U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Jan. 29-31 visit to Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority marked another milestone in his well-intentioned—but erroneous—Middle East legacy. It has backfired on vital U.S. interests in general, and the pursuit of regional stability and peace in particular.
A major issue raised by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during his meeting with Blinken was the volcanic turbulence in Libya, which has traumatized the region since 2011, fueling Muslim Brotherhood terrorism in Egypt and overall Islamic terrorism in Africa and Europe.
This turbulence was triggered by a U.S.-led NATO military offensive against the Gaddafi regime, and was masterminded, largely, by key policy-makers in the Obama-Biden administration. They included Blinken, then National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden, and were led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her close adviser and Director of Policy Planning, Jake Sullivan, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and Special Assistant to President Barack Obama Samantha Power.
The offensive was motivated by noble values of human rights, but went astray due to an intrinsic misreading of the Middle East in general, and of Libya in particular, where Gaddafi was not fighting innocent bystanders, but anti-U.S. Islamic terrorists. In fact, these terrorists murdered the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, following their U.S.-facilitated victory over Gaddafi.
While the aim of the offensive was to prevent a massive slaughter of non-combatant Libyans by Gaddafi, the outcome has doomed Libya to decades of chaos, turning it into a slaughterhouse which has dwarfed the worst casualty assessments of Clinton and Blinken.
The ill-advised offensive has transformed Libya—the soft underbelly of Europe—into one of the world’s largest platforms for anti-Western Islamic terrorists, drugs and arms traffickers. It energized a global resurgence of Islamic terrorism, and became a home base for scores of terrorist militias as well as an arena for civil war, with the participation of Turkey, Qatar, Italy, Russia, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and France.
Secretary Blinken’s well-intentioned, but misguided, human rights-driven policy has ignored the only choice facing the United States in the Middle East: that between pro-U.S. human rights violating Arab regimes, or anti-U.S. human rights violating Arab regimes.
Refusal to accept this reality has also led to U.S. military, financial and diplomatic pressure on the pro-U.S. President el-Sisi—as well as the pro-U.S. Saudi crown prince and the pro-U.S. UAE crown prince—to desist from the rough-handling of Muslim Brotherhood terrorists and Iran-supported Houthi Yemenite terrorists, which the State Department establishment considers legitimate political, religious and social entities.
This U.S. policy—highlighted by the eagerness to conclude another accord with Iran’s ayatollahs, who threaten the survival of every pro-U.S. Arab Sunni regime—has pushed Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain closer to China and Russia.
In Israel and the Palestinian Authority
As frustrated as Blinken is with the rogue conduct of Iran’s ayatollahs, and notwithstanding the recently expanded U.S.-Israel military drills, Blinken still opposes Israel’s determination that the 43-year-old diplomatic option has dramatically failed.
Blinken rejects the Israeli suggestion (shared by all pro-U.S. Arab regimes) that a credible threat to resort to regime-change and military action is the only way to abort the regional and global threats posed by the Islamic Republic. He still assumes that the apocalyptic ayatollahs can be enticed—via a generous financial and diplomatic package—into good-faith negotiation, peaceful coexistence and abandoning their fanatical 1,400-year-old religious vision.
Blinken’s policy toward Iran’s ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood—which pose a lethal threat to all Sunni Arab regimes—has eroded U.S. strategic credibility in pro-U.S. Arab capitals, and has pushed Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain—reluctantly—closer to China and Russia, militarily and commercially.
During his visit to Israel, once again Blinken failed to distinguish between P.A.-incited Palestinian terrorists (killed by Israel) and Israeli civilians (murdered by Palestinian terrorists). Inadvertently, moral equivalence energizes Palestinian terrorism, while aiming to constrain Israel’s counter-terrorist efforts.
His visit to Ramallah enhanced the legitimacy of the P.A., while the latter has enshrined, since 1993, K-12 hate-education, which has brainwashed Palestinian youth against the existence of the “infidel” Jewish state. This rogue education system has been the most authentic reflection of the Palestinian vision—consistent with the 1959 and 1964 charters of Fatah and the PLO, which focus on the annihilation of the pre-1967 “Zionist entity.” The P.A. education system has become the most effective hothouse for and production-line of terrorists.
Blinken has accorded more weight to Palestinian talk than to the Palestinian walk. He has ignored the fact that a prerequisite to meaningful negotiation and peace is the uprooting of hate-education, mosque incitement, monthly allowances to terrorists’ families and the glorification of terrorists through public monuments, schools and other institutions.
He continues to attempt to convince Israel that the establishment of a Palestinian state is a prerequisite for bolstering Middle East stability and concluding an Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty. However, such a proposal should be assessed against the backdrop of the systematic failure of all State Department’s proposals to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. They failed because they, too, ignored the Palestinian track record, the non-central role of the Palestinian issue in the Middle East and the fact that preoccupation with the Palestinian issue created a Palestinian veto power.
In fact, Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan were successfully concluded by bypassing the Palestinian issue, and focusing on Arab—not Palestinian—interests, which are increasingly served by enhanced defense and commercial cooperation with Israel. Arabs do not cut off their noses to spite their faces.
Blinken ignores Middle East reality, which highlights the non-centrality of the Palestinian issue (no Arab-Israel war has erupted due to the Palestinian issue, and no Arab country has flexed its military muscle on behalf of the Palestinians).
Unlike Blinken, the pro-U.S. Arab Sunni regimes are aware of the despotic, corrupt and terroristic nature of the Palestinian Authority, and the rogue nature of the proposed Palestinian state, as evidenced by the Palestinian intra-Arab track record. Arabs perceive the Palestinians as an intra-Arab role model of subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude, that bites the hands that feed it (Egypt in the 1950s; Syria in the 1960s; Jordan in 1968-1970; Lebanon in 1970-1982 and Kuwait in 1990).
The Arabs are also aware of the systematic Palestinian collaboration with anti-Western rogue entities, such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet bloc, Iran’s ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein, Latin American and other international terrorist organizations, Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and North Korea.
The bottom line is that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would topple the pro-U.S. Hashemite regime east of the river, transforming Jordan into another platform for Islamic terrorism (just like Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen), and triggering a domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula. It would topple the pro-U.S. Arab oil-producing regimes, undermine regional and global stability and economy and erode the US economy and geo-strategic posture, while advancing the fortunes of Russia, China, Iran’s ayatollahs and anti-U.S. Islamic Sunni terrorism.
Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative.
This article was originally published by The Ettinger Report.