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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘President Barack Obama’

Netanyahu’s Meeting with Obama Will Be Neither Friendly Nor Productive

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

In his Sunday interview with Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, President Barack Obama said two different things to the two sides currently keeping up the appearance of negotiations.

Obama urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “seize the moment” to make peace, saying time is running out to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

And Obama said he believes Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas “is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist.”

See, I would have wanted my president (I voted for him in 2008) to say something along the lines of: Netanyahu and Abbas are both sincere and willing to recognize each other’s right to exist.

Alternatively, I would have accepted my president’s urging both Netanyahu and Abbas to seize the moment because time is running out—I don’t think time is running anywhere, but at least it should be running an equal distance for both sides.

I haven’t seen two consecutive American administrations—Bush 2 and Obama—bring so much violence and suffering to a region since the Johnson and Nixon administrations collaborated to decimate South East Asia. I’ve learned to always expect the worst possible reaction from my current president: he has botched Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Iran. He will now reek havoc on both Israel and the Palestinians. It’s his default setting. Because he is a new breed of American politician: the intellectual non-thinker.

Permit me an aside: I heard Secretary of State John Kerry rebuking Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading another country based on made up allegations, and I was thinking, wait a minute, name Iraq and name WMD don’t sound familiar to you?

But enough about self righteous politicians—except, of course, that watching how America is defending the Ukraine from being molested by the bear next door does make one think about American security guarantees and in what anatomic context they could fit best.

I spent my morning reading through the interview transcript which Goldberg generously deposited online for the rest of us to dig into. I’ll try to quote lavishly without breaking copyright rules and Internet etiquette. Do go online to read the full thing—it’ll serve us all as a baseline in examining the coming Obama-Bibi matches.

GOLDBERG: Let me read you something that John Kerry told the American Jewish Committee not long ago: “We’re running out of time. We’re running out of possibilities. And let’s be clear: If we do not succeed now – and I know I’m raising those stakes – but if we do not succeed now, we may not get another chance.” He has also suggested strongly that there might be a third intifada down the road and that if this peace process doesn’t work, Israel itself could be facing international isolation and boycott. Do you agree with this assessment? Is this the last chance?

OBAMA: Well, look, I’m a congenital optimist. And, obviously, this is a conflict that has gone on for decades. And humanity has a way of muddling through, even in difficult circumstances. So you never know how things play themselves out.

But John Kerry, somebody who has been a fierce advocate and defender on behalf of Israel for decades now, I think he has been simply stating what observers inside of Israel and outside of Israel recognize, which is that with each successive year, the window is closing for a peace deal that both the Israelis can accept and the Palestinians can accept – in part because of changes in demographics; in part because of what’s been happening with settlements; in part because Abbas is getting older, and I think nobody would dispute that whatever disagreements you may have with him, he has proven himself to be somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue. We do not know what a successor to Abbas will look like.

Kerry’s quote represents the fundamental evil of all the peace deals between Israel and the Arabs, possibly with the exception of Jordan. Israel has always been coaxed into accepting these deals not based on the inherent logic of the deal being offered, but on the threat of what would befall it should it refuse to sign.

Vive la France

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

A member of the color guard holds a French flag as President Barack Obama listens to remarks by President François Hollande of France during the State Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, Feb. 11, 2014.

Your assignment is to identify which of the two men in the picture is the president of France.

Some folks would tell you they’re both presidents of France, but only one of them is married to Marie Antoinette.

And now, for your entertainment pleasure, hot off the editing table (actually, it was made in 2013): Vive la France.

Muzafar and Feruz are two good-hearted shepherds from Taboulistan… a tiny country in Central Asia that no one has ever heard of.

In order to bring his country into the international limelight, the son of the Tabouli president decides to try terror “advertising” and entrusts the two shepherds, more naive than evil, with the mission of a lifetime: destroying the Eiffel Tower!

To meet their objective, they have to move through the most hostile territory imaginable: France! A France far different from the West they had heard described: Corsican nationalists, over-zealous policemen, dishonest taxi drivers, violent sports fans, crabby employees, unfriendly waiters, Kafkaesque administrations and medical malpractice… they are spared nothing.

A little Sacha Baron Cohen, but what the heck.

Luckily they meet Marianne, a young and pretty reporter who mistakes them for illegal aliens and helps shows them another face of France… a hospitable, magnificent and generous land where the living is easy. Vive la France!

Shouldn’t He Invite them to Sit?

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Here’s President Barack Obama talking with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough; Kathryn Ruemmler, Counsel to the President; and Katie Beirne Fallon, Director of Legislative Affairs, in the Oval Office, Jan. 9, 2014.

They were probably talking about very important things.

And it doesn’t look like the president was in a hurry to get up and go someplace else.

So, why didn’t he ask them to sit down?

I’m a huge fan of the West Wing series, and I don’t recall President Josiah Edward “Jed” Bartlet ever letting his staff to remain standing like that during meetings. He always invited them to sit down and be comfortable.

Not this comfortable, though:

cuppacafe.com

cuppacafe.com

Obama, Netanyahu Speak on Iran, Peace Talks

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

President Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian talks.

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke by phone today as part of their regular consultations,” said the statement. “The two leaders discussed recent developments related to Iran, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and other regional issues. The two leaders agreed to continue their close coordination on a range of security issues.”

Netanyahu on Sunday had mocked a proposal that would allow Iran to retain a capacity for low-level uranium enrichment as part of a deal to end sanctions that have crippled that country.

He did not say this was an American proposal, but he placed his derision of the proposal in the context of his talks last week with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Obama to Meet Iraqi PM

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

The White House said Wednesday that President Barack Obama will meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Nov. 1 in Washington.

Obama and his Iraqi counterpart will discuss “the importance of the U.S.-Iraq relationship under the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA),” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

He added that the president “looks forward to discussing with Prime Minister Maliki efforts to enhance cooperation in the fields covered under the SFA, and to coordinating on a range of regional issues.”

The words “car” and “bomb” were not mentioned in the exchange as reported.

Obama to Address Iran Nukes, Syria, 2-States, in UN Speech

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

President Barack Obama will address the new overtures from Iran, as well as steps being taken to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons, and—everyone’s favorite—Israel-Palestinian peace talks, in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday.

White House officials say he intends to speak about how the U.S. sees events and complex challenges in the Middle East and North Africa, including the situation in Syria, and how these relate to U.S. interests.

He will probably not discuss how his own meddling in Egyptian affairs has led to the worst havoc in that country’s recent history, complete with an emerging reign of terror.

On Monday, according to VOA, Obama offered a preview of what he may say about what he called “convulsions” in the Arab world:

“I want to affirm that over the long run, we will all be better off if that small shopkeeper or that small farmer or that young student or that disabled person or that gay or lesbian person or that ethnic minority or that religious minority, if they have a voice and their dignity is respected, that is what will preserve our dignity and that is what will preserve our security over the long term,” Obama said.

In other words, our president has no clue as to the needs of individual Arabs—gay or straight, much less the strategy of meeting said needs. Good luck to one and all.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani will address the General Assembly session Tuesday, after Obama speaks to the world leaders. Rouhani has recently promised that Iran has no intention to develop nuclear weapons. It’s all done for medical research, including the warheads.

VOA reported new pressure on Obama from key Republican and Democratic senators, who urging him to use his speech to state again that Iran will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. That means he wasn’t going to say as much originally.

Obama will meet Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas tuesday, on the sidelines of the General Assembly session. Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on September 30.

Obama Welcomes Russia’s Proposal on Syria

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

In multiple interviews with TV networks, President Barack Obama said he would prefer to have a diplomatic solution to the crisis rather than insist on a military attack, hinting that he would gladly avoid the strike against Syria if the Syrian government turned over control of its chemical weapons.

“John Kerry and the rest of my national security team will engage with the Russians and the international community to see, can we arrive at something that is enforceable and serious,” Obama said.

The Senate meanwhile delayed a test vote to authorize limited military strikes on Syria Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would not rush the vote, since “international discussions” are continuing on a peaceful settlement of the crisis caused by the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against its own citizens.

During interviews, Obama emphasized that he remained skeptical that Syria would turn over its chemical weapons, and that he is taking the statements coming out of Syrian government officials in support of the Russian proposal “with a grain of salt.”

The president added that his administration would agree to engage in talks with Russia and Syria, saying: “We’re going to run this to ground.”

“And so it’s possible that we can get a breakthrough, but … it’s going to have to be followed up on. And we don’t want just a stalling tactic to put off … the pressure that we have on there right now,” he said.

US Navy Fleet Moving Closer to Syria

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

President Barack Obama is under increased pressure from within his administration and from Congress to intervene in Syria, especially following the most recent allegations that President Bashar al-Assad’s army used chemical weapons on its own civilians.

A White House official told the Voice of America on Saturday that the U.S. has a “range of options” if it decides to act against Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

The official commented as President Barack Obama met with his top national security advisers to discuss the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians in a Damascus suburb. Obama’s team is considering a repeat of the NATO air war in Kosovo, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said U.S. forces are positioned in the Mediterranean and ready to act.

”The Defense Department has a responsibility to provide the President with options for all contingencies,” Hagel said. ”That requires positioning our forces, positioning our assets to be able to carry out different options, whatever option the President may choose.”

Secretary Hagel’s comments came as a defense official said the U.S. Navy would expand its presence in the Mediterranean with a fourth warship armed with cruise missiles. The Sixth Fleet, with responsibility in the Mediterranean, has decided to keep the USS Mahan in the region instead of letting it return to its home port in Norfolk, Virginia.

U.S. Defense officials said the additional warship was moved into the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

There are no orders for the time being for any missile launch into Syria, said the officials. But if the U.S. wants to send a message to the Syrian president, the most likely military action would be a Tomahawk missile strike, launched from a ship in the Mediterranean.

Three other destroyers are currently deployed in the area: the USS Gravely, the USS Barry and the USS Ramage. All four warships are equipped with several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles. The reinforcement would allow the Pentagon to act more rapidly if President Obama decides on a military strike.

”If the U.S. attacks another country without a UN mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it. Do we have the coalition to make it work?” Obama told CNN on Friday.

In his first comments since the alleged Wednesday chemical attack, the president said he is still trying to find out what happened.

He said Americans expect him to consider “what is in our long-term national interests” in deciding what to do.

Referring to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama added: “Sometimes what we’ve seen is that folks will call for immediate action, jumping into stuff that does not turn out well, gets us mired in very difficult situations, can result in us being drawn into very expensive, difficult, costly interventions that actually breed more resentment in the region.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-navy-fleet-moving-closer-to-syria/2013/08/24/

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