Skip to comments.Baker wants Israel excluded from regional conference
Posted on 12/06/2006 12:43:40 PM PST by West Coast Conservative
The White House has been examining a proposal by James Baker to launch a Middle East peace effort without Israel.
The peace effort would begin with a U.S.-organized conference, dubbed Madrid-2, and contain such U.S. adversaries as Iran and Syria. Officials said Madrid-2 would be promoted as a forum to discuss Iraq's future, but actually focus on Arab demands for Israel to withdraw from territories captured in the 1967 war. They said Israel would not be invited to the conference.
As Baker sees this, the conference would provide a unique opportunity for the United States to strike a deal without Jewish pressure, an official said. This has become the most hottest proposal examined by the foreign policy people over the last month.
Officials said Mr. Baker's proposal, reflected in the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, has been supported by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and National Intelligence Director John Negroponte. The most controversial element in the proposal, they said, was Mr. Baker's recommendation for the United States to woo Iran and Syria.
Here is Syria, which is clearly putting pressure on the Lebanese democracy, is a supporter of terror, is both provisioning and supporting Hezbollah and facilitating Iran in its efforts to support Hezbollah, is supporting the activities of Hamas," National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley told a briefing last week. "This is not a Syria that is on an agenda to bring peace and stability to the region."
Officials said the Baker proposal to exclude Israel from a Middle East peace conference garnered support in the wake of Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 25. They said Mr. Cheney spent most of his meetings listening to Saudi warnings that Israel, rather than Iran, is the leading cause of instability in the Middle East.
He [Cheney] didn't even get the opportunity to seriously discuss the purpose of his visitthat the Saudis help the Iraqi government and persuade the Sunnis to stop their attacks, another official familiar with Mr. Cheneys visit said. Instead, the Saudis kept saying that they wanted a U.S. initiative to stop the Israelis attack in Gaza and Cheney just agreed.
Under the Baker proposal, the Bush administration would arrange a Middle East conference that would discuss the future of Iraq and other Middle East issues. Officials said the conference would seek to win Arab support on Iraq in exchange for a U.S. pledge to renew efforts to press Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Golan Heights.
Baker sees his plan as containing something for everybody, except perhaps the Israelis, the official said. The Syrians would get back the Golan, the Iranians would get U.S. recognition and the Saudis would regain their influence, particularly with the Palestinians.
Officials said Mr. Baker's influence within the administration and the Republican Partys leadership stems from support by the president's father as well as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Throughout the current Bush administration, such senior officials as Mr. Hadley and Ms. Rice were said to have been consulting with Brent Scowcroft, the former president's national security advisor, regarded as close to Mr. Baker.
Everybody has fallen in line, the official said. Bush is not in the daily loop. He is shocked by the elections and he's hoping for a miracle on Iraq.
For his part, Mr. Bush has expressed unease in negotiating with Iran. At a Nov. 30 news conference in Amman, Jordan, the president cited Iran's interference in the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki.
We respect their heritage, we respect their history, we respect their traditions, Mr. Bush said. I just have a problem with a government that is isolating its people, denying its people benefits that could be had from engagement with the world.
Mr. Baker's recommendation to woo Iran and Syria has also received support from some in the conservative wing of the GOP. Over the last week, former and current Republican leaders in Congressconvinced of the need for a U.S. withdrawal before the 2008 presidential electionshave called for Iranian and Syrian participation in an effort to stabilize Iraq.
I would look at an entirely new strategy, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said. We have clearly failed in the last three years to achieve the kind of outcome we want.
In contrast, Defense Department officials have warned against granting a role to Iran and Syria at Israel's expense. They said such a strategy would also end up undermining Arab allies of the United States such as Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.
The regional strategy is a euphemism for throwing Free Iraq to the wolves in its neighborhood: Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia, said the Center for Security Policy, regarded as being close to the Pentagon. If the Baker regional strategy is adopted, we will prove to all the world that it is better to be America's enemy than its friend. Jim Baker's hostility towards the Jews is a matter of record and has endeared him to Israel's foes in the region.
But Defense Secretary-designate Robert Gates, a former colleague of Mr. Baker on the Iraq Study Group, has expressed support for U.S. negotiations with Iran and Syria. In response to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee, which begins confirmation hearings this week, Mr. Gates compared the two U.S. adversaries to the Soviet Union.
Even in the worst days of the Cold War, the U.S. maintained a dialogue with the Soviet Union and China, and I believe those channels of communication helped us manage many potentially difficult situations, Mr. Gates said. Our engagement with Syria need not be unilateral. It could, for instance, take the form of Syrian participation in a regional conference.
Baker should be indicted for this travesty.
It seems the Saudis bought themselves a Report....
Well, I had heard the list of countries that Baker mentioned going to the conference..and I didn't hear Israel names...BUT, I didn't know the admission was such a blatant attempt to distance from Israel...
This stinks out loud.
This thing really is an outrage. They saw the "problem" as Israel and the Iraqi democracy. The role of Israel in Iraq is almost nothing except if you buy into really kooky thinking.
My thoughts exactly. Duck and cover. These
nitwits are messing with something that they
have no business messing with.
Baker can blow me. I use Baker & Botts all the time. Think we paid them over a million last year.
That may have to change, if he gets any $$$.
Abandon our friends and allies and give into our enemies? I'm in complete shock. This is the worst kind of betrayal in the world. It makes me want to leave the Republican Party.
Just wondering, did a SINGLE person on this study group even consider confronting Iran and Syria?
Baker and Pat Buchanan should get together and go bowling.
>>And Israel gets sold out and flushed right down the toilet. Man, Gods' wrath is commin'.<<
I suspect there is more to this than meets the eye. I must admit that I had to check the source to make sure it wasn't scrappleface or the Onion.
Something is afoot. I admit it may be as bad as you say, but that is just one possibility.
Give the Muslims want the want and screw the Jews. Vintage Baker.
What is it with Washington?
I think that Putin must have discovered a stupid-poison which he is spreading throughout DC.
I am really sorry to say this, but if I combine the sell out on our border and the Iraq Study Group, even I will abandon a republican party that makes these the cornerstones. I used to think a third party might challenge the democrats. Now I am thinking a new party will challenge both.
This looks like an attempt to bring back the old status quo in the mideast.
The Bush41 people - Baker and Brent Scowcroft - have always been anti-israel.
So let me get this right.
The Arabs attack Israel. The Arabs get the ass handed to them and the Israelis take some land as an outcome.
Now the US wants to make a drug deal with some Arabs (Who's word or agreements they sign to are meaningless) in the hope that it sooths Arab tensions and of course those having to pay the cost of the decisions made, those who were attacked years ago, they are to be excluded from the decision making process because we don't want to hear what they have to say.
Is it just me, or does this sound COMPLETELY asinine?
I think I will have a meeting with my wife tonight and the two of us will decide what we do with your house. Does that make sense to you?
The Bush Family has turned out to be a complete disaster
now we have fossils from Bush I the first disaster, combining with Bush II the disaster re-visited advising on
how we can turn everything to schmidt.
I dont hear any hint of conservatism coming out of the WH
just platitudes to appease angry impeachment hungry Dems.
If it sucks now just wait till Hillary moves back in for
Clinton III we havent even begun to see suck.
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