Monday, November 10, 2014

Obama & Israel: the next two years


Obama's Outreach to Iran - Suzanne Maloney

President Barack Obama reportedly penned a personal appeal to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last month. The move betrays a profound misunderstanding of the Iranian leadership, and is likely to hinder rather than help achieve a durable resolution to Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Khamenei's mistrust and antipathy toward Washington has been a consistent feature of his public rhetoric. Anti-Americanism is Khamenei's bedrock, engrained in his worldview, and as such it is not susceptible to blandishments - particularly not from the very object of his loathing. Obama's appeal at this critical juncture in the nuclear diplomacy will surely be read as a supplication - and as further confirmation of American desperation and weakness in the face of Iran's position of advantage. As he explained recently, "the reason why we are stronger is that [America] retreats step by step in all the arenas which we and the Americans have confronted each other."
There is simply no plausible scenario in which a letter from the U.S. President to Ali Khamenei generates greater Iranian flexibility on the nuclear program, which the regime has paid an exorbitant price to preserve. Just the opposite - the letter undoubtedly intensified Khamenei's contempt for Washington and reinforced his longstanding determination to extract maximalist concessions.
The writer, a former U.S. State Department policy advisor, is a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings.
(Brookings Institution)
Obama's Bet on Iran - Jackson Diehl

Since Jimmy Carter, presidents have sought to fashion an Arab coalition to contain the Islamic regime in Iran and thwart its aim to establish itself as a regional hegemon. Obama's final push, if it works, would allow Iran to keep much of its nuclear infrastructure while ceding Tehran a role in the pacification and political reconstruction of the lands from Baghdad to Beirut.
The Israeli government and most leaders of the Persian Gulf states continue to view Iran as an existential threat, best treated with crippling economic sanctions, proxy war against its allies in Syria and Lebanon and, if necessary, direct military action against its nuclear installations. A bipartisan majority of the U.S. Congress agrees with them.
(Washington Post)
-David M. Weinberg

To my mind, we are not far from the day when the Obama administration will support a Palestinian Authority resolution demanding a timetable for Israeli withdrawals to specific borders and endorsing punitive measures unless Israel complies. I don’t think this far-fetched at all.

So you see, Abbas can brutally mock American peace proposals, accuse Israel of “genocide,” glorify terrorism against Israel, cuddle with Hamas, and cozy-up to Iranian officials in preparation for battle against Israel. Yet Obama remains mum about Abbas, while his “officials” call Netanyahu “chicken-shit.”

Abbas says he will “never” recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish People, “never” forgo the so-called right of return to Israel of Palestinian refugees, “never” accept Israeli security control of Jordan Valley and other key air and ground security assets, “never” allow Jews to live in Judea, “never” accept Israeli sovereignty in any part of Old Jerusalem, and call for riots to prevent Jews from “desecrating” the Temple Mount by visiting there.

Yet Obama issues no warnings of PA diplomatic isolation or economic collapse if Abbas doesn’t compromise and advance the peace process. He pins nothing on the defiant Palestinian Authority and its radical Islamic allies. He is mum on all this, while his “officials” call Netanyahu a “coward.”

But of course, Obama truly “wishes” he had the “influence” to arrest the isolation of Israel. Yeah, sure. Obama is purposefully engineering the denouement of the special relationship between America and Israel...

Over the past year, Obama has granted Putin gargantuan international victories, given Assad a new lease on life, re-legitimized Iran and re-energized the morally-bankrupt UN – while playing Hamlet about his own authority to strike Syria or defend Israel. He has made only a ridiculously-miniscule effort at confronting ISIL. He leaves America’s reputation in the world “unbelievably small.”
[Israel Hayom]

U.S. May Renew Ties with Iran if Nuke Deal Reached    

The London Times reported that the U.S. was ready to discuss renewing diplomatic ties with Iran if a nuclear deal was reached. The report states that talks between officials from both sides were happening this week in Baku, Azerbaijan, in addition to the nuclear talks. The U.S. has denied the report.     
(Jerusalem Post)


If Iran Says ‘Yes’ - Bret Stephens

Al Qaeda on a “path to defeat.” America “out of Iraq.” It won’t be long before a nuclear deal with Iran will join the list of Mr. Obama’s hollow Mideast achievements.
[Wall Street Journal]

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