The NY Sun reports:
WASHINGTON – An expert adviser to the Baker-Hamilton commission expects the 10-person panel to recommend that the Bush administration pressure Israel to make concessions in a gambit to entice Syria and Iran to a regional conference on Iraq.
Via Mark Levin.
Time will tell whether this report is accurate, but to anybody who is familiar with the career of James Baker, who famously said, "F— the Jews, they didn't vote for us anyway," it shouldn't come as a surprise that he would be willing to sell out our staunch ally Israel to curry favor with our enemies Syria and Iran.
The United States wants to see a free and stable Iraq, rid of militants and terrorists, and friendly to America. While achieving all of those goals does not seem likely at this point and we may have to recalibrate our expectations, we still must keep in mind that Iran and Syria have interests in Iraq that are antithetical to our own. Engaging in such diplomacy would have no purpose other than to satisfy some journalists, intellectuals and State Department careerists. But while engaging in empty diplomacy is bad enough, actually forcing our ally to make concessions to hostile regimes would be far worse. There's no amount of concessions Israel could make to satisfy Iran and Syria–both countries support Hamas and Hezbollah, terrorist groups that are dedicated to Israel's destruction. Iran's president has repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off the map within the context of seeking nuclear weapons.
Even if I take off my pro-Israel hat for a moment and put on a "realist" hat, it's hard to see such an approach as having a reasonable chance of success. Does anyone think that Israel is capable of offering concessions significant enough to convince Iran and Syria to take actions in Iraq diametrically opposed to their own interests? Is the politically feeble Ehud Olmert in a position to give up more than what Arafat rejected in 2000? (i.e., a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital). Is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad likely to accept less as a reward for cracking down on militias and insurgent groups that Iran has been financing?
The one thing that should be said is that President Bush has proved himself an unabashed supporter of Israel, probably the most pro-Israel president in the nation's history. So, until we know more about what's in the Baker-Hamilton report and receive White House reaction, Bush has earned the benefit of the doubt.