Tomorrow, January 16th, Secretary of State Rice will meet with her counterparts from eight moderate Arab governments in Kuwait. These representatives have prepared a proposal to present to Rice, the contents of which are deeply troubling. They will tell Rice that they will help Washington stabilize Iraq if America in turn takes more active steps to revive the Mideast peace process. This was the word from Arab spokesman and diplomats today. The deal is called “Iraq for Land,” and it is very clear that the bottom line is simply this: “Iraq for Israeli Land”
During a meeting with Rice on Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed his opposition to an Israeli plan to establish a provisional Palestinian state in temporary borders. Rice responded by vowing to deepen Washington’s involvement in Mideast peace efforts, reiterating U.S. commitment to the internationally back “road map” plan.
Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak said he wrote a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush urging him to help resume the peace process. Mubarak, a U.S. ally, will “offer a vision, ideas and proposals” to Rice when they meet on Monday, his spokesman, Suleiman Awaad said Saturday. “We have a clear vision for a political horizon that will provide an opportunity to reach a just and comprehensive peace settlement,” Mubarak was quoted as saying Sunday in the state-owned Rose El-Youssef newspaper. Arab diplomats said Mubarak’s views — shared by other key regional leaders — will be presented forcefully to Rice when she meets the Arab foreign ministers in Kuwait.
“She will listen to one voice that if the United States wants Arabs’ help in Iraq they should help them in Palestine,” said one Arab diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
Mamoun Fandy said in the Saudi Arabian-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that Arabs must “name names and say clearly that the new equation in the region is ‘Land for Iraq.”‘
“Arabs have no interests to be engaged in the Iraqi file without reaping the fruits in the Palestinian file,” wrote Fandy, the president of Fandy Associates, a Washington, D.C. based research group which is believed to express Saudi thinking.