December 10, 2006

The Iraq Study Group: Implications for Israel

From The Iraq Study Group: Implications for Israel by Dore Gold:

Baker confirmed on December 6, 2006, that the Iraq Study Group derived some of its inspiration from the "six-plus-two" talks on the future of Afghanistan at the UN. But in Afghanistan, back in the 1990s, Iran sought to contain a radical Sunni regime under the Taliban. In 2006, in contrast, Iran seeks to dominate Iraq through its Shiite majority. The two situations are entirely different.

Should the Bush administration adopt this approach from the Iraq Study Group, it would not be seeking a radical shift in Iranian and Syrian policies from a position of strength. From the perspective of Teheran and Damascus, the U.S. would be seeking their help after they had succeeded in defeating coalition forces. As a result, the price for their cooperation would be exorbitant.

The Iraq Study Group suggests that "the Israelis should return the Golan Heights." There is no negotiation over the withdrawal as in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. It appears that the Golan Heights are being used as an inducement to obtain cooperative Syrian behavior on Iraq. On the Palestinian track, the Baker-Hamilton report does not call for talks over "refugees," but rather over "the right of return," adopting Palestinian legal nomenclature and undermining Israel's legal position.