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Avigdor Lieberman, the Foreign Minister of Israel, is finally forced to resign after being  haunted for years by financial scandals and accusations of money laundering, bribery, and so on.

Why it may be really good for the Midlle East - below the squiggle.

First, links to recent articles about the resignation.



Haaretz:

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Friday that he plans to resign from his position, following the Attorney General's decision to indict him on charges of fraud and breach of trust.
BBC News:
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has resigned after prosecutors decided to charge him with breach of trust.

Mr Lieberman has also resigned as deputy prime minister, and said he would fight to clear his name of the charges.

The case against him relates to a financial scandal dating back more than a decade.

His resignation comes five weeks before Israel's general election.

Lieberman actually sailed on some of the more serious charges (bribery), and
Israel's attorney general hinted that those charges were also likely true, but the trail was hidden too well for the prosecutors to unravel: "The suspicions against Lieberman’s series of intricate and intertwined, underhanded actions cannot be ruled out." So, the first bit of good news is that SOME charges against a very smart and notorious for corruption rumors swirling around him politician DID stick.

 

Second, why this may be good news in the wider context of Middle-Eastern politics.



Lieberman is a very polarizing and scandalous figure, given to acting outrageously (threatening to bomb Aswan Dam, beating up a twelve-year-old boy, demanding Arab Israeli citizens to sign a loyalty oath, and so on), and, on top of all that, a fawning admirer of Russian strongman president Putin (more on this in the New Yorker article with a telling title "Netanyahu's dark choice").

He has been accused of outright anti-Arabism more than once, and his removal as foreign minister might well mean that his replacement will be less polarizing, more reasonable, and, frankly, less of an asshole - with a strong possibility of the next FM improving international relationships in the Middle East just by not being Lieberman.

11:35 AM PT: Most likely replacement for Lieberman for the time being: deputy FM Danny Ayalon. Not exactly a dove, but much less of an asshole.

Originally posted to kalmoth on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM PST.

Also republished by The Federation.

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