Archive for the ‘Ahmadinejad’ Category

Obama, Israel Split On Iran?

March 15, 2009

In the capitals of two staunch allies last week, top intelligence officials spoke about the nuclear threat from Tehran. Differences were clear.

By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROAD
The New York Times

Iran has crossed the technological threshold,” the chief of Israeli military intelligence, Amos Yadlin, told the cabinet in Jerusalem last Sunday, in words that were immediately leaked to the press. Now, he added, “its reaching military nuclear capabilities is a matter of adapting its strategy to the target of manufacturing a nuclear bomb.”

Days later in Washington, Adm. Dennis Blair, the new director of national intelligence, appeared before a Congressional committee and agreed that “there is potential for an Iran-Israeli confrontation or crisis” over reports of Iranian nuclear progress. But he said the Israelis “take more of a worst-case approach to these things.”

Both men were reacting to, and interpreting, the United Nations’ confirmation last month that Iran after a quarter-century of effort had collected enough atomic material, in dilute form, to produce a bomb.

Israel and the United States have worried for years about what they would do at such a moment. Now that it has arrived, the passing of the milestone has forced into the open longstanding differences between the two allies about how urgently to treat the threat. As Admiral Blair implied, the nuclear-threat clock ticks a lot faster in Jerusalem than in Washington.

Where this new dynamic leads is unclear. But the Israelis have seized on the Iranian milestone to redouble pressure on the United States for a tougher stance against Iran, and to remind the new president that their patience has a limit. In fact, Israeli officials have quietly been delivering the message that the diplomacy Mr. Obama wants to start with Iran should begin promptly — and be over quickly. “By late spring or early summer,” one senior Israeli intelligence official said the other day, echoing a message delivered in Israel to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Otherwise, they argue, the Iranians will drag talks on endlessly while speeding ahead on bomb work.

The Obama team, by contrast, is taking its time to craft a new diplomatic approach to Tehran, putting the veteran Middle East diplomat Dennis Ross at the head of a team to set up what Mr. Obama last year called a strategy of “bigger carrots and bigger sticks.” Real discussions may not begin until after Iran’s elections in June.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/1
5/weekinreview/15SANGER.html

Related:
 Never Wrong? U.S. Intelligence Says Iran Does Not Nave Any Highly Enriched Uranium

Allies’ Clocks Tick Differently on Iran

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at Natanz.

 

Right Wing Hard Liner May Become Isreal’s Foreign Minister; Stalling Peace Efforts

March 6, 2009

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is considering the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister, news sources say.

Lieberman ran for Prime Minister against Netanyahu and several others and is considered an essential part of the new coalition government in Isreal.

Lieberman’s party, Beiteinu, will be the second largest faction in the new coalition government behind Likud, which is headed by Netanyahu.

Lieberman keeps a hard line attitude that is strictly pro-Israel.

His appointment may be a setback for peace talks with Hamas, Hezbollah and others in the region, most Middle East analysts believe.

But Lieberman would be expected to improve ties with Russia; which may directly assist American President Barack Obama’s efforts to gain Russian cooperation in ending Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu has come to believe that Iran poses the biggest threat to israel, with its nuclear program and its funding and supply train to Hamas and Hezbollah.

Lieberman’s ties to Russia could help Israel and the U.S. and open a door toward new relations.

According to Lieberman, “The peace process is based on three false basic assumptions; that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main cause of instability in the Middle East, that the conflict is territorial and not ideological, and that the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders will end the conflict.”

Lieberman was born in Moldova, then a part of the Soviet Union.  His rough and tumble political style and attitudes reflects his previous work as a bouncer in a bar.

He would be a highly unusual pick for Israel’s top diplomat, but would reflect the sharp turn to the right in Israeli politics where Iran and its nuclear potential are feared.  Many Israeli’s also now have the belief that they are under seige on all sides by their neighbors.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related:
CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/meast/03/06/israel.fm/index.html

Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satelli
te?cid=1236269358120&pagename=
JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Avigdor Lieberman is loathed by ultra-orthodox parties because of his support for a Palestinian state.

Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia Haggle

March 5, 2009

Israel is seriously considering taking unilateral military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, according to a report by top US political figures and experts released Wednesday.

Jerusalem Post
.
The report also says Israel’s time frame for action is growing shorter, not only because of Iranian advances, but because Teheran might soon acquire upgraded air defenses and disperse its nuclear program to additional locations.

The report, “Preventing a Cascade of Instability,” was put out by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). It also argues that international sanctions against Iran need to be intensified urgently for the engagement the Obama administration is planning with Teheran to be effective.

An early draft of the report was endorsed by Dennis Ross before he withdrew upon joining the Obama administration, in which he is serving as a special adviser dealing with various countries in the region, including Iran. Senator Evan Bayh of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Congressman Gary Ackerman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East, were among the signatories.

Read the rest:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1236103
158937&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Related:
 Russia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

From the Washington Post:

Iranian leaders said Wednesday that President Obama follows the “crooked ways” of his predecessor, repeated earlier warnings that Iranian missiles could reach Israel and reiterated that the Holocaust was “a lie.”

Iran’s president and other officials have at times appeared to welcome Obama’s proposal for greater dialogue, but the remarks Wednesday suggested that Iranian positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues would pose obstacles. The comments were also a reminder that Iran’s complex leadership structure brings together clerics and political leaders with views that sometimes differ sharply.

In his first public comments on the new U.S. administration, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is Iran’s supreme leader and has the final say over foreign policy, said Obama had adopted former president George W. Bush’s support for Israel, which Khamenei called a “cancerous tumor.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar
ticle/2009/03/04/AR2009030400330.html?wprss
=rss_politics/administration

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

March 5, 2009

Russia got another clear signal today to verify its belief that American and the west are weak: NATO decided to renew ties with Russia despite that nation’s summer attack on Georgia and today’s announcement that Russia may again cut off gas supplies to Europe.  Russian power, it seems, is alive and well.

Related:
 Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

*****

By Sue Pleming and Ingrid Melander, Reuters

NATO foreign ministers agreed Thursday to resume high-level formal ties with Russia, suspended last year after Moscow‘s military thrust into Georgia.

Russia immediately welcomed the move. “This decision is a step in the right direction,” Russia’s RIA news agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced the decision after Lithuania dropped its objections to work resuming within the NATO-Russia Council, the body that directs cooperation between the two sides on security issues.

“The ministers reached agreement to formally resume the NATO-Russia Council including at ministerial level … as soon as possible after the NATO April summit,” said de Hoop Scheffer.”

“Russia is a global player. Not talking to them is not an option,” he added.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090305/
pl_nm/us_nato_russia_5

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

March 5, 2009

Prseident Obama and the United States are seen by Russia as “weak” and “naive” according to former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton.

That Russia view of “weakness” extends even beyond the U.S. and includes a view that Europe and Isreal are weak and easily pushed toward achieving Russian goals — without a fight.

Related:
Most World Leaders Encouraged By Obama Time; Putin Ready for Disappointment

Bolton said on the Fox News Channel on Thursday (March 4), “The Russia perception of total weakness in the West seems comical to us but is a real thought in Russia with hidden dangers.”

Bolton was responding to news stories that a Russian foreign ministry “expert” predicts that the U.S. will beak up and fragnment into several independent states.

Related:
America: You Are Disintegrating, Russian Claims (California Joins China….)

On missile defense Bolton says “Russia is probing to see how the U.S. reacts” to ideas to end American missile defense efforts in Europe and elsewhere.  He called President Obama’s recent letter to Russian president Medvedev an “incredibly foolish thing to do” and a “strange was to conduct game changing diplomacy.

News reports say the Obama letter to Medvedev linked the end of the U.S. mssile defense effort in Poland and the Czech Republic to Russian efforts to end Iran’s nuclear program.

“The Obama Administration has a dangerouse naivete when it speaks about resetting the relationship with Russia,” Bolton said.

Israel says that Iran’s nuclear program poses an “existential threat to Israel.”  I wonder how Israelis feel about having their lives in the hands of Mr. Putin and Medvedev along with President Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Obama…..

Meanwhile Russia continues to bully Europe.

CNN reported that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has threatened to cut off natural gas supplies to Europe and Ukraine on Saturday if Ukraine fails to pay for its gas deliveries by then.

This will re-start a Russian gas cut off from earlier this winter.

The Putin/Medvedev team also orchestrated last summer’s military raid into South Ossetia and Georgia — an icursion widely believed in Moscow met only bu Western weakness.

Related from CNN:

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/eur
ope/03/05/russia.ukraine.gas/index.html

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Obama’s letter, delivered to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in mid-February, “covered a number of topics” of mutual interest to the two countries, “including the issue of missile defense and how it relates to the Iranian threat,” a senior administration official said. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter.

Report on the Obama letter to Medvedev:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar
ticle/2009/03/03/AR2009030300028.html?wprss
=rss_nation/nationalsecurity

Related:
Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Iran Wants Meeting With Obama

February 11, 2009

(AP and CBS) The U.N.-based Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the official news organization of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has told CBS News Tuesday that it has officially asked for an interview with President Barack Obama as a direct response to Mr. Obama’s call for opportunities to engage.

The Islamic News Agency’s U.N. representative, Khosro Shayesteh told CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk that they have requested the interview and are waiting for a response, saying that this would be a direct way for Mr. Obama to reach out to the Iranian people if he wants to begin a dialogue.

“The Iranian request for an interview with Obama comes at an opportune time for U.S.-Iran relations since both President Obama and Iran’s President have offered to begin negotiations, which were stalled during the eight years of the Bush Administration, and because Obama gave his first official interview as President to Al Arabiya,” said Falk.

Iran’s president said the world was “entering an era of dialogue” and that his country would welcome talks with its longtime adversary, the United States, if they are based on mutual respect.

Read the rest:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/0
2/10/world/main4789038.shtml

Obama: Outreach, Stimulus Shows Weakness on International Stage

February 11, 2009

What is an international bully supposed to make of Barack Obama and his new and improved America of “hope”?

They must just love Mr. Obama and see weakness abounding.

Obama can’t wait to get out of Iraq and Gitmo.  His oft spoken ideas to ramp up military forces in Afghanistan have already slowed or gone on hold due to “studies.”  Russia has forced closure of a key airbase vital to American supplies.  And U.S. and NATO  supply lines are under assault in Pakistan.

Iran is delighted to see a new president reaching out to the Muslim world and has already demanded an American apologia for crimes committed by the U.S. since the fall of the Shah.

And Isreal is so frightened that its voters will probably end up with a far-right leaning coalition.

China’s president phoned Obama and during that very first call urged the new president to forget about the brainless “Buy American” provision in the Democrats stimulus bill.

And most of all, on the international stage, leaders see Mr. Obama as a person of great talk but little action.  His “outreach” to Republicans consisted of one cocktail party, a Super Bowl TV evening, and some nice sounding words.  He never really sat with Republicans and made any deals.

And now the president seems to have closed the door on bipartisanship.  He says the clock has run out.

I’ll just bet in Moscow and Tehran and Beijing and other places, top leaders are saying, this guy will be easy and we control the clock.

And the American economy and president’s inability to set the ship right must transmit a strong signal of a weakened and diminished America.

What other conclusion would you expect?

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02/11
/barack-obamas-savior-based-economy/

Barack Is Mostly Showman, Not Statesman; and Now Putin and Ahmadinejad Know

February 11, 2009

The president has shown us who he really is this last few weeks.  We already knew he was an able campaigner and “Town Hall” meeting host — and that’s what he fell back upon when the going got tough on the stimulus and the economy.

The trips to Elkhart and Fort Myers signaled weakness and not strength.

Related:
“Republicans Rape Truth,” and The “Over the Top”

The strengths of a president’s convictions would have kept him at home, with a really bipartisan group of lawmakers trying to sort out the nation’s economic future and the path to get there including the stimulus.

But the president chose instead to go on the road and characterize the stimulus debate as a talk between those who had a solution (Democrats) and those who had no solution (Republicans). Of course if this were true there would be no need for bipartisanship — which has been sent to the ash heap after what?  Three weeks?

It’s easy to convince a group of unemplyed RV builders that you’ll give them money and life will be O.K.  It’s another thing to sit down with the politicial opposition and hammer out the details.

But showmanship replaced statesmanship; because Barack is, deep down, a showman, not a legislator or a statesman.

And details are lacking in no small amount.

Treasury Secretary Geithner almost single handedly caused a hemorrhage of the stock market yesterday because of his lack of details.

When asked for more details at a Senate hearing Wednesday he seemed clueless; which is just about what Senator Lindsey Graham called him.

And the more the details of the simulus are known the less thinking people like it.  We didn’t know until yesterday that the stimulus includes government oversight of your doctor’s opinion about your medical care.

If I can figure this out so can Ahmadinejad in Iran and certainly the Master, Putin in Moscow.

They can see weakness.  They can see an election and a man with a lot less substance than people thought.

Joe Biden has gotten himself into trouble twice since the election.  The first time he predicted that some international effort would test the new president.  He got in trouble agin when he said the Administration had a pretty good chance of screwing up — and the president seemed to say Monday night, “Who listens to that fool Joe Biden anyway?”

Well guys like Putin and Ahmadinejad do listen and watch.  And the tests the president has encountered so far, like can he build bipartisanship and not destroy it further, have been lost.

Hey, it was Vice President Joe Biden that pointed this out first, not me.

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02/
11/barack-obamas-savior-based-economy/

Russia has already forced closure of a base key to and NATO troops in Afghanistan. 
American Troops In Afghanistan Out On A Limb?

Related:
Mr. Obama and Russia

Obama faces double dilemmas in Mideast

Obama: Let’s Be More Honest About Economy, Plans, Republicans

 Obama Being Tested By Russia; As Biden Predicted

Former reformist Iranian president will run again

February 8, 2009

Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami declared Sunday he would run again for president, setting the stage for a major political showdown in coming months between the popular reformist leader _ who made dialogue with the West a centerpiece of his eight years in office _ and the country’s ruling hard-liners.

Khatami’s candidacy poses a serious challenge to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose mixture of anti-Western rhetoric and fiery nationalism sharply contrasts with Khatami’s tempered tones and appeals for global dialogue.

“I seriously announce my candidacy in the next (presidential) election,” Khatami announced Sunday after a meeting with his supporters.

AP

Iran's former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, left, seen, ... 
Iran’s former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, left, seen, at a ceremony organized by his party, a group of pro-reform clerics, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009. Iran’s former reformist president declared Sunday that he will run for president again in the country’s upcoming elections, posing a serious challenge to hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

He said he decided to seek the presidency in the June 12 vote because it was impossible for someone like himself who was interested in the fate of Iran to remain silent. The 65-year-old liberal cleric said he is “attached to the country’s greatness and the people’s right to have control over their own fate.”

Khatami’s decision to run against Ahmadinejad could significantly shake up Iran’s politics, appealing to citizens disillusioned by the country’s failing economy and Ahmadinejad’s staunch anti-U.S. foreign policy.

Relations between the United States and Iran improved marginally during Khatami’s eight years in office, and he encouraged athletic and cultural exchanges….

Read the rest:
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009
/feb/08/former-reformist-iranian-presi
dent-will-run-again/

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/m
east/02/08/iran.khatami/index.html

Iran Boasts of Nuclear, Space Progress Despite Sanctions

February 7, 2009

Iran has achieved breakthroughs in nuclear and space technology despite international sanctions against it, the country’s top leader said Saturday.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told military commanders that instead of weakening Iran, sanctions by the U.S., the U.N. and others have forced it to become more self-reliant, leading to greater strides by Iranian scientists and to technological advancements unseen in the country’s history.

Iranian leaders often boast of technological progress as they seek to assure their people that sanctions and isolation have not hurt the country, even as unemployment and inflation increase.

Most recently, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Tuesday the launch of Iran’s first domestically produced satellite. He faces a tough re-election battle this year, not least because of the economic woes brought on by falling oil prices and sanctions.

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

The United States imposed sanctions against Iran soon after its 1979 Islamic revolution, which toppled the U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and brought hard-line clerics to power. The sanctions banned the export of any dual-use technology, including nuclear, space and missile equipment. Over the years, Washington has tightened sanctions against any investment in Iran.

Since 2006, Iran has also been under U.N. Security Council sanctions, applied to its nuclear and missile industries, for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants or the material for atomic bombs.

The United States and some of its allies have accused Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the charge, saying its nuclear program is geared towards generating electricity, not weapons production.

Vice President Joe Biden told a security conference in Germany that the U.S. was willing to talk to Iran but would act to isolate and pressure the country if it does not scrap parts of its nuclear program.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009020
7/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iran_sanctions_1