Thursday, April 17, 2008

Former President Carter, Hamas, Khalid Meshaal: Definitely Not Routine

Former President Jimmy Carter is talking with Hamas leaders as I'm writing this. My understanding is that this is a prelude to his big meeting with Khalid Meshaal on Friday.
  • The American State Department asked him not to
  • Over 50 members of Congress asked him not to
  • But, Mr. Carter wanted to go
And, as a free citizen, it's his right to ignore what government agencies and members of Congress say, and do what he wants.

I hope that he's a starry-eyed optimist, with no clue as to what "death to the Jews! death to the great Satan America!" means. Barring that, I hope that he's simply bucking for a second Nobel Peace Prize, or plans to release a best-selling book soon. Neither of these possibilities are as crazy as they may sound.
  • Mr. Carter missed a shot at the Nobel Peace Prize, back in 1978 - he had to wait until 2002, for decades of "untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."
  • There is a potential best-seller here:
    • Between high-profile personalities, exotic locales, and the thrill of international intrigue, possible working titles could include
      • "Chamberlain, Schmamberlain: I Trust These Guys"
      • "Mid East Peace: I Did it My Way"
      • "I Kissed Khalid"
    • Coverage of Carter's trip to the Middle East would be a marketer's dream come true - you can't buy publicity like that
I certainly hope that this diplomatic adventure is not simply an effort to alleviate boredom, an exercise in egotism, or perhaps the result of anti-Semitism, as one blogger suggested.

We may learn, later today, what happened at today's meeting with Mahmoud al-Zahar and Saeed Seyam. Meanwhile, here's a selection of Mr. Carter in the news:
  • "Carter set to meet with Hamas officials in Egypt"
    CNN (April 17, 2008)
    "CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- Former President Carter is expected to meet with two senior Hamas officials Thursday in the Egyptian capital, an encounter he calls a necessary step toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    "Former President Carter meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday in Cairo.
    "But the likely meeting has rankled the Israeli and U.S. governments, which say it runs counter to their policies of not negotiating with terrorists.
    "Israel, the United States and European Union consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization."
  • "Carter Meets With Hamas Leader Who Likens Israel to Nazi Germany"
    FOXNews (April 17, 2008)
    "Former President Jimmy Carter met another top Hamas official Thursday in a Cairo hotel, FOX News has confirmed.
    "In advance of Carter's planned meeting Friday with Hamas chief Khaled Meshal, 30 congressmen introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning Hamas for terrorist activities, including the murder of 26 Americans. Both the United States and Israel have designated Hamas a terror organization and refuse to negotiate with it.
    "The resolution, sponsored by Reps. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., is intended as a warning shot at Carter and follows letters from more than 50 congressmen urging the former president to abandon his visit to the Hamas head, who lives in exile in Syria."
I'll say this for Mr. Carter: He does his part to keep international affairs from becoming routine.
Update (April 17, 2008)

I found a remarkably detailed post on Mr. Carter's trip, with an informed discussion and links: "Carter, Once Again, Inspires Censure"
Snapshots a Camera® Blog (April 17, 2008)

Related posts, on Individuals and the War on Terror.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.