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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Setting the Record Straight: Clinton Bears Partial Responsibility for ISIS

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

During Monday night’s presidential debate, Candidate Trump accused Secretary Clinton and President Obama of bearing the responsibility for the creation of the Caliphate, a.k.a. the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Trump charged: “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out — […] they shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.” Trump suggested that ISIS “wouldn’t have even been formed if they left some troops behind, like 10,000 or maybe something more than that. And then you wouldn’t have had them.”

Clinton responded: “I hope the fact-checkers are turning up the volume and really working hard.” She explained that “George W. Bush made the agreement about when American troops would leave Iraq, not Barack Obama. And the only way that American troops could have stayed in Iraq is to get an agreement from the then-Iraqi government that would have protected our troops, and the Iraqi government would not give that.”

Without taking sides, there is something to what Trump is saying. The fact checkers on Politico found his statement attributing the responsibility to Obama to be wrong, since, as they put it, “ISIS formed as Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2004, before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state and Barack Obama became president, and long before the US began drawing down troops in Iraq.” But the fact is that the core of both Al Qaeda in Iraq and its splinter group ISIS that became much bigger and better organized than the original franchise, were Sunni Baath Party members who lost their government and military positions once the Americans had occupied Iraq and handed the national rule to the Shiite majority.

As Reuters reported in 2015, the rising Islamic State, with the help of former Saddam Hussein military officers, out-muscled the Sunni-dominated Baath Party troops which had been fighting a guerilla war against US troops in Fallujah and elsewhere, and absorbed thousands of them. The new recruits joined Saddam-era officers who already held key posts in the Islamic State.

It’s safe to say that President GW Bush, by invading Iraq and then sending hundreds of thousands of Saddam loyalists to the unemployment lines instead of incorporating them into the new, semi-democratic Iraq, created ISIS. The creation of the Taliban and later Al Qaeda, by the way, can be largely attributed to President Reagan, whose CIA recruited and trained the Arab Mujahideen insurgent groups who fought against the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. Those same highly trained, largely Saudi troops were later galvanized into a disciplined and effective force in Bosnia, Somalia and Chechnya.

So the bulk of the blame rests with the second Bush administration, which altered the Middle East forever. Incidentally, despite the citation of a lone radio interview with shock jock Howard Stern, in which Trump made a noncommittal, off the cuff comment supporting the Iraq invasion, he clearly has been one of the earlier voices against the American presence in Iraq, while Senator Clinton with her vote actually handed President Bush the keys to start the war. She says she and fellow Democrats had been duped by Bush, who promised not to use the war powers they gave him, but some in the Senate (Sen. Obama, for one) did not fall for it.

But the most devastating point was made by Secretary Clinton when she said the Obama Administration had no choice but to pull out of Iraq, because the Shiite government, practically operating on instructions from Tehran, wouldn’t agree to let them stay. Seriously? Had President Obama actually insisted on staying he couldn’t have come up with ways to persuade the Iraqis?

The fact was Obama had promised his voters to pull the military out of Iraq by the appointed time. He did not begin the withdrawal of troops, GW Bush did, starting in 2007. But it must be noted that the last US troops left Iraq on 18 December 2011, just in time for the first Democratic primary in Iowa. They left behind a Sunni-owned Fallujah where only the US military had been able to maintain a semblance of law and order, with a combination of raids and bribes. As soon as the declared date for withdrawal had arrived, those same former Saddam loyalists who had been transformed several times over the previous decade, were ready for their current reincarnation as ISIS.

Many, including several US senators, most notably John McCain and Lindsey Graham, begged for a contingency of troops to stay, just in case things went south in Fallujah. They urged Obama to sell the idea, with a measure of force if necessary, to Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki. But as Iraq analyst Kirk Sowell told NPR in 2015, Obama never really tried. “This is one of the criticisms of Obama — that he sort of wanted the negotiations to fail,” Sowell said, “and, so, he didn’t even talk to Maliki until it was basically all over.”

To complete this fact check: the Obama-Clinton Administration did not start the complex and incredibly expensive process that led to the creation of ISIS, but there’s no doubt they could have stopped it with a comparatively low investment of troops and funds.

Advantage Trump.

JNi.Media

PM Netanyahu Hopes Obama Continues UN Vetoes Till End of Presidency

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel’s Channel 2 television news in an interview aired Saturday night that he hopes U.S. President Barack Obama continues to use America’s veto power in the UN Security Council to back Israel until the end of his tenure next January. Netanyahu told the interviewer that he hopes the White House will continue to stand by Israel and that Obama won’t help the Palestinian Authority unilaterally establish a new Arab state.

In response to a question about whether Obama had given Netanyahu his promise not to help establish such a state without Israel’s cooperation, the prime minister replied, “If you’re asking me whether he spoke with me about this, the answer is, ‘no.’ …

“President Obama has previously vetoed anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, though, and [he] said in his speech [this past week at the UN] that peace will not be achieved through statements. We can only hope that this will continue to remain the consistent approach of the Americans until the end of his presidency,” Netanyahu said.

Hana Levi Julian

Obama Vetoes Bill Letting 9/11 Families Sue Saudi Arabia

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

President Obama on Friday vetoed the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” which was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate, helping families of 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia. The bill enables the families to sue the Kingdom should it be shown to be legally liable, having supported the attack. Out of the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists, 15 were Saudi nationals.

Obama released a statement Friday, saying he bears “deep sympathy for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, who have suffered grievously. I also have a deep appreciation of these families’ desire to pursue justice and am strongly committed to assisting them in their efforts.”

However, the president explained, the 9/11 bill is sure to “invite consequential decisions to be made based upon incomplete information and risk having different courts reaching different conclusions about the culpability of individual foreign governments and their role in terrorist activities directed against the United States — which is neither an effective nor a coordinated way for us to respond to indications that a foreign government might have been behind a terrorist attack.”

Yes, he actually used that as his argument: it’s going to cause a mess in the courts system.

A group named 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism released a statement Friday saying it is “outraged and dismayed” over the president’s veto, arguing that his reasoning is “unconvincing and unsupportable.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she supports the bill. Her spokesman said in a statement that “Clinton continues to support the efforts by Senator Schumer and his colleagues in Congress to secure the ability of 9/11 families and other victims of terror to hold accountable those responsible. She would sign this legislation if it came to her desk.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Obama’s veto was “shameful,” adding in a statement: “That President Obama would deny the parents, spouses and children of those we lost on that horrific day the chance to close this painful chapter in their lives is a disgrace.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) said earlier last week that he believes ” the votes are there for the override.” Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-NY), who co-sponsored the bill, is on the record as promising to help override a veto.

This is the 12th veto by President Obama in his eight years in the White House, and none of his first 11 have been overturned. His predecessor, President GW Bush, used his veto power 12 times and was overturned four times. Out of President Bill Clinton’s 36 vetoes, two were overridden; President GHW Bush had 29 vetoes (in one term) and lost only one.

JNi.Media

Obama, Netanyahu Exchange Thoughts About Peace at Final Meeting

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exchanged brief but courteous remarks Tuesday afternoon at their final meeting before Obama leaves office next January.

The two men met at the Palace Hotel in New York City, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly where Obama has already delivered his final address, and where Netanyahu is still expected to speak.

It’s the 17th time the two men have held any conversation since Obama entered office in January 2009, at least a couple less than Obama’s predecessor in the White House had with Israeli leaders during his tenure.

Netanyahu first thanked Obama — as he told media he would — for the $34 billion 10-year U.S. military aid package signed last week with Israel.

Israel will never give up on its attempts to reach a comprehensive peace with its neighbors, he told the American president.

He also said Obama will always be a welcome guest in Israel, and invited him to come and visit after he leaves office.

The U.S. president began his response by saying his thoughts are with former president Shimon Peres, who is still sedated and breathing with the aid of a respirator in the intensive care unit at Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv following a major stroke last week.

Obama then verified that the bond between Israel and the United States is “unbreakable,” and based on “common values.” The United States wants Israel to be secure, Obama said, especially in times of uncertainty.

He therefore could not resist adding his hope that the possibility of a “Palestinian state alongside Israel” would remain alive: specifically, an Israel “at peace with its neighbors and a Palestinian homeland.”

Obama also said he hopes he will hear more about this from Netanyahu when he delivers his speech from the podium of the UN General Assembly.

Obama’s biggest concern regarding Israel clearly remains the issue of “settlement activity” on any land where the Palestinian Authority has laid claim for its hoped-for state, regardless of its actual status.

Hana Levi Julian

88 Senators Asking Obama to Protect Israel from Hostile UN Resolution

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Michael Rounds (R-SD) have led 88 Senators in a letter urging President Obama to veto one-sided UN resolutions on the Israeli-PA conflict. Anticipating that Obama is planning to embark on a post-election peace push using the UN Security Council, the 88 Democratic and Republican senators are telling the president to curb his enthusiasm.

“At this delicate stage the international community should both provide hope to the parties and avoid taking action that would harm the prospects for meaningful progress,” the Senators’ letter cautions, pointing out that “even well-intentioned initiatives at the United Nations risk locking the parties into positions that will make it more difficult to return to the negotiating table and make the compromises necessary for peace.”

The letter reminds Obama of his own UN envoy Susan Rice, who in 2011 told the UNSC: “It is the Israelis’ and Palestinians’ conflict, and even the best-intentioned outsiders cannot resolve it for them.” It also reminds the president of his own speech at the UN General Assembly, back in September 2011, when he said, “Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians — not us — who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them.”

“We could not agree more with these statements,” the Senators’ letter concludes. “We urge you to continue longstanding US policy and make it clear that you will veto any one-sided UNSC resolution that may be offered in the coming months.”

Now let’s sit back and watch what President Obama does after Nov. 8.

David Israel

Netanyahu Orders Increased Police at Temple Mount, Reinforces Ban on Lawmakers Ahead of Jewish Holy Days

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a security assessment in Jerusalem prior to leaving for New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, and ahead of the Jewish holy days in the Hebrew month of Tishrei.

Attending the meeting were Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Israel Policy Deputy Inspector General Zohar Dvir, Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy, the deputy Director of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency), an IDF representative and personnel from the National Security Council.

The prime minister ordered police to increase forces particularly in the Old City of Jerusalem and around the Temple Mount, underscoring that “determined action be taken against any attempt to violate order there,” according to his media adviser.

Netanyahu also requested that Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein take action to “continue to prevent parliamentarians and ministers from going up to the Temple Mount during this sensitive period,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

In addition, the prime minister “directed that activity be increased against Palestinian incitement on social networks, including expanded action vis-à-vis Facebook and other platforms, with the goal of removing inflammatory content. He also instructed that a response team be established to refute disinformation about Israeli policy on the Temple Mount.”

In addition, Netanyahu received an update on IDF operations and reinforcements along the roads and in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria.

Barely a few hours prior to the meeting, a terrorist from the Palestinian Authority stabbed and seriously wounded an IDF reservist at a guard post in the Judean city of Efrat, only eight minutes south of Jerusalem. The terrorist had infiltrated the community late Saturday night, and dozens of IDF soldiers, reservists and local security response personnel had spent the entire night searching the city and surrounding fields to track him down.

The attack came on the heels of a series of terrorist stabbings of IDF soldiers and other attacks against Israelis in Judea and Samaria, at least three of which took place in Hebron. In response, the IDF beefed up its forces in the holy city next to Kiryat Arba, but other Jewish communities are still vulnerable.

On Friday afternoon barely an hour before the start of the Sabbath, an Arab couple from the nearby town of Bani Naim carried out a vehicle ramming attack at the Elias Junction entrance to Kiryat Arba on Highway 60, next to the Paz gas station, at the bus stop and hitchhiking post. IDF soldiers stationed at the site shot and killed the male terrorist and wounded the female attacker; but three Israeli teenagers were injured and suffered major trauma as well. All three were treated for their relatively minor physical wounds and the major shock they endured.

Within hours, the IDF surrounded and sealed off Bani Naim, which also was home to the teenage terrorist who climbed in the window of the Kiryat Arba home of 13-year-old Hallel Ariel, z’l, at the start of this summer and stabbed her to death while she slept in her bed.

It’s not known how long the closure will last. But Arab villages have been sealed off before, and when the curfew is lifted, terrorists are free to leave and kill Israelis again, inspired and financially remunerated for their efforts by the government of the Palestinian Authority.

The prime minister is clearly hoping that beefed up police at the Temple Mount and in the Old City will contain, if not entirely eliminate Arab terror attacks while he is meeting with President Barack Obama in New York, and addressing the United Nations General Assembly: a gathering that for the most part could care less these days whether Israelis live or die.

It’s Netanyahu’s unenviable job to remind them of why they should care, if only for their own survival — and Israel’s — and the last thing he wants or needs is trouble at home by Knesset members who take the opportunity while he is away to create “a distraction.”

Hana Levi Julian

US President Obama, Israeli PM Netanyahu to Meet in New York

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday in New York.

The meeting is set to take place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, which both men are to address.

The two leaders are expected to discuss the recently signed defense Memorandum of Understanding in which Israel is to receive $3.8 billion per year for a ten-year period, beginning in 2018, including the issues surrounding the agreement — such as intelligence sharing, the joint fight against terrorism and the common goals between the two countries in Syria.

Netanyahu scolded critics who claimed Israel would have received more if he had withheld his pressure over the Iranian nuclear deal last year, and also aimed at critics who condemned the size of the assistance package. In opening remarks at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, the prime minister said “support for Israel in the United States is stronger than ever; it crosses political parties and embraces the length and breadth of the United States and finds expression in this agreement.”

The prime minister added that Israel was never offered more from the Obama administration, not in dollars, nor in special technologies. He slammed “the saddest thing of all, ingratitude to our greatest and best friend, the United States.”

Netanyahu’s contention was confirmed by a senior U.S. official quoted by journalist Barak Ravid, writing for Haaretz. “Obama didn’t say or even hint to Netanyahu that he will get more aid if he comes to the talks now [while the Iran deal was taking shape],” the official told Ravid.

Israeli National Security Council Acting Head Yaakov Nagel also said, as had Netanyahu, that there was no connection between the military assistance total and the dispute between Obama and Netanyahu over the Iran nuclear program deal.

“Is this military aid deal compensation for Israel because of the Iran nuclear deal?” the White House said in a statement. “The answer is no. We started this negotiation long before the Iran deal and even before [Hassan] Rohani was elected president.”

The Reuters news agency quoted White House spokesperson Josh Earnest as saying “the meeting also will be an opportunity to discuss the need for genuine advancement of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the face of deeply troubling trends on the ground.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-president-obama-israeli-pm-netanyahu-to-meet-in-new-york/2016/09/18/

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