined to leave Hamas in control.

You know,” he says, “since the takeover, we’ve been trying to enter the brains of Bush and Rice, to figure out their mentality. We can only conclude that having Hamas in control serves their overall strategy, because their policy was so crazy otherwise.”

I wanted to focus on what Rose calls "Iran Contra 2.0." When the US decided to strengthen Fatah so it could combat Hamas, Congress refused to fund the effort. Given our political climate, Congressmen are not about to green light giving Palestinians–of any faction–improved arms and military training. Instead, the Administration turned to a tactic used in Iran-Contra: to have other governments fund the US’ desired foreign policy.

In essence, the program was simple. According to State Department officials, beginning in the latter part of 2006, Rice initiated several rounds of phone calls and personal meetings with leaders of four Arab nations—Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. She asked them to bolster Fatah by providing military training and by pledging funds to buy its forces lethal weapons. The money was to be paid directly into accounts controlled by President Abbas.

The scheme bore some resemblance to the Iran-contra scandal, in which members of Ronald Reagan’s administration sold arms to Iran, an enemy of the U.S. The money was used to fund the contra rebels in Nicaragua, in violation of a congressional ban. Some of the money for the contras, like that for Fatah, was furnished by Arab allies as a result of U.S. lobbying.

But there are also important differences—starting with the fact that Congress never passed a measure expressly prohibiting the supply of aid to Fatah and Dahlan. “It was close to the margins,” says a former intelligence official with experience in covert programs. “But it probably wasn’t illegal.”

I’m fascinated by Rose’s description of the operation, because of the fissures it created within the Administration and with our allies. The move really pissed off the Neocons.

Perhaps the Israelis held the Americans back. Perhaps Elliott Abrams himself held back, unwilling to run afoul of U.S. law for a second time. One of his associates says Abrams, who declined to comment for this article, felt conflicted over the policy—torn between the disdain he felt for Dahlan and his overriding loyalty to the administration. He wasn’t the only one: “There were severe fissures among neoconservatives over this,” says Cheney’s former adviser David Wurmser. “We were ripping each other to pieces.”

The eventual coup in Gaza was actually the precipitating event for David Wurmser’s departure.

Within the Bush administration, the Palestinian policy set off a furious debate. One of its critics is David Wurmser, the avowed neoconservative, who resigned as Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief Middle East adviser in July 2007, a month after the Gaza coup.

Wurmser accuses the Bush administration of “engaging in a dirty war in an effort to provide a corrupt dictatorship [led by Abbas] with victory.” He believes that Hamas had no intention of taking Gaza until Fatah forced its hand. “It looks to me that what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen,” Wurmser says.

And, at the same time, the plan to arm Fatah was met with little enthusiasm–or follow-through–on the part of our Middle Eastern allies.

During a trip to the Middle East in January 2007, Rice found it difficult to get her partners to honor their pledges. “The Arabs felt the U.S. was not serious,” one official says. “They knew that if the Americans were serious they would put their own money where their mouth was. They didn’t have faith in America’s ability to raise a real force. There was no follow-through. Paying was different than pledging, and there was no plan.”

This official estimates that the program raised “a few payments of $30 million”—most of it, as other sources agree, from the United Arab Emirates. Dahlan himself says the total was only $20 million, and confirms that “the Arabs made many more pledges than they ever paid.” Whatever the exact amount, it was not enough.

Though Rose doesn’t make the connection explicitly, it was during this period–when Condi was finding it difficult to get Saudi Arabia and others to cough up millions to pay for our foreign policy–that King Abdullah was brokering his own unity government.

Unwilling to preside over a Palestinian civil war, Abbas blinked. For weeks, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had been trying to persuade him to meet with Hamas in Mecca and formally establish a national unity government. On February 6, Abbas went, taking Dahlan with him. Two days later, with Hamas no closer to recognizing Israel, a deal was struck.

In other words, I think Condi was having trouble to get Saudi Arabia to fund her policy schemes because they simply didn’t support them and were actully working at cross-purposes to them.

The article ends with Administration officials reluctantly adopting the policy implicitly favored by Abdullah: including Hamas in plans for peace.

With few good options left, the administration now appears to be rethinking its blanket refusal to engage with Hamas. Staffers at the National Security Council and the Pentagon recently put out discreet feelers to academic experts, asking them for papers describing Hamas and its principal protagonists. “They say they won’t talk to Hamas,” says one such expert, “but in the end they’re going to have to. It’s inevitable.”

Don’t get me wrong–I don’t really believe the Bush Administration will do what it needs to do to actually achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians; negotiating with Hamas is not the same thing as negotiating in good faith with Hamas. 

But Rose’s description reveals how futile the American position on Israel and Palestine is. I suspect that any move to restore the strength of Palestine such that it could perform as a sovereign state would be impossible to pass through Congress–AIPAC’s just been doing its work too well for too long to support strengthening the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, at least, appears to be reluctant to support anything less than restoring the strength of the Palestinians. 

55 replies
  1. JohnJ says:

    Someone opined back in 2000 that Chimpy was a fan of “Revelations” and would try to bring the battle of Armageddon to pass. I thought that was good snark.

    I don’t think that was so far fetched anymore.

    At the same time ChimDarth was calling daddy’s the “quitter administration” and saying he needed to clean up the mess his daddy had left. I was called a sore loser when I said these idiots were going back to Iraq.

    We have a 16 year old Down Syndrome child at home here (and yes, he is a pure joy); he learns MUCH faster that the American Electorate.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      JohnJ, like you I found the ‘Armageddon’ talk to nutso to believe. However, I was working on a project that put me in frequent contact for several months with some fundamentalists whose beliefs lie along the ‘Armageddon’ end of the spectrum. (They’ll be ‘Raptured’, so they don’t have to worry about things that people like my ‘unRaptured’ self fret over, like Iran-Contra 2.0.) It’s a fairly different view of the world, with interesting implications.

      But two excellent resources if you have time/interest are:
      Kevin Phillips: American Theocracy
      Craig Unger: Fall of the House of Bush

      Both excellent, and both dive into the historical roots, and the implications, of the ‘Rapture Believers’.
      Not a belief system that, IMHO, has any merit when it comes to driving foreign policy.

      OT, but:
      (And yeah, kids with Downs can be really sweet spirits
      (And I hope you are aware of the high incidence of children with Downs Syndrome who have been born to VietNam Vets who were exposed to Agent Orange? I also happen to know a Vietnamese family with a very sweet son seriously affected with Downs; both parents are originally from an area deforested by Agent Orange. Don’t know whether there are any links between VietNam and your 16 year old, but I agree that kids with Downs can be really good natured. FWIW.)

  2. Minnesotachuck says:

    negotiating with Hamas is not the same thing as negotiating in good faith with Hamas.

    What negotiation has this administration ever conducted in good faith?

  3. merkwurdiglieber says:

    The enduring strength of Bushco is the incompetence of it’s rival
    factions within. The oilcons, led by Cheney, turn US policy over to
    the neo-revisionist zionists in Israel, the Bushcons, led by Condi,
    have now sent for a takeout policy to finish the term. No wonder the
    future of the ME looks more and more like hell on earth. The presidency
    as the final step of a 12 step program to sobriety and the state dept
    as the prize for some gifted and talented program sponsored by Chevron.
    There must be some improvement on this standard, something beyond
    Madeline Allbright as well, if american foreign policy is to be relevant
    to the realities we face.

    • Ishmael says:

      When the time comes for Tom Brady to retire after winning 8 Super Bowls, I hope he leaves like Brett at the conclusion of a brilliant season.

        • Ishmael says:

          I couldn’t comment on Favre without tossing some trash at the same time, but I though Bmaz would pick up the bait first.

  4. AZ Matt says:

    Staffers at the National Security Council and the Pentagon recently put out discreet feelers to academic experts, asking them for papers describing Hamas and its principal protagonists.

    What did these guys think – that you can solve problems without all sides at the table? Oh ya, I guess they did. What twits!

    And speaking of twits, Lieberman wants a surge in Afghanistan.In the WaPo where else

  5. AZ Matt says:

    Looks like Brett has hung it up alright. Gave the Packers some good years. EW will need to go and drink a couple of rounds to the fellow.

  6. FormerFed says:

    I just don’t know if there is any solution to the Palestinian issue. The US would have to really get much more tough with Israel to have anything resembling fair to happen and I don’t think the Israel Lobby in the US will let that happen.

    • bobschacht says:

      I just don’t know if there is any solution to the Palestinian issue. The US would have to really get much more tough with Israel to have anything resembling fair to happen and I don’t think the Israel Lobby in the US will let that happen.

      Its hard to see how any solution based on apartheid could work, and just as hard to see why the US would back it.

      Bob in HI

      • Ishmael says:

        Well, there is a reasonable proposal out there called the Geneva Accords, which has been around since 2003 and is endorsed by Carter and based on Clinton’s failed 2000 attempts to broker peace between Barak and Arafat. It is interesting to speculate how the Clinton proposals would have fared if Gore had been allowed to take office as President and given the parties the assurance that the plan would be implemented, which was of course DOA with the Bushbots.

        Basically, the deal is a Palestinian concession on the right of return to lands within the State of Israel, in exchange for sovereignty over the Temple Mount. The plan also calls for an Israeli withdrawal from most of the West Bank and the entire Gaza Strip, and compensation for Palestinian refugees. The outlines of a workable deal are in place, but the Likudniks are against it because it commits Israel to definite borders. Significantly, Labour in Israel has never committed to be either for or against Geneva. There is visceral opposition to some of the provisions, recognition of Israel, etc., in the Palestinian community. If there were a concerted effort to sell this among the Israeli and Palestinian publics it could work.

      • FormerFed says:

        I don’t understand the apartheid comment. There are going to be Jews and Palestinians in both countries under any kind of fair agreement. See Ishmael @ 44 for a reasonable start to a fair agreement.

        • merkwurdiglieber says:

          The “Berlin Wall” that weaves it’s way around and through Palestinian
          land, you know, the one Sharon took Bush and Condi up in a copter in
          summer 2000 to show the future route of. It is a long way from that
          back to the day of our denunciation of the Berlin Wall. Don’t get
          the apartheid argument, look what happened to Jimmy Carter when he
          described the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians as just that. Read
          some Robert Fisk and find out what the chosen have done to their brothers
          for some condo property.

  7. phred says:

    On topic, while I would never rule out rank incompetence whenever BushCo is involved, it does seem to me that instability in the Middle East plays into the neocon desire to control the natural resources (aka oil) in that region. I don’t see how the Eternal-Commander-in-Chief with all his super-duper powers benefits if there is peace in the Middle East (and its attendant reduced threat of terrorism worldwide). Internal instability makes it much easier for external powers to wield greater influence.

  8. kspena says:

    What struck me as I read the article, is yet again,

    ‘Few inside the U.S. administration had predicted the result (of the election), and there was no contingency plan to deal with it.’

    There was no contigency plan for the invasion of Iraq.
    There was no contigency plan for the loss of Bhutto.
    There is no contigency plan for the loss of Musharraf.
    There is no contigency plan for the withdrawl of US troops from Iraq.

    I heard recently that if elections were held in the West Bank today, hamas would win there too. Abbas would be out. I wonder if the bushies have a contigency plan for that?

    What next:

    Today: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Egypt on Tuesday at the start of a regional tour with hopes for an Israeli Palestinian peace deal hit hard by an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip.
    (I hear that she brings no plan)


    also today: RAWALPINDI: Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff US Armed Forces, Admiral Michael Mullen left for Afghanistan after completing tour of Pakistan.

    Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff US Armed Forces; Admiral Michael Mullen Tuesday discussed regional security situation and the measures being taken to address it with President Musharraf.


    Iraq’s Sunni-dominated Awakening Councils, bankrolled by the United States, have certainly blunted al-Qaeda, but they continue attacks on US and Iraqi forces. The Sunnis, using a “fight, bargain, subvert, fight” approach, are all the while working towards their ultimate goal of the complete withdrawal of US troops and reducing the power of the Shi’ite-dominated government. – Gareth Porter (Mar 4, ‘08)

    • LabDancer says:

      No need for no stinkin’ contingency plans when Plan A is to shoot the works before January 20, 2009.

      Let’s just check on the Coming Attractions part of Chainy’s To Do List for George Waterbush:

      Give Perle’s & Edelman’s Turkish buds a good long hard look see at the lay of the land in the Northern Kurd territories of Iraq to ease invasion & occupation down to …oh the Kirkuk oil leases anyway. Oops, did I just write “leases”? That might leave the impression that good ol’ boys like Ray Hunt already got their 8ths of their 8ths wheelerdealered. Anyway: check.

      Find a sitting duck satellite & blow it up real good – show ‘em we still got our good ol’ American know how shit in order: check.

      Oh & spin it as a “Chinese threat” for long enough to get Cap’n Ed & Ace & the lads over at Powerline a heads up on the coming Chinese Fireworks – but give the first story to Pincus because the Times ain’t eating our crap anymore & we need some authenticity: check.…..02216.html

      Get a UN security council condemnation of Iran that can be spun into another AUMA like bill in 2002: check.

      Get Mukasey to run off another copy of the Ted Olson executive privilege & send it to Pelosi: check.

      Get the DOJ civil side to no-bid the contract to defend the Administration against Pelosi’s puffball snivel action out to Al’s firm ‘cuz he could use the work & “the stakes are so high” [sorry; laughing to hard] the fees will be unlimited: [pending]

      Get Addington to run off another copy of that opinion for DOJ OLC that says that a war president can always act on findings & directions when its clear the Congress is taking off for vacations or been taken over by terrorists or foreign agents or Democrats or any other such enemy of freedom: check.

      Get Joe to put out one of them smokin’ hot op-eds in the New York Times [or if they’ve stopped kicking our footballs do it with the Post: better than nothing] – “Not only is the Surge working Successes in Iraq, but we should clone Petraeus & somehow find another 150,000 or so “troops” & do it all over again in Afghanistran”: check

      Call up Erik at Blackwater to make sure he knows we’ll be ordering up 150,000 more troops – no wait, make it 130,000 & give the rest to Halliburton so we’ve got somewhere to move out the rapists & murderers from Iraq: check

      Bomb bomb bomb …bomb bomb Iran: [pending]

      Start up the Intergalactic War Against the Chinese [with a heads up to Fox & CNN with the good news]: [pending]

      Get the old team back into the Pentagon writing up all those “The War in [fill in the blanks] is going well, but we may need a little Surge to get it done.”: check

      Surge in Afghan – start with all them disloyal types in the CIA ‘cuz they sure talk big & could use the fresh air.

      Need one more surge: a freak electrical one that wipes out all our “back up tapes” of White House e-mails in operation “The Dog Ate My Homework”: pending.

      Round up everyone in the country named Hussein or Ali or Abdul & tell ‘em they’re on the No Fly list. Tell Jabbar “sorry” but his President thinks Lewis is a much better name. Send Mac the good news. Leak it to one of our Canadian government folks; Obama won’t see that coming.: pending.

      Oh & as long as we’re gonna do a freak electrical stormy thingy, how ’bout one of them big out of control fires like Dick did last year: pending.

  9. Ishmael says:

    In addition to the resemblance to Iran-Contra, and relying on other governments to either recycle petrodollars or launder “foreign aid” money towards policy ends contrary to Congressional wishes or actual legislation, the Rose article also highlights another enduring feature of American clusterfuck foreign policy – relying on some regional strongman to head a “government”, the “our bastard” strategy like Saddam Hussein or Mubarak or the Shah in the Middle East or Somoza or Batista in Central America, along with hitching American policy wagons to some local thug like Dahlan in Fatah, who seemed as effective and attractive to Shrub as Chalabi did to Cheney or Roberto D’Aubuisson for the Reaganites during El Salvador. It’s not just Iran Contra 2, it’s the return of the death squads and picking our factions again, and it won’t work any better this time than it did in Vietnam, or Iran, or Chile, or Colombia, or Indonesia, etc., etc……

  10. brendanx says:

    A few weeks ago I went to the D.C. Public Library to get a copy of Mearsheimer and Walt’s “The Israel Lobby”. They don’t own one. They do, however, have six (6) copies of Abe Foxman’s no doubt “rigorous” and “scholarly” rebuttal, “The Deadliest Lie: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control”.

      • brendanx says:

        I meant to ask who procures the books. I will. I found out about the Foxman only because the titles contain the same phrase and show up next to each other on a search. To add insult to injury, I was also in a BORDERS recently and there were no copies of W&M (though it’s in their system), while Foxman was displayed cover-out (as opposed to spine out).

        Starting a civil war in the occupied territories is no more “incompetence” than the work of the library or the book stacker at BORDERS is.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      I had been on the reserve list for that book at my library here in the Twin Cities area for some time. Not long ago I got an email from them stating that their last copy of it has gone missing. I suspect that AIPAC sympathizers are stealing library copies (and perhaps bookstore copies as well?) and destroying them. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

      • FormerFed says:

        Wow, this is a new low. But I guess not unexpected. I got my “The Israel Lobby” through the mail from Amazon. Are we now coming to a new kind of censorship in America??

        • Leen says:

          Hell there have been blog clogs in regard to the the I/P issue. The problem is not just the MSM. Although there seems to be some light shining in through the cracks.

          I kept thinking that Mearsheimer and Walt should follow the Net roots and Blogosphere the last seven years to watch what has taken place in regard to fair and accurate coverage of this issue.

      • Sara says:

        I bought my copy at the B&N at Har Mar the day they were first put on the shelf — in fact, I took mine off the cart. They had on order, according to the staffer fixing the shelves, 5o copies, some pre-ordered, and they put out 20. I’ve been keeping count, and it looks like they have sold all but five. I was there last week — so they could have sold more by now. Just checking at the desk — it looks like they re-ordered last week, so it is apparently selling reasonably well.

        The material on Hagee and his Christian Zionists is getting reported much as M&W wrote it, so at least some in the MSM have dipped in and read.

        • Minnesotachuck says:

          That’s encouraging, that B&N HarMar is still carrying it. I’m going to contact some poobah in the Hennepin County Library system and see if they have any plans to order additional copies. I also want to find out how many copies they had originally.

  11. Leen says:

    Thanks EW. We must also not forget the anti Palestinian legislation that Congresswoman Ros- Lehtinen and Rep.Lantos pushed and passed soon after the Palestinians election.

    This legislation cut off even Humanitarian aid to the Palestinians…..03-02.html

  12. Leen says:

    Former President Jimmy Carter objected to the treatment of the “elected” Hamas by Ros Lehtinen and others

    Don’t Punish the Palestinians

    By Jimmy Carter
    Monday, February 20, 2006; Page A21

    As the results of the recent Palestinian elections are implemented, it’s important to understand how the transition process works and also how important to it are actions by Israel and the United States.

    Although Hamas won 74 of the 132 parliamentary seats, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas retains the right to propose and veto legislation, with 88 votes required to override his veto. With nine of its elected members remaining in prison, Hamas has only 65 votes, plus whatever third-party support it can attract. Abbas also has the power to select and remove the prime minister, to issue decrees with the force of law when parliament is not in session, and to declare a state of emergency. As commander in chief, he also retains ultimate influence over the National Security Force and Palestinian intelligence.…..01138.html

  13. Leen says:

    This morning Dennis Ross was on Washington Journal addressing the I/P conflict. When you listen to Dennis you do not need to wonder why the agreement that the Clinton administration drew up failed. (Jimmy talks about how the MSM spun the failure of that agreement in his book “Palestine Peace: Not Apartheid) on Arafat. Carter states in that book that Barak that was no closer to signing the agreement any more than Arafat (that was not what we heard in the media) (water rights was a huge gap in that agreeement)

    This morning Ross blamed the Palestinians over and over again. Even when someone directly challenged Israel (the refugee camps, checkpoints, wall on Palestinian land, the settlements Ross spun around avoided the question and blamed the Palestinians. There was not a mention of anything Israel has done, not a small crack in Ross’s obvious strategy of blaming Palestinians…no matter what

    This wss one of the main negotiators for the Clintons. No wonder that agreement failed. Ross is not neutral not even close

    Listen to Dennis Ross…..iveDays=30

    You should listen for yourself.

    • brendanx says:

      But the Palestinians called off peace talks yesterday!

      They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, do they?

      • Leen says:

        Go listen to Dennis Ross on C-Span this morning. You will know once again why theclinton talks/ agreements failed.

        Ross has quite the attitude

      • 4jkb4ia says:

        I would have called off peace talks too. Israel is in such a dangerous situation that they can give very little politically.

        • Leen says:

          How about moving back to the Internationally recognized borders, stop expanding some of the illegal settlements, build the wall on their own land, sign the Non Proliferation treaty and open up to inspections. How about starting there

  14. 4jkb4ia says:

    The idea that if Team Bush thought that they could control Dahlan, they could control the entire situation was new to me. Perhaps we should be looking for similar figures in Iraq.

  15. 4jkb4ia says:

    “The idea that Team Bush thought that if they could control Dahlan, they could control the entire situation”

  16. 4jkb4ia says:

    I would be skeptical about whether there is a moderate wing of Hamas that could have any power. We dealt with people like Abbas who could be called the moderate wing of Fatah and we have crushed them out of having any power at worst.

  17. rkilowatt says:

    Iran-Contra ops ? Uribe invades Ecuador and kills FARC leader? What do we expect…Elliot Abrams and team are back.

  18. NCDem says:

    First, I am very glad to read comments from folks here that are reasonable and thoughtful. If this diary were at DKos, you would be ravaged by those that see only one side to this issue.

    Now that gas prices are settled in at over $100/barrel, I would suggest that there is only one way to pry our government away from the influence if not control by AIPAC. It would take a step by SA to suggest that they were going to cut our oil supplies for a few months.

    It is time for us to see that sending dollars to the Saudis to be used through charities by al Qaeda is as wrong as allowing Israel to expand settlements, steal land, and restrict commerce and travel for Palestinians on their own land.

    I have almost finished reading Philip Shenon’s new book on the 9/11 Commission and with this newest disclosure by David Rose, I can officially confirm that Condi Rice was the most incompetent person in the Bush administrations. Rice should have been charged and convicted after her performance as National Security Director. I see now why Bush and Rice have remained so close. They are both still trying to make one decision for America that works and is competent.

    • Leen says:

      I was ravaged over at Firedoglake for linking articles and my “tone”. Funny how that goes. Many of those folks can rip folks and issues to shreds using gutter language yet when you have what they interpret as a “tone” you are attacked personally over at FDL.

  19. bell says:

    brendanx you can get the book via amazon and other outlets… very interesting what you have pointed out…

  20. rosalind says:

    los angeles library system has:

    16 copies of “the israel lobby” – all checked out

    0 copies of “the deadliest lie”

    9 copies of abe foxman’s “never again?” – none checked out

    • brendanx says:

      I didn’t mean to suggest the absence of M&W in BORDERS was nefarious: people, like me, buy the book, after all.

      • rosalind says:

        i got curious and was just checking out the numbers in the lapl system. nothing else meant to be implied.

  21. bell says:

    an interesting side note from an article i am reading right now >>Abe Foxman of the Anti Defamation League called on Obama to either change the views of his pastor Jeremiah Wright (anti-Israel, Foxman says with apparent evidence) or leave his church. Thus far Obama has done neither.< < i guess this is the same abe foxman who has his books available in the dc library..</p>

  22. kspena says:

    More on Admiral Mullen’s whereabouts today, surprise!!:

    Azzaman, March 4, 2008

    Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, has made a surprise visit to the Sunni city of Huwaija and met former army officers, senior Iraqi police officer said.

    Colonel Fattah Abdullah said the admiral spent two hours in the city and held further meetings with its chief administrator and tribal leaders who have raised militias to support U.S. effort against al-Qaeda.

    Huwaija once supplied the former Iraqi army with huge numbers of commissioned and non-commissioned officers. Many of them held influential posts in the Republican Guards, Saddam Hussein’s elite force.

    Abdullah gave no details on content of the discussions Mullen had with the officers but the U.S. military in Iraq is giving growing attention to Sunnis who led the insurgency in the country….…..fname=news2008-03-04kurd.htm

  23. Hugh says:

    This is my entry on this from my scandals list. It was written a long time ago.

    191. The Palestinian civil war. January 2006 the populist and rejectionist Hamas (one of the Islamist organizations that Israel had supported in the past as a counterweight to Fatah) wins Parliamentary elections pushing out of government a corrupt but well entrenched Fatah. Clashes between Fatah and Hamas militants begin almost immediately. Despite Bush’s oft stated support of democracy in the Middle East, the US organizes a boycott of Hamas. The US and the Europeans cut off funds to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Israel holds back tax receipts. International banking transactions are blocked preventing aid from other countries. The result is a sharp increase in unemployment, poverty, and radicalism in the Territories, especially Gaza where Hamas is strongest. At the same time, the background pattern of Israeli and Palestinian attacks and counter-attacks continues. In the deepening humanitarian and political crisis, Western governments led by the US seek to do end runs around Hamas funneling aid directly to the Palestinian people bypassing the PA and backing the Fatah Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as an alternative to Hamas. In addition to political support, the US supplies Fatah security forces with weapons. A national unity government is finally cobbled together in February 2007 but doesn’t last. In May, 500 Fatah fighters enter Gaza from Egypt with Israeli approval and Bush okays $40 million to train 4,000 troops directly under Abbas’ control. Violence flares in June 2007 and greatly outnumbered and outgunned Fatah fighters are kicked out of Gaza. On June 14, 2007, Abbas dissolves the “national unity” government. A few days later on June 16, Fatah forces effectively expel Hamas from the West Bank. Instead of accepting the results of a democratic election and engaging with its opponents, the Bush Administration fomented a civil war. As has happened so many times before, it didn’t do its homework or the math, and the consequences were once again not those it expected. The Palestinians are even weaker and more divided. Gaza has real potential to become a full blown humanitarian crisis. The situation is more dangerous and peace even further away.

  24. Nell says:

    Very glad to see more attention to the David Rose article. I blogged about this situation last year, and despaired of it ever getting any play from liberals.

    Count me in agreement with commenters who’ve made the point that this is not “incompetence” any more than the occupation of Iraq is. That is, the incompetence (self-delusion, counterproductiveness, etc.) is not the biggest part of what’s outrageous about the policy.

    Not sure I buy Abrams’ and Wurmser’s distancing themselves from the policy now, either; if they want to pretend they opposed it, it’s because it’s another huge, stinking failure.

    Tony Karon, the Rootless Cosmopolitan, has had the most accurate analysis of this all along, and his posts from last summer, immediately after the defeat of Dahlan’s attempted coup, are worth re-reading.

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