Several years ago, with all the subtlety of a man coming down off an ether binge, the Saudi monarchy announced a boycott of companies doing business with Israel or that were owned by Jews. Among those falling into the latter category (at least according to the geniuses in the Gulf) were The New York Yankees.
When told of the boycott a wit for the Bronx Bombers (sic!) said: Well, there goes spring training in Riyadh.
All politics they say is local.
For Trump announcing the plan to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem ticks a very big box: Evangelicals who vote in the US tend to live in the US and not in Gaza, or Saudi Arabia.
And, despite the Tourette’s syndrome response by the liberals and the left that Trump is pouring gasoline on an inferno, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, the Arabs who aren’t Palestinian hate the Palestinians. They always have and probably always will.
Second, the Saudis are worried about the Iranians and don’t give a damn about the Palestinians except as it relates to their new bromance with Israel. In other words, the Saudis want Israel’s help with Iran and Hezbollah and Syria and a dozen other interrelated security issues. And looking at the map and the history of the region even the Saudis can see that when it comes to dealing with the delicate intersection of diplomacy and military and security issues, the Palestinians are extras in a Marx Brothers movie and the Israelis are…well, the Israelis.
Who you gonna call?
None of which means Trump isn’t a malignant troll with the mental acuity of a box of rocks. What it does mean is it’s business as usual and the negotiations between the Saudis, the Israelis and the US split along predictable lines based on all politics being local.
For Trump it gets votes in the South in the run up to the midterms where control of the House is all that stands between Trump and the dulcet tones of Robert Mueller and a recommendation for impeachment. (though Mueller could still recommend it and even a GOP controlled House would find it politically radioactive to say no).
For Netanyahu moving the embassy now is undoubtedly part of the price he insisted on when he was discussing the price for his helping the Saudis with their Iranian problem. Sure says BiBi, we have some people who are experts in this sort of thing but, there’s some other issues.
The embassy is of course symbolic but that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. And as even the half-wit journalist Jonathan Freedland points out the declaration of moving the embassy and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital doesn’t mean the move happens tomorrow. These things take time and can be made to take even more time because someone can easily forget to confirm the moving vans and lose the paperwork.
For BiBi of course it becomes another chit to hold on to even after Trump is gone. And whether he’s gone to club fed or political Siberia or just gone and planning on building the “biggest and best presidential library ever” there will be a day when he’s gone and BiBi (and his eventual successor) will still have the piece of paper that says the US recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And for Trump’s successor moving it back will be an ugly (local) political toxin that will cost votes and look like they are kissing a camel’s ass.
As to the Palestinians. What’s old is new again. As was said before they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Someone might want to point out a few crucial issues to them. First, their situation is not getting any better but is getting worse (and it was pretty fucking awful to begin with) and they should have taken any number of offers several years ago. And second: get better generals.
Siding with Hitler is never a good look, agreeing to participate in the UN vote on partition and then pitching an epic fit and declaring war when the vote doesn’t go your way, and then saying, no, no, and no, (no peace with Israel, no recognition and no negotiations) all pretty much make you look like recalcitrant assholes. And outside of a few political zombies on what might charitably be called the left, no one romanticizes hijacking planes anymore let alone taking hostages.
And of course never forget, despite empty political rhetoric to the contrary, the Gulf Arabs view the Palestinians the same way the average Imperial Klan Wizard views a gay Black man at a bar mitzvah. And the Saudis have more money than god and the Palestinians have…cannon fodder in the form of tens of thousands of kids that not too many people care about. And outraged editorials in The Guardian aren’t going to make a dent in the calculations of Trump, Steve Bannon, Netanyahu, or the gimlet-eyed sociopathic accountants who work for the oil barons. Or, for that matter, the barons
Will there be consequences to Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? Sure but given the miserable state of the world and the ongoing threat of terrorism, the prospect of a radioactive extravaganza in Korea, Trump’s insanity, stupidity and mendacity and the collapsing environment, another degree or even a dozen degrees hotter isn’t that big a deal for the people who worry about these things. Would they rather it didn’t happen? Sure but when you’re spending all your time shuffling between bad and worse, good and bad aren’t part of the equation. To put it another way, and to paraphrase that noted Zen poet of the absurd, Joe Stalin, how many divisions do the Palestinians have?
Time has passed them by. The ugly truth is they lost the war and losing wars is always worse than winning them, British Dukes and their battles notwithstanding.
The fact is there is never going to be a good time to make the move and there will never be a time when anything is acceptable to everyone. That is, in the end someone is going to be miserable, pissed off and prone to violence whether the embassy gets moved or not. So, pick your poison.
What matters is what always matters – possession is what counts. Start a war and lose a war and issue demands is something only the Arabs can manage but it hasn’t worked. The Saudis are selling the Palestinians and a pitcher to be named later to the Israelis, the Israelis are triangulating the Arabs, the Iranians, the US and the Europeans by positioning themselves as the indispensable partner in the fight against Iran and Trump gets to throw raw meat at a big part of his base. The Palestinians get a box of dates and a place to stand and that’s if they’re lucky.
Politics isn’t just all local it’s the business of gangsters.
Here’s The Guardian on the subject and note that Trump isn’t ruling out East Jerusalem as a potential capital of the hypothetical future Palestinian state nor is he moving the embassy anytime soon. Current estimates are for a possible move in three years. Which of course will be subject to budgetary issues which means it will be subject to dictates of the department of whimsy and caprice otherwise known as the United States Congress. Who of course can pass resolutions stopping the move, or can just hold up the money for it.
As a political version of there being nothing more pathetic than a man coming down off an ether binge we offer the following:
And, crucially we draw your attention to the following:
“The impact on the ‘peace process’, however, will be negligible, for the simple reason that it has long ceased to exist and there are no serious indications of its revival. Trump’s answer to Metternich, his son-in-law and czar of everything Jared Kushner, has so far achieved precisely nothing. It perhaps says all you need to know about them that he and his team – all active supporters of Israel’s settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territories – appear to believe this change of policy will contribute to a Middle Eastern version of the Concert of Europe.”
Let’s start with the first line: Since there is no peace process, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel can’t impact that which does not exist. Hence the absence of any real upset on the part of anyone. In other words, it’s hard to miss what you haven’t got.
And then, the whopper. While it is true that Kushner is a mongoloid inbred Romanov-esque lizard with the intellectual sophistication of a rusty samovar, and his father-in-law is half as smart as that and twice as unhinged, the fact is that the Concert of Europe was about what we now call realpolitik and Metternich was Kissinger’s political blow up doll for exactly that reason.
What has the recognition accomplished? Nothing, so long as you swallow Trump’s bullshit and look at the political telescope through the wrong end. The recognition is the afterthought and the real issue is that the Saudis are weaving their way across the razor’s edge of reform on one side and revolution, coup/counter coup and Iran on the other. Add in the crack-up of Syria, the slow motion genocide in Yemen, the Iranians, and their Waffen SS Hezbollah, the Saudis, applying the same cold logic of the men who count the money on the stock exchange, calculated the odds and decided it was cheaper to fuck the Palestinians and get into bed with the Israelis. The corollary being that it would be far more expensive to get into bed with the Palestinians and tell the Israelis to fuck off.
What’s happened is that the Saudis and the Israelis have played Trump. They get CNN in Riyadh and Jerusalem, and the internet as well. They can watch the news. They know who Steve Bannon is, they know where Alabama is, and they know all about Robert Mueller. The result is, quite possibly, one of the biggest sea changes in the region since the “Arab Spring” and the disintegration of Syria. And prior to that you have to go back to Iran and the revolution, Camp David, and the death of Sadat.
Wait for the dust to settle and watch for a significant announcement from the Saudis involving a “new” peace proposal which will really be about creating a new origin story for the relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia. And also about telling the Palestinians to take a number and get in line.
Lastly we note the following speculation: The failed attack in New York today arrives, suspiciously close to the announcement of the US recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As it was close in time, and was apparently badly planned and haphazardly attempted and with minimal sophistication, it would not be farfetched to assume a cause and effect. But, it doesn’t matter. While the recognition may yet provoke far more deadly responses, the fact is that anything might provoke a more deadly response. Doing nothing, doing something, doing the wrong thing or the right thing. It doesn’t matter.
People willing to blow themselves up don’t suffer from a scarcity of motivation or provocation.
Well, so much for Alabama. Steve Bannon now has the odor of a man who hasn’t bathed in a month and the political stench is worse than that. Stranger things have happened then a possible political resurrection and it would be premature to write his eulogy but in the I needed it yesterday world of politics Bannon is, as they say, yesterday’s news.
With a one vote “majority” and a Mike Pence blow up doll standing between the GOP and the Dems, the number one issue is how long before Trump is forced out and the GOP launches a purge of the Trump and Bannon stains on the couches and carpets in the White House? Answer, not soon enough. The calendar may say 2017 but with the defeat of Roy Moore the date changed to 2018 as of yesterday.
Which brings us to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian answer to What, me worry? Abbas announced that the Palestinians will no longer discuss the non existent peace process with the Americans. This means he is pushing against an open door and threatening to hold his breath until someone he likes can get elected president of the U.S.
Two years is a long time without breathing. Especially at 82.
We note with depressed sanguinity that at a conference the Arabs and their good friends the Turks took turns saying they too would hold their breath until the U.S. changed its stripes and in the meantime they demanded the UN take charge of the non existent peace process.
Of course the UN is located in New York and is a wholly owned subsidiary of America Inc.
Which leaves the Europeans who are currently trying to avoid a ricochet from the bullet England is using to blow off its own head and that in turn leaves either Iran or Russia.
Iranian support for the Palestinians is of course really Iran’s hatred of Israel with support for the Palestinians as a kind of political carbuncle.
And getting into bed with the Iranians will win them no friends and a host of enemies including of course, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and needless to say, the Israelis.
Which leaves the Russians.
While Vald would like nothing more than to step into the breach the truth is there’s little room for maneuver and plenty of room for trouble. And there’s very little upside to helping the Palestinians. Which isn’t to say he won’t stir the pot but beyond that unlike Syria there’s no place to send troops and not enough of a political void into which he can insert himself.
Which brings us back to the status quo.
Which is the Palestinians get screwed and do so while handing everyone else the lube.
For a look at more mile wide inch deep “reporting” see the story below and notice the photograph depicts a Palestinian wearing a hammer and sickle tee-shirt and an Incredible Hulk mask.
Nothing depicts the historical and cultural nervous breakdown of the Arabs more accurately than that.
Exactly as predicted: