by Barry Rubin
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issues reports that rarely make headlines yet analyze as objectively as possible
One new report is "Palestinian Authority: U.S. Assistance Is Training and EquippingSecurity Forces, but the Program Needs to Measure Progress and Faces Logistical Constraints." GAO-10-505, May 11. It recounts that the
There are some good reasons for this program, of course. Increasing the PA's ability to defeat any Hamas overthrow attempt is important, and a better PA security force can maintain order, thus allowing improvements in living standards and--in theory--lay a basis for peace.
Yet there are also considerable risks. The report says that the
"Targets they set to measure progress...focus on specific program outputs, such as the number of battalions or personnel trained and equipped, rather than on broader program outcomes such as helping the PA meet its Roadmap obligations to achieve the transformation of its security sector and create a professional, right-sized" security force.
What does this mean? Simply that there's no evidence that training is producing security forces more likely to block terrorism against Israel, repress (rather than join!) radical elements, or obey any orders from moderate Palestinian politicians (if they were ever to give such orders).
Let's face it: U.S.-trained forces are most likely to use their training and equipment in future to fight
What the GAO report basically says is this: Is there any reason to believe that this training will contribute to stability, peace, moderation, PA support for
To which I would add: How many members of the security forces being trained have also been involved in cooperation with Hamas or continuing participation in terrorist involvement either individually or through membership in the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades or Tanzim?
In another report, "Firms Reported to Have Commercial Activity in the Iranian EnergySector and U.S. Government Contracts." GAO-10-639R, May 4, the GAO lists seven foreign companies that have received $900 million in
There has been some real progress in discouraging companies from investing in Iran, in large part because they fear forthcoming sanctions will open them to penalties or force them to suspend expensive projects. But what will happen after only very weak sanctions have been passed by the UN Security Council? Will these companies conclude that it is now safe to reengage with
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
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