Sacrificing Our TODAY for the World's TOMORROW
FATA is "Federally Administered Tribal Area" of Pakistan; consisting of 7 Agencies and 6 F.Rs; with a 27000 Sq Km area and 4.5 m population.
MYTH: FATA is the HUB of militancy, terrorism and unrest in Afghanistan.
REALITY: FATA is the worst "VICTIM of Militancy”. Thousands of Civilians dead & injured; Hundreds of Schools destroyed; Thousands of homes raised to ground; 40% population displaced from homes.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Egypt's Independent Policy - Brokering of Power Sharing Deal between Fatah and Hamas (Wall Street Journal)

Courtesy: "Wall Street Journal", 29 April 2011

Egypt's Policy Upends Mideast Order

CAIRO—Egypt's brokering of a tentative power-sharing deal between two rival Palestinian factions underlines a more independent Egyptian foreign policy that could challenge U.S. and Israeli objectives in the Middle East, analysts said.
On Wednesday, Hamas and Fatah reached the preliminary deal, vowing to end four years of division that has helped stymie prospects for peace with Israel. Now, as Palestinian leaders prepare to press their case for statehood with the United Nations in September, Egypt's newfound confidence places it among several Middle Eastern nations whose policy realignments have rattled old assumptions about support for the U.S. and Israel in the region.
Israel, in particular, has been watching Egypt's diplomatic moves in recent weeks with unease.

Diplomatic Agent

Egypt has been an active broker on initiatives involving Israel.
  • March 26, 1979: Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty makes Egypt the first Arab state to recognize Israel.
  • Oct. 30, 1991: Egypt helps to create the Madrid Conference, a predecessor to the first Palestinian-Israeli accord in Oslo.
  • March 13, 1996: President Mubarak hosts 'Summit of the Peacemakers' at Sharm El Sheikh.
  • Jan. 21-Jan. 28, 2001: Egypt hosts Taba Summit that brings Israelis and Palestinians close to agreeing on 'final status' for a Palestinian state.
  • June 19-Dec. 19, 2008: Egypt helps negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
  • January 2009: Israel bombs the Gaza Strip. Egypt hosts Palestinian and Israeli negotiators to help resolve the conflict.
  • April 27: Hamas and Fatah reach a preliminary agreement to share power.
If Egypt and other Middle Eastern governments are preparing to recognize a unified Palestinian state with a unity government, that would amount to tacit recognition of Hamas as a legitimate political entity alongside the more moderate Fatah. Recognition would mark a split in the Israeli-Egyptian alliance against Hamas, which doesn't recognize the Jewish state.
If the U.N. then recognizes a Palestinian state over U.S. and Israeli objections with Hamas as part of the government, it would effectively be the first-ever de facto recognition of a Hamas government.
That would be a big setback for the U.S. and Israel, which view Hamas as a terrorist group.
U.S. lawmakers on Thursday repeated threats to cut off hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority due to the new alliance.
U.S. and European diplomats said Hamas's role in the Palestinian Authority could set back the Arab-Israeli peace process.
"Hamas's role can be used by those not interested in bold actions to remain inactive," said a senior European official.
The Palestinian reconciliation agreement—which leaves many details unresolved—was familiar to Israel from previous rounds of Egyptian mediation. But the timing surprised Israel, which had grown accustomed to close security cooperation in recent years with Egypt, Moshe Yaalon, a cabinet minister and a former army chief of staff told Israeli Radio. Mr. Yaalon said the agreement reflected an Egyptian attempt to reach out to Hamas and said Israel might need to recalculate its ties with Egypt.
"We need to examine this—the relationship between us and Egypt," Mr. Yaalon said. "The Egyptians didn't coordinate this—neither with the U.S. or with us. This is also a new phenomenon that needs examined."
Israel also worries that regional support from countries like Egypt could embolden the Islamist group to pursue a more belligerent policy against it.
"With a new foreign minister in Egypt who is taking control of the Israel-Palestine file it seems that Hamas is behaving in a different way," said Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt. "This is part of a dangerous, risky path that the new foreign ministry is leading Egypt."
Nabil El Araby, Egypt's new foreign minister, has been critical of Israel, particularly with regard to Israel's four-year-old blockade on the Gaza Strip, the coastal Palestinian enclave governed by Hamas.
But Mr. El Araby has nevertheless pledged to honor past agreements with Israel, such as the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.
In the more than two months since former President Hosni Mubarak abdicated the presidency after nearly three weeks of street protests, Egypt has reached out to Iran, questioned the price on a contract to export natural gas that is crucial to Israel's energy needs, and won major diplomatic victories with Hamas, an Islamist political party and militia that controls the Gaza Strip.
Following decades of faltering, moribund Egyptian diplomacy, many of Egypt's recent moves appear aimed at restylizing itself as a vital Arab player.
"Israel and some Gulf states, they used to deal with Egypt as a small country," said Emad Gad, a policy analyst for the government-funded Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "The new Egyptian policy is based on Egyptian interests only, not listening to the Israelis or the Americans."
Leaders in the new democratic Egypt will also need to consider their foreign policy appeal for the Egyptian public, the majority of whom despise Israel.
In a recent poll of Egyptians by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center, 54% of Egyptians said they wanted to see the peace treaty with Israel canceled.
Turkey, another powerful regional player with an independent foreign policy despite strong U.S. and European ties, has already navigated the narrow diplomatic straits Egypt is now entering.
Over the past few years, Turkey's government has become increasingly self-confident in charting its own course in the Middle East, conflicting sharply with U.S. policy over Israel and Iran in particular.
That willingness to oppose U.S. wishes first became clear in 2003, when Turkey's parliament voted against agreeing to a U.S. request to launch part of its invasion of Iraq from Turkish soil—despite Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's backing for the proposal.

—Jay Solomon in Washington contributed to this article.

Note: The viewpoint expressed in this article is solely that of the writer / news outlet. "FATA Awareness Initiative" Team may not agree with the opinion presented.

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