In the Aftermath of Obama’s Historic Victory…

Developments in the Middle East from now until January must be considered against the backdrop of the impending Obama administration and the end of Bush’s.

Olmert will be visiting Bush in Washington this month to cement agreements with an administration Israel is quite comfortable with. Obviously, Bush and Olmert are both on the way out, but Israel doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to gain last-minute concessions, and Bush can improve his legacy by hammering out some interim agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

 On Tuesday night, as the world was focused on the election, Israel entered several hundred meters into Gaza near the Kissufim crossing, the old entrance to Gush Katif. They found and destroyed a tunnel designed to kidnap soldiers, and engaged a Hamas squad in a firefight, killing at least six gunmen in concert with the air force. Hamas fired dozens of Qassams into the Sderot area today.

 Why is Israel endangering the cease-fire right now? It may be they truly felt they had no choice but to destroy the tunnel, and picked Tuesday night because they knew that the raid would not be picked up in the news. It is also possible Israel feels it is better to pick a fight with Hamas in the last months of the Bush administration than risk being pressured to accomodate Hamas and reach a more permanent agreement under the Obama administration.

What might Iran and its “appendage” Hezbollah do in response to the election? It is possible that they will test Obama with an aggressive move right away, but this seems unlikely. It is more reasonable to expect that Iran will be especially conciliatory as Obama takes office, in an attempt to build Western support for dialogue. Obama will be under pressure to prove that dialogue works with Iran, and may be willing to pressure Israel in return for progress  on Iran. Iran’s calculation is “we will make Obama look good if he will start pressuring Israel, and we can tangibly harm Israel’s strategic position by simply behaving for a year.” Obama has a lot of prestige riding on his dealings with Iran, and it is will likely be one of his first foreign policy tests.  

8 Responses to In the Aftermath of Obama’s Historic Victory…

  1. [...] In the Aftermath of Obama’s Historic Victory…It is also possible Israel feels it is better to pick a fight with Hamas in the last months of the Bush administration than risk being pressured to accomodate Hamas and reach a more permanent agreement under the Obama administration. … [...]

  2. [...] In the Aftermath of Obama’s Historic Victory…It is also possible Israel feels it is better to pick a fight with Hamas in the last months of the Bush administration than risk being pressured to accomodate Hamas and reach a more permanent agreement under the Obama administration. … [...]

  3. wanderer says:

    There is more than one area to be tested. Why should the coordinated attack on U.S. be reduced to Iran’s nuclear ambition? Viz China (Taiwan, N Korea), Russia, the other OPEC states, and Jihadist terrorism all over, including here? There are potentially explosive problems with almost the whole unaligned block.

    We are fighting a coordinated attack now. The sudden evaporation of credit — was it caused solely by greedy bankers and audacious home buyers? wild speculation by Nobel Prize economists? or just chaos? (N.B. —according to Chaos theory, the last party to obtain a subprime mortgage and default caused the meltdown.) Are petrodollar countries about to win this front by owning the re-established credit?

    That oil, finance, military action, can link up with political dissension by the Democrats and cause a radical shift in U.S. policy and lifestyle was clearly illustrated during the watergate era ending with Reagan. History is repeating itself and the politicians don’t notice.

  4. oao says:

    god save the west, and I am an atheist.

  5. Eliyahu says:

    There is no reason to have any more confidence in Obama now than before the election. The appointment of Rahm Emanuel was a clever way of disarming foolish Jews who are not aware that this person was instrumental in foisting on the Israeli people the worse disaster since the Holocaust. I refer to the Oslo accords. He worked at the Clinton White House in 1993 and directed the setting up of the signing ceremony on the white house lawn, where arafat and Rabin made a false “peace.” Emanuel’s views are “peace now” views, that is, they are Vichyite views and he could charitably be called a Vichyite.

  6. Abu Nudnik says:

    Last minute concessions from the Palestinians with Obama on the way in? Dream on, Olmert! George W. Bush was the first president to call for a Palestinian state beside, not instead of Israel. That’s a pretty good distinction for one who’s supposed to be a moron! He also told Arafat to tell his people he recognizes Israel’s right to exist in Arabic! The first President to make that demand too! I’ll miss George!

  7. Rich Rostrom says:

    Iran may appear conciliatory in public. In private, and in substance, they will concede nothing of value. They see Obama’s election as the U.S. running up the white flag; as the replacement of the “dangerous cowboy” Bush administration by the reflexively submissive “professional” career diplomats and liberals.

    The question is whether they (and the other Islamists) are smart enough to give Obama cover while he surrenders, or whether they are overcome by Moslem and Arab arrogance, and simply demand what they want.

    Obama will no doubt feel very badly used if he gets visibly mugged. But it will be a personal grievance, not on behalf of Israel or pro-American Iraqis.

  8. oao says:

    bho is a good practitioner of taqiyah; if it works for muslims, it’ll sure work for him:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/31868_Obama_Lied_About_Firing_Anti-Israel_Adviser

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