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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: AIPAC, Bibi, and, Iran

6:32 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Obama warns Israel against ‘international fallout’

US President Barack Obama has warned Israel against ‘international fallout’ if direct talks with the Palestinian Authority fail and Tel Aviv continues its illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Speaking to Bloomberg View prior to his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Obama said that Washington’s ability to protect its staunch ally from being isolated in the world would be ‘limited’ if Tel Aviv continues expanding its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Obama also warned that international condemnation will mean reduced influence for Washington over issues that are of interest to Israel.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have stalled over Tel Aviv’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

In his interview, which was published on Sunday, Obama said “the window is closing” for a so-called peace deal with the Palestinian Authority, calling on Netanyahu to ‘seize the moment.’

But, Bibi will have none of that…

Netanyahu dismisses US warnings over failure to reach peace agreement

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, upon his arrival in Washington on Monday, dismissed the warnings made by US President Barack Obama regarding the potential fallout if the current negotiations failed to reach an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians based on the two-state solution.

After stepping off his jet, Netanyahu told reporters that: ‘The tango in the Middle East needs at least three. For years there have been two—Israel and the US. Now it needs to be seen if the Palestinians are also present.’

Netanyahu added that: ‘In any case, in order for us to have an agreement, we must uphold our vital interests. I have proven that I do so, in the face of all pressures and all the turmoil, and I will continue to do so here as well.’

To be sure…

AIPAC presses Obama: Stay firm on Iran

As annual convention opens, pro-Israel lobby circulates letter calling on Obama to adopt approach to Islamic republic that, as described, echoes that of Netanyahu.

After recently leading a losing battle in Congress against President Barack Obama’s diplomatic strategy on Iran, the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, whose annual convention in Washington opened Sunday, is giving it another try.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee circulated a letter to Obama urging him to take a much more restrictive approach to Iran’s nuclear program – an approach that, as described, echoed that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The letter was signed by three Democratic senators led by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (New Jersey), and three Republican senators led by the outspokenly hawkish Lindsey Graham (South Carolina).

The AIPAC letter said that if and when a final nuclear treaty is signed with Iran, Obama should be guided by the principles that Iran has ‘no inherent right to [uranium] enrichment;’ and that there is ‘no reason’ for Iran’s enrichment facility at Fordo, nor for its heavy water facility at Arak.

Needless to say, the AIPAC critters are hard at work in the Halls of Congress…

US legislators propose law to punish academic boycotts of Israel

Two members of the US Congress have introduced a bill to deprive American educational institutions of federal funding if they implement an academic boycott of Israel.

According to Israel’s Maariv newspaper, the bill has been drafted by Republican Peter Roskam and Dan Lipinski of the Democratic Party, both from the state of Illinois. The draft stipulates that ‘every academic institution to boycott Israel will lose federal funding.’

Maariv said that the bill does not prohibit anyone from boycotting Israel on the basis of freedom of expression, but stipulates that institutions which do so will be deprived of privileges they receive from the federal government.

Although still in its early stages with the Congress Cultural Committee, the bill has already been signed by 134 members. In order for it to pass into law, it has to be signed by 435 legislators.

In wrapping up, Iran has always been the shiny bauble to distract the masses from the I/P…

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Bye-Bye Sykes-Picot, Game-Changers, and, Tiddlywinks

5:05 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius had recently raised the topic of redrawing the borders of Syria and/or the Middle East…

An opening emerges for Syria talks

…Here, American diplomatic pressure will be crucial. To empower Idriss, the United States may expand its current training and nonlethal assistance to include supplying weapons — even as its real hopes remain with a negotiated peace deal backed by Russia.

For Russia, the Syrian endgame offers a test of President Vladimir Putin’s sincerity and his clout. He regally left the details to Lavrov Tuesday, after keeping Kerry waiting three hours.

This lèse-majesté may impress Russians, but it won’t get the job done on Syria. If Putin has finally come to understand that Russia would potentially suffer most from the dissolution of the 1916 Sykes-Picot boundaries in the Middle East, then he will have to put his personal political energy behind the deal, rather than making a handoff to Lavrov.

The extremists also get a vote in this process, unfortunately. Hard-liners within Assad’s camp could step up their use of chemical weapons, hoping to set off a regional bonfire. Sunni jihadists could slaughter Alawites, in revenge for past attacks but also to torpedo a peace deal. Hezbollah and Iran could decide that their interests would be so harmed by Assad’s removal that they would rather torch Syria and take their chances. And Israel could continue its recent attacks, drawing Arab reprisals.

There are many ways this peace initiative could fail, but at least it has begun.

Honestly, do take a gander at what the Sykes–Picot Agreement is all about…!

Now, let’s look at recent developments from ‘on the ground’… Read the rest of this entry →