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The heaviest military engagement in the Middle East since the 2006 proxy war in Lebanon is now being fought in and around Gaza. This operation has been very carefully planned and was timed to occur at a point when public attention in Europe and the United States is minimized because of holiday celebrations. Indeed, President Bush is unwilling to break from his vacation on account of the lethal events–a step which would only focus unwanted public attention on his administration and its relationship to these developments. So I wish to speculate: to what extent is the Bush Administration, rather than the administration of Ehud Olmert, the author of these plans?
Consider that the Bush Administration was deeply embarrassed by Hamas’s successes in Gaza. Recall that they were enabled by the blind faith that the Bush team reposed in democratic process to cure the woes of the Middle East. Hamas took the opening that the Bush team provided and waltzed to power. And as David Rose documented in a solid piece in Vanity Fair, Condoleezza Rice sought to make up for her own miscalculations by arming opposing factions in Gaza, setting the stage for bloodshed that cost hundreds of lives.
Hamas’s position in Gaza has been viewed as one of the more severe blemishes on Rice’s foreign policy record, and she and White House Middle East policy manager Elliott Abrams have reportedly been eager to accomplish changes before leaving office. With only three weeks remaining, there’s little time left. And the Israeli tactics employed in Gaza look suspiciously like an Elliott Abrams plan, complete with a test-run for the latest U.S. bunker-busting weaponry, deployed to “take out” those tunnels that Hamas has reportedly burrowed. Internal Israeli assessments of the failed 2006 proxy war against Hezbollah in Lebanon also suggested that the war had been planned and pushed through by the Bush Administration, with Elliott Abrams in the key planning position, over the opposition of senior Israeli military planners.
Are we witnessing a repeat of administration manipulations in Bush’s last days in office? And could the true purpose of this whole exercise be to hamstring the incoming Obama administration as it moves to implement a new Middle East policy?
On today’s MSNBC Morning Joe, Zbigniew Brzezinski is asking the same question
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Chances that a Republican man believes that “poor people have hard lives”:
A school in South Korea was planning to deploy a robot to protect students from unwanted seductions.
Nuremberg’s Neues Museum filed a criminal complaint against a 91-year-old woman who completed a crossword puzzle that was in fact a $116,000 piece of avant-garde Danish art.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”