20/06/2008

Climate of peace in the Middle East without Washington

A climate of peace seems to prevail on the Middle Eastern scene, without the assistance of the USA. Some have already announced a failure while others attribute this success partly to the absence of Washington in the negotiations.

Absent due to elections, American power has left empty his mediator’s position. In this role, she has been replaced for a time by regional powers like TurkeyEgypt or Qatar.

Turkey has undertaken mediation between Israel and Syria which now bears its fruits, while the Egyptian mediation led to the establishment of a six-month truce between the Hebrew state and Hamas. Qatar meanwhile intervened between the two Lebanese camps to finally elect Michel Sleimane to the presidency of the country.

Coincidence or consequence, climate in the Middle East is now at peace. Distinction between the methods of these regional actors and the American approach : on one hand their decision to include some regional players systematically excluded by the USA as Syria and Hamas, on the other hand not to show bias too affirmed in negotiations between Israel and Palestine, but also between the two camps in Lebanon.

Believing that the time of the Pax Americana is over, however, is naive. Not only that the USA would never let down their interests in this region, but their power is also necessary to put pressure on the parties to keep their commitments. Nevertheless, some changes are hoped in the method made by the USA in the Middle East.

On the first point, it is possible to foresee an improvement in the case of an Obama victory in November. The Democratic candidate has announced his willingness to always give priority to diplomacy and dialogue, whatever the power interlocutor. But in the second point the Obama speech to the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)’s members erases any hope of American neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The current senator from Illinois announced an « unshakable » support to the Hebrew state while declaring Jerusalem capital of Israel and undividable.

Six months separate us from the next U.S. election, six months to strengthen the climate of peace in the Middle Eastern scene. To announce a failure in negotiations due to the absence of the United States would make forget that the superpower is not always a peace’s auxiliary and that it’s sometimes good to progress without it.

N.J.O