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Perplexing American policy

Nov 30,2014 - Last updated at Nov 30,2014

Several months ago, US Secretary of State John Kerry’s stated aim was to achieve a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, seemingly disregarding the need to deal with the situation in Syria at the time.

Kerry’s recent visit to Jordan highlighted the extent to which priorities shifted from achieving a framework for peace to desperately working to prevent a security collapse in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Concurrently, the regional situation dictates focus on combatting terrorism and finding a solution to the situation in Syria, sidelining the Palestinian issue on the US agenda.

It seems the US will continue to be blind to the truth and ignore the reality of the situation, especially in Syria and Palestine.

The US administration was convinced the Palestinian Authority did not have the capacity to survive politically, let alone be a reliable partner for negotiations.

Despite divisions between Fateh and Hamas, as well as within Fateh itself, authority in Palestine remained stable.

In Syria, the US created a “moderate” opposition from disparate groups and positioned them as a replacement for Bashar Assad.

The US has now effectively declared war on the majority of these groups, and is back to the drawing board in search of a moderate opposition.

These are the same mistakes the US made while attempting to combat terrorism over decades.

During the Geneva II negotiations, the debate was between two priorities: combatting terrorism or political transition.

The US insisted on political transition, but is now forced to accept that the immediate priority is to address the growing threat of terrorism in the region.

At the same time, the US has chosen to heavily politicise the issue by excluding Syria, Egypt, Iran and Russia from the coalition combatting terrorism.

The US continues to prioritise an issue or an approach and is forced to abandon that priority, and then deal with the consequences and impact.

However, it is not just the US that must deal with these mistakes. Its allies and enemies are forced to adopt a flexible diplomacy in order to deal with the challenges that these mistakes are generating.

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