Archive for the ‘allies’ Category

Obama Pushes Into Afghanistan, Pakistan But He Controls Few Variables

March 27, 2009

The success of President Barack Obama’s new war strategy depends heavily on factors beyond his control: Afghan competence, Pakistani cooperation and a greater willingness by Europeans and other allies to adopt the American view that al-Qaida is at the core of the conflict.

Each of those has been missing or, at best, has fallen short despite years of U.S. pushing and prodding.

ROBERT BURNS, Associated Press Writer

That is why, after more than seven years of inconclusive combat, hundreds of American deaths, billions in financial aid and incomplete efforts to build self-sustaining Afghan security forces, Obama saw a need Friday to retool strategy, clarify U.S. war aims and seek more help from NATO and other partners.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200903
27/ap_on_an/obama_war_strategy_analysis

Gaza: Israel Strikes Before Bush Departs

January 5, 2009

For nine days, as European and United Nations officials have called urgently for a cease-fire in Gaza, the Bush administration has squarely blamed the rocket attacks of the Palestinian militant group Hamas for Israel’s assault, maintaining to the end its eight-year record of stalwart support for Israel.

By Scott Shane
The New york Times
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Mr. Bush, in his weekly radio address on Saturday, said the United States did not want a “one-way cease-fire” that allowed Hamas to keep up its rocket fire, and Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday echoed the point, declaring that only a “sustainable, durable” peace would be acceptable.

Many Middle East experts say Israel timed its move against Hamas, which began with airstrikes on Dec. 27, 24 days before Mr. Bush leaves office, with the expectation of such backing in Washington. Israeli officials could not be certain that President-elect Barack Obama, despite past statements of sympathy for Israel’s right of self-defense, would match the Bush administration’s unconditional endorsement.

“Obviously Bush, even by comparison with past U.S. presidents, has been very, very pro-Israel,” said Sami G. Hajjar, a longtime scholar of Middle East politics and a visiting professor at the National Defense University. “Despite Obama’s statements, and his advisers who are quite pro-Israel, the Israelis really didn’t know how he’d react. His first instinct is for diplomacy, not military action.”

Mr. Hajjar said that in addition to relying on the backing of Mr. Bush, Israeli officials may not have wanted to begin their relationship with the new president by forcing him to respond to their military action. On Dec. 19, just one month before Mr. Obama’s inauguration, Hamas declared an end to an Egyptian-mediated truce with Israel that had taken effect in June, and rocket attacks from Gaza have been increasing since then.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/05/
washington/05diplo.html?hp

Arab Nations Urged To Cut Off Oil to Isreal, Allies

January 4, 2009

An Iranian military commander called on Islamic countries to cut oil exports to Israel’s supporters in response to the Jewish state’s offensive in Gaza, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

IRNA said commander Bagherzadeh described oil as “one of the powerful elements of pressure” on the Jewish state’s Western backers in the “unequal war” faced by Palestinians in the coastal strip.

“Pointing at Westerners’ dependence on the Islamic countries’ oil and energy resources, he (Bagherzadeh) called for cutting the export of crude oil to the Zionist regime’s supporters the world over,” IRNA said, referring to Israel.

Reuters

IRNA gave only the commander’s last name but it may have been referring to Mirfeysal Bagherzadeh, a brigadier-general of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. There was no immediate comment from other Iranian officials.

Iran, which often rails against the United States and Israel, is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and a leading member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Top exporter Saudi Arabia is a U.S. ally.

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants battled in Gaza on Sunday after Israeli troops and tanks invaded the coastal enclave in the most serious fighting in the conflict in decades.

Read the rest:
http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnDAH452978.html

Israeli artillery fire shells towards the Gaza Strip. Thousands ... 
Israeli artillery fire shells towards the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Israeli troops backed by scores of tanks are battling Hamas fighters in Gaza fields and roads, surrounding the battered territory’s main city on a mission to end militant rocket attacks.(AFP/Shay Shmueli)