Friday, March 20, 2009

Lieberman as Foreign Minister: Anatomy of a Ploy

From GLORIA, March 17, 2009, by Prof. Barry Rubin*:

It is being widely reported that Benyamin Netanyahu is making Avigdor Lieberman Israel’s foreign minister in his coalition plan.

Maybe; maybe not.

This story should be looked at as a ploy in the maneuvering over Israel’s next government.

...Netanyahu is offering a bluff, saying to Kadima: “...we will form a coalition with the right wing and make Lieberman foreign minister! ...”

...Livni would rather have a government that is bad for Israel than play second-fiddle for four years to Netanyahu; Netanyahu is threatening to have a government coalition that is bad and for himself rather than have Livni be prime minister for the second half of the government’s term.

...ignore all the stories ...until the first week of April. ...That will be the moment of truth, but not yet.

...If Livni lets a coalition take office that is dependent on right-wing support and including Lieberman as foreign minister..., she will be hurting the country. But she will also be hurting herself. Can Kadima really survive in the opposition? Can she really remain head of the party under such circumstances when she has not shown herself to be a great leader? ...

...if Netanyahu leads such a coalition, it is likely to fall apart before too long....

...Politics are not completely rational but Israel needs a national unity coalition. I care who is prime minister far less than whether the country’s leaders show a regard for national interests and rational policies.

*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. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go to
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