A VOICE OF REASON IN A CESSPOOL OF MANIACAL TYRANTS
(IsraelNN.com) The following is an interview with Dr. Sami Alrabaa, a professor of sociology in Germany who specializes in Arabic and Muslim culture. Before moving to Germany, he taught at Kuwait University and King Saud University, as well as at Michigan State University in the United States.
AM: President Obama considers the [Middle East] peace process a priority direction of his policy. How do you
The Saudis would endorse any solution that guarantees their survival.
estimate the chances of the peace process?
SA: President Obama has proclaimed lots of priorities: economic, financial, nuclear, climatic, and peace in the Middle East. In the latter, he will fail, like his predecessors. He has to deal with numerous diehard players: Hamas, Hizbullah, Iran, Syria, etc. Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not achieve anything.
The only person who can make a change, a substantial change, is someone like Yasser Arafat. After more than thirty years of political fanaticism and defiance, Arafat – an undisputed leader among his people – realized that he could have peace and a Palestinian state only at the negotiation table. This kind of leader is still missing among Palestinians.
AM: Could Mahmoud Abbas maintain power in [Judea and Samaria] in case of creation of a Palestinian state?
SA: Mahmud Abbas is a weak leader. He has lost a big part of Arafat’s power to Hamas. Hamas is a “cancer” in the Palestinian body. Hamas, however, could change into a positive player if an “Arafat” takes over. For the time being, this is unthinkable. Hamas needs maybe two to three decades to let this happen.
AM: Do you see connection between the peace process and the Iranian threat? Can possible agreement between Israel and Palestinians help the West to neutralize Iranian ambitions? Do you think that the Obama administration can solve the Iranian problem better than George Bush?
SA: The same applies to Iran. Unless a moderate leader takes over, Iran will stay combative and rejectionist in terms of the Palestinian issue. The rise of a peaceful leader among the Palestinians could neutralize Iran’s role in a peace process. The pressure that the world community, including Russia and China, is exerting on Iran with regard to its nuclear program will deter Iran from becoming a nuclear power. The nuclear program in both Iran and North Korea is a desperate attempt to keep the regimes alive in these countries.
AM: How do you see the Saudi initiative?
SA: The Saudi regime has always played a hypocritical role in the Middle East. All its “initiatives” have been designed to serve its interests and survival in the Middle East. The Saudis would endorse any solution that guarantees their survival.
AM: The new Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, declared that Israel will not respect decisions reaches at the conference in Annapolis. How can such a position influence the peace process and the regional situation?
SA: Avigdor Lieberman is not less combative than Menachem Begin when it comes to securing the existence of Israel. He will accept any solution that safeguards this existence side by side with peaceful neighbors.
AM: Lieberman is considered in the West as an extreme nationalist and an opponent of peace. What your opinion on this matter?
SA: It is not true that Lieberman is an opponent of peace. He is an “extreme nationalist” out of concern for preserving Israel from being devoured by its aggressive, extremist nationalist and fanatic Islamist neighbors.
AM: There are disagreements in Jerusalem concerning the possibility of peace with Syria. Do you see a real prospect of peace between Israel and Syria in the near future?
[Lieberman] is an “extreme nationalist” out of concern for preserving Israel.
SA: At present, and under the current circumstances, Syria will not conclude any peace with Israel. If this happened, Syria would risk antagonizing Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamists worldwide. Bashar Al-Assad is not Anwar Al-Sadat, and he will not be. A peace agreement with Israel at present would be an act of suicide for the Ba’ath regime in Damascus.
AM: Is Egypt interested in cooperation with Israel in the matter of the Gaza blockade, in your opinion?
SA: The regime of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is not interested in a strong Hamas. It is, though, interested in preserving Hamas as a thorn-in-the-side to destabilize Israel. The Egyptians approve of those tunnels through which Hamas smuggles arms into Gaza, but they are not interested in opening their borders with Gaza. The Egyptians are notorious for being two-faced. They tell Hamas and the Palestinians something, and the Israelis something different. For the Egyptian regime, and the other Arab regimes, the Palestinian issue remains a distraction from tackling the titanic problems these regimes are facing.
AM: The USA, Great Britain and some other countries in the West are ready to talk with Hamas and Hizbullah. Do you think such dialogue can promote a peace process?
SA: Talking to Hamas is futile. Even George Mitchell, the Middle East envoy of President Obama, realized that, and said so at the outset of his mission. Check out the Hamas Charter. Hamas declares unequivocally that its aim is the destruction of Israel. And I do not think that Hamas will renounce that in the foreseeable future. ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS
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