Secretary Rice’s Regional Efforts May Require Unsavory Partners

David Ignatius’ op-ed, “Reach Out to the Red Zone,” implores Secretary Condoleezza Rice and the Bush administration to stretch beyond their diplomatic comfort zone in the Middle East to work with all of the key players in the region.  This includes those terrorist organizations (to include Hamas and Hezbollah) that are more challenging to engage with, but crucial nonetheless to any serious efforts to affect meaningful change in the region.  

His argument could be taken one step further to encourage Secretary Rice to focus her efforts specifically on the greatest regional sore spot, the stalled Israel-Palestinian peace process.  As long as this central conflict remains unresolved, it will continue to foster overarching regional grievances and will impede much needed progress on other tough issues, such as Iran’s nuclear status.  Such issues cannot be addressed in a regional vacuum, or without first addressing the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. 

As Mr. Ignatius rightfully points out, the nuclear impasse with Iran, the reconstruction of postwar Lebanon, and the fruition of President Bush’s bold vision of a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians will not take care of themselves.  American political leadership is vital to these efforts.  Although Secretary Rice’s inaugural trip under President Bush’s new direction concluded without clear next steps, her subsequent visits must be used to build the necessary coalition of partners that will lay a foundation for peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians. 

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Explore posts in the same categories: Iran, Israel, Middle East, Middle East Peace, Palestinians, U.S. Role

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