The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Heiko Wimmen: Raad does not smile

Heiko Wimmen pens a badly informed piece for bitter-lemons this week, arguing that:

“According to Hizballah, the Arab Peace Initiative is a dead horse that no amount of flogging will bring back to life. Indeed, the very idea of a negotiated peace with Israel is dismissed as an “option that cannot be promoted in the Arab and Islamic worlds anymore,” in the words of the party’s habitually unsmiling spokesman Mohammed Raad. Hizballah’s position may well be summed up by the famous three no’s declared at the Khartoum summit of the Arab League back in the fall of 1967: no peace, no recognition, no negotiations.

— Well first, Wimmen probably has not watched much of Raad or met him – this little bit of journo color is plain wrong – Raad is actually the most smiling one of the MPs! Perhaps too much…. what a strange way to try to force quotes to fit a colorful description.

— The main problem, though, is that Wimmen misses the way in which Hizbullah actually leverages the API and a two state settlement with great cleverness – the discourse actually very much relies on a reasoned argument for supporting Hizbullah’s power IF YOU SUPPORT THE API AND A TWO STATE SOLUTION. I have written about this subject here most recently. Wimmen misses this critical aspect of Hizbullah’s appeal to reason and therefore cant offer much more than the usual cliches.

— One should usually stop reading at this point but Wimmen also has this bit:

“Such attempts have succeeded before. When Israel withdrew from South Lebanon in the year 2000, obscure claims to some 20 square kilometers on the slopes of Mount Hermon–the famous Shabaa farms–were concocted to create what even some loyal supporters of Hizballah conceded to be a rather flimsy pretext to deflect calls for disarmament. It worked nevertheless, in particular because the second intifada provided ample material to underscore the underlying message: occupation or not, Israel, by its very nature, remains a mortal threat to every Arab and Muslim.”

— Wimmen appears not familiar with the history of Shebaa. A CRITICAL point is that Ariel Sharon and Barak both WANTED TO HOLD ONTO THIS WATER RICH PARCEL of land not only because of the resource issue but also as a card to hold for the future in overall negotiations and as a flashpoint to keep the conflict going vis-a-vis Lebanon. Sharon also refused to end the prisoner file in the 2004 swap precisely for this reason – a smart tactic, perhaps (that bit Israel in the butt after Sharon went into a coma), but make no mistake that keeping conflicts going is of course a longstanding Israeli strategy…. Wimmen for some reason is not aware of this critical facet to the Shebaa issue. Oh Well.


Written by nickbiddlenoe

May 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Posted in ANALYSIS

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