February 18, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Summit


Sorry for the Roman analogy. 

Actually, this classic image, featuring (l to r) Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, shows the three men walking into the Grand Mosque in Mecca a little over a week ago.  The image coincides with the agreement, between Fatah and Hamas, to form a new Palestinian coalition government.

My question is, did Condi somehow miss this picture, or its implication?  I mean, if one photo ever hinted at a new political wrinkle….

But who knows.  Maybe Rice planned a three way summit between herself, Abbas and Israel’s Olmert with no sense Abbas’ Fatah faction and Hamas could be getting together. If not, however, why — almost ten days later now — didn’t she have a better countermove than to go ahead with a summit, scheduled for Monday, in which the U.S. holds no leverage?  I mean, isn’t this getting a little old already?

For indication of the latest State Department M.E. fiasco, you just have to scan the visuals.

Yesterday’s shot at cbsnews.com, is a good example.  Notice the clearly frustrated, if not humiliated State Department official, David Welch, after Abbas tells him he and Hamas are sporting the same robes these days.  (If you read the article, by the way, also notice how Condi’s “summit,” which was touted as leading to a final peace agreement, is now being referred to as just a “meeting.”)

With all the violence marking the Fatah-Hamas power struggle, there’s no telling if the alliance will work.  Still, this group shot is striking, reflective of far greater Mid-East solidarity — if only, just pretend — than Bush, Rove and Condi could even begin to work up.

(Suhaib Salem / EPA.  Mecca. February 9, 2007 via TIME.com)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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