US Envoy Zinni Prepares Alternatives for Day after Palestinian Authority’s Collapse

The US truce envoy, Anthony Zinni, quickly understood that his chances of brokering a Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire were nil as long as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat refused to lift a finger against Palestinian terrorists. On the assumption that the Palestinian Authority was on the verge of collapse, Zinni was pressed into service to test the ground for Washington’s alternative scenario, which debkafile revealed on December 10:
Egypt and Jordan will send their armies into Palestinian-ruled areas to take the place of a collapsed Arafat regime or a Palestinian Authority stripped of powers. The Jordanian army, including its intelligence arm, would re-locate itself in the West Bank instead of the Palestinian security and intelligence services, while the Egyptian military would re-occupy the Gaza Strip.
This was the main subject of his talks Saturday, December 15, with King Abdullah II in Amman and President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. After those talks, it was announced in Washington that Zinni had been recalled for consultations, during which he will no doubt submit his report on his talks with the two Arab leaders, as well as with the Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon this week. The US envoy most certainly asked Abdullah and Mubarak to ready the necessary military force for a Middle East war that appears imminent.
The Jordanian king said he had two paratroop brigades of Jordan’s rapid deployment force ready to go into the West Bank at short notice.
The discussion also touched on the Hashemite kingdom’s participation in a peace force for Afghanistan, unless this is precluded by a Middle East flareup.
The Egyptian president was cagier than the king in his reply to the US request to make Egyptian troops available for the Gaza Strip. debkafile‘s military sources report that the United States would prefer IDF combat units to be free of terror security duties against the Palestinians and available for external fronts in the event of a regional war.

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