Archive for the ‘Netanyahu’ Category

Obama’s Next Challenge: Iran, Israel, Russia? It’s Here Now

March 8, 2009

“Mark my words,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden warned last October. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking.”

“Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Today Iran tested a new long range ballistic missile.  Israel sees Iran as an existential threat armed with such missiles and nuclear weapons.

A right wing government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu is being formed in Israel and Netanyahu has made noise about attacking Iran in the past.

The Jerusalem Post wrote today about Israel’s Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, who told the cabinet on Sunday that Iran had “crossed the technological threshold” and that its attainment of  nuclear military capability was now a matter of “incorporating the goal of producing an atomic bomb to its strategy.”

See:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid
=1236269373103&pagename=JPost%2FJP
Article%2FShowFull

And all of this includes Russia.

Since President Obama’s inauguration, Russia has been testing Mr. Obama and his administration rigorously and continuously.

Russia has been jerking around all of Europe, showing who is boss of the gas and winter heating fuel for NATO which inludes the U.S.

Russia has even managed to withstand a threatened NATO boycott of ties as a direct result of Russia’s invasion of Georgia and South Ossetia last summer.  Today NATO members scrapped their threatened cut off of Russian ties just as Russia threatened to again stop the flow of Russian oil to Europe.

And the New York Times and other media reported that President Obama sent Russian President Medvedev a letter which may have offered to scrap U.S. missile defense plans in Europe in exchange, some believe, for Russian help in stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

America’s missile defense effort in Europe was planned to stop Iran’s long range ballistic missiles: which were demonstrated as real and advancing again today.

Russian leaders are certain to be gloating at the pliability of the Obama Administration and the West since Obama became president.

Despite Joe Biden’s warning last October, the international “testing” of Obama is ongoing — just not as obviously and  publically as Russia tested JFK during the Cuban missile crisis.

It seems that Russian leaders may have matured and become more subtle since the 1960s.  U.S. leaders have not….

So, even before America’s economic problems are solved, even before the stock market has started to recover, even before the stimulus has worked any magic, and even without a real start of revolutionizing health care and turing our thirst for oil into a love of wind: the Biden predicted testing is ongoing.

And the clock is ticking.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
March 8, 2009

Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile ... 
Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile outside Qom in 2006. A top Iranian military commander said that the country has missiles that can reach the nuclear sites of its arch-foe Israel.(AFP/File/null)

Related:
 Iran test-fires new long-range missile
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Fox News on missile test:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0
,2933,506813,00.html

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Russia, U.S. Missile Defense Dispute

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

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

Iranians walk past a replica of a Shahab-3 missile on display ... 
Iranians walk past a replica of a Shahab-3 missile on display in Tehran. The Fars news agency says Iran has “successfully” tested a new air-to-sea missile with a range of 110 kilometres (68 miles).(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

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

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.

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

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

Israel’s Netanyahu Warns Obama on Talks

February 9, 2009

Even before Benjamin Netanyahu finds out whether he will be Israel’s next prime minister, he is sending a message to President Barack Obama that he won’t be pushed around.

By Jonathan Ferziger and Hans Nichols
Bloomberg

Netanyahu, the Likud party candidate who narrowly leads Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni ahead of elections tomorrow, last week took reporters to Arab parts of Jerusalem, where he helped establish Jewish footholds when he was previously prime minister. No pressure, he said, would make him cede those neighborhoods “to our enemies.”

Just as he confounded former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, Netanyahu probably will resist if Obama pushes too hard to extract Israeli concessions for peace in the Middle East.

“He’s extremely effective politically, unbelievably smart and relentlessly suspicious when it comes to the Arabs and the Americans,” says former U.S. negotiator Aaron David Miller, author of “The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace.”
Livni, leading the ruling Kadima party, has campaigned on the need to continue peace talks and compromise with the Palestinians. She would likely have a more harmonious relationship with Obama — if she were able to cobble together enough support to form a governing coalition consistent with her views. That isn’t certain, given the decline in polls of the Labor Party, Kadima’s coalition partner, which advocates Palestinian statehood.

“A Livni coalition would be so fragile that it wouldn’t be able to take any decisive steps with the Palestinians and stay in power,” says Roni Bart, a researcher at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pi
d=washingtonstory&sid=aeKTFmR61kD0

Israel May Elect Netanyahu; Disappointing Outsiders

February 8, 2009

Israel’s Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, last night launched a concerted final effort to become her nation’s first woman leader since Golda Meir, despite the rightwards shift in public opinion that has threatened to propel Benjamin Netanyahu back into the premiership.

The leader of the centrist Kadima party, who began the closing stages of her campaign with a rally for Druze Arab voters in Galilee last night, issued a direct personal challenge to Mr Netanyahu to agree to the television debate which he has consistently refused.

As polls showing the lead of Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party has narrowed to only two seats ahead of Kadima, Ms Livni’s campaign team believes she can overtake her rival by the time Israel goes to the polls on Tuesday.

Mr Netanyahu has emphasised the threats from Hamas and a nuclear Iran in his campaign.

By Donald Macintyre
The Independent (UK)

Israel's Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu smiles during ... 
Israel’s Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu smiles during a meeting with supporters in the northern city of Tiberias February 8, 2009. Surveys predict a narrow win in Tuesday’s vote for hawkish ex-premier Netanyahu, his comeback fuelled by the inconclusive wars in southern Lebanon and Gaza, formerly areas under Israel’s control and now bastions of hostile Islamists.REUTERS/Baz Ratner (ISRAEL)

Ms Livni, who strongly supported the recent invasion of Gaza, but has pledged to continue talks on a two-state solution with the moderate West Bank Palestinian leadership, said there was a public demand from potential leaders “to specify with which policies they plan to cope with the threats, and lead [Israel] to a better future of peace and quiet”. Meanwhile the outgoing Kadima premier, Ehud Olmert, was making what the Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, said were “supreme efforts” to leave a positive legacy by securing the release of Gilad Shalit, the army corporal seized by Gaza militants in 2006, before polling day.

Turkish TV reported on Friday that Turkish officials were holding talks in Damascus with exiled leaders of Hamas, which has been seeking a large-scale release of Palestinian prisoners in return.

At the same time Mr Barak, Labour’s prime ministerial candidate, told Channel 1 TV that Cpl Shalit was known to be “well, alive, breathing and OK”.

He added: “You know that I am a fierce critic of the Prime Minister, but in these matters, in these days, he is making a great effort, as am I … in order to expedite the process.” Whether the formidable obstacles to securing the release can be overcome remains to be seen, however.

A Hamas official, Osama al-Muzaini, said talks on the issue had so far made little progress because Israel “remained unwilling to pay the price”.

While Mr Barak warned the release of Cpl Shalit would require “painful decisions” – presumably on a prisoner exchange – the electoral effect, if it happened, would probably be to help Labour and Kadima at the expense of Likud and the increasingly popular Yisrael Beiteinu, led by the hard-right Avigdor Lieberman.

According to the polls, the main features of a relatively lacklustre election so far have been the Likud comeback under Mr Netanyahu from its three-decade low of just 12 Knesset seats in the 2006 election, and the seemingly relentless rise of Mr Lieberman, who could yet prove the kingmaker in forming a coalition after Tuesday.

Polls published on Friday – the last allowed before election day – showed Likud with 25 to 27 seats, just ahead of Kadima, with 23 to 25. Mr Lieberman’s party with 18 or 19, which, if fulfilled in actual voting, would push the once-dominant Labour Party into fourth place.

Most analysts think the rightward shift has resulted from a combination of two factors. One is Hamas’s continued control of Gaza. The other is the stillbirth of the centrist programme under Mr Olmert of withdrawing from settlements and negotiating a peace deal with the moderate Palestinian leadership. This was envisaged at the international Annapolis summit sponsored by President George Bush at the end of 2007.

Read the rest:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/isr
aeli-elections-be-afraid-be-very-afraid-160405
2.html

Netanyahu says Iran will not get hands on nukes

February 1, 2009

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s leading candidate for prime minister, said Saturday that Iran “will not be armed with a nuclear weapon.”

Aron Heller
Associated Press

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV, Netanyahu said if elected prime minister his first mission will be to thwart the Iranian nuclear threat. Netanyahu, the current opposition leader and head of the hardline Likud party, called Iran the greatest danger to Israel and to all humanity.

When asked if stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions included a military strike, he replied: “It includes everything that is necessary to make this statement come true.”

Iran has denied it is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and says it is pursuing nuclear power for peaceful uses. It also denies it is engaged in terrorism, instead accusing Israel of terrorist policies against the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, which were occupied by Israel after the 1967 Mideast War.

The Channel 2 TV broadcast interviewed all three candidates for prime minister ahead of the Feb. 10 election. The three did not debate each other and appeared one after the other to answer questions posted by Israelis in YouTube videos.

Tzipi Livni of Kadima and Ehud Barak of Labor were both asked about how they intended to deal with the continuing rocket threat from Hamas militants in Gaza. Both took a hard line.

“Hamas was hit like it was never hit before,” Barak, the defense minister, said. “If they try us again, they will be hit again.”

Read the rest:
http://malaysia.news.yahoo.com/ap/200
90201/twl-ml-israel-politics-38359fb.html

Leader of the Likud Party in Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, gestures ... 
Leader of the Likud Party in Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, gestures as he speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday Jan. 29, 2009.(AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)