Nearing The End Of The Line In The Middle East?

Is Pursuit Of Middle East Peace Wasted Effort?
Kara Bue holds the view that Secretary of State John Kerry may be pursuing a worthy cause in seeking a goal of Middle East peace, but that he is using time which could be spent better elsewhere. She notes the Middle East of ten years ago is not the same region encountered today. And US foreign policy has only further confused the situation, rather than adding clarity or vision.

“The administration’s reluctant, confused, and niche approaches toward conflicts in Libya and Syria, and now Iraq, have left governments questioning Washington’s basic competence. If nothing else, America’s seemingly opportunistic approaches leave some to believe that the US doesn’t have a long view for the region. That should be disturbing to Americans and is downright frightening for our allies.

“So while Secretary Kerry’s focus on the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is not wrong, the current landscape in the Middle East suggests that, today, it may be more of a hobbyhorse than a fix to what is broken in the region. It also presents lost opportunities for other US interests that are getting short shrift,” Bue argues.

Is The Kerry Plan The Last Best Chance For Peace? New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is not much more optimistic about chances for peace in the Middle East arguing that the initiative being promoted by Kerry could be a blessing or a curse.

“If the Palestinians and Israelis find a way to proceed with the Kerry plan, everything is still possible. Success is hardly assured, but it will prove that it’s not midnight yet. But if either or both don’t agree, Kerry would have to take his mission to its logical, fanatical conclusion and declare the end of the negotiated two-state solution. (If not, he loses his credibility.)

“If and when that happens, Israel, which controls the land, would have to either implement a unilateral withdrawal, live with the morally corrosive and globally isolating implications of a permanent West Bank occupation or design a new framework of one-state-for-two-people,” writes Friedman, adding that the Kerry Plan is the last chance for both sides.

Columnist: Time For Middle East To Police Themselves
, has penned a faux memo John Berry, US ambassador to Australia, in which she says the US has no role in moderating the Syrian conflict and that the time has come for Middle East nations to police their own region.

We are witnessing in Syria a proxy war for a deeper, wider battle between Sunni and Shia for the heart and soul of Islam and geo-political power in the Middle East. The fault lines are being felt from Iraq to Pakistan to Lebanon to the Gulf States of Yemen and Kuwait.

“After the predictable failure this past week of the naively named peace talks in Switzerland, tonight I call on the leaders of the Arab world, their kings and queens, their presidents and prime ministers, members of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation to take responsibility for Arab problems. This is the first step towards genuine, long-term peace in your region,” she writes.

Furthermore, she contends, “the leaders of the Middle East will find their own way to best govern their countries” and that the West has no business in a region in which “too much blood has been spilt and too much damage has been done to the reputation of Islam over a religious dispute dating back to 632AD that fuelled regional power rivalries ever since.”

Which Nations Are At Risk For A Coup In 2014?
The Washington Post’s Max Fisher gives an overview of the countries most at risk for a coup in 2014. Among the nations most at risk: Thailand, which has a 10.9 percent likelihood of a coup this year and Egypt, which has a projected 9 percent chance of another this year. Also on the list are Haiti and Ecuador, the only two countries in the Western hemisphere with significant risks for coups, with 9.2 and 8.5 percent projected, respectively.

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