SHAFAQNA – If 2016 was a tumultuous year indeed, December proved to be especially trying in the light of a spectacular presidential temper tantrum – courtesy of outgoing US President Barack Obama. Guess who got stuck in the middle? Israel …
I can hear the wolves at the gate already. Quick disclaimer: the following analysis will not tackle the Palestinian peace process or Israel’s aggressive occupation of Palestinian land. However important those subject matters maybe, we ought to realise that the latest UN resolution – which resolution made a loud political and diplomatic bang, was really meant as a poisoned apple.
I would like to think that by now we are well-equipped to smell a political set-up! If anything Syria has taught the world how insanely conniving and manipulative the United States can be when it comes to pushing its narrative forward – to hell with the consequences.
So what of this new American grand-standing on Israel’s settlements? Are we really contemplating the possibility that Washington had a moral epiphany coming this Christmas and that a compelled President Obama chose on the last stroke of the clock to explode America’s Israeli narrative?
Hardly … What Mr Obama was really trying to do, rather clumsily I dare say, was to put a spanner in the work ahead of a much anticipated change of the guard at the White House. A true democrat neocon his presidentialship played game of throne with some very dangerous dynamics. I guess Washington has yet to come to terms with Donald Trump’s election. A word of advice: let it go already! Whether the world is ready for Mr Trump or not, he will sit in the Oval office and he will do whatever it is that he wants to do, tantrum or no tantrum.
But why play fair when you can set fire to world politics and leave behind a bloody diplomatic trail? Why indeed!
And so Washington has spent whatever political capital it has left in its democratic coffers to implode diplomacy, wreck the Middle Eastern narrative and throw much intended fuel on the Palestine dossier to see how quickly Mr Trump can be set fire to. And if in the process Russia can be thrown under the proverbial bus then all the better …
Granted it could have worked if not for Russia …. Let me see what’s the word: political insight. As difficult as it may be for US strategists to fathom Russia was not born yesterday. Russian President Vladimir Putin has more than one rodeo under his belt, and some half-though-out machiavellic scheme will not exactly threw him off.
But let’s go back to that infamous resolution that really changes nothing. Talk about much ado for nothing!
On December 23, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2334 (2016) on the Situation in the Middle East, which highlights the problem of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 14-0, with the United States abstaining.
Russia had the following to say on the matter: “Russia’s position in this respect has been consistent. At the same time, its actions during UN Security Council consultations were based on the belief that the positive effect of a resolution on this key issue on the international agenda would have been stronger had the resolution received consensus support. Consensus could have been achieved through more rigorous work, which would have taken longer and precluded any rash decisions that may damage the cause. We acted from this position during our contacts with our UN Security Council partners.”
Not long after media acted a benevolent enabler of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s meltdown, Russia’s semi-official Tass news agency published the transcript of a conversation Russian Foreign Minister Sergey.
It read: “Lavrov stressed the necessity of creating conditions for direct talks between the leaders of Israel and Palestine and warned against bringing US’ domestic agenda into the work of the Middle East Quartet and the United Nations Security Council. He stressed that attempts to use these formats in bickering between the Democrats and Republicans are harmful.”
I’d say Minister Lavrov summarised the situation down to a perfect T!
This last minute UN Resolution was neither against Israel nor was it for Palestine … if anything it was a grand set-up against Russia and President-elect Donald Trump. God forbids a US administration would choose cooperation over military interventionism.
And yes, Washington’s latest diplomatic stunt against Moscow also fits within this taunting narrative.
I would go one step further and argue that this non-event of a UN Resolution was in reaction to Aleppo’s liberation and the subsequent side-lining of the United States from the Levant. Whether analysts care to admit it or not Moscow’s diplomatic victory in bringing together Turkey, Syria and Iran to the table to broker a truce, essentially signalled the end of America’s imprint onto Middle Eastern affairs.
And so the old tiger thrashed around to justify its political existence, and in utter stupidity burnt itself. I apologise for the bluntness of the language but really Washington got slapped silly and literally came to ask for second.
Happy New Year Mr Obama, only 20 days left to the clock and we can’t wait …
But let’s hear from the US. What did Washington have to say on its latest flip-flopping?
The Washington reported: “The resolution’s sponsors, four countries in addition to Egypt, were determined to call a vote before Obama left office. A US veto would not only imply approval of Israeli actions but also likely take Israel off the hook for at least the next four years during President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.”
Cute, but not good enough! While I appreciate the sudden concern the White House may have for peace – it’s not like Washington has aggressively and blindly armed, funded and protected Israel through a deluge of war crimes and human rights violations, no one is buying the new rhetoric.
Let me be clear, the Obama administration did what it does best: make a mess of things only to leave others to bear the brunt of the crisis.
Next please …
By Catherine Shakdam – Director of Programs for the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies
This article appeared first on RT International