- The Arabs are not afraid of the Empire any more. Robert Fisk once said that, in the past, when the Israelis crossed the border with Lebanon the Arabs used to jump in their cars to drive to Beirut; now when the Israelis cross the Lebanese border the Arabs jump in their cars in Beyrut and drive south to fight. The US debacle in Iraq, the stunning victory of Hezbollah against the IDF, and now the equally stunning defeat of Fatah (and its US/Israeli/Egyptian sponsors) will have a huge psychological effect on the Arab population.
- The kind of opponent the Empire faces today is very different from what it was in the past. The old PLO/FPLP -type of secular fedayeen has been replaced by a deeply religious resistance fighter who is willing, if need be, to become a martyr (shaheed). This "next generation guerrilla fighter" is also highly patriotic and is not, countrary to Imperial propaganda, under foreign orders: he is fully home grown. Thus, he has no patrons which can reign him in or which can be made to pay for his resistance.
- The leadership of the new religious groups is, quite unlike its secular predecessors, far less susceptible to corruption. For example, even opponents of Hezbollah in Lebanon concede that the Hezbollah leadership is total honest and in not involved in all the money making schemes of the rest of the politicians.
- "Land for peace" as a concept is dead. Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Iraqi resistance and now Hamas in the Gaza strip have shown that the only way to get land is war.
- Imperial puppets (such as Abbas, Maliki, Siniora or Karzai) all realize that for all its promises the support of the Empire does not secure their future or safety (think Musharraf here). In fact, the support of the USA has become a kind of political "kiss of death" for any politician in the Middle-East.
- The huge military-intelligence-security complex put in place throughout the Middle-East to crush any anti-Imperial popular revolt is slowly coming apart. Even the House of Saud or the Al-Sabah family are coming to realize that neither the US military nor their repression apparatus can guarantee their safety.
The second option is escalation: an attack against Iran, more US troops in Iraq, unleash even more terror against the Palestinian population, etc. This is not much of an option either, being as it is little more than a faster, bloodier, more frantic version, of the "more of the same" plan. It is also totally useless against the type of foe the Empire now faces. Which leaves only one solution: real negotiations with the enemy.
That would mean forgetting about the Abbas', Sinioras and Karzais of the region, and sit down with Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, the Iraqi Shia and Sunni and "negotiate with the terrorists" without preconditions of any kind.
There is no way in hell the US Zionist lobby will ever allow that to happen, so the first step must be taken by those who a) risk the most at waiting any longer and b) those who have the least to fear from the AIPAC/ADL crowd: the Israelis themselves.
Considering how totally terrified of the "Lobby" US politicians are, not to mention that they are cowards in every sense of the word anyway, I expect nothing from them.
The Israeli political system is, however, quite different and while the current choice of Israeli politicians is decidedly uninspiring, more defeats and crises will eventually discredit them in the eyes of the Israeli population. The Israelis, as a people, lack neither courage, nor vision, nor intelligence, nor patriotism and sooner or later a political figure will emerge who will not be intoxicated by the current nauseating mix of crude racism and religious bigotry with prevails in the minds of Israeli politicians and who instead will have gut to tell his people the simple basic truth: that Israel's security can only come from making Israel acceptable as an entity to the peoples of the Middle-East.
So Ahmadinejad will get his way. While Israel - as a country - will probably not be wiped off the map, Israel as a racist ethno-theocratic state relying on terror to impose its will on the rest of the world will not survive the new Middle-East which is being created before our eyes. The only question is now much blood will be shed by the Empire before it comes to terms with this reality