Dennis Ross

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Berkeley–The American diplomat and author, Dennis B. Ross, (b. 1948) has worked in the capacity of Director of Planning in the (U.S.) State Department under President George H.W. (“Daddy”) Bush, the special Middle East coordinator under President William “Bill” Clinton, and was a special adviser for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia (which includes Iran) to the former Israel-leaning Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Ross is no stranger to this region of Northern California from where this reporter interacted with him, for he was born in San Francisco, and raised just north across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County.  

Although he was raised in a secular household with one Jewish and one Roman Catholic (Christian) parent, he later became religiously Jewish after the Six Day War. In 2002, he even co-founded a synagogue in Maryland which only demonstrates why the he has failed to fulfill himself as a fair broker for the settlement of the injustices in the now overwhelmingly Islamic Palestine.

During the Palestinian-sympathetic President James “Jimmy” Carter’s Administration, Ross worked under the stringently Neo-Conservative pro- Israeli chauvinist, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, within the Pentagon itself.  There, he co-authored a study which recommended greater American adventurism in “the Persian Gulf Region because of our need for Persian Gulf oil and because events in Persian Gulf directly affected the Arab-Israeli conflict” (Sic!) to a great degree.”  Following, during the Reagan Administration, Ross served as the director for Near East and South Asian affairs under the National Security Council (NSA) and Deputy Director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (1982–1984).

He, further, worked with the Right-of-Center Secretary of State James Baker to convince both Arab and Israeli leaders to attend the 1991 Middle East Peace Conference in Madrid (Spain).

Even though his curriculum vitae did not merit it, President William (Bill) Clinton named Ross as his Middle East envoy during 1993.  To his credit, he assisted the Palestinians and Israelis to reach the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which has been marred by innumerable Israeli incursions since that date, and brokered the Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron during 1997. Further, he facilitated the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace, and he, also, labored on talks between Israel and Syria.

Ambassador Ross is currently at the Washington Institute for Peace.  The Ambassador has played a central role shaping American policy for the region, and his Judeophilia only demonstrates the failure of that policy, and this author in retrospect encourages Muslim-Americans to join the State Department to counter the vicious prejudice and misunderstandings towards the Islamic World in the Occident within that central governmental institution of American policy.

A question with Ross, who embraced Judaism, has been whether he is too close to the American Jewish community and Israel to be an honest broker with Iran or the Arabs.  Further, he was one of the rare full supporters of the Iraq War!

So, the event at Berkeley’s law school, Boalt Hall, expressed the American Jewish position on the Arab-Israeli crisis, and may not be too hopeful for the American Islamic Diaspora – except to comprehend the position at the other end of the table. 

The purposes of his comments were to outline his ideas for Middle Eastern peace. Most of these ideas few of us on these pages can fully embrace.

He confirmed the tension between the United States and the Saudi Arabian Kingdom.  In fact, this tension has been prevalent from Eisenhower’s Presidency (during the 1950s) onward.  Now, the Saudis are merely going public with their complaints.  At the same time the States shares commonality with the Arabian Peninsula’s desert Kingdom – such as an overriding distrust of Iran.

As Washington, Riyadh has a marked fear of radical Islamism.  Yet the Saudis accuse the American’s national ideology as alien to the Ulema.  Still, our militaries embody an ideological commonality.  The U.S.A. has managed to estrange almost all the players in the Middle East, but through it all is this abiding connection to our mutual armed forces.

Neither we nor the Saudis will tolerate the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (which your author feels is a grave error), and the Cairo coup was bankrolled in Islam’s sacred Kingdom (of Islam’s founding).         

Although Ross, personally, feels D.C. should influence the Egyptian Army to allow political parties and NGOs (Non-governmental Agencies), the SCAF (the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) should be tolerated at the same time by the U.S.

Regarding Syria, he does not feel that that country will emerge united after the civil war is resolved.  President Assad’s factions control large swaths of Syrian territory while ten percent of Jordan’s population now consists of Syrian refugees. 

At the same time, the mistakes of Iraq must not be allowed to repeat themselves allowing Syria to become a magnet for Jihadists. 

America has to change the balance of power on the ground.  The question must be what our ultimate objective is.  The Obama Administration is disinclined to commit itself, for the rest of the world is not mobilized towards a solution of the Syrian question.  Syria, although the Israelis claim 30,000 Jihadists, are about Damascus at this moment making any move hostile precarious for the International Imperial powers as in fear the Sunni religious right react toward the Shia majority in neighboring Iraq which only reinforces the State establishment there.

He talked about the “grand” nuclear deal which has since has been brokered between the U.S and the (Shia) Islamic Republic of Iran.  The recent new Iranian President, Ruoahani, could not have won the poll without the support of the (Ayatollah) supreme Leader for Iran is still very much a democratic theocracy.

“The greatest issue… [for the] publics’ involved is [was] the [the public’s general] disbelief [that it] will happen.”

Talking about negotiations in general, “We, [the U.S.] as a nation, have to address that disbelief, for we “have two streets with different movements.”  Both sides, though have to compromise.  Central to this is the Palestinians should be allowed to depart the confining camps, but this is far from the Right of Return which is pivotal to the contemporary Law of War, and a basic responsibility of an occupying power which Tel Aviv is at this historical point very much is.

Although he made the demand that the Palestinians develop the rule of laws when, as M.K. Gandhi’s pointed out between the Great Wars of the last Century that the Jewish peoples had had a right to immigrate into the Mandate of Palestine in an orderly manner because of the horrors of Europe, but they must obey the prevailing Arabic law, and any land must be willingly alienated for a fair exchange of money or an equivalent exchange of acreage, and, in no way should have happened with the violence that in fact the Jews inflicted.

It is true that on both sides organized youth groups have to interact and work together to help younger generation to understand the hopes and goals of each peoples through face-to-face meetings as they develop into leaders of their respective different divergent civil and cultural societies over our Sacred Lands.

Ross believes these civil society encounters will hopefully build trust that will blossom into long-term relationship between the Settler Colonialists and primordial Arab nation.  Sources of disbelief are enduring. They can multiply which can cause conflict.  Succinctly, though, Ross vision is naïve, and is one coming from the oppressor to make the repressed to feel the persecutor’s vision be the norm for the beloved land.

Dennis Ross, traveling to West Arabian Africa stated that Egypt cannot become a “failed” State.  In the Arab monarchies and in the non-monarchies, there is a desire to establish sincere stable infra-structure.

The Saudis amazingly do not have a firm “Constitutional” rule for secession.

The focus is on the Tunisians because currently they seem to have the best chance of succeeding within the Arab Awakening.  “We [the U.S., need to be] more active [in that country].”  Back to the Iran nuclear arms understanding; President Obama sees the Iran crisis more of an “issue” than a conflict.  His Presidency has spent more effort with Tehran than any previous Administration. If the Iranians get the Bomb, the Saudis will follow, also:  (A train of logic that does not follow suit.)

Speaking of his own short-comings, in the Hebron Accord which he hashed out, even though it was a reasonable security arrangement the Israelis have not followed through to their signature upon the paper.

He believes a negotiated peace in the Levant is possible even now. There have been changes made on the ground:  “If you don’t have that faith, you can’t do it!”  Although the Muslim Brotherhood has received a violent hit by playing the democratic constitutional game in Egypt, they are still clinging on in the other successful nations of the Arab Awakening amongst which is Hamas in the mini-Palestinian State within the Gaza Strip, but blockaded by an hostile Israeli Navy on the Mediterranean Sea and an intimidating Egypt and an inimical Israel surrounding its fragile land borders.

The Brotherhood seems to be more effective out of office than in – due to the Arabic principle of Da’wa.  Further, the contemporary mythologies between Middle Eastern peoples are shifting which is altering the geopolitical patterns of the region.

While Hama’s influence is waning in Gaza, it is in ascendance curiously; on the West Bank this produces a weakened American influence over the area.

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