Bank On It

Robin Roberts disagrees with my prediction that Arafat won’t be “re-” “elected” as chairman, President, Mullah, Big Cheese, Bomber-in-Chief of the PA.


I’m baffled Stephen by how you can come up with such a prediction. As unpopular as Arafat is, you cannot find anyone with a larger base of support. He’ll win and then President Bush’s policy will be trapped in another deadend.

Wrong on both counts, Robin. As of last week, Bush is the first president to completely detangle US mideast policy from Arafat. Even if Arafat were to win, he is “unacceptable” to a US president willing to use military force against him. That won’t sway a lot of real votes, but it will damn sure move into Column B a lot of votes that will really get counted.

Second, it doesn’t matter if there is anyone with more popular support (of which Arafat has close to nil) or a bigger power base. The other powers-that-be will make sure that Arafat is trounced, in the same way they made sure he won in that fake ’96 landslide. They needed him in ’96. They need him gone now. This is how “elections” are decided in Arab nations.


I’m not saying that the new guy will be better than Arafat. Whoever he turns out to be could very well be very much worse.

I am saying he won’t be Yasser.

NOTE: The one thing I keep forgetting to add is that any PA election could very well turn into a most uncivil civil war, with all the well-armed and bad-intentioned factions disputing the results the only way they know how.


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