Israelis Are Undivided On Jerusalem
March 16, 2010

Yes, many—likely most—Israelis want this or that part of the city to go ultimately to the Palestinian Authority, a larger portion more forthcoming than less… But none want any of it to go to Hamas. Who will be the legatee, however, is not something that Israel has the ability to decide. Some Israelis want the whole of Jerusalem to remain under their sovereignty. That is neither feasible nor desirable. The opportunities are very small, indeed. The Arabs are enraged, although they are easily enraged and have been enraged for decades. Since the mid-1800s, Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority.

Irish Eyes Are Not Smiling. At Least In Northern Ireland They're Not. George Mitchell’s Frosty Legacy.
March 14, 2010

On the front page of the Sunday Boston Globe “Ideas” section, there’s a photograph of East Belfast—or, rather, of a concrete demarcation “that separates the Protestant community from the Catholic residents on the other side of the wall.” It is called the “Peace Line,” and maybe it’s what George Mitchell, who negotiated the settlement that ended “the Troubles,” thinks of as peace. Mitchell was Bill Clinton’s “special envoy” to those troubles, and that is why Barack Obama made him his personal emissary to Israel and the Palestinians.

I Make No Excuses. But The Obama Administration Was Not At All Surprised By The Israeli Decision To Build In East Jerusalem.
March 14, 2010

In fact, Israel explicitly told them that it would, and Washington--with some regret, to be sure--accepted the fact. So why are the Obami having such conniptions?

Biden: Obama Made Me Do It
March 11, 2010

I am a little embarrassed to be so self-referential this morning, but I am going back to my Spine from yesterday, “The Relentless Facts of Palestine.” Vice President Biden knew he had to calm the waters in Israel a bit. And he did. So, to an audience at Tel Aviv University--said by some to be comparable to Cairo University, where President Obama delivered his June 4 speech, and which saying tells you how little most people understand the real differences among universities--Biden delivered the reassurances that probably nobody expected: “U.S.

“Diplomacy 102”: A New York Times Editorial Gets It Right
March 11, 2010

This is apropos my last Spine. The editorial habits of the New York Times are to utter hortatory dicta about how this should happen and that. In this morning’s lead editorial (“Diplomacy 102”), it heuristically explains what happened to the president’s ambitions to restart direct negotiations on a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians: President Obama seriously miscalculated last year when he insisted that Israel impose a full stop on all new settlement building ...

The Relentless Facts Of Palestine: The Tribulations Of Biden And Obama’s Ironic Fate
March 10, 2010

Everything is narrative. And the present “responsible” narrative, we are told, comes from President Obama. It’s too bad he knows very little about the intrinsic history of the dispute or about its present contours, which, after all, he--in his arrogance, vanity, and suave--has done much to make both sides more rigid rather than more amenable to compromise. (Actually it’s at least three sides if you count Hamas-controlled Gaza, which the president blithely ignores ...

Who Is Really Playing A Double Game In Kabul? Ahmadinejad Or President Karzai?
March 10, 2010

On his way to Kabul, Secretary Gates accused Dr. A’jad and Iran of “playing a double game” in Afghanistan. And surely they are. Nonetheless, the administration which the secretary of defense serves has, if anything, encouraged this behavior. Most especially by not following through on any of its (in any case, namby-pamby) threats as Tehran carries on its relentless march to nuclear possession. But what, in fact, Iran has been doing is not surprising.

Muslims About Whom Obama Never Speaks
March 09, 2010

We’ve had more than a few homilies from the president about how Islam is a communion of peace. And I don’t doubt that there are hundreds of millions of Muslims who yearn for quiet and productive lives. May Allah be with them, according to their prayers. If they are a majority in Islam--and I’m not sure they are--they are a silent majority. In any event, the defining strain among many Arab and Muslim states is the reign of violence and the dread fear of it.

It's the Dinero, Caudillo
March 09, 2010

What were two members of a violent Basque separatist group doing with 11 members of Colombia's narco-Marxist insurgency in a remote corner of southwestern Venezuela in August 2007? According to a blockbuster indictment handed down by a Spanish judge last week, they were participating in a kind of intercontinental terrorist training camp held under the aegis of the Venezuelan military.

Our Man in Kabul?
March 09, 2010

“Let’s talk about why you plan to kill me.” It was March 1987, and Milt Bearden was sitting in a spare interview room at the Islamabad headquarters of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Bearden was then the CIA’s station chief in Islamabad, serving as the link between Washington and the U.S.-funded Afghan rebels bleeding the Soviets in Afghanistan. He had come to see the mujahedin’s most lethal warlord, a radical Islamist named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.