Diplomats: Kerry Peace Plan Will Turn Israel’s Jordan Valley Into Al-Qaeda Haven
Some Western diplomats believe that the U.S.-backed Middle East peace plan which includes an Israeli withdrawal from the Jordan Valley, will turn the Jewish state’s eastern border into a magnet for al-Qaeda terrorists, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Saturday.
This grim assessment was presented by the diplomats at a meeting held earlier this week in Europe. The officials contend that armed militias will spread their reach, from Iraq’s Anbar province all the way to the deserts of Syria and Jordan, according to Ma’ariv. The officials are reported to have close ties to the Iraqi government.
The diplomats cited as sources their peers in Baghdad, who warned that the fighting currently taking place between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government will spill over into other parts of the Middle East, Ma’ariv reported.
Over the last two weeks Islamist elements have reportedly gained control of parts of the central city of Fallujah and in a recent nationally televised address, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki urged residents of the city to help eradicate the local al-Qaeda element.
Al-Maliki’s troubles began once the United States pulled out of Iraq two years ago, according to the Western sources cited by Ma’ariv. As long as the Americans were in Iraq, the Pentagon paid off local Sunni tribal leaders in order to ensure the peace. In return, militias established by the Sunni tribes gathered intelligence that was used by the U.S. military in its fight against al-Qaeda.
According to the same sources, since the U.S. pullout Sunnis increasingly find themselves squeezed and discriminated against by the Shiite government, and only a few of these militias still maintain a certain level of trust with Baghdad, Ma’ariv said.