Archive for the ‘Mideast’ Category

Obama Launching First Diplomatic Mission To Middle East

January 25, 2009

The day Barack Obama became President of the United States, Israeli tanks were rumbling out of Gaza and Palestinians were piled up awaiting burial. Unitid Nations storehouse were in ruins.  Accusations were flying that Israel had used white phosphorus — a substanced banned for use in populated areas by civilized people.   It would be difficult to make the other top priorities of the world scene more important than the festering and violent disputes of the Middle East. Despite Russia-Georgia, North Korea, disagreements with China, Pakistan, troubles in Afghanistan and other disputes, Barack Obama is squarely and rightly facing the Middle East….

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President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East will come to Israel Wednesday for talks on keeping alive a fragile Gaza cease-fire and reviving Mideast negotiations, an Israeli foreign ministry official said Saturday.

It is the new administration’s first direct move into Mideast peace efforts.

By STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writer

George J. Mitchell will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and senior Israeli officials, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because Washington has not officially announced the trip.
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George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama's newly named ... 
George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama’s newly named Special Envoy to the Middle East.(AFP/Saul Loeb)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced Mitchell in his new role Thursday. His appointment is seen as signaling a renewed push under the Obama administration for a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Mitchell will also visit Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at their headquarters in the West Bank, the official said.

The official said Mitchell will discuss restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after Israel’s three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip, and ways to impose an effective arms blockade against the Hamas militants who rule Gaza and have been firing rockets into Israel for years.

The arms embargo and the opening of the blockaded territory’s borders are key to sustaining separate cease-fires by Israel and Hamas.

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Tzipi Livni (Left) with Hillary Clinton

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009012
5/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_us

Iran Cleric Tells All Muslims To Rise Up Against Isreal; Tumult in Mideast

December 28, 2008

Iran’s Supreme Leader issued a religious decree to Muslims around the world on Sunday, ordering them to defend Palestinians in Gaza against Israeli attacks “in any way possible”, state television reported.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also declared Monday a day of public mourning in Iran after Israel killed more than 280 Palestinians in two days of air strikes on Gaza.

“All Palestinian combatants and all the Islamic world’s pious people are obliged to defend the defenceless women, children and people in Gaza in any way possible,” Khamenei said.

“Whoever is killed in this legitimate defence, is considered a martyr,” he said in a statement.

A religious decree is an official statement by a ranking religious leader that commands Muslims to carry out its message. While there is no religious and legal force behind it, Khamenei is respected by many Iranian and non-Iranian Shi’ites.

Iran refuses to recognise Israel, which accuses Tehran of supplying Hamas Islamists with weapons. Iran denies the claim, saying it only provides moral support to the group.

Israeli leaders said their campaign was a response to almost daily rocket and mortar fire by Gaza militants that intensified after Hamas ended a six-month ceasefire a week ago.

Khamenei criticised some Arab governments for their lack of response towards the Israeli raids.

Related:
Israel Sees Existential Fight: Enemies, Uncertainty All Around

Read the rest from Reuters:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKHO
S84274820081228?sp=true
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The uproar is strong, but analysts say it’s unlikely to destabilize pro-U.S. governments in the region.
By Borzou Daragahi
The Los Angeles Times
December 28, 2008
Reporting from Beirut — Angry demonstrations broke out across the Arab world Saturday and diplomats in the region called for emergency measures in the aftermath of Israel’s deadly air attacks against Hamas security strongholds in the Gaza Strip.

But few expect the uproar to do more than reinforce regional trends: Pro-U.S. Arab governments continue to alienate large portions of their populations despite statements of protest against Israel, analysts said, while Iran and Syria score propaganda points for their continuing patronage of Islamic militant groups such as Hamas that fight Israel.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/
la-fg-gaza-arab-react28-2008dec28,0,577761
3.story?track=rss

Uproar 
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Above: UPROAR: Supporters of Hamas protest in Damascus, Syria. “The reaction of the Arab street shows that the Palestinian issue is not just about Palestinians,” one analyst says.  Photo: Bassem Tellawi / Associated Press