" . . . inviting Syria [to Annapolis] is the equivalent of inviting Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida to an anti-terrorism conference," writes Barry Rubin. Rubin is a rather detached analyst who is not usually critical of U.S. or Israeli policy. But Annapolis is a case so extreme that he's dropped his usual diplomacy. This conference proclaims that importing any thug into the U.S. and seating them at a table with Israel is a way to reach peace. Syria--just one, relatively very small example--is responsible for a series of murders of Lebanese "anti-Syrian" (Lebanese who want their country to regain its independence) figures over the last few years, of which the Rafik Hariri assassination is only the most famous. In almost every case the murder of a single individual was achieved by setting a car-bomb on a busy street that also took with it up to a couple of dozen bystanders. This is how Syria makes its points. It's a regime at the lowest level of cruelty, rapacity, and brutality. On to Annapolis!
And I'm so elated to see that the Saudis are coming too. Recently, in a case where a girl was gang-raped by seven men, Saudi Arabia sentenced the girl to six months in prison and 200 lashes for "adultery." That's the George Bush-Condi Rice peace partner for Israel. Really, for shame. Dragging the Western, democratic achievements and character, as represented by the United States and Israel, through the mud of Middle Eastern barbarism--a repulsive circus in Annapolis.
The original Bush doctrine of democratizing the Middle East was naive and unrealistic. That doesn't mean one has to go all the way to the other extreme--the Jim Baker-Jimmy Carter mentality of "the more you're a brutal outlaw, the more you're my friend."