Friday, November 14, 2003

BLAIR'S BETRAYAL: Sidney Blumenthal's column appeared in today's Guardian (originally read on Salon.com) and revealed the following:

Abu Mazen was scheduled to come to Washington to meet Bush a month later. For his political survival, he desperately required US pressure on the Sharon government to make concessions on building settlements on the West Bank. Abu Mazen sent a secret emissary to the White House: Khalil Shikaki. I met Shikaki in Ramallah, where he gave his account of this urgent trip. He met Elliot Abrams and laid out what support was needed from Bush if Abu Mazen - and therefore the road map - were to survive. Abrams told him, he says, that Bush "could not agree to anything" due to domestic political considerations: Bush's reliance on the religious right, his refusal to offend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the demands of the upcoming election. Shikaki pleaded that Abu Mazen presented "a window of opportunity" and could not go on without US help. "He has to show he's capable of doing it himself," Abrams answered dismissively.

Inside the NSC, those in favour of the road map - CIA analysts Flynt Leverett and Ben Miller among others - were forced out. On September 6, Abu Mazen resigned, and the road map collapsed.
Two thing to note here: First, I'm simply astounded that Abbas would send someone like Shikaki as his envoy. Shikaki is widely hated in the occupied territories for misinterpreting polls it sure looks like Abbas could trust no one.

Secondly, note Elliot Abrams' role in undermining the road map. He's one to look out for in the future.

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