Basically, everyone in the Middle East is floundering right now. Israel has been tarred and feathered for the action of Ehud Olmert & Co. Unfortunately, only Mr. Olmert is currently in the dock – and not for his foreign policy or military blunders. Turns out, in addition to being inept in those two matters, he was a common thief, as well. Unfortunately, his two co-conspirators – the millionaire kibbutznik Ehud Barak and Tzipi “I want to be Prime Minister” Livni – aren’t in the dock with Olmert. These twins of disaster have convinced everyone, everyone except the Israeli electorate, that they are the champions of peace. Meanwhile, Bibi muddles on.
His nemesis in Washington, the cultural Muslim Barack Hussein Obama, has no clue how to get out of the whole he has dug for himself. Lacking any semblance of a coherent policy, he continues to dig deeper. The problem being that the deeper he digs, the harder it is to get out of the whole. In another two years, he will be joining Jimmy Carter on the Wal Mart book tour. In the mean time, George Mitchell seems to be on the way out (health reasons, no doubt – he’s sick of the stupidity at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue) and Dennis Ross will soon be replacing him. Ross wrote a book on the peace process, so no doubt he will be assigning it to all concerned as homework.
And the Palestinians? Hopelessly are hopelessly divided. Abbas bought into Obama’s “get tough with Israel” policy only to discover that Obama really can’t get tough with anyone. Most of the West Bank is for Abbas a no-go zone. He has in effect become his predecessor, holed up in the Muqtada in Ramallah, escaping only long enough to lay cornerstones and Palestinian “embassies” that will never be built in his lifetime. His Gaza-based nemesis is Hamas. They have discovered the joys of capitalism and malls are springing up everywhere.
There is no movement in sight, nor is there likely to be. No one is strong enough politically to take on all the other players. Israel is strong enough militarily to whip the Hamas-Hezbollah-Syria-Iran coalition, but Mr. Netanyahu has found his hands tied by Barack & Livni’s past failures. In all likelihood, he will call for early elections this winter. Obama will see three months lost due to that, followed by another month (at least) during the coalition building. At that point, he will be mired in his own re-election campaign.