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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 11, 2006 / 20 Kislev, 5767

There is a way

By Michael Barone


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last week, Washington was all atwitter about the report of the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton. Its 79 recommendations included some constructive suggestions for new military tactics and for reorganizing the Iraqi government. But it concentrates more on what it calls the "external approach," a "reinvigorated diplomatic effort," a (with capitals in the original) "New Diplomatic Offensive."


This New Diplomatic Offensive would not only be directed at securing Iraq's border and reducing violence within them, but would also, astonishingly, be directed at producing a peace settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. All this because, the report says, "all key issues in the Middle East — the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Iran, the need for political and economic reforms, and extremism and terrorism — are inextricably linked.


Well, everything is linked to everything, I suppose, and you could even argue that everything is "inextricably" linked to everything. But it's hard to see why, to take one of several possible examples, Iraqi Sunnis would stop shooting Shiites and American troops if the United States successfully pressured Israel to give the Golan Heights to Syria. Nor is it clear that a removal of U.S. objections to Iran's nuclear program would persuade the Shiite militias to stop shooting.

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Regime change has been achieved in Iraq by military action. The ISG would seek to reduce violence in Iraq by regime change in Iran and Syria — regime change to be achieved by negotiation. But it gives no persuasive reason to believe this is possible.


In its narration of the facts, the report acknowledges that Iran has been promoting violence in Iraq and that Syria is at best negligent in preventing it. Later, it asserts that reducing violence in Iraq is in Iran's and Syria's interest. It would be nice if the leaders of Iran and Syria thought so, and I suppose it's theoretically possible that if we explain things to them in patient negotiations, they might be persuaded. But not, I think, much more possible than persuading pigs to fly.


As instruments of persuasion, the ISG report presents very little in the way of sticks and some very dangerous carrots. The only stick I saw was the suggestion that, if the United States withdraws, Saudi Arabia might intervene militarily in aid of the Sunnis. That doesn't seem likely to get the mullahs quivering. The report suggests that Libya's Muammar Qaddafi was persuaded to give up his weapons of mass destruction by patient negotiation. But he did so shortly after Saddam Hussein was pried out of his spider hole. It looks like the stick, not carrot, did the trick.


In any case, the carrots Iran and Syria will surely seek would heavily outweigh any help they could provide in Iraq. Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons, and its president vows to seek a world without Israel and America. Syria wants to squash the investigation of its assassination last year of Rafik Hariri and to resume its control of Lebanon.


Baker and Hamilton have been labeled foreign policy "realists" in news stories and columns in the run-up to the release of the ISG report. But it doesn't seem very realistic to expect that we can get regime change in Iran and Syria through negotiations. Nor does it seem very realistic to expect that negotiations between Israel and Palestinians can reach a mutually acceptable solution when the Hamas government rejects Israel's right to exist.


The ISG report is critical of the Iraqi government, and its call for sharply reducing the U.S. troop levels there by 2008 suggests an attempt to put pressure on the Iraqi government to take more steps to reduce the violence than it has done so far.


One such step the report mentions is "equitable distribution of oil revenues." An excellent point. Since April 2003, I have been urging the creation of an Iraqi oil trust, modeled on the Alaska Permanent Fund, which would distribute a portion of oil royalties annually in equal amounts to every man, woman and child in Iraq.


The Iraqi constitution clearly allows, indeed invites, the creation of such a fund. It would be difficult to implement — the government would have to create a workable private banking sector. But it would give every Iraqi, of whatever ethnic group or sect, an ongoing interest in the success of the government — and an incentive to stop the attacks on oil and other infrastructure.


It's a more realistic way to improve life in Iraq than counting on negotiations to change the regimes of Iran and Syria.

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