Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Arab League Powerless

I was looking at the siege on the Palestinians and thought that it was working pretty well. The Palestinian government is having a lot of problems due to lack of funds.

Reader Paul then alerted me to a story saying that the Arab League was going to break the siege. I replied (approximately):

If the Middle East Banks want to stay in the international system they have to play by American rules.

That leaves bag men with huge amounts of cash roaming the ME in search of a way into Gaza and the Territories. Think of the cut that has to be accepted on every stage of the journey.

With such large regular flows detection and disruption is easier.

No siege is ever absolute. This effort may not be enough to stop the strangulation. In fact it might just be another Arab declaration of "solidarity".

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
It seems I was quite correct about the Middle East Banks:

CAIRO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Arab governments have yet to find a way to transfer money to the Palestinian Authority without running into U.S. and other reprisals against the banks they use, a senior Arab diplomat said on Monday.

Arab foreign ministers, meeting in an emergency session in Egypt on Sunday, pledged unanimously to break the sanctions imposed after the Islamist group Hamas won general elections in January, but did not say how that would be achieved.

Asked if the ministers had adopted any practical mechanism to transfer funds and help banks escape possible sanctions, the diplomat said: "No ... We will have to work further on this issue."

"The issue is not limited to the transfer of funds, there are all kinds of difficulties ... The government of Israel has all kinds of controls over the licensing (of banks). It is a difficult one," he told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

An Arab political source said Arab banks can at least transfer the money in Jordanian dinars through Jordanian banks to avoid sanctions.

"The Jordanian dinar is widely used in the Palestinian territories and banks would not need to go through New York to transfer money in this currency."

"But this needs a bold political decision away from any affiliations with U.S. policy," he said.
What he means is that there is no way to escape the US dominated global banking system. I don't see how he expects Jordanian banks to escape that reach. Plus you still have the bagman problem.

They must have known all this before their meeting so I think it is fair to say that they knew this before making their pledge. In other words another expression of Arab "solidarity".

H/T Israel Matzav who has some interesting observations.

1 comment:

Guy Barry said...

I don't think they'll ever work the Palestinian problem out,do you?