Thursday, December 16, 2010

Russia’s Challenge to America’s Middle East Diplomacy

by Patrick Seale,  Agence Global,  Dec 14, 2010

The defeat of US President Barack Obama by Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu on the question of West Bank settlements has delivered a shock to the international system.
Netanyahu was able to brush aside Obama’s repeated requests to freeze settlement expansion largely because of the influence of Israel’s friends inside the American political system — an influence which has now been enhanced by the gains of right-wing, pro-Israel Republicans at last month’s US Congressional elections.

In the world outside the United States, this has caused widespread amazement and alarm. The setback to America’s Middle East diplomacy — and to Obama personally — has led to a rethinking of what can realistically be expected from Washington in the coming year in resolving the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The tendency in the European Union and in Russia is now to challenge America’s monopoly of the Arab-Israeli peace-process, which has proved ineffective, and to demand firm joint action.

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