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Why the demise of the Middle East ‘peace process’ may be a good thing

Recognizing that a two-state solution is no longer in the cards opens the way for other paths that don’t depend on Western mediation. It puts to rest the fiction that a Palestinian state will emerge from even the best intentions of the West instead of from the political realities of the Middle East.

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In short, there is a new dynamism and fluidity in the region in which the West is not a participant. America is not wholly “absent,” but neither is it fully “present.”

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Is Israel a beacon or liability for US?

The incoming head of Mossad (Israel's Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations), Tamir Pardo, is reported to have said that Israel wants “to play a key role in helping the West win ‘the new Cold War’ with radical Islam in the region.” Israel, of course, has long wanted to be “the West’s enclave,” the “light” of a reborn Western culture which would shine out to Muslim states, as Lord Balfour put it at Israel’s birth as a nation.

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But will Mr. Pardo’s “new Cold War” strategy serve the West, or will it only end up further isolating and diminishing Israel and America in the emergent “new” Middle East? Whether hemmed in by Hezbollah and Iran or rebuffed on occasion by Turkey, Israel is also no longer able to act militarily with absolute impunity. Rather than an outpost promoting Western interests, Israel is becoming a source of instability, and thus a liability just as the West must turn its full attention to mending its own economy and face the power shift of a rising China.

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For Namibia, a solution came only when South Africa had exhausted its efforts at engineering a “Vichy” government in Windhoek, lost its military hegemony over the region and faced a paradigm shift in global politics. Only at that juncture was peace and statehood possible.

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As it evolved, the Middle East “peace process” only perpetuated the underlying tensions without moving toward resolution. Paradoxically, the end of the peace process may be what finally gives peace a chance. It is impossible to say, however, how long a Namibia-type solution might take, or whether it will only find “resolution” through some form of further conflict.

Alastair Crooke, a former MI6 agent in the Middle East, is the author of “Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution.” He is also director of the Conflicts Forum in Beirut.

© 2010 Global Viewpoint Network/Tribune Media Services. Hosted online by The Christian Science Monitor.


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