Monday, April 16, 2007

Pelosi’s Visit to the Middle-East… ahh… Didn’t Work

May I remind people of my post where the Lebanon Daily Star was quoted as saying, “Pelosi embarked on a fool’s errand to Damascus this week.”

The Washington Post had this to say:

…Ms. Pelosi announced that she had delivered a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that "Israel was ready to engage in peace talks" with Syria. What's more, she added, Mr. Assad was ready to "resume the peace process" as well. Having announced this seeming diplomatic breakthrough, Ms. Pelosi suggested that her Kissingerian shuttle diplomacy was just getting started. "We expressed our interest in using our good offices in promoting peace between Israel and Syria," she said.

Only one problem: The Israeli prime minister entrusted Ms. Pelosi with no such message. "What was communicated to the U.S. House Speaker does not contain any change in the policies of Israel," said a statement quickly issued by the prime minister's office. In fact, Mr. Olmert told Ms. Pelosi that "a number of Senate and House members who recently visited Damascus received the impression that despite the declarations of Bashar Assad, there is no change in the position of his country regarding a possible peace process with Israel." In other words, Ms. Pelosi not only misrepresented Israel's position but was virtually alone in failing to discern that Mr. Assad's words were mere propaganda….

…[Pelosi] "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Ms. Pelosi grandly declared.

Never mind that that statement is ludicrous: As any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off U.N. charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri….

Washington Post Article – “Pratfall in Damascus: Nancy Pelosi's Foolish Shuttle Diplomacy”

So what did “opening this channel of communication” accomplish? Let’s see:

Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal threatened on Monday evening to return the Golan Heights to Syrian hands “by way of resistance If Israel [rejected] the Arab peace initiative.”

Bilal did not elaborate but some analysts raised the possibilities of either a full scale conventional war or a terror campaign in the Golan as one of the means to undertake a mukawama (resistance in Arabic).

After saying that “Syria wishes to revive the peace process with Israel with the help of US and Russian mediators,” Bilal immediately added a threat, saying that “If Israel [rejected] the Arab peace initiative, the only way to get the Golan Heights back would be the way of resistance.” Bilal was speaking at a press conference in Damascus, referring to the Arab peace initiative of 2002.

Little Green Footballs article