Archive for the ‘George Mitchell’ Category

Hillary’s incredible, shrinking role

February 12, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is finding that her job description is dissolving under her feet, leaving her with only a vestige of the power she must have thought she acquired when she signed on to be President Obama’s chief Cabinet officer.

By Dick Morris
The Hill

Since her designation:

 Vice President Biden has moved vigorously to stake out foreign policy as his turf. His visit to Afghanistan, right before the Inauguration, could not but send a signal to Hillary that he would conduct foreign policy in the new administration, leaving Hillary in the role of backup.

 

• Richard Holbrooke, the former Balkan negotiator and U.N. ambassador, has been named special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He insisted on direct access to the president, a privilege he was denied during much of the Clinton years.

• Former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine), negotiator of the Irish Peace Accords, was appointed to be the administration’s point man on Arab-Israeli negotiations.

• Samantha Power, Obama’s former campaign aide, who once called Hillary a “monster,” has been appointed to the National Security Council (NSC) as director of “multilateral affairs.”

• Gen. James L. Jones, Obama’s new national security adviser, has announced an expansion of the membership and role of the NSC. He pledges to eliminate “back channels” to the president and wants to grow the NSC’s role to accommodate the “dramatically different” challenges of the current world situation.

• Susan Rice, Obama’s new United Nations ambassador, insisted upon and got Cabinet rank for her portfolio, and she will presumably also have the same kind of access to Obama that she had as his chief foreign policy adviser during the campaign.

So where does all this leave Secretary of State Clinton?

While sympathy for Mrs. Clinton is outside the normal fare of these columns, one cannot help but feel that she is surrounded by people who are, at best, strangers and, at worst, enemies. ….

Read the rest:
http://thehill.com/dick-morris/hillarys-inc
redible-shrinking-role-2009-02-09.html

“Free Palestine” Turning into “Hate Jews” in Some Places; Activists Urged to Cool Off

January 31, 2009

Israel’s military action in Gaza opened an old wound one more time.  And few are in the middle of this issue: millions support the Palestinians with their every fiber and millions also stand with Israel.

Perhaps growing state support from Iran and others has fueled anger and hate.  Certainly Iran’s President Ahmadinejad and his statement that “The Zionist State [Israel] should be wiped from the map” is not helpful.

Last week after the BBC refused to air a charity appeal meant to raise money for displaced Gazans the network was the subject of intense criticism and protests — and Iran closed the BBC persian service in Tehran.

Now some are saying “enough is enough.”

In Britain, the National Union of Students is urging students to relent on their pro-Palestine protests which have become decidedly anti-Israeli and anti-Jew.

“The protesters need to find new ways to campaign vocally without causing disruption to students on campus” Wes Streeting, N.U.S. president, told CNN.

And Barack Obama has dispatched special envoy George Mitchell to the region to seek a lasting peace….

The CNN Report:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/europe/01/30/uk.students.gaza/ind
ex.html

Related:
Rocket From Gaza Hits Israel; Isreal Threatens More Military Action

Protesters demonstrate in London against the BBC. The BBC is ... 
Protesters demonstrate in London against the BBC. The BBC is facing more pressure to broadcast a charity appeal for funds for people in Gaza, as the Archbishop of Canterbury joins the row and more than 50 MPs sign a motion condemning the move.(AFP/Frantzesco Kangaris)

Rocket From Gaza Hits Israel; Isreal Threatens More Military Action

January 31, 2009

A rocket fired from Gaza landed in Israel on Saturday, the third since both Israel and Hamas declared cease-fires on January 18.

There were no injuries.

Update from Feb 1:
More Rockets Hit Israel, “Disproportionate” Response Threatened

“Hamas was hit like it was never hit before,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel’s Channel 10 TV on Friday. “If we will have to hit Hamas again, we will.”

Both Hamas and Israel are keeping a tense and steady truce, and both sides expressed concern that the fighting may not yet be over.

President Barack Obama’s new Middle East envoy promised a vigorous push for Israel-Palestinian peace, saying Gaza militants must end their weapons smuggling and the territory’s blockaded borders must be pried open if a cease-fire already marred by violence is to take hold.

George Mitchell held  talks with regional leaders this week to determine the next steps the Obama administration would take toward reviving peace negotiations following Israel’s blistering military offensive against Gaza’s Islamic Hamas rulers.

Related:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2
009-01-30-isreal-hamas_N.htm?csp=34

Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?ci
d=1233304643229&pagename=JPost%2
FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Turkey Tells Obama: Redefine Terrorism; Bush Misunderestimated “Realities” of Middle East, Hezbollah Says

January 30, 2009

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that he doesn’t much like the definition of terrorism adopted after 9-11 by George W. Bush.

Erdogan, whose country has played a key role in trying to mediate among Israel and Syria and the Palestinians, said Obama’s new Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, will be in Turkey for talks Sunday.

“President Obama must redefine terror and terrorist organizations” and make a new policy for the Middle east and elsewhere.

When 9-11 happened and President Bush declared the “war on terror, many though israel immediately looked at palestinians as terrorists, Russia looked at Chechens the same way, China saw Tibetans as terrorist and so it went around the globe.

No maybe a re-alignment or new definitions are in order.

In his remarks toward President Obama and the U.S., most observers said the Turkish leader appeared to be referring to the US position toward Hamas and Hizbullah, which the United States considers terrorist organizations.

Related:
The Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?ci
d=1233050208220&pagename=JPost%2F
JPArticle%2FShowFull

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Bush Accused of Trying to “Remake” Middle East; Misunderestimated “Realities”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the administration of former President George W. Bush worked with its Arab allies to try and change the “realities” in Gaza before Barack Obama took office.

Nasrallah says Bush administration worked with its Arab allies to "change the realities" in Gaza.

Nasrallah says Bush administration worked with its Arab allies to “change the realities” in Gaza.

In a wide-ranging speech on Thursday marking “Freedom Day” — a celebration of the release of Hezbollah prisoners from Israeli custody — Nasrallah said the Bush administration worked with its Arab allies “in order to take advantage of the short time of Bush’s term and before (Barack) Obama takes office in order to change the realities” in Gaza.

There were no U.S. forces involved in the 22-day Israeli military operation in Gaza; the United States is a key supporter of Israel.

Read it all from CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WOR
LD/meast/01/29/lebanon.bush/ind
ex.html

Obama Completes Spectacular First Week

January 28, 2009

Barack Obama’s first week in the White House has been spectacular.

He was greated by the largest live crowds ever, perhaps, to attend an inauguration.

He has appointed special envoys in the Middle East (George Mitchell) and for Afghanistan and Pakistan (Richard Holbrooke).

Like Karl Wallenda, the father of the famed high wire act, he pleased liberals with his proclamation on torture and Gitmo without really closing the detention facility and angering conservatives.

He has reached out to everyone: Republicans, Iran, Russia, Muslims, Israelis, Pakistan and everyone in between.

He has launch “policy reviews” all over the map: on Irag and Afghanistan; and on energy and the environment.

He’s gone to Republican lawmakers to hear their concerns — part photo op certainly but also part necessity and conviction.

“Mr. Obama doesn’t have to do that. He could get a stimulus bill passed almost entirely with Democratic votes. But Obama doesn’t want to be yet another president who divides the country,” said Bill Schneider of CNN.

Tonight he will host a “social hour” at the White House to include Republicans and Democrats.

Not a bad first week.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Related:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/0
1/28/obama.first.week/index.html

Related:
 Russia ’stops missile deployment in Europe because of Obama’

Obama Envoy in Israel, Seeks End To Hamas Tunnels, Smuggling

Obama: Muslims not America’s enemy, “I have Muslim members of my family”

Obama Envoy Mitchell’s Firm Lobbied for Dubai’s Ruler

January 27, 2009

George Mitchell, President Barack Obama’s special Middle East troubleshooter, was chairman of a law firm that was paid about $8 million representing Dubai’s ruler in connection with a child-trafficking lawsuit.

From Bloomberg

The DLA Piper law firm did legal and lobbying work on the case, which alleged that Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al- Maktoum and another official used children kidnapped from other countries to ride as jockeys in camel races. The firm lobbied federal agencies, members of the U.S. House and about two dozen Senate offices, including those of Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2006 and 2007, according to Justice Department foreign-agent disclosures.

Mitchell, 75, who isn’t a registered lobbyist, didn’t lobby either on this issue or for Dubai generally. DLA Piper partner Bill Minor said in an e-mail that Mitchell, a former Democratic senator from Maine, mainly focused on growth and management at the firm of almost 4,000 attorneys and 65 offices worldwide, and high-profile projects such as an investigation of steroid use in Major League Baseball.

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=206
01087&sid=aa7hdtvtfYxc&refer=worldwide