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Meshal Decamps For Sudan

Even Syria is now disposing of Khaled Meshal, the chief strategist of Hamas. You may recall that the Mossad once tried to kill him (by poisoning) on an Amman street but failed. Still, as he lay dying, Jerusalem was diplomatically coerced to provide the chemical antidote that would keep him alive. It's a shame: many Jews and Arabs now dead would still be alive. In any case, King Hussein wanted Meshal out. He went north where other exiled Palestinian terrorist chieftans had found homes and a capitol from which to order press releases and marching orders.

Let's speculate whom the expulsion from Damascus makes happy. Maybe Israel because it removes him from a neighboring state in which to do his mischief. Maybe Syria itself because revolutionaries, even revolutionaries whom one indulges, are also and always trouble-makers. Probably the war-front Gaza chieftain for whom, like for all warriors in the areas of strife, leaders in exile are always, well, leaders in exile. And certainly the U.S., at whose stressed urging President Assad must have broken with his long-time comrade. Poor Ms. Rice: in her eyes, this move will smooth the way for the peace talks between Lebanon and Syria. You will not be surprised I think it won't. Hasn't she noticed that the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have suffered a terrible fate? Mahmoud Abbas has rejected two more than reasonable, in fact, more than generous offers from Ehud Olmert. You will also not be surprised that I think the offers are more than dangerously generous. When a president comes to realize that from now on he can't spend his winters in Antigua they panic. What have I accomplished? Quick: the Jews to the rescue. But it is not the Jews who are problem. It's the Arabs.

Oh, yes. And to where will Meshal go? Take a guess. Not any of the usual places. He will be the guest of President Bashir in Sudan. This is tell-tale. Sudan once hosted bin Laden, the chief of Al Qaeda. Now it will host the chief of Hamas. The symbolic symmetries cannot be clearer. But, of course, for the sake of peace and all other good things, Israel should negotiate with Hamas.