Archive for the ‘Cairo’ Category

Obama Envoy Mitchell May Go To Middle East This Week

January 24, 2009

President Obama’s Middle East envoy George Mitchell may travel to the Middle East as early as this week.

CNN is reporting that Mitchell the schedule is still being planned, but initial stops include Jerusalem; Ramallah, West Bank; Cairo, Egypt; Amman, Jordan; and possibly Saudi Arabia as well as Europe.

President Barack Obama on Thursday named Mitchell as his special envoy to the region.

But it is not yet clear how much Mitchell can do to formulate a new policy that will satisfy all sides in the region.

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh expressed a widely held view in the Online Journal yesterday:

In naming George Mitchell as special envoy to the Middle East, President Obama unfortunately made statements indicating no departure from the failing policies of previous administrations.

In particular, Obama emphasized Israel’s right to “defend itself,” never once mentioned things like the occupation or international law, attacked Hamas (a duly elected movement that represents a significant portion of the Palestinian people), supported the strangulation of Gaza, demanded no resistance from an occupied people, and supported the Israeli occupiers in their violence that most recently killed over 400 children.

Former Sen. George Mitchell says that "there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended."


Obama Picks New World “Winners” and “Losers”

January 24, 2009

The American people gave Barack Obama a mandate to solve the problem.

And the problem is clearly jobs and the economy, a new Pew Research Poll says.

After the economy and jobs, American interest in other more mundane things like global warming, the war against terror and international relations and foreign policy barely makes the poll needle move.

But every nation outside the U.S. is looking to every word and action from President Obama to help them decipher the new direction of the U.S. and much of the world.

[Review & Outlook]

Each New Year in the U.S., dozens of newspapers list what is “out” from the old year and “in” for the New Year.

As the Asian or Lunar New Year is upon us, every nation in the world might feel the need to assess what is “in” or “out” since the President Obama tenure commenced.

China is worried and fear it may be “out.”  China loved George W. Bush as “China friendly” but has already signaled that “Houston, we have a problem.”

Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner’s remarks about China in his Senate confirmation hearings already sent a shock wave through China.

Mark Lander of the New York Times wrote, “A  simple restatement of his boss’s views, Timothy F. Geithner’s assertion that China ‘manipulates’ its currency has complicated a crucial front in President Obama’s efforts to improve America’s relations with the world.”

And China does not see Hillary Clinton as a friend.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, right, shakes hands with former ... 
Chinese President Hu Jintao, right, shakes hands with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, left, as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, center, looks on during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Monday, Jan. 12, 2009. Carter and Kissinger were in China to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of U.S.-China diplomatic relations which began on Jan 1st, 1979.  China hope relations with the U.S. will get even better, but the nation hated to see George W. Bush leave.(AP Photo/ Elizabeth Dalziel, POOL)

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow is ready to help U.S. efforts in Afghanistan by allowing the Americans to ship cargo intended for coalition forces across Russian territory.

But Medvedev and Putin in Russia are loathe to accept U.S. missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic and fear other U.S. meddlesome activity in Georgia and elsewhere.

Asked about the prospects of the world with a President of the United States Barack Obama, Russin Preident Vladimir Putin said, “I am deeply convinced that the biggest disappointments are born out of big expectations.”

Pakistan is worried that the flow of American money may dry up, as former President Musharraf of Pakistan seemed to indicate when interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

But Pakistan is pleased there will be a new U.S. envoy to the region: Richard Holbrooke.

Iran and several “brothers against Zionism” in Hamas, Hezbollah, and among Palestinians and others seem emboldened by President Obama’s promise of a new way forward in the Middle East, stronger diplomatic efforts to resolve all difficulties, and the appointment of George Mitchell as special envoy.

But naturally, this makes for some concern in Tel Aviv, Cairo and other capitals.

Many in Africa and in the human rights arena are delighted to see Barack Obama as President of the United States but also express some longing for President Bush’s work to fight AIDS and the abuse and neglect of refugees.

Will President Obama do more in Somalia or Darfur?

Mush remains unknown…..

President-elect Barack Obama meets with Mexico's President Felipe ... 
President-elect Barack Obama meets with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, January 12, 2009.(Larry Downing/Reuters)

In Mexico: indiscriminate kidnappings. Nearly daily beheadings. Gangs that mock and kill government agents.

This isn’t Iraq or Pakistan. It’s Mexico, which the U.S. government and a growing number of experts say is becoming one of the world’s biggest security risks because of the “drug war.”

But when President-elect Obama, just before his inauguration, met Mexican President Calderon, the discussion was not about drugs or immigration.  The media was told Obama praised Calderon for his work on global warming and energy.

But neither a bad environment nor energy problems are as likely to bring Mexico to its knees — and impact negatively on the United States — as the drug war, according to the U.S. military.

The leadership of every nation on earth is asking, “What does President Obama mean to us?”

Poll: Economy, Jobs Top Americans’ Priorities (Global Warming Last); Obama Solutions?

Pakistan Auditions For “New Start” in U.S. Policy, Funding From President Obama on CNN

Pakistan welcomes appointment of U.S. envoy

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

Drugs, Crime Make Mexico “Under Sustained Assault”

Islamist insurgents display their weaponry in Mogadishu during a parade in mid-January.


Day 19: “End Hamas” Being Discussed in Isreal; But So Is Cease-Fire

January 14, 2009

Some leaders in Israel are now saying Hamas must be eliminated to assure peace for Israelis.

The call comes from Benjamin Netanyahu, Chairman of the Likud Party in Israel.

But senior Israeli defense  officials want a cease fire now.

 Gaza: Hamas Makes Cease-Fire Offer

Senior defense establishment officials believe that Israel should strive to reach an immediate cease-fire with Hamas, and not expand its offensive against the Palestinian Islamist group in Gaza.
At least three Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon landed near Kiryat Shmona, Israel, on Wednesday morning, the second rocket attack from Lebanon in less than a week.

Israeli sources have been unable to say who exatly has been responsible for these seemingly isolated and uncoordinated attacks but they indicate the intensity of the anger and protest all around Israel since the start of the operation in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops thrust deeper into Gaza City Wednesday, backed by tanks.  The soldiers seemed to be seeking our engagement with Hamas fighters in alleyways and cellars.
Residents spoke of heavy machine-gun fire as Israeli troops fought Hamas gunmen near Gaza City. Israel said it launched 60 air strikes overnight.

An Israeli soldier looks out from atop an armoured personnel carrier near the border with the northern Gaza Strip

Above: An Israeli soldier looks out from atop an armoured personnel carrier near the border with the northern Gaza Strip Photo: REUTERS

The Israeli army claimed 50 militants were killed in fighting over the last 24 hours but it was impossible to confirm the claim.
On the diplomatic front the Associated Press reported that  Israel sent its lead negotiator to Cairo for “decisive” talks on a cease-fire and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also headed to the region to join the diplomatic efforts.

“All the member states of the United Nations have an obligation to abide by UNSC resolutions,” he said during a press conference following a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. “[They] are binding in their nature, and I urge the Israeli leaders – as I have until now- to abide by this, to cease military operations, ensure a ceasefire, and engage in humanitarian assistance.”

Haaretz continues to report on an apparent disagreement within the Israeli government.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak is promoting a week-long “humanitarian cease-fire” in the Gaza Strip. In contrast, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert believes the military operation still has not achieved its goals.

Olmert is delaying a meeting with senior ministers in an effort to allow the military operations in Gaza to continue, Haaretz said.

Asked if Israel’s war aims had been achieved, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said: “Most of them, probably not all of them.”

The Israeli air and ground offensive against the coastal territory’s Hamas rulers has killed more than 940 Palestinians, half of them civilians, according to Palestinian hospital officials.

There seems to be a stalemate of sorts in and around Gaza.  The combat elements are engaged but neither will relent.
For over ten days Egypt’s spy chief, Omar Suleiman, has sought in vain to win assurances from Hamas that it would stop militants firing rockets into Israel from Gaza.

Hamas has demanded a withdrawal of Israel forces and an end to Israeli airstrikes before it agrees to a ceasefire.

In Israel, the government is split at least to some degree and will not relent.

Hamas also is torn between those that want to end the bloodshed and those that are energized by support from Iran and fueld by images of anti-Israel protests around the world.

Even if a cease fire can be worked out here nothing will be solved on a long term basis, many say.

“Like Hezbollah, Hamas believes that God is opposed to a Jewish state in Palestine,” writes Jeffrey Goldberg in today’s New York Times.

And in Israel, there is a deep sense that the nation is fighting for its very life.
According to Israel’s Likud Party Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, “there are two options [in Gaza]. The eradication of the Hamas regime – and there will be no escaping this in the long run – and putting an end to its armament.”

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

 Why Israel Can’t Make Peace With Hamas

Unable To Stop Hamas Arms, Some Israelis Say “End Hamas”



Jerusalem Post:

Israel Promises “Decisive” Week In Gaza

January 13, 2009

Israel promised “decisive” action on the Gaza issue this week, either militarily or in Egypt when Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad heads to Cairo for additional negotiations.

Egypt, France and Britain have been among the key mediators in attempts to forge a truce during Israel‘s 18-day offensive in Gaza.

Day 19: Israel, Hamas Continue To Battle; Seeming Diplomatic Stalemate

Israel promised that if cease-fire talks fail, the Israeli army will continue to move against Hamas.

Diplomatic pressure is building on Israel to end the fighting.

Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak again reiterated what he has said before: the assault upon Gaza would continue, along side diplomtic efforts to secure a cease-fire.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, urged both Israel and Hamas to “just give up” the fighting.

Barak said, “We heard, and we respect the calls of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and, of course, we are also monitoring developments on the Egyptian initiative, but the fighting goes on and the IDF is continuing to apply force.”

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

 Day 18 in Gaza: “Fighting Along Side Diplomacy”
Israel weighs options in Gaza
Tuesday: Israel Crashes Into Gaza City
UN chief Ban Ki-moon implores Israel and Hamas to stop Gaza violence


Israel At Crossroads: Escalate or Cease  
Day 18 in Gaza: “Fighting Along Side Dip  
Gaza Heads Into Tuesday, “Hamas Disengag  
Day 18: Tuesday, Gaza City Battle Opens,  
Israel To Reoccupy Gaza? Weighing the Op