Annapolis Fiasco Looming? Or, Annapolis Success?

The United States government has issued invitations to next week’s Annapolis meeting to Saudi Arabia and Syria who are asked to join the 40 nations attending. The assembled representatives will meet on November 26 for a dinner, they will spend November 27 working on something, and then conclude on November 28. President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority says his attempts to develop a plan of action for the meeting with Prime Minister Olmert of Israel have failed and his spokesperson, Imer Hammad says it would be a “miracle” if anything worthwhile emerged from the conference. The US State Department insists, “the parties will get to Annapolis in good shape, prepared to accomplish what it is that they set out for themselves.”

One can only wonder on which planet Secretary of State Rice is living. Representatives from 40 nations are arriving at a meeting which has no agenda, no goals, in order to talk about something that no one agrees wishes discussed. The Palestinians are infuriated they are coming to a meeting without a preliminary document which at least outlines general directions of what might be accomplished, and Prime Minister Olmert insists the conference is for a discussion, not for the purposes of reaching any agreements. An observer might well conclude this is simply a typical Bush incompetence in action.