Obama’s Foreign Policy Dilemma in Gaza

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hormoz Baradaran

In a vacuum caused as a result of transition of power from the Republicans to the Democrats in the United States, the Zionist regime has created a scene for implementing its own war plan. The Gaza war plays as an acid test assessing the gravity center of the foreign policy of Barack Obama, namely the Middle East.

During his election campaigns, Obama included various issues in his statements and made lots of promises. After overcoming his Republican rival, John McCain, he expressed his views on issues such as the economic meltdown in the United States and the world and the recent blasts in Mumbai as the president-elect. However, Obama has kept silent under the current critical situation when the Middle East is engulfed in war in a strategic region. His advisers argue that George Bush’s term has not come to an end and that he is still the president and at the helm of decision-making. Therefore, Obama is not willing to take an official stance on the Gaza war before the start of his presidency next Tuesday.

Anyway, Obama who lacks experience in the foreign policy arena has refused to condemn the Israeli atrocities in Gaza due to various reasons. He promised “change” in his election campaigns and for this reason the Middle East countries, Arabs in particular and even the Fatah and Hamas movements, expressed hope he would put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

On the other hand, the Israeli leaders pinned hope that this `change’ would serve their interests and lead to strengthening of Washington’s supports for Israel. At a time that Obama is close to enter the White House, his advisors have interpreted his silence towards Gaza catastrophe. They have said any comments on his part might disturb the international image of his policies; if he speaks in favor of Israel and its crimes, he would upset the Arabs and Muslims and if he sides with the Palestinians, he should be accountable before American Zionists such as Rahm Emanuel who has taken over the Democratic Party.

Anyway, the Gaza war comes as a shock to Obama foreign policy team. At different junctures, Obama has shown that the Middle East, due to the long-lasting Palestine conflict, as well as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would be the main pillars of his foreign policy. And for this reason, almost all his policy-making energy was spent on managing these wars especially in scaling down forces in Iraq and dispatching them to Afghanistan.

As Obama was concentrating on Afghanistan and Iraq the Gaza war broke out and he was faced with the most complicated issue in the Middle East.

The pretext Bush created for domination over the Middle East has now grasped Obama and he cannot, and of course does not want, to return the military to the country without completing the plans of the US ruling establishment in stabilizing its influence on the future of the Middle East.

Two prominent Middle East analysts, Martin Indyk and Richard Haass have said in their proposed package to Obama that it would not be possible to achieve President George Bush’s model of democratization and President Bill Clinton’s model of peacemaking and containment in the region without addressing the root problems of the Middle East and the focal point of these problems lies in the Arab-Israel conflict. Within this framework, they prioritize in the principles of the Mideast policy of Obama the three axes of Iran’s nuclear program, Syrian role in the Middle East compromise and the option of two-state solution, that is the formation of Israeli and Palestinian governments and lay emphasis on safeguarding security of Israel and defending its existence when mentioning all the three cases.

Indyk and Haass ask Obama to delegate affairs to Egypt, Israel and the Palestine Authority to put an end to Hamas because in this way Resistance will be exterminated and the role of its supporters including Iran and Syria would diminish; at that time the two-state scheme can be finalized rapidly.

Evidence indicates that such a scheme is being implemented in the Gaza war and the three players have tried from the very beginning of the war to mobilize the Gaza people against Hamas by creating undesirable conditions.

In this way, one can guess that the Democrat leader will appear in the Middle East with this fundamental policy. The same policy will also have another executive procedure during Obama’s term: dialogue. Although he criticized Hamas during his election campaigns but he considered among his priorities the option of dialogue with opponents of the United States, which includes Hamas too. Earlier, a prominent Hamas leader, Ahmed Yousef, had said the movement supported accomplishment of change in the Mideast policies of Obama. During recent days, rumors have spread on the willingness of the Obama administration to hold dialogue with Hamas.

Spokespersons of Obama’s diplomacy have announced that unlike the Bush administration, the new US government would not act much under the influence of the Jewish Neocons who consider war and regime change as their most immediate option. At least until next year, Washington will have to prefer diplomatic approach to other procedures in order to cover Obama’s election paradoxes. However, the foundation of this attitude lies in the mental outlook of politicians who emerged from the Clinton administration and who, like the latest Democrat president of the United States, will follow up the two-state option with an emphasis on strengthening the conservative Arab faction.


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