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View Diary: [IP101] The Israeli-American "Multilateralism minus one", Part II (48 comments)

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    Rusty Pipes

    "the whole affair was Sadat's initiative. So how could it be an Israeli-American "attempt"?"

    Sure, Sadat had made clear as far back as 1971 that he would be willing to sign a peace agreement in exchange for their return of the Sinai (and the 1971 offer itself did not exactly come out of the blue - so for example, in February 1970 Nasser declared that "a durable peace" with Israel would be possible if Israel "evacuates the occupied territories and accepts a settlement of the problem of the Palestinian refugees"). What I meant was that the post-'73 war US/Israeli decision to reverse their previous rejectionist stance was motivated by the desire to remove the Arab world's main military power from the conflict. It was not a sudden peace-loving epiphany. (so by "attempt" I'm referring to US/Israeli acceptance of the proposals, not the whole process itself which as you say was initiated by Egypt).

    "Lebanon happened much later with Sadat dead (not in any Israeli/American plans) and Reagan replacing Carter."

    Lebanon happened in 1982, and it was always an inevitability given Israel's designs on the West Bank and the increasingly explicit political moderation of the PLO. The peace deal with Egypt was explicitly aimed at removing the only potential military deterrent to Israeli aggression from the conflict, enabling Israel to invade and attack its neighbours almost at will, which it duly did (e.g. in 1982). I don't see how Sadat's assassination or the fact that the invasion of Lebanon (the second one, at any rate - recall '78) happened several years after Camp David contradicts this.

    "The strategic advantages of having Egypt on the side were certainly apparent to the general-types on the Israeli side, but there was really no guarantee that a Sadat Egypt would stay put with the IDF running rampant in Lebanon."

    Sadat had already decided to make Egypt more or less a US client (or at least ally), even going so far as to expel Soviet ambassadors. It was quite clear that a deal with Egypt would remove the latter from the conflict. As Moshe Dayan explained to Carter,

    "the future is with Egypt. If you take one wheel off a car, it won't drive. If Egypt is out of the conflict, there will be no more war [obviously, this last bit needs translating]."

    And so the deal was signed, with the result that, quoting Chomsky,

    "Egypt has ... been incorporated within the US system and excluded from the Arab-Israeli conflict, allowing Israel to continue its creeping takeover of the occupied territories, apart from the Sinai, now returned to Egypt and serving as a buffer zone".

    You:

    "Finally, you are definitely right that Begin did not want to follow through with the West Bank - Gaza part of the agreement, but with Sadat and Carter still in place he would have found this task much harder to accomplish."

    I don't think Sadat would have done anything, but it's conceivable that Carter would have been less acquiescent in Israeli expansionism than Reagan was. But I think you're looking at this through overly rosy glasses. Carter's efforts were merely the culmination of a process started by Henry Kissinger. You think Kissinger merely wanted peace? His objectives were clear: to support Israel as a US bulwark in the region and a military opponent of Arab nationalism and to bring Egypt into the US order.

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