Sunday, April 01, 2007

Can it be? A Ray of Hope?

The biblical parallel to the story of Armageddon which the Middle East strife represents has shown little positive movement toward peace recently. If anything, the fear with which we go to sleep is that we will wake up to another war, with Iran, or between Israel and a neighbor. And that fear includes the vision of a (excuse the double entendre) mushrooming escalation that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.

Today, Newsweek reporter Chris Dickey gives a reason to latch on to a laser-thin ray of hope that some minds actually seek peace as means to this conflict:

...[King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia] was on a roll. He used the Arab summit to relaunch a peace initiative he first proposed five years ago. It promises full peace for Israel with all Arab states if the Jewish state withdraws to its 1967 borders and an equitable solution is found for Palestinian refugees. Far from dismissing the plan, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has left the door open to further talks. "Saudi Arabia is the country that in the end will determine the ability of the Arabs to reach a compromise with Israel," he said. To Abdullah, who has seen so much, peace now looks like the best way to revive the beleaguered Arab world—and stifle Iran's ambitions.

The details of the story indicate the same old misreadings and missteps of the Bush administration in the complex world of the Saudi royal family, Palestinian inter-fighting, Jewish statehood, and Iranian ambition. Dickey understands the motivations and the history better than most people, and he gets to the meat of the issues with the players themselves. That's a lot more than can be said of the incompetent brokers-of-peace wannabes--Rice, Cheney and Bush.

The rationale of the Saudi king, and the Israeli Prime Minister, along with patience until the next US President comes to leadership, may stave off the Armageddon long enough to extinguish its real possibility.

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