Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

March 7, 2009

International relations is the arena of understanding different peoples and cultures and one might expect that Barack Obama, with his wide ranging international background, along with America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with her vast international experience, might understand international nuance.

Yet on Hillary’s first outing with one of America’s most difficult adversaries, she delivered a gift bearing an incorrect translation: an insult because it represents a lack of proper care in even properly translating one word.

What do we pay that big crowd at the State Department for, anyway?  Too expensive and porky, if they can’t get one word properly translated.  But I’m picky.

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented her counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, with a big red button marked “peregruzka” she thought this meant “reset.”

The symbolic resetting of Russian and U.S. relations did not go perfectly.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.” Both diplomats laughed. “It should be “perezagruzka” (the Russian word for reset,) Lavrov said. “This says ‘peregruzka,’ which means ‘overcharged.'”

We disagree with CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty who said  the U.S. and Russian relationship had to be reset “after relations ‘crashed’ when Russia invaded Georgia last August.”

In fact, the Bush Administration and most of Europe suspended relations with Russia in hopes of punishing or at least getting the attention of the oil rich giant after Russia’s incursion into Georgia.  But then a winter gas dispute with the Ukraine moved Russia to cut off gas to Europe — teaching the West a memorable lesson: oil and gas are power.

Relations with the U.S., Europe and NATO have suddenly gotten rosier for Moscow and the gas to Europe is flowing again.  That’s power, not diplomacy talking.

Clinton said the two sides will re-negotiate a follow-up to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and nonproliferation. On other issues like Afghanistan, the Middle East and Iran, Clinton said, “We will work through them.”

On issues where there is disagreement, Clinton said, “We are keeping those on the list because, we think through closer cooperation and building trust in each other, we can even tackle some of those differences.”

The tricky “hot button” between the U.S. and Russia right now is Iran.  Russia has been assisting Iran with nuclear development and air defense weapons.  The Obama Administration wants Russia to persuade Iran from moving closer to a nuclear weapon program.  Israel plays in this discussion.  A right wing government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu is being formed in Israel and Netanyahu has made noise about attacking Iran in the past.

So, to keep world peace, the Obama Administration may be willing to give up its missile defense effort in the Czech Republic and Poland in order to gain Russian help with Iran.

Related:
CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/W
ORLD/europe/03/07/us.russia
/index.html

Related:
Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
.
Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia Haggle

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”

Mr. Obama and Russia
NYT Editorial: Russia only understands strength….

 Chutzpah: Admire Russia’s Arrogance

Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament

Putin Medvedev
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Above: Russia’s “power couple.” Vladimir Putin speaks with his presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

http://defencedebates.wordpress.com/2009/03
/07/russia-pushes-for-new-strategic-arms-pact-with-us/

Russian media teases Clinton:
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG
.9ca28ad2530b0d0029e1304762eca18f.8c1&s
how_article=1

http://doubleplusundead.mee.nu/

America’s Top Diplomat Tongue-Tied?
http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyE
noughNews/idUSTRE5254WO20090306

http://www.rightwingnews.com/#post14701

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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
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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”

Obama faces double dilemmas in Mideast

February 12, 2009

Israel‘s shift to the right could throw a monkey wrench into President Barack Obama‘s conciliatory overtures to Iran and his budding drive to promote Arab-Israeli peacemaking.

Results of elections this week in Israel are likely to ensure a pivotal role for rightist Benjamin Netanyahu, whose tough statements on Iran reflect the distrust of Israeli voters. And unlike many Israelis, his aim in dealing with the Palestinians does not include immediate peace negotiations.

By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer

Netanyahu says he wants to focus on reviving the Palestinian economy and leave peacemaking for later. At the same time, he wants to expand the Israeli population on the West Bank beyond the current total of nearly 300,000.

The Palestinians, moderate or extremist, have other plans for the area: forcing the Israelis to withdraw and making the territory part of a Palestinian state.

Tzipi Livni, who has moved from hard-line to centrist over the years and accepts the principle of yielding territory, still is in the running for Israeli prime minister, along with Netanyahu. On the distant right is the Yisrael Beitenu Party’s Avigdor Lieberman, who might gain a toehold in the government.

Samuel Lewis, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, observed in an interview that with the clear “shift to the right,” it’s likely Netanyahu ultimately will become prime minister with a coalition Cabinet that “would not very easily produce a broad-based agreement with the Palestinians.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090212/ap_
on_go_pr_wh/us_israel_analysis

Israel Lurches Right; Prospects For Peace Gone

February 11, 2009

Israel headed for political gridlock on Wednesday after its election produced rival winners.

Analysts said the country was as split as the Palestinians and the prospects of the two making peace were dimmer than ever.

Reuters

Centrist Tzipi Livni’s Kadima party won the most votes but had little chance of building enough support for a coalition. Right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu can get the support, but analysts said the likely coalition would prove dysfunctional.

“I won,” read the headline of the country’s biggest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, over photos of both leaders. But to some commentators, the rival claims showed Israel had lost. “One thing is clear to all Israeli voters,” said the paper’s Eitan Haber. “The political system is shattered.”

President Shimon Peres must now decide whether to call on Livni or Netanyahu, who then has 42 days to form a government.

Israeli media said it seemed he would have no choice but to tap Netanyahu if the majority rightist parties all back him.

But it would be the first time in Israel’s 60-year history that the winner of an election would be passed over.

The results, not yet official, gave Netanyahu 27 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, while Livni’s Kadima won 28.

She said she would be prime minister and invited Netanyahu to join a “unity government”. But Netanyahu said he would lead the “nationalist camp” in parliament, and control 64 seats.

“With God’s help I will lead the next government,” Netanyahu, 59, told supporters of his Likud party.

“Tzipi Livni has only the slightest chance, or none at all, of forming a government under her leadership,” said Abraham Diskin, a political scientist at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

HARD RIGHT IN PIVOTAL POSITION

Avigdor Lieberman’s far-right, anti-Arab Yisrael Beiteinu party, now third largest, emerged as a potential kingmaker.

“We want a nationalist government. We want a rightist government,” he said. A deal was needed as fast as possible because the state “has been paralysed for half a year”.

Read the rest:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/middleea
stCrisis/idUKLB505486?sp=true

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/

Israel: Inconclusive Election May Make Middle East Peace Illusive

February 11, 2009

“I voted to improve security,” one man told CBS News.

The election is over in Israel and now a government has to be formed.

But the election showed how muchmany Israelis now worry about Iran, Hezbollad and Hamas around them.  This will make for a very difficult tals for thise seeking a lasting Middle east Paece.

********

By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM – Inconclusive election results sent Israel into political limbo Wednesday with both Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and hard-line leader Benjamin Netanyahu claiming victory and leaving the kingmaker role to a rising political hawk with an anti-Arab platform.

Livni’s Kadima Party won 28 seats, just one more than Netanyahu’s Likud, in Tuesday’s election for the 120-member parliament, according to nearly complete results. With neither party winning a clear majority, neither can govern alone. Gains by right-wing parties give Netanyahu a better chance of forming a coalition with his natural allies.

The results set the stage for what could be weeks of coalition negotiations. Israeli media reported the first meetings were scheduled for Wednesday.

Such paralysis could dampen prospects for Egyptian-led attempts to broker a truce between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers after Israel’s devastating offensive in Gaza last month. Hamas might be reluctant to sign a deal at the risk of having it overturned by the incoming coalition.

Whatever government is forged, it is unlikely to move quickly toward peace talks with the Palestinians and instead could find itself on a collision course with President Barack Obama, who has said he’s making a Mideast peace deal a priority.

It’s up to Israeli President Shimon Peres to decide whether Livni or Netanyahu should have the first shot at forming a government. Peres will meet with party leaders to hear their recommendations, and then has a week to make up his mind.

However, the final word may be up to ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman, a former Netanyahu protege and perhaps Israel’s most divisive politician, whose rightist Yisrael Beiteinu gained four seats in the election to hold 15.

Lieberman kept his options open, saying he spoke both to Livni and Netanyahu after the polls closed. “We want a right-wing government,” Lieberman told party activists, but added that “we do not rule out anyone.”

Several hours after polls closed, Livni and Netanyahu staged rival victory rallies.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090211/ap_on_
re_mi_ea/ml_israel_politics_2

Israel Votes; Big Turnout

February 10, 2009

Despite talk about apathy in Israel, voters are turing out in droves for today’s election.

As of 14:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, some 34 percent of the 5.2 million people eligible to vote had cast their ballots at the 9,263 polling places, the Jerusalem Post said.

The elction is really between the centrist Tzipi Zivni and the far right Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu is favored to win by a slim majority.

Echoing Barack Obama, Netanyahu said, “The people want change, and today they will choose change.” 

“Those who want a new way will focus around the Likud and around me,” he said.

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meas
t/02/10/israel.elections.polls/index.html

Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?ci
d=1233304735433&pagename=JPost%2F
JPArticle%2FShowFull