Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Some more on Condi

From Sidney Blumenthal in

"n January 2002, Rice launched a serious effort to restart the Middle East peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians. She hired Flynt Leverett, who was a professional foreign service officer on the policy planning staff of the State Department, as director of the initiative on the National Security Council. Rice told him and those assigned to work with him that she understood that the absence of peace process was hurting the war on terrorism and that Leverett should propose any and all measures he thought necessary, regardless of potential political controversy. "She told us we should go for the long bomb, using a football metaphor," Leverett recalled to me.

Leverett then developed a plan on final status dealing with security, Palestinian political reform and Jerusalem; the core of the plan was essentially the same as President Clinton's ultimate proposal. Rice rejected it; her own mandated team had come up with something she judged as "unworkable" and politically untenable for Bush, who would have been forced to confront Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to enact it.

On April 4, Bush delivered a speech calling for a "two state" solution, but without any details, and sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to the region. Leverett traveled with him. Powell gained agreement for the basic outline of the original plan, but just as he was to announce his breakthrough in a press conference Rice intervened, instructing him not to discuss any political process and that the whole burden of accountability must be put on the Palestinians and none on the Israelis. In private, Powell seethed but did not fight Rice."


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