After writing about my ideas about the well-timed Saudi peace initiative I came across this article in the New York Times with more information from the horse’s mouth which supports some of my conclusions.
“This is the first time we’ve heard any nation in the region talk about full normalization between Arab nations and Israel at the end of the peace process,” one senior administration official said. “The president decided that he had to embrace the moment.”
Other officials and outsiders noted a series of possible benefits for Mr. Bush.
Embracing the emotion of the Saudi plan, though not its details, helps the president counter critics who say that Washington’s hands-off approach to the Middle East for much of its first year only worsened the current violence.
Moreover, with Vice President Dick Cheney scheduled to leave for the Middle East in two weeks to describe the president’s reasons for wanting to change regimes in Iraq, an embrace of the Saudi initiative could give Mr. Bush some diplomatic leverage. It could help soften Saudi objections to increasing the pressure on Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein.
It could also change the tone of the next Arab League summit meeting, scheduled for March 27 and 28 in Beirut, Lebanon. The Saudi proposal is expected to be debated there, and one American official said that “this gives them something more positive to talk about than just condemning Ariel Sharon.”
The timing on this could not be better for the US. I am almost certain it was their idea.