Monday, July 02, 2007

Next up: Plan for a NATO force to take over where Dahlan failed

The proposal for deployment of an international force in the Gaza Strip, mentioned by Abbas in talks with Sarkozy on Friday, reflects an attempt by the American administration to revive a plan that was first proposed during the Arafat captivity in 2001, for an international "peacekeeping" force to put down the Palestinian resistance. Al-Akhbar reports: "The proposal by Abbas for deployment of an international force in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is a revival of an American plan for a 'mandate'", spelled out in a 68-page report by the Army School for Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) in the year 2001, whose implementation is said to have been blocked for various reasons in earlier years, but which is now again a topic of American interest.
Sources said Condoleeza Rice encouraged Abbas to continue promoting the plan for deployment of international forces to permit control of the situation in the Gaza Strip, following [the Hamas takeover]... In fact, at a time when the plan doesn't enjoy Palestinian acceptance, even from the so-called Group of 15 that advise Abbas, the American administration is insisting that this plan doesn't imply the beginning of direct deployment of American troops, but rather the deployment in an international force which NATO would help form. [The Americans also say] this will be one of the tasks that the new Quartet representative Tony Blair will be focusing on, and [that American General Keith Dayton] is undertaking to add details to the plan.
The Al-Akhbar reporter outlines the main points of the original SAMS report (20,000 troops, well-armed with weapons and with the argle-bargle of protecting Israeli national security and Palestinian national development and so on), summarizing as follows:
The sources said the American concept for deployment of an international force in Gaza and the West Bank was set down in its basic form earlier as a peace-keeping force with a security mission of ending the armed resistance against Israel. The Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip led to suspension of the idea, but it is now being looked at again following the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the sudden collapse of the PA security apparatus there.
(The Jordanian newspaper AlDustour has a very similar report, according to a Palestinian news agency, but I haven't seen it. Needless to say the bloggers and others with Washington connections are maintaining strategic silence, as they have done with the Al-Majd "Action Plan", the Dahlan-intelligence story, and so much else).


Anonymous dan said...

20k NATO troops?

NATO is already struggling to provide forces for Afghanistan, the Balkans and the expanded UNIFIL, so it's worth asking where the troops for this would come from. Not France, not Germany, certainly not Spain or Italy, not Canada. This strikes me as more wishful thinking on the part of the US rather than an actionable proposal.

The only country that could potentially staff this would be Turkey - but this would involve defusing their Kurdish/Iraqi problems first, and there is no chance of that happening any time soon. That said, I cannot see either the Turkish parliament or the Turkish population signing on to this without, de minimis, the removal of IDF forces from the West Bank.

7:54 AM  
Blogger badger said...

I don't think the idea was all-NATO but that NATO would get involved.

I was pretty sure someone would be weighing in with the fact this isn't really feasable, and it's a good point, but as I've said before, there are a lot of things that don't really make sense, that people have to take account of just because it shows what the strategy is. Occupying Iraq wasn't really feasable either, but...

9:59 AM  
Blogger badger said...

btw, unless you're going to write the whole comment in Latin, I don't think you can use "de minimis" as a way of saying "at least". In the set phrases, it means things not worthy of notice or consideration.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous b. said...

The idea of NATO to Gaza isn't Abbas one.

Indeed it comes from the worst of all corners. Avigdor Lieberman, a right-right-wing Israeli minister came up with the idea back in January.
See here:

Inbetween Olmert promoted the idea too. That Abbas has no taken this as his idea only shows how much he is in cahouts with the occupiers.

That the report of Al-Akhbar fails to mention this, also tells something ...

I have no idea which NATO or other forces would be stupid enough to go into Gaza. There is no possible tactic to defend themselves there but "kill'em all".

Therefore, I think the idea is dead on arrival.

3:27 AM  
Blogger Rowan Berkeley said...

Bodies in uniform can be mustered easily enough, the world is full of people who will serve for cash.

Geo-strategically, I can easily see an extension of NATO all the way to the Persian Gulf. I would expect the same sort of queasy saga of puppet militias being canonised as 'democratic' that we have seen in the Balkans.

10:49 PM  

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