Annapolis: Return To The Road Map

The first fruit of the Annapolis Conference has arrived, and it’s a road map. The White House just announced its commitment to hold both sides accountable to the road-map agreement, and the acquiescence of the Israelis and the Palestinians to meet its obligations on the way to a peace treaty by the end of 2008:

We express our determination to bring an end to bloodshed, suffering and decades of conflict between our peoples; to usher in a new era of peace, based on freedom, security, justice, dignity, respect and mutual recognition; to propagate a culture of peace and nonviolence; to confront terrorism and incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis. In furtherance of the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, we agree to immediately launch good-faith bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty, resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception, as specified in previous agreements.
We agree to engage in vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations, and shall make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008. For this purpose, a steering committee, led jointly by the head of the delegation of each party, will meet continuously, as agreed. The steering committee will develop a joint work plan and establish and oversee the work of negotiations teams to address all issues, to be headed by one lead representative from each party. The first session of the steering committee will be held on 12 December 2007.
President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert will continue to meet on a bi-weekly basis to follow up the negotiations in order to offer all necessary assistance for their advancement.
The parties also commit to immediately implement their respective obligations under the performance-based road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, issued by the Quartet on 30 April 2003 — this is called the road map — and agree to form an American, Palestinian and Israeli mechanism, led by the United States, to follow up on the implementation of the road map.
The parties further commit to continue the implementation of the ongoing obligations of the road map until they reach a peace treaty. The United States will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the road map. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map, as judged by the United States.

It was important to kick off the conference with some sort of agreement, and this — like most of what will occur this week — had to have been pre-arranged. It commits both parties to little more than their previous commitments. This time, of course, they really mean it.
It’s interesting, though, that the US has taken the position of arbiter on the road map and its obligations. In 2003, the Quartet fulfilled that role, with the EU, UN, and Russia. The Bush administration has taken more of a political gamble here than predicted, but Bush probably figures he has little to lose. The road map was a dead letter before Annapolis, and even a short-term resuscitation looks better than the status quo.

Bush: You Know It Don’t Come Easy

George Bush wants to push for a negotiated settlement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before he leaves office in 2009, but doesn’t want to inflate expectations to the extent that a failure would provoke renewed violence in the West Bank. His opening remarks reflect the tension between those goals, imploring world leaders to work against the extremists while noting the difficulties ahead:

President Bush said in remarks prepared for delivery Tuesday at the Annapolis conference that the time is right to relaunch Mideast peace talks because “a battle is under way for the future of the Middle East.”
Bush said it won’t be easy to achieve the goal of creating two states — Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace after decades of conflict and bloodshed, yet he urged the two sides to work together for the sake of their people.
“Today, Palestinians and Israelis each understand that helping the other to realize their aspirations is the key to realizing their own, and both require an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state,” Bush said in remarks released by the White House. “Such a state will provide Palestinians with the chance to lead lives of freedom, purpose and dignity. And such a state will help provide Israelis with something they have been seeking for generations: to live in peace with their neighbors.”
After months of frantic diplomacy, top officials from more than 40 nations were converging on this historic state capital for what Bush said he hopes will launch of the first Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in seven years.

The world has changed significantly in the intervening seven years. Yasser Arafat died, and his movement has fractured into several pieces. The Israelis could only fight Hezbollah to a draw in the north. Hamas has conducted a coup and grabbed Gaza, effectively eliminating them politically in the West Bank, where Israel and the Palestinians are interwoven more intimately. Both Abbas and Olmert suffer from considerable political weakness, which makes them simultaneously less effective and more amenable to negotiation.
Arab nations face other challenges, too. The US intervention in Iraq has challenged the status quo of southwest Asia, but more significantly, the Iranian bid for nuclear hegemony has shuffled priorities for the primarily-Sunni nations at the summit. Israel is no longer their biggest worry, and the Palestinians matter even less than they did in 2000.
So will this conference finally find a resolution to the conflict? Will it even outline the path to such a resolution? Not unless the Arabs have finally resolved to live in peace with Israel. As Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis put it yesterday, the conflict is either existential or a border problem. If the latter, then this kind of conference makes sense, and should resolve the issues relatively quickly. If the former — if the Arabs simply cannot live with a Jewish state in the region — then all of the conferences in the world won’t solve the underlying problem.
Why hold the conference, if that’s the case? The pragmatic reason is to build support for other American initiatives in the region. The idealistic case is that the more diplomatic contact the Arab nations have with Israel, the more likely they will see coexistence as a possibility. With Iran looming as a threat to their power, countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan understand that the Israelis have higher priorities than meddling with their regimes.
In the end, however, either there will be all-out war or a negotiated settlement. Rather than assume the all-out war, a diplomatic conference at least gives everyone a chance to check the scorecards after seven years of silence. If the Arab nations accept Israel, then the conference can start looking at the border questions. If not, we know where the problem still lies.

How Serious Is Annapolis?

Many questions surround the peace talks at Annapolis this week, not least among them how far the Bush administration plans to climb out on the ledge to get a settlement. With the Syrians deciding to attend, the prospects for a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appear brighter than any recent time, at least on the surface. The White House will not publicly push for any particulars, though, leaving some to wonder whether the conference will succeed at any level:

President Bush’s national security advisor said Sunday that the president would not adopt a more activist role in Mideast peace negotiations that start today, even though many observers believe the United States must step up its direct involvement if the effort is to succeed.
On the eve of a U.S.-convened conference in Annapolis, Md., launching the first formal peace talks in seven years, Stephen J. Hadley said Bush believed Washington’s role should be to aid and encourage Israelis and Palestinians, not “lean on one side or another and jam a settlement through.”
“History has suggested that those efforts to jam have not worked,” Hadley said in a conference call with reporters. “We have said from the beginning — the president has said — that it is the parties themselves who have to make the peace.”
The president’s position is likely to reassure Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is politically weak at home and fearful that tough concessions could bring about his government’s collapse. But it will almost surely disappoint the delegation headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, which has been hoping American pressure could force Israeli concessions.
The U.S. stance also is likely to displease many of the Arab and European governments attending the conference that have been urging a more active role.

Why hold a peace conference in the US if the US plans a laissez-faire approach to the negotiations? According to National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, the US will not even prompt for deadlines on either a plan or implementation targets. Having watched their predecessors inadvertently provoke an intifada in 2000 and having had to live with its aftermath, the Bush administration doesn’t want to create any false hopes ahead of Annapolis, and they don’t want to get blamed for any failures afterwards.
That may make some sense, but it leaves open the question as to why they’re bothering in the first place. While not immediately apparent, it could be to earn some credit for future negotiations on sanctions against Iran and other efforts in the Middle East. Tony Blair in particular repeatedly called for the US to make a renewed effort in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, virtually non-existent as it is. In order to keep Europe engaged in our agenda, we have to remain engaged in theirs — and they want progress on the Palestinian question.
Of course, any progress depends on the Israelis and the Palestinians, an obvious point that the White House hits heavily in the prologue to the talks. Both Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert are weak enough to need a deal more than either party has before now. With Syria participating, it could result in a negotiated settlement on a broad range of issues, but that’s a thin chance even with Hamas marginalized.
Many people wonder why any talks get held at all, but this conflict won’t end in a military settlement, unless Israel gets vanquished. With the Arab nations surrounding Israel, its best option for peace is a negotiated settlement that puts Egypt and Jordan at the head of the Arab coalition enforcing its commitments. None of the nations in the area will allow Israel to sweep the Palestinians out of Gaza and the West Bank, and Israel won’t annex the territories and give the Palestinians a vote in Israeli government. A sturdy settlement for peace is Israel’s best hope, and the US its best guarantor.
Eventually, a settlement will occur. The question is whether the Palestinians will stick to it, and whether the Egyptians and Jordanians will ensure that they do. Right now, that doesn’t appear to be the case, but the Annapolises should continue to gauge that question.

The Upcoming Gaza Civil War

A day after committing an atrocity against Fatah protestors, Hamas took steps to ensure justice — by rounding up and jailing the dissenters. The terrorist group arrested hundreds of people, apparently for assaulting their bullets as they attempted a peaceful path through a crowd estimated at 200,000 people in Gaza:

Hamas says it has rounded up dozens of Fatah activists in Gaza, a day after a huge rally commemorating Yasser Arafat ended in gunfire killing seven people.
Witnesses say security forces opened fire on unarmed crowds after the rally turned into a protest against the Hamas movement’s takeover of Gaza in June.
Hamas says its police came under attack from Fatah gunmen and returned fire.
Fatah party officials allege 400 of their supporters were arrested and dozens more ordered for questioning.

Mahmoud Abbas broke out the heavy-duty rhetoric in response to the massacre and stampede. He told Hamas that they were no better than the Israelis, comparing the assault with the “crimes of the Israeli occupier”. Despite the unfairness of the comparison — when have the Israelis fired into a peaceful protest? — that has to sting Hamas’ leadership.
Hamas has certainly provided a clear example of what Islamist rule would look like in the territories. The display has to damage the credibility of either Fatah or Hamas to act as a peace partner, especially while Abbas makes backhanded accusations as he did in this statement. The Israelis can’t be blamed for wondering whether Hamas could take control of the West Bank after independence, and thinking that one terrorist state on its border in Gaza is more than enough.
Gazans have stated that they preferred Israeli occupation to Hamas’ dictatorship, so perhaps the probability of a Hamas takeover through democratic means in the West Bank is remote. Gazans might take care of Hamas and their Syrian- and Iranian-backed leadership the old-fashioned way shortly, in any case. If Gaza has not yet fallen into civil war, it will come within weeks. The next fight will last a lot longer than five days, and it could get very bloody — and just like any other gang war, the civilians in the crossfire will suffer the most.

Hamas Continues Its Governing Strategy By Shooting Into Crowds

The last we looked in on Gaza, Hamas complained about the increasing “terrorism” of open protests in the territory they took by force earlier this year. Today they apparently devised their own solution to this threat to peace in the Palestinian area — by shooting into a crowd, killing six and wounding 130 in the ensuing stampede:

Six people were killed after Hamas-controlled police opened fire on a Fatah rally in Gaza City today in some of the worst violence seen since the Islamist movement took control of the Gaza Strip five months ago. ….
But the sight of a yelling mob waving posters depicting the Fatah founder and shouting insults against Hamas was always going to risk provoking the heavily armed members of Hamas’s “executive force” who were recently renamed as police.
At one point the crowd began to shout “Shi’ite, Shi’ite” as an insult against Hamas which enjoys strong links with the Shia Islamic republic in Iran. Palestinians belong to the rival Sunni sect of Islam.
It is not clear if they were fired on first from inside the crowd but it is known that six members of the crowd died and at least 130 were wounded, mostly from injuries suffered in the resulting stampede.

Hamas has proven effective at putting the tactics it used to seize control of Gaza into its governance. After naming their terrorist squads the official police department of Gaza, it used them to kill civilians and start a riot. Hamas has effectively turned Gaza into a terrorist nation, only instead of terrorizing Israelis exclusively, they have to focus on terrorizing Gazans in order to maintain their deathgrip on power.
This latest atrocity has apparently scotched any efforts at reconciliation. Fatah has declared that it will not negotiate with Hamas to restore Palestinian unity. In language that can only be called ironic, they called Hamas “killers and coup-makers … who do not believe in dialogue but only understand the language of blood and murder.”
And Fatah, with its terrorist arm Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, differs in which respect? It’s easy to point to Fatah as the victim here and feel that the world should protest their treatment, and we should — but we should also remember that Fatah has a long history of attacking civilians in its own greed for power. We will try to negotiate with the least extreme of the political movements in the territories, but it’s not as if anyone in the mix follows the precepts of Mohandas Gandhi. Fatah is just the least worst option at the moment.

Is Rice Right?

Condoleezza Rice told reporters this morning that the time has arrived for a Palestinian state. She defended the launch of the latest American-sponsored peace conference by asserting that the administration had “better things to do than invite people to Annapolis for a photo op,” and that the conference could make real progress towards resolving the decades-long standoff:

Secretary of State Condoleezza said Monday it was “time for the establishment of a Palestinian state,” and described Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts as the most serious in years.
An international peace conference expected to take place in Annapolis, Md., in November has to be substantive, Rice said at a news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“We frankly have better things to do than invite people to Annapolis for a photo op,” she said.
Israelis and Palestinians, Rice added, are making their “most serious effort” in years to resolve the conflict.
“Frankly, it’s time for the establishment of a Palestinian state,” she added.

Right now, it doesn’t even look like the time for the conference, let alone the establishment of the state. Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert have begun squabbling over a preliminary document for the conference. Abbas wants a detailed agreement on several of the most contentious points, while Olmert wants a more generalized set of principles on the table before negotiations begin. Abbas has threatened to skip the conference if the matter is not settled, which would make the entire exercise moot.
However, Rice has a point. The problem with prior attempts at estabilishing the state on the West Bank that most people agree will have to come to resolve the conflict was a lack of Palestinian incentive for that solution. The Palestinians wanted it all, Israel included, which made any attempt at a deal worthless. Many of them still do, and the question will be whether Abbas is one of them.
Abbas has a different set of problems now than Yasser Arafat did. Arafat held unquestioned power while he ran the PLO; not even Hamas dared to seriously challenge him for it. That came in part because Arafat wanted what Hamas wanted, which was the destruction of Israel. Hamas suspects that Abbas may not be as willing to be an all-or-nothing leader, and the Palestinians agreed, at least in large part during their elections.
Since Hamas conducted a coup in Gaza, however, Abbas has an opportunity to work with moderates within the more secular Fatah movement. He could strengthen his position by bringing in billions of dollars in aid by agreeing to the Palestinian state in the West Bank. If the conditions are favorable enough, the Gazans will reject Hamas and finish them as a political force in order to share the wealth.
Will Abbas take the deal? Perhaps, perhaps not. But Rice is correct in saying that this may be the most propitious moment for peace since 1948, if he does.

Israel Offers Concession On Jerusalem

Israel today offered support for a division of Jerusalem to address the demands of Palestinians, but only in exchange for concessions among Arab states and an end to fighting. A deputy of Ehud Olmert gave this public concession as a means to get Arab states into an American-sponsored peace conference, showing that real progress could be made on peace:

A confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that his government would support a division of Jerusalem, which is reportedly a key component of an Israeli-Palestinian declaration to be made at a U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference next month.
As part of recent negotiations between the sides, Deputy Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon has proposed turning over many of the Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Ramon said the Palestinians could establish the capital of a future state in the sector of the city, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war.
In return, Israel would receive the recognition of the international community, including Arab states, of its sovereignty over Jewish neighborhoods and the existence of its capital there, Ramon said.
On Monday Ramon said even hawkish elements of Olmert’s coalition, like Cabinet Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party, would back such an Israeli concession. The centrist Labor Party would also support the proposal, Ramon said.

Arab nations had approached the US peace conference with some skepticism. Several have hesitated to attend, claiming that a conference with no practical results would be worse than no conference at all. Condoleezza Rice and Olmert needed to show some significant potential for progress to convince them to attend.
The status of Jerusalem has been one of the main sticking points for all parties, perhaps the major sticking point. An offer by the Israelis to split Jerusalem and allow both states to base their capitals in the disputed city would certainly help move the peace process along. It may also be too tempting for the Arab nations to avoid. They have fetishized Jerusalem to such a point in their own nations that any chance to settle the dispute almost has to be taken. It’s a shrewd move by the Israelis, if they really believe they can deliver on that promise.
The question will be whether Olmert can deliver it. Olmert has a weak standing in Israel at the moment, and most people believe he wants to get a peace agreement to maintain power. Israelis may not like the idea of offering part of Jerusalem as an appetizer, rather than holding that off for better concessions from Arab states down the line. Ehud Barak also offered a lot of concessions to Yasser Arafat, only to have them thrown back in his face and instead get the intifada for the next several years. Israelis will remember that result.
Still, the final status of Jerusalem is a critical point in the peace process, and at some point it will become the focus of negotiation. The question for Israelis is whether the people across the table from them are actual partners in peace, or Yasser Arafat under another guise. In this case, Mahmoud Abbas and the nearby Arab states need a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian standoff more than ever, and might be ready to make a deal. We’ll soon see.

It Really Was Osirak

Last month’s strike by Israel on a Syrian facility didn’t just resemble their strike on Osirak in 1981 in the nuclear sense. According to ABC News, the American response also struck a familiar chord, with the Bush administration attempting to hold Israel back from its strike — and offering some very weak tea as an alternative (via Power Line):

The September Israeli airstrike on a suspected nuclear site in Syria had been in the works for months, ABC News has learned, and was delayed only at the strong urging of the United States.
In early July the Israelis presented the United States with satellite imagery that they said showed a nuclear facility in Syria. They had additional evidence that they said showed that some of the technology was supplied by North Korea.
One U.S. official told ABC’s Martha Raddatz the material was “jaw dropping” because it raised questions as to why U.S. intelligence had not previously picked up on the facility.
Officials said that the facility had likely been there for months if not years.

Between July and September, weeks of high-level talks took place. The Israelis wanted to destroy the facility immediately, and had some support from the American intelligence community that had managed to miss this development. However, Condoleezza Rice and others did not. They wanted to “confront” the Syrians first — as the Jerusalem Post puts it, to scold Assad publicly for operating a nuclear facility.
Yes, I’m sure that would have been effective. Publicly scolding them over the Hariri assassination only resulted in five more car-bomb assassinations of anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon since then. Fingerwagging has done so much to curtail their material support for Hezbollah, too.
The Israelis, who actually originated the “Bush doctrine” decades ago, appear to be the only nation still using it. They probably have concluded that they cannot rely on American will to protect them from Syria and Iran any longer, especially after this episode. The US opposed the raid up to the moment it occurred, afraid of destabilizing the region. Israel, more worried about the consequences of a nuclear Syria — something that should worry us as well — simply ignored Washington after weeks of argument and acted in its own self-interest.
And note that Syria has not lifted a finger in retaliation. Assad knows well that Israel would annihilate his forces in a straight-up fight, and the raid confirmed it. They had to know that Israel would attack that facility if they discovered it, and Syria had to have some defense ready against it. In the event, Israel flew unmolested across the widest part of their airspace, devastated their facility, and flew home as if on an El Al jaunt.
I recall the American response to Osirak was a large amount of finger-wagging at the Israelis. We had reason to thank them later for their long view of nukes in the region. We should be thanking them again, and next time should try following their advice.

Hamas: It’s Terrorism, We Say!

Hamas has had its share of difficulties since its terrorists took over Gaza earlier this year. They have had to take responsibility for actually governing territory, and the international sanctions have forced them to sell the office furniture to meet just a fraction of its payroll obligations. Gazans have quickly lost patience with Hamas, and now they face a phenomenon that they would normally endorse, if not directed at them:

Over the past two months, Fatah has organized a series of peaceful protests against Hamas in the Gaza Strip; thousands of Fatah supporters participated in open-air prayers to protest against Hamas’s June “coup.”
The protests, which have meanwhile been suspended, led to street clashes between the two parties, seriously embarrassing the Hamas government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
Most of the alleged Fatah operations have targeted security vehicles used by Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip. Following the attacks, the Hamas Ministry of Interior, which is in charge of security in the Strip, instructed all its operatives to check their vehicles before using them and to be on alert for roadside bombs.
“Apparently, Fatah is trying to copy the tactics of the anti-American insurgents in Iraq,” said a Palestinian journalist in Gaza City. “It’s ironic that Hamas is now describing the Fatah attacks as acts of terrorism.”
Khaled Abu Hilal, a Fatah dissident closely associated with Hamas, said the latest wave of bombings was designed to destabilize the situation in the Gaza Strip. Accusing Fatah leaders in Ramallah of instructing their men to attack Hamas, he said: “These crimes reflect the terrorist mentality of the murderers and of those who give them the instructions from Ramallah.”

Oh, no! Hamas has to deal with terrorism! What a completely unexpected turn of events! The same government that shoots crude missiles at Israeli elementary schools now has to deal with IEDs. They’re shocked, shocked! to find terrorists in their midst!
The fighting goes both ways, in any case. The two groups have targeted each other for violence ever since Ismail Haniyeh grabbed power in Gaza. Hamas uses Fatah as an excuse for its own failings, and Fatah attacks Hamas to grab power back. Given that the street soldiers for Fatah mainly belong to the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, the conflict mainly represents a turf war between two terrorist groups.
The Israelis and the rest of the world need to maintain Gaza’s isolation. Hamas has created a terrorist protostate in Gaza, and Hamas has to live with the consequences. When Gazans get tired of Hamas and Fatah, they will have to get rid of them. Until the terrorism ends, not one American dollar should go to Gaza.

Syria Gets An Invitation

The State Department will invite Syria to its upcoming conference on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, along with Saudi Arabia. According to Condoleezza Rice, the invitations will require that nations take a positive, productive attitude which includes acknowledging the right for both Israel and the proposed state of Palestine to exist. The Arab states want an equally provocative prerequisite as well:

The United States intends to invite Saudi Arabia, Syria and other Arab countries that do not have relations with Israel to a Middle East peace conference that will be held in the United States this fall, a senior State Department official said Sunday.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, noting that invitations have not yet been issued, seemed to put some conditions on attendance later Sunday. “Coming to this meeting also brings certain responsibilities,” which includes renouncing violence and supporting the right of both Israel and Palestine to exist, she said.
Rice spoke after a whirlwind of meetings here with top Arab officials and members of an international peace coordinating body known as the Quartet. The Quartet, which includes the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, met with its representative for building Palestinian institutions, former British prime minister Tony Blair, and issued a statement saying that it expects the Middle East conference to “affirm its support for the two-state solution based on a rejection of violence.”
The announcement of the invitation list raises the stakes for a meeting that President Bush announced over the summer. The administration had been coy about who might be invited, though officials privately made clear they hoped the Saudis would attend because Riyadh, unlike Jordan and Egypt, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

This sounds like a dinner party from Hell, but it could pay off politically for the US if successful. The gathering of antagonistic nations like Syria and Saudi Arabia with Israel could result in some easing of tensions, but it may also create more problems for their governments back home. The Lebanese, for instance has already made clear that they will be the last Arab nation to make peace with Israel after last year’s war in the sub-Litani region, and Hezbollah will not rest quietly if Beirut sends a representative to this event.
The Arab nations have to get something in return for their cooperation to head off the expected outrage of their people. Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, says that the Arab League will not attend the conference without a moratorium on settlements. The Israelis may decide to agree to that; after all, any peace agreement would almost certainly involve rolling back some West Bank settlements. It doesn’t make much sense to continue building them, especially given its provocative nature. If the League gains that kind of assurance, they can claim a nominal victory that will allow their participation.
It seems odd to include Syria in this conference, given current circumstances. The US just green-lighted an attack on a rogue nuclear facility in Syria, and Syria just assassinated another Lebanese politician in a car-bomb attack. Bashar Assad doesn’t seem particularly interested in getting along with his neighbors, even the Muslim nations on his border. After the Israeli raid, Assad could get motivated by self-preservation, but his support for Hamas and Hezbollah doesn’t give much confidence that Syria will add any productive energy to this effort.
The conference is not likely to produce much more than political cover for the Bush administration’s efforts in the Middle East, anyway. If Rice can pull off an upset and reach some substantial agreement on the “core issues” — Jerusalem and final borders — she will be seen as quite a magician. If not, the White House will at least get some credit for making the effort, and the onus will fall back to the moderate Muslim nations to start getting more traction for their security proposals.