Mr. Carter goes to Damascus

According to Fox News, it looks like Jimmy Carter is going to meet with Khalid Meshaal, the Hamas leader who lives in exile in Damascus. I’m sure that this will make a lot of people angry. Furthermore, it isn’t clear to me that this is necessarily the right course of action at the moment. Still, I greatly respect Carter’s decision here.

In talking to Khalid Meshaal, Jimmy Carter will open the door of dialog with Hamas, something that Israeli and American leadership seem to oppose unequivocally. How productive will their meeting be? Maybe not very. But hopefully once Jimmy Carter, a former US president, has met with Hamas leadership, other people will be willing to. While I have no love for Hamas, the truth is that there can be no real progress in creating peace in Israel-Palestine without involving them in the process.

I look forward to seeing what happens at their meeting. Does the fact that Carter will “be traveling in his capacity as head of the Carter Center, and not in his capacity as a former president” mean anything? We’ll see. But whenever I see someone try to take action to create peace–or at least dialog–between the Israelis and the Arabs, I get hopeful, if not necessarily encouraged.

Update: Haaretz reprints Fox’s story without the really douchey quotes from John Bolton and Steve Emerson.



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4 responses to “Mr. Carter goes to Damascus

  1. kip

    Whenever Carter speaks to leaders or representatives of potentially hostile groups he goes in his capacity as head of the Carter Center. I mean, their slogan is “Waging Peace”, after all!

  2. Max

    Um, good point. I guess I could have taken the time to look into the Carter Center a little more…

  3. MDH

    What are the difference (besides location, obviously) between Hammas and Al-Qaeda? They seem to a lot of the same things. I wonder if they ever bro-down, terrorist style.

  4. Max

    There are many, many structural, ideological, tactical, etc. differences between Al Qaeda and Hamas and they really don’t do many of the same things, except hate Israel and the West. For example: Hamas limits its operation to the Occupied Territories whereas Al Qaeda is a transnational terror network. Hamas is also an elected political party.

    I think what your question indicates is the success with which George W. Bush, John McCain and a lot of morons in mainstream media have succeeded in branding all militant Islamic groups (from the Iranian government to Al Qaeda) as some sort of monolithic “Islamofacist” threat where they are all indistinguishably bad guys.

    And I have no idea what it means to “bro-down, terrorist style”.

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