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March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Secretary of State John Kerry’

Assessing Secretary Kerry’s Proposal

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

The value of Secretary John Kerry’s proposals are consistent with Kerry’s track record.

Kerry’s Syrian Track Record Until the eruption of the civil war in Syria, Kerry was a member of a tiny group of US Senators – along with Chuck Hagel and Hillary Clinton – who believed that Bashar Assad was a generous, constructive leader, a reformer and a man of his word. Kerry was a frequent flyer to Damascus, dining with Assad and his wife at the Naranj restaurant in central Damascus.  Following a motorcycle ride with Bashar al-Assad, he returned to Washington referring to Bashar as “my dear friend.” 

 

In September 2009, Kerry opined that “Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region,” while Assad was conducting hate-education, repressing his opposition, hosting and arming terrorist outfits like Hezbollah, cozying up to Iran, and facilitating the infiltration of Jihadists into Iraq to kill US soldiers. WikiLeaks disclosed that on February, 2010, Kerry told Qatari leaders that the Golan Heights should be returned to Syria and that a Palestinian capital should be established in East Jerusalem.  “We know that for the Palestinians the control of Al-Aqsa mosque and the establishment of their capital in East Jerusalem are not negotiable.”

 

According to the London Telegraph, Kerry was a fierce critic of the Bush Administration’s hardline against Assad, advocating a policy of engagement – rather than sanctions – against terror-sponsoring Syria.  In March 2011, Kerry subordinated reality-driven hope to wishful-thinking-driven hope: “my judgment is that Syria will move; Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West.”  However, more than 200,000 deaths and 2 million refugees later, Assad’s Syria has certainly changed for the worst. In January 2005, following another meeting with Assad, Kerry said: “This is the moment of opportunity for the Middle East, for the U.S. and for the world…. I think we found a great deal of areas of mutual interest…strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Syria.” 

On September 3, 2013, Kerry assured his colleagues that “the Syrian opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation.”  However, Assad’s opposition consists, mainly, of anti-US, Islamic supremacists, Shariah-driven, anti-democracy, the violently-intolerant Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, whose subversive vision transcends Syria, encompassing the Abode of Islam as a prelude to the grand assault on the Abode of the Infidel. 

 

Kerry and the Palestinian Issue While vital US interests and homeland security are threatened by smothering Middle Eastern firestorms – from the Persian Gulf through Northwest Africa – Secretary Kerry is preoccupied with the Palestinian tumbleweed side-show. The latter has been the centerpiece of the Arab talk, but never the Arab walk. Contrary to Kerry’s Palestine Firster approach, the Palestinian issue is not directly or indirectly linked to the Arab Tsunami, is not a core cause of regional turbulence and has not been the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict nor the crown jewel of Arab policy-making.

 

Kerry’s Arab Spring  

According to the New York Times, December 21, 2012, Kerry contended that the Arab Street is transitioning toward democracy: “What is happening in the Middle East could be the most important geo-strategic shift since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

Kerry Cancels Cairo Trip, Slams Hamas

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry cancelled a trip to Cairo at the last minute Tuesday, then blamed Hamas for ignoring a ceasefire with Israel by bombarding Israeli cities throughout the day.

Dozens of rockets have battered Israeli cities since the ceasefire was due to begin at 9:00 this morning, striking as far as Zichron Yaakov, some 150 kilometres north of The Strip.

According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, Kerry told reporters in Vienna, “I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a ceasefire, in which Egypt and Israel worked together, that the international community strongly supports.

“Hamas is purposely playing politics” by continuing the rocket fire, using innocents as “human shields… against the laws of war… that is why they are a terrorist organization,” Kerry added

The paper said Kerry is prepared to return to the region in order to nurture a ceasefire deal, but at the moment he is scheduled to return to Washington after talks in Vienna with Iranian officials about that country’s nuclear program.

Kerry, after Schumer Criticism, Seeks to Allay Skepticism

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

By Jacob Kamaras/JNS.org

After he was apparently criticized by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for comments he made last month on boycotts of Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry in his Monday address at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference sought to allay skepticism on nuclear negotiations with Iran and Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations.

Without mentioning Kerry by name, Schumer apparently took a shot at the secretary of state by saying those with “even with the best of intentions” who warn Israel that it will face increased boycotts if it does not reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians “have it all wrong.”

“Those quote unquote friends [of Israel] should be condemning the boycotts in any possible way, weakening them,” Schumer said.

In February, at the Munich Security Conference, Kerry said in connection with the outcome of the U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian talks, “There are talks of boycotts [of Israel] and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?” President Barack Obama, asked by Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg if he agreed with Kerry’s assessment on boycotts, said in comments published Sunday that Kerry “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.”

Obama also said, “If you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction—and we have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time… If Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout [for Israel] is going to be limited.”

On Monday, Kerry told AIPAC, “I will continue to staunchly, loudly and unapologetically oppose boycotts of Israel. That will never change.”

Regarding the nuclear talks, Kerry said there is a “healthy debate” on the effectiveness of the negotiations and that “we welcome that.” He said American diplomacy with Iran “is guided by a simple bottom line: no deal is better than a bad deal.”

“The truth is, it is strong diplomacy that has actually made this moment [of getting Iran to negotiate] possible, and we need to give it the space to work,” Kerry said.

The interim nuclear deal with Iran, according to Kerry, has “not changed one piece of the sanctions architecture, and yet we are able to negotiate.”

“This is not a process that is about trusting Tehran,” he said. “This is about testing Tehran. And you can be sure that if Iran fails this test, American will not fail Israel. That I promise.”

A “good deal” with Iran would make certain that Iran could not obtain nuclear weapons, continually ensure that the Iranian nuclear program remains peaceful, and expand Iran’s “breakout” time for obtaining a nuclear weapon so that the world could act if Iran takes improper steps, Kerry explained.

Schumer—one of 26 senators to cosponsor the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act, which would levy additional sanctions on Iran should the Islamic Republic violate the terms of the six-month interim nuclear deal or fail to reach a final agreement—said America “must keep tough sanctions in place until Iran agrees to give up nuclear weapons.” The New York legislator criticized the terms of the interim deal, which gave Iran $7 billion in sanctions relief.

“It is no secret that I believe that we should not in the interim agreement have reduced sanctions in any way, until Iran reduced its nuclear capability,” Schumer said, adding that many in Congress “believe that any reduction in sanctions relieves the psychological power of future sanctions” on Iran.

Black Magic of the Saudis

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Here’s Secretary of State John Kerry speaking with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah at his desert encampment Rawdat Khuraim on January 5, 2014.

It reminded me of this picture, depicting the meeting between King Abdulaziz ibn Saud, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Franklin_D._Roosevelt_and_King_Ibn_Saud_of_Saudi_Arabia

At the time, the United States and Britain disagreed over the future of the Middle East. Following the Yalta conference in February, 1945, Roosevelt told Churchill that on his way home he was planning to meet with King Saud. What he meant was that the U.S. was planting its foot smack in the middle of the Middle East, which the Brits had considered their own private backyard.

Roosevelt asked King Saud about Palestine. The king bluntly stated that the Arabs would organize and slaughter the Jews should they dare to declare independence. His ruthless frankness left an impression on all the U.S. administrations to come, Democrat and Republican alike. Even today, when the U.S. no longer needs the Saudis for anything, not a thing, seeing as it’s pulling out of the region en masse, the Saudis still seem to have a magical influence on American decision making.

For a country where slavery and public executions are still very popular, they seem to find the ear of our leaders, no matter their stripes. It’s funny how Kerry, so hell bent on fixing that which ain’t broke in Israel, seems so comfortable in a country like Saudi Arabia, where the sound of misery and repression is deafening.


Kerry to Labor Party Leader: If No Deal by March, US Pulls Out

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry may look like he’s pulling all the stops in pushing an Israeli-Palestinian deal, but, according to newly elected Labor party chairman MK Yitzhak Herzog, the U.S. can also read the writing on the wall. Herzog told Maariv that should there be no significant movement by the end of March, “it looks like the U.S. will take a step back and lower its profile” on the negotiations.

At the same time, Herzog was quick to point out, Kerry is filled with optimism regarding the chances of the current talks, telling his Israeli supporter on the left that both Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas have made brave and significant concessions.

Kerry’s main point in his meeting with Israel’s opposition leader Herzog was to find out how many hands would be raised in the Knesset in support of the Netanyahu concessions.

“He asked us not to enable the toppling of Netanyahu should he lose parts of the right” in his own coalition, “who will decide to vote against him once there’s progress in the talks,” a source in Herzog’s circle told Maariv.

The ever-present danger in volatile votes like this, is that once the prime minister loses the support of a sizeable portion of his own coalition members, the next move is in the hands of the opposition leader, who calls for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister. At this point, if the same coalition members are angry enough, they add their votes to the opposition and take down the government.

Herzog wasn’t going to do that over the “peace process.” But the question remains whether Netanyahu really ahs the votes supporting the uprooting a constantly shifting number of Jews from Judea and Samaria (that number has gone from 150,000 down to 80,000 – neither of which have much reality to them, because the Palestinians want everything and the settlers won’t budge either, at least not without riot police bashing their faces in, which could spell the end of Netanyahu’s marriage with the right).

The same source said they were surprised by the seriousness of the current phase in the talks, and the fact that they now include all the “heavy” subjects, such as the right of return for Palestinians from around the world into Israel proper, the status of Jerusalem, Israeli control over the Jordan Valley, and, presumably, land swaps of settlements and Israeli Arab cities.

According to Maariv, based on information from senior political officials, Kerry plans to set up a direct meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas moments after the American “framework” document is finalized.

Kerry “is determined to hold a political summit meeting between the two leaders, as soon as he succeeds in getting agreements for that famous document,” the sources said.

Mind you, the “framework document” is expected to be merely a list of all the issues about which both sides disagree. Also, the document will not require the two sides to sign it, merely to acknowledge that, indeed, they disagree on those issues.

That’s not a lot to ask for. But there’s a reason for this strange document, which presents as success something which should have been the opening notes of the talks, rather than the sum total of their achievements after 7 months. Kerry intends to use this manufactured “success” as a basis for issuing a one-year extension to the talks, which are slated to conclude—based on the Secretary’s time limit—this February.

No one beats the State Department in smoke and mirror acts (Defense concentrates more on dog and pony).

Which makes our own headline here, based on the revelations in Maariv, about as hokum as anything the Secretary has been scheming. Kerry imposes a deadline, then creates a means to schlep out the deadline ad infinitum, then threatens to take his ball and go home in March, but by the time March rolls in the teams will be deep in phase two – and achieving nothing.

Netanyahu Denies Urging Kerry to Reach Deal on Syria

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denies an incredulous Wall Street Journal report Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to talk to Russia about a deal to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

The Journal is a very credible source, and governments often deny the truth, but this time around it can be assumed that Netanyahu is telling the truth and that the newspaper got its fact wrong.

It stated that on Sept. 11, Netanyahu told Kerry on the telephone that he did not think Russia was bluffing about striking a deal on international inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

The report also said that Israel shared U.S. concerns that military strikes on Syria in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens would strengthen the Syrian rebels, who are linked to al-Qaida, and would allow them to take possession of Syria’s chemical weapons.

“The comments attributed to the prime minister from his conversation with Secretary Kerry on Sept. 11 are untrue,” a government official told the JTA. “The Wall Street Journal report is erroneous.”

Even if the Prime Minister told Kerry that Russia is not bluffing, that does not mean the Prime Minister “encouraged” the United States to accept the deal.

Netanyahu has been aggressively pushing for actin against the Assad regime. If the chemical weapons were to fall into the hands of the opposition, it might be a lot easier to make sure they don’t stay in their hands rather than to trust Assad and President Putin.

The JTA contributed to this report.

Likud MKs Rebel, Tell Netanyahu not To Give Land to PA

Monday, September 16th, 2013

A group of 16 Knesset Members in Israel’s governing coalition, many from the Likud that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads, wrote him on Sunday not to give up territory to the Palestinian Authority.

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister during his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the MKs called on Netanyahu “not to return to the Oslo Accord template or cede any more parts of the homeland to the Palestinian Authority.”

The letter was drafted by MK Yariv Levin (Likud-Beiteinu), chairman of the governing coalition, and MK Orit Struck (Jewish Home). It was also signed by deputy ministers Ze’ev Elkin, Tzipi Hotovely and Ofir Akunis of the Likud and  Eli Ben-Dahan and Avraham Wortzman of Jewish Home.

Meanwhile, Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom, a veteran and senior Likud leader, said that “no one believes a permanent agreement can be reached in nine months,” the timetable the U.S. has set for the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/likud-mks-rebel-tell-netanyahu-not-to-give-land-to-pa/2013/09/16/

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