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Last week the US administration squashed UNSC resolution 1405, which authorized the investigation of Israel's assault on Jenin. The projected UN investigation threatened a protracted international scrutiny over Israel's brutal offensive in occupied Palestine. Israel's open defiance of the UNSC mandate provoked demands from Arab states in the UNSC to take further measures against Israel. The possibility of an extended confrontation over Israel's noncompliance with UNSC resolutions posed a serious political problem for the United States and its ally. To resolve this dilemma the US simply eliminated the United Nations Security Council resolution. The May 3, 02 New York Times* describes the behind-the-scenes intrigues of the US State Department with Israel's Prime Minister Sharon. The US-Israeli deal arranged to scrap the UNSC authorized investigation, in return for Arafat's "freedom." The following day the UN General Secretary Kofi Annan provided an air of legitimacy by announcing that it was his decision to end the investigation into Jenin. The twelve days of Israeli obstruction had forced his surrender. Directly on the heels of his startling announcement, Annan and the US launched a new initiative with the "Quartet" for a peace conference later this summer in Turkey. The New York Times called it a "surprise" peace plan. In the wake of this diplomatic feint came a flood of vague platitudes for some future Middle East "peace" that upstaged the international furor over abandoning the UN commission. The well-orchestrated diplomatic distraction was only relatively successful. The Tehran Times reports Lebanese parliamentarian Fares Boyez, "Criticizing the double-standard policy of the United States in dealing with international issues, he added that it is 'shameful' that the United States uses its influence to press for UN resolutions against Iraq while at the same time supporting Tel Aviv's horrendous atrocities in the Jenin Refugee Camp." The Saudi newspaper, Al-Riyadh called on Islamic states to "threaten to withdraw" from the United Nations in protest at its impotence. This recent collaboration between US and UNSC in betraying the besieged Palestinian people will not be soon forgotten. It should be remembered that it was only in March of this year that the Bush administration altered its longstanding disregard for the Palestinian question. The spectacular failure of Vice President Cheney's Middle East war diplomacy forced the administration to take up the issue. Cheney's proposal to join the US-led war alliance against Iraq was unanimously rejected by Arab leaders. Instead, the Arab leaders pointed to the open warfare in Palestine, and insisted on a "US engagement" as the key component for peace in the region. The administration adopted a new strategy pledging a renewed commitment to the Palestinian issue as a means to develop regional support for its war with Iraq. As the New York Times explained, "the administration is seeking to assure Arab leaders that it is not insensitive to the backlash in Arab public opinion that might follow an American effort to install a new regime in Baghdad. To dampen Arab resentment, Washington says firmly that it is working actively to stem the violence between Israeli and Palestinians." (NYT 3-13-02) With this twisted motivation the administration sponsored a UN resolution in the UN recognizing the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. In the subsequent weeks the US administration has certainly not succeeded in "dampening Arab resentment." On the contrary, Washington's bloody alliance with Israel has shocked and polarized the region. Egypt's Mubarak was a leading proponent of "US engagement" in region. He refused to meet with US Secretary of State Powell at the end of his last tour of the Middle East. Oman has announced that it will not allow the US to use its bases to attack Iraq. According to STRATFORD, this "could severely impede efforts to begin a military campaign against Baghdad. The country earlier this year seemed to be positioned as an alternative to Saudi Arabia, another important location for U.S. forces that has also reportedly refused to allow an Iraqi strike from its territory. This leaves Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey as Washington's remaining options for bases of operations." (May 2, 02) The US support for the Israeli offensive in the West Bank has made the US prospects of winning Arab leaders to a US war against Iraq more remote than ever. The US administration's continuing resolve to proceed with the war irrespective of regional sentiments functions simultaneously as a boast of its extensive military prowess and an admission of its political bankruptcy. Bob Allen Campaign to End the Sanctions Philadelphia Pa (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/03/international/middleeast/03POLI.html?pagewa nted=print) _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk