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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

11/03/2004

Troll of RamallahTM Watch

The NYT is reporting that the Troll's health has declined.
The two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mr. Arafat's condition had seriously deteriorated over the past day. But Mr. Arafat's top aides denied that, accusing Israel of spreading rumors.
nyt
The not always reliable Debka File has the Troll in ICU. [ed. Not always reliable compared to,say, the New York Times?]

The point being that if the Troll really is dying there are only a few days left for moderate Palestinians to attempt to assert control over the Palestinian Authority. The current PM, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen - ya gotta have a nickname for street cred in Ramallah), would be a possible successor but he is not loved by the various terrorist factions. Indeed, no moderate, is going to be acceptable to those factions.

Herein a modest proposal. With Israel's full co-operation it may be time for the Jordians to send troops to the West Bank and the Egyptians to take over Gaza. Without a strong and unattached military force in place the death of the Troll could be the signal for intra-Palestinian bloodletting of African proportions.

Moving now, by which I mean the next week or two, in really significant force, would allow the Troll to join Franco with a minimum of death and set up the conditions for a UN supervised election, security provided by Jordon and Egypt, for his successor.

The Troll's disappearence from the picture, though he will live on in bloody memory, is the last best chance the Palestinians have of reaching statehood rather than remaining in a thug controlled limbo.

Having Jordian and Egyptian troops would mean that you had people on the ground with a long intelligence history in the area, a clear knowledge of the language and the personalities and an interest in genuinely helping the vast majority of Palestinians who simply want to get on with their lives.

You would also have troops rather less constrained than Western troops when it comes to the question of obtaining information or dealing with trouble makers.

It would not, I'm afraid, be a particularily edifying or pretty sight for the first couple of months. But it would have the virtue of reducing the carnage an all out civil war would bring in its wake.

At the moment, and I must admit I have not checked these figures, the United States provides about 3 billion a year to Eygpt in assistance. I do not know if it provides any money to Jordan. That should be a fairly significant stick to get the Egyptians moving a couple of hundred kilometers down the road.