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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘President Barack Obama’

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.

Jewish Press News Briefs

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.”

Yori Yanover

NY Times Blaming Israel for Egyptian Havoc

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The first outright finger pointing at Israel was published in the Sunday NY Times (Pressure by U.S. Failed to Sway Egyptian Military Leaders from Crackdown):

The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.

Israeli officials deny having reassured Egypt about the aid, but acknowledge having lobbied Washington to protect it.

When Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, proposed an amendment halting military aid to Egypt, the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee sent a letter to senators on July 31 opposing it, saying it “could increase instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israeli ally.” Statements from influential lawmakers echoed the letter, and the Senate defeated the measure, 86 to 13, later that day.

The fact is, Israel—and the Saudis—are trying desperately to save America from its own delusions about a democratic Arab world springing forth with equality and freedom for all. Egypt’s neighbors are anxious about the possibility of a civil war in Egypt and understand that a firm government is the essential first step towards recovery from the events of the past three months and the past two years in Egypt.

But now, according to the way the NY Times sees the world on Monday morning, Israel is “Escalating Efforts to Shape Allies’ Strategy.”

The original headline, according to NewsSniffer, was “Israel Puts More Urgency on Shaping Allies’ Actions” and was modified twice since the earlier posting.

An unnamed Israeli government official told the Times that Israel is going to spend this week twisting European and American arms in an attempt to prevent them from pulling their support from the Sisi regime, even though his soldiers have been brutal in their treatment of the Muslim Brother demonstrators.

The official explained the Middle east realities in blunt terms: “We’re trying to talk to key actors, key countries, and share our view that you may not like what you see, but what’s the alternative? If you insist on big principles, then you will miss the essential — the essential being putting Egypt back on track at whatever cost. First, save what you can, and then deal with democracy and freedom and so on.”

And he added, even more bluntly:

“At this point,” the official added, “it’s army or anarchy.”

Speaking of anarchy, no one is certain that even with full Western support the Sisi regime would be able to withstand the onslaught of highly motivated, unafraid Muslim Brothers. While the army is bound by some modicum of restraint, the Muslim Brothers recognize no such boundaries. While about a thousand of their number have been killed, they have been joyfully burning down Coptic churches and murdering Egyptian Christians in the streets. Over the long haul, if the Brothers are not stopped effectively, they could wear down the regime and demoralize the army. That could throw Egypt into a full blown, Syrian style civil war.

In addition to it being a public relations disaster for the Obama Administration, as caring individuals like senators Paul and McCain rip the president mercilessly on his policy and call for cutting off $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt, there’s President Barack Obama’s injured ego. A project he began right after his election has collapsed right before his eyes, and despite all of his efforts to communicate his strong views on the matter (Sec. Hagel called Sisi 17 times), the Muslim Brothers revolution is no more.

“The violent crackdown has left Mr. Obama in a no-win position: risk a partnership that has been the bedrock of Middle East peace for 35 years, or stand by while longtime allies try to hold on to power by mowing down opponents,” the Times wrote on Sunday.

So now, it appears, the largely quiet efforts on the part of Netanyahu to communicate to Obama (the two are yet to speak directly since the start of the crisis) how crucial it is that American support—and the Egyptian-Israeli peace deal—remain intact, will be used to portray Israel as some kind of puppet master, goading the generals to shoot into the crowd.

Yori Yanover

Obama Scolds Egypt by Cancelling Joint Military Exercise

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

President Barack Obama announced Thursday that the Egyptian security forces’ brutal campaign against Muslim Brotherhood opponents has convinced him to cancel a major joint US-Egypt military drill that takes place every two years and is a source of prestige to the Egyptian army.

“We want to sustain our relationship with Egypt [but] our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets,” he said.

Obama did not hint of a more severe reaction, such as reducing military aid to Egypt. GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a fierce critic of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, openly hinted that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is partly to blame for the violence in Egypt.

“As we predicted and feared, chaos in Cairo,” McCain tweeted. “Sec Kerry praising the military takeover didn’t help.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Obama Meets with Israeli and PA Negotiators

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

President Barack Obama stepped in with his first personal involvement in the renewed Palestinian Authority-Israeli negotiations Tuesday morning by meeting with representatives from both sides.

Publicly, he said, “This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead.”

Obama’s participation came only hours after another Middle expert proved that no one in Washington really knows “who’s on first.”

The Washington Post noted how the president is showing his reliance on  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Is staying out of the limelight. To make its case, the newspaper quoted Aaron David Miller, a longtime Middle East adviser to Democratic and Republican presidents, as saying, “You don’t want to waste presidential capital,” said Miller, now vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center. “But in the end, Obama is going to have to own this if it’s going to succeed.”

Tzipi Livni and Shlomo Molcho of Israel and Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayyeh of the Palestinian Authority met at 8 a.m. EDT with Martin Indyk, the new presidential special envoy for the 22-year-old “peace process.”

After their meeting with the president, they will talk again and hold a press conference in the evening, a probable photo-op to put a checkmark in the diplomatic column.

While the Americans and Israelis spouted off the usual clichés of bearing heavy responsibilities for a difficult path under  another window of opportunity that is closing, chairman Mahmoud Abbas called the tune in Ramallah, stating that no soldier and Jewish citizen will remain in land in a Palestinian Authority country, if it ever is created.

Lacking and real substantial news, a couple of reporters covering the State Dept. asked at the daily press briefing Monday if the negotiators and Kerry were easting at a plain old dinner of an “Ifta” dinner, marking the end of the daily fast of Ramadan.

The menu was not disclosed.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Obama’s Popularity Sinks to One Point above All-Time Low

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

President Barack Obama’s approval has sunk to only one percentage point above the all-time low in November 2011, according to a new poll released Wednesday by NBC and The Wall Street Journal.

Only 45 percent approve of his job as president, and 50 percent said they disapprove, mainly because of their view of his handling, or mishandling, the economy.

The most serious drop in his support was among African-Americans, whose support for President Obama now is 10 points less than it was in June and 15 points below the level in April.

The American public is even less happy with Congress. A grand total of 12 percent of the respondents gave the legislative body an approval rating, tying it to the previous all-time low.

Reminder: Mid-term elections are more than a year away.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Obama Pressing Netanyahu as Government Split on 2-State Solution

Friday, July 19th, 2013

President Barack Obama last night phoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to keep up his efforts to start negotiations with the Palestinians, and to support the hard work Secretary of State John Kerry has been investing in this project. This despite the fact that the Palestinians were appearing to, once again, pull Israel’s chestnuts out of the fire.

On Thursday, Amin Maqboul, secretary-general of Fatah’s revolutionary council, said Israel’s rejection of the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations signaled that Israel had no intention of stopping settlement building in “Palestine.” So they’re rejecting the whole thing.

Not good enough for Obama and Kerry, who spend so much time and effort on their obsession with the 2-State thing, you’d thing their office maps of the Middle East don’t include key spots like Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Iran.

We suggested yesterday that the only reason Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was willing to join the talks without preconditions was because he was promised that he’d get all his conditions shortly after the start of the talks.

Kerry on Thursday extended his sixth visit to the region, saying he was hoping for a breakthrough on direct negotiations. He had met with Abbas in Jordan for two rounds of intensive talks on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Maqboul told the Ma’an news agency on Thursday that Palestinian leaders had already reached a consensus with Kerry that for talks to resume, Israel must agree to negotiate on 1967 lines—that means giving up East Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan before the talks have begun, then release an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners with Jewish blood on their hands, and stop settlement building. There’s been a de facto settlement freeze in place for at least two years now, but the Arabs want something in writing, and they want it now.

Is Bibi giving in to American pressure? According to the Palestinians—you bet your Bibi. Maqboul is saying Israel has already agreed to release 250 Palestinian prisoners, and to release Palestinians detained before the 1993 Oslo Accords in stages, once talks resume.

Some of those prisoners still carry a coupon for one free slice at Sbarro’s, for heaven’s sake.

But Netanyahu would not agree to basing the negotiations on Israel’s recognition of the 1967 line, stubborn, unreasonable man that he is. And although you can pay a fine and lose your investment if you dare close your porch in East Jerusalem—officially there’s no freeze, and Netanyahu won’t say there is. So PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yousef said that the Palestinians were forced to refuse to return to talks “because Israel would not announce a settlement freeze or recognize the Palestinian state.”

At which point Kerry called Obama, Obama got on the phone and read Bibi the riot act.

An estimated 20 Syrians died while Barry and Bibi rehashed their differences. No matter.

But does Netanyahu have the votes inside his coalition for any of the concessions?

Mind you, a coalition collapse at this point, before the end of July, means that the budget would not pass—and the entire effort of going to the voter and erecting a new coalition began with the need to pass the new budget, with its draconian cuts of around $10 billion. So Bibi simply cannot afford a bitter fight at home right now. Fighting will have to be suspended till August.

This is something the right-wing of Netanyahu’s coalition understands well. Which is why Naftali Bennett, head of the 12-member Beit Yehudi coalition partner, has chosen to start rejecting the 2-state now, after six months of Trappist silence on the issue.

Responding to the European Union directive (which goes into effect today) against the legitimacy of Jewish life beyond the “green line,” Bennett said our answer to the Europeans must be another birth, another planted tree, another home, and another village.

Speaking at an outpost in the region of Benjamin, Bennett told the residents: “You are the antidote to all kinds of boycotts.”

But voices within the Likud-Beiteinu faction—and senior voices at that—are reading the Obama handwriting on the wall, and starting to flex their muscles. On Friday morning, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin told Reshet Bet that accepting the 1967 border would be suicidal. He also rejected out of hand the notion of Israel’s capitulating on all the disputed issues—in order to facilitate the start of the negotiations. What would they negotiate, then? The size of Jewish coffins?

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-pressing-netanyahu-as-government-split-on-2-state-solution/2013/07/19/

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