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Obama’s 2010 Successes and Failures in the Middle East

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Posted on Dec 21, 2010
AP / Sebastian Scheiner

A bulldozer works on a construction site in the Jewish settlement of Adam outside Jerusalem.

By Juan Cole

As 2010 dawned, President Barack Obama had four big issues on his plate regarding the Middle East. These were Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Iran, and Afghanistan. The year has been as unkind to him on those issues as it was with respect to unemployment and the Republican resurgence. As the decade draws to a close, it is clear that the bright hopes inspired by Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech have markedly faded, and the disappointments have outweighed achievements in the most important arena for contemporary American foreign policy. In some important respects, the fault lies with Obama himself for being less a leader than a coordinator.

In Iraq, the U.S. State Department’s hopes that the March 7 parliamentary elections would contribute to national reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites and form a bridge to a successful American withdrawal have been put in doubt. The Iraqiya Party, headed by former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, had attracted the support of Iraq’s minority Sunnis, and was backed by Saudi Arabia and, initially, the United States. Although it had the largest single number of seats in the new Parliament, it never found enough partners to form a majority.

In contrast, Iran sought to re-create the Shiite majority of past elections by wheedling the Shiite parties into uniting into a postelection grand coalition. In the end, Iran prevailed upon Muqtada al-Sadr, the anti-American fundamentalist cleric, to side with incumbent Nouri al-Maliki, giving him the momentum to attract the support of other Shiites and of the Kurds. Although Maliki will include Sunni Arabs from the Iraqiya Party in his Cabinet, his gaining of a second term can only be interpreted as a solid victory for Iran. The good news is that Maliki has proved relatively decisive and able to command the new Iraqi army.

If Iraq is a mixed picture, Obama’s hopes for a diplomatic breakthrough in the relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians have thoroughly crashed and burned. The Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, had insisted that Israel cease pouring colonists into the Palestinian West Bank if he was going to sit at a table and directly negotiate the future of that territory with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Otherwise it would be like dickering with a furniture salesman over bedroom suites for a new house even while the salesman’s workers were carting off one piece after another for their own homes. The Israelis agreed to only a 10-month freeze on the start of new colonies, and then only in part of the occupied West Bank.


White House / Pete Souza

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When that freeze expired, in the midst of the negotiations, the far right-wing government headed by Netanyahu declined to extend it. Netanyahu probably took heart in defying Obama from the Republican victory in the midterms in the House of Representatives. Obama’s hopes of moving quickly to a two-state solution, or even to concrete preparations for one, have faltered, raising the specter of decades of Israeli apartheid in the Palestinian territories and all the anger and violence that will flow from Palestinian statelessness and consequent lack of basic rights.

On Iran, Obama, having failed to persuade Tehran at the negotiating table to halt its enrichment of uranium, implemented a plan B. His alternative was to ratchet up United Nations financial sanctions. Despite initial resistance from Russia and China, Obama skillfully rallied the U.N. Security Council into voting the increased sanctions on June 9, 2010. Nevertheless, Turkey and Brazil voted against new sanctions, and Lebanon abstained, showing growing unease with punitive policies toward Iran in the global South. While the new sanctions have hurt the Iranian economy, they are unlikely to produce a genuine change in policy or to seriously challenge the regime.

Obama’s surge in Afghanistan has faced more political than military difficulties, but they may be the ones that sink his enterprise. President Hamid Karzai, having blatantly stolen the presidential election in the fall of 2009, has been acting more and more erratically, recently declaring in a private meeting with U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus that the U.S. was one of Afghanistan’s enemies and that he would have been better off joining the Taliban. The parliamentary elections of this fall were so riddled with fraud that a fifth of the ballots had to be thrown out, and no new Cabinet has been formed. The despised Shiite Hazara ethnic group did disproportionately well, and many Pashtuns (the former ruling ethnic group) feel disadvantaged by the way parliamentary politics have unfolded.

To the humiliation of the administration and of Karzai, a man claiming to be a high-ranking member of the Taliban, who had entered into negotiations with Kabul in return for “a lot of money,” turned out to be a confidence man. A leaked new National Intelligence Estimate by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies found that big chunks of Afghanistan are still at risk of falling to the Taliban, and that rogue cells inside the Pakistani military continue to support some Taliban groups in order to project Islamabad’s authority inside Afghanistan.

This was the year, then, that Iran again won the struggle for influence in Iraq; the year the Israelis sabotaged a revived peace process; the year Iran went on thumbing its nose at the international community with regard to its nuclear enrichment program; and the year that the government in Afghanistan lost a good deal of its credibility. Obama should get credit for good intentions, and talking directly to the major principals. But he appears never to have appreciated the lessons taught by Jimmy Carter at Camp David in 1978, which is that a big geopolitical breakthrough can be accomplished only if the president inserts himself directly into the negotiations and lays his own political capital on the line. Obama has seemed relatively distant from these pressing Middle East issues, and farmed some of them out to subordinates. They are not the sort of problems that can be resolved in that way.


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Robert's avatar

By Robert, December 23, 2010 at 12:41 am Link to this comment

MUST SEE! RACHEL CORRIE’S DREAM


SUNDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2010


Gilad Atzmon: “This video is one of the strongest and clearest messages I have ever come across.

If Israel won’t stop itself. Humanity will eventually unite against this disgraceful state!!”

http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/must-see-rachel-corries-dream.html#entry9775533

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, December 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Hey Walterbard…your material is hogwash…you are
brainwashed with that zionist propaganda. Keep it up
Apartheid Israel/zionism needs your type!!!

Part I


1947: A Year of Terror

“Jan. 12—Four killed by Irgun terrorist bombing of
British headquarters.
Jan. 13—Arab kidnapped and castrated by Jewish
terrorists.
March 1—Sixteen Britons killed by Jewish
terrorists/Britain invokes martial law
March 10—Jewish informer killed by Jewish terrorists.
March 11—Two British soldiers killed by Jewish
terrorists.
April 8—British constable killed by Jewish
terrorists.
April 8—Jewish boy killed by British troops.
April 8—Jew beaten to death by Arabs.
April 22—Eight killed in Jewish terrorist bombing of
the Cairo-Haifa train.
April 25—Five killed in Jewish terrorist bombing of
British camp.
April 26—British police official killed by Jewish
terrorist.
May 8—Three Jewish shops in Tel Aviv whose owners
refused to contribute   to Jewish terrorist groups
burned down by Jewish terrorists.
May 8—Jew killed near Tel Aviv by Arab terrorists.
May 12—Two British policemen killed in Jewish
Jerusalem.
May 15—British policeman killed in terrorist ambush.
May 15—Two British soldiers killed in terrorist Stern
Gang attack.
May 16—Two British police officers killed by
terrorists.
May 18—One Jew killed, one wounded by Arab
terrorists.
June 5—Jewish terrorists introduce letter bombs in
Middle East.
June 28—Four British soldiers killed in Jewish
terrorist raids.
July 3—“Anti-terrorist” Jewish families beaten up by
Irgunists.
July 18—British soldier killed by Jewish terrorists.
July 19—Another British soldier killed by Jewish
terrorists.
July 20—Yet another British soldier killed by Jewish
terrorists.
July 23—65 Jews killed when Haganah sinks immigration
ship.
July 26—Two British soldiers killed in booby trap.
July 29—Three Jews executed by hanging. Jewish
terrorists retaliate by   hanging two British
soldiers.
Aug. 5—Three British police killed by bomb; plot
discovered to poison the   water supply of non-
Jewish parts of Jerusalem with botulism and other  
bacteria.
Aug. 10—Four Jews killed in Arab terror attack on Tel
Aviv café.”

Report this
Gloria Picchetti's avatar

By Gloria Picchetti, December 22, 2010 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

I live in Chicago. May I have an success story about here? I need a good job; not part time, temporary, or rotating shift.

Report this
Robert's avatar

By Robert, December 22, 2010 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Part II


1947: A Year of Terror


“Aug. 12—Five Jews, four Arabs killed, others
injured, in spread of violent   incidents over three
days.
Aug. 15—Twelve Palestinians killed in raid by Haganah
troops.
Aug. 18—Shops of five Jews in Tel Aviv destroyed by
Jewish terrorists.
Aug. 23—Five Arabs of one family—two men, a woman and
two   children—killed by Jewish terrorists.
Sept. 7—French foil Stern Gang plot to air bomb
London.
Sept. 21—British messenger killed by Jewish
terrorists.
Sept. 26—Four British policemen killed in Irgun
terrorist bank robbery.
Sept. 27—Illegal Jewish immigrant killed by British.
Sept. 29—13 killed, 53 wounded in Irgun terrorist
attack on British police   station.
Oct. 4—Two Jews killed in ambush, two Arabs killed in
retaliation.
Oct. 13—Two British troops killed by Jewish
terrorists in Jerusalem.
Oct. 26—Jewish settlement policeman found killed near
Gaza.
Nov. 3—Jewish policeman killed, reportedly by Stern
Gang after refusing to   reveal secret police
matters.
Nov. 12—21 killed in British-Jewish clashes.
Nov. 14—Jewish terrorists kill 4 Britons in Jerusalem
and Tel Aviv
Nov. 30—Violent riots erupt throughout Arab world
following adoption of   U.N. partition plan. In
Palestine, seven Jews killed and eight wounded in  
the first day. All told, during the first week at
least 159 persons were   killed in the Middle East,
66 of them in Palestine.
Dec. 2—Palestinians begin 3-day protest strike; 20
Jews, 15 Arabs killed.  Five Arabs and seven Jews
were killed the next day during a six-hour   battle
on the Tel Aviv-Jaffa border.
Dec. 13—35 Palestinian civilians killed in Jewish
terrorist attacks.
Dec. 14—14 Jews killed by Arab Legion in retaliation.
Dec. 18—Palmach (“assault companies”) kills 10 Arabs,
including 5   children, in nighttime raid on
northern Galilee village of Khissas. The   following
day Haganah troops blew up the home of the village
elder of   Qazaza in central Palestine, killing
several inhabitants. Wrote The Times   of London:
“While the Jews are suffering mainly through sniping
at their   road convoys, the Arabs have lost many
lives through Jewish assaults on   their villages.”
Dec. 20—Haganah raid on village of Qazaza kills one
Palestinian.
Dec. 24—Stern Gang member killed for betrayal of
another member.
Dec. 25—16 Arabs, Jews and British killed on
Christmas.
Dec. 25—Palestinian landowner killed for selling land
to Jews.
Dec. 26—Ben-Gurion proposes major offensive to reduce
Arab population.
Dec. 26—Jewish terrorists get $107,000 in heists of
diamond plants.
Dec. 29—14 Arabs killed by Irgun bomb in Jerusalem.
Dec. 29—Irgun flogs British major and three
sergeants.
Dec. 30—41 Jews, 6 Arabs killed in riot sparked by
Stern Gang.
Dec. 31—Irgun claims to have killed 374 Arabs and
British during year.”

Report this

By walterbard, December 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Nefesh.
Yes I’ve read a articles by Khalid.
Sometimes he’s in the Jerusalem Post. He’s still alive because he lives in Israel. If he were in any Arab country he’s be dead.In Israel there is also Haneen Zoabi an Arab CITIZEN of “apartheid” Israel and is a member of the knesset. Yes, in the “repressive” Jewish state arabs can vote and run for office.In any other country, including the United States she would have been arrested for treason.In Egypt a woman journalist had the effrontery to suggest that maybe Israel might be justified in some of its apprehensions was summarily threatened and fired from her job.
Of course the phony Human Rights groups ignore this but they scrutinize Israel for every possible negative publicity. So called Human Rights groups and Tutu and
Carter call Israel an Apartheid state. Yet thousands
of black Sudenese risk their lives flee moslem persecution and cross into Israel.

Report this
nefesh's avatar

By nefesh, December 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

By walterbard, December 22 at 9:20 pm
To nefesh

I realize that this site is a hotbed of knee jerk liberals, antisemites, and just plain jerks, but
it couldn’t hurt to rebut these specious arguments.

My sarcasm was purely rhetorical and not at all directed at you or your comments, of which I am grateful and glad to see. I agree - there is value in posting what you do. You won’t get anywhere with the pogrom-posters and hate-mongers in this thread, but who knows - there may be open-minded thinkers reading this. I look forward to anything else you’ll contribute - thank you. By the way, have you read any of Khaled Abu-Toameh’s articles and other writing? It’s a miracle he hasn’t been assassinated yet.

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By walterbard, December 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

To nefesh

I realize that this site is a hotbed of knee jerk liberals, antisemites, and just plain jerks, but
it couldn’t hurt to rebut these specious arguments.
Israel is losing the propaganda war and if I could
do anything in my small way to fight this I might as well try.

Report this
nefesh's avatar

By nefesh, December 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

By walterbard, December 22 at 7:49 pm
To Robert.

You didn’t mention the arab massacre of Jewish prisoners in Gush Etzion a few days before,
They were tortured and killed. Word of ther massacre was known before Deir Yassin. Revenge was probably the motive right or wrong. . Incidently
the number killed was about 120 and yes, some
innocents were killed but many were combatants.
There is also Mount Scopus massacre where 75 unarmed jewish medical worker were lined up and shot.
If you’re going to condemn
massacres don’t selectively pick them.
It was the Jewish side that accepted the 1947 partition plan and the Arabs who rejected it and attacked. You completely omit the Feyayeen raids against Israeli civilians in the 1950s. That was the reason why Israel staged retaliatory attacks.

You miss the point completely. Jews, you see, have no rights - either to self-determination or to self-defense, and their lives aren’t worth jack-squat, so why muddy the waters of an otherwise glorious demonization by introducing thorny elements of truth and reason?

Report this

By walterbard, December 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

To Robert.

You didn’t mention the arab massacre of Jewish prisoners in Gush Etzion a few days before,
They were tortured and killed. Word of ther massacre was known before Deir Yassin. Revenge was probably the motive right or wrong. . Incidently
the number killed was about 120 and yes, some
innocents were killed but many were combatants.
There is also Mount Scopus massacre where 75 unarmed jewish medical worker were lined up and shot.
If you’re going to condemn
massacres don’t selectively pick them.
It was the Jewish side that accepted the 1947 partition plan and the Arabs who rejected it and attacked. You completely omit the Feyayeen raids against Israeli civilians in the 1950s. That was the reason why Israel staged retaliatory attacks.

Report this

By Denny, December 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Simply wondering about the cruel irony of this post - Let’s see, Israel kills flotilla
peace people; violates, along with the US, the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty; looses
settlers upon the West Bank and spits in the face of our president, among other
things and receives the latest in US weaponry as a reward. Hmmm…and Iran has
done what exactly to merit crushing sanctions (which are, under most
circumstances, considered an act of war)? Don’t worry, folks, you will get your
wish - Israel will turn into more than just the bane of the USA.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, December 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

July 2, 1946: The King David Hotel in Jerusalem was bombed. Killing 91 people

Menachem Begin sic who planned the destruction of the King David Hotel and the massacre of Deir Yassin. Ex prime minister, Shamir, was originally a member of the Jewish “terrorist” gang called Irgun, which was headed by none other than Menachem Begin. Shamir later moved over to the even more radical “Stern Gang,” which committed many vicious atrocities.

    Shamir himself has defended the various assassinations committed by the Irgun and Stern gangs on the grounds that “it was the only way we could operate, because we were so small. So it was more efficient and more moral to go for selected targets.” The selected moral targets in those early days of the founding of the state of Israel included bombing of the King David Hotel and the massacre of Deir Yassin.

    April 9, 1948: A combined force of Irgun and Stern Gangs committed a brutal massacre of 260 Arab residents of the village of Deir Yassin. Most of whom were women and children. The Israeli hordes even attacked the dead to satisfy their bestial tendencies. In April, 1954, during Holy Week, and on the eve of Easter, The Christian cemeteries in Haifa were invaded, crosses broken down and trampled under the feet of these miscreants, and the tombs desecrated. The Israeli military conquest, therefore was made against a defenseless people, who had been softened up by such earlier massacres as Deir Yasin {250 Arabs; men, women and children were massacred there}.

      May 1948: The U.S. appointed Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden to mediate between the Arabs and the Israelis. In his first progress report (of Sept. 16, 1948) he recommended that the U.N. should affirm “the right of the Arab refugees to return to their homes in Jewish controlled territory at the earliest possible date.” The Israelis responded in their own quiet way. The following day Bernadotte was murdered in Jerusalem.

        February 1949: Israel launched an offensive across the Armistice lines with Egypt which brought its forces to the Gulf of Aqaba, occupying the Palestinian police post of Umm Rashrash which they afterwards named Eilat.

    1950: Israelis seized the Al-Uja de-militarized zone on the Egyptian side and Baqqara on the Syrian side, expelling their Arab inhabitants and razed their homes to the ground by bulldozers.

    1950-1955: Israeli forces unleashed more than 40 acts of armed aggressions against Arab states, almost all causing a heavy loss of life. This included attacks and massacres in Qibya, Huleh 1953, Nahalin, Kfar Qassem in 1954, Gaza and a Syrian outpost on Lake Tiberias in 1955.

    October 14-15, 1953—Under the command of Ariel Sharon, Israeli squads attacked the unarmed Arab village of Qibya in the demilitarized one. Where they blew up 42 houses and killed more than sixty residents who were trapped inside. The details were so gruesome that the U.S. joined in a U.N. condemnation of the Israeli action, and for the first and only time, suspended aid to Israel in reprisal.

    July 1954: Israeli intelligence planted “a ring of spies (Moles)” in Cairo, its task was to begin sabotage operations against selected Egyptian, British and American targets…On July 14, the Alexandria post office was fire-bombed and the U.S. Information Agency offices in Cairo and Alexandria were damaged by fire started by phosphorous incendiary devices, as was a British-owned theater.”

~~~~

Click on link for the rest…THREE ISRAELI ZIONIST PRIME MINISTERS…MENACHEM BEGIN, SHAMIR, ARIEL SHARON AT WORK…ethnic cleansing & pure terrorism:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1457.htm

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, December 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Ilan Pappe and the Nakba Deniers

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

By JOHN WHITBECK

For anyone who possesses a strong stomach and an
equally strong desire to know the truth
, I
strongly recommend Israeli historian Ilan Pappe’s new
book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”, which makes
painstakingly and painfully clear the extent to which
the expulsion of the great majority of Palestinians
from their homes and homeland between 1947 and 1949
(an expulsion absolutely essential to create a
“Jewish state” in a country where, in 1947, the
population was still 70% Muslim and Christian and
these non-Jews still owned 94% of the land) was
meticulously planned, programmed and documented,
ruthlessly carried out and, thereafter, efficiently
covered up, sanitized, erased from minds and memories
and, to the extent necessary, denied. Pappe also
makes clear that the cleansing spirit and cleansing
practices have continued ever since, with public
discussion in Israel of the “demographic threat”
posed by those Palestinians still remaining in
Palestinian never more openly conducted and with a
recent poll showing 68% of Israeli Jews in favor of
expelling all Palestinian citizens of Israel.


http://www.counterpunch.org/whitbeck01272007.html

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nefesh's avatar

By nefesh, December 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

By walterbard, December 22 at 4:13 pm

Juan Cole fails to mention that Fatah once again refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish State.
He mentions nothing about the failure to ammend
the Palestinian Charter in accordance with its own Article 33. The charter calls for the destruction
of Israel and the expulsion of Jews
a key concern for Israel. Cole babbles about “colonists “pouring into the territory but says nothing about the Palestinian insistence of a so called Right of Returned into Israel proper.
What about Jews forced out of Hebron and Gaza in i929?
Apartheid? He says nothing about the death sentence
to anyone arab who sells land to a Jew. There
is no such analogous sanction on the Israel side.
Apartheid? The arabs living in Israel have full citizenship rights.
Apartheid? Innocent Israeli civilians were
being blown up on buses and restaurants.  Security
measures were taken much like all countries
now have to do at airports to guard against the atrocities committed by Islamic extremists
And what is never explained is why if there is such
a thing as a “Palestinian nation” was it not
declared between 1949 and 1967 when Israel was not
in control of the West Bank?


walterbard - I think it’s poor taste on your part to introduce facts and fairness into this typically demented Truthdig orgy of hatred.

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By walterbard, December 22, 2010 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

Juan Cole fails to mention that Fatah once again refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish State.
He mentions nothing about the failure to ammend
the Palestinian Charter in accordance with its own Article 33. The charter calls for the destruction
of Israel and the expulsion of Jews
a key concern for Israel. Cole babbles about “colonists “pouring into the territory but says nothing about the Palestinian insistence of a so called Right of Returned into Israel proper.
What about Jews forced out of Hebron and Gaza in i929?
Apartheid? He says nothing about the death sentence
to anyone arab who sells land to a Jew. There
is no such analogous sanction on the Israel side.
Apartheid? The arabs living in Israel have full citizenship rights.
Apartheid? Innocent Israeli civilians were
being blown up on buses and restaurants.  Security
measures were taken much like all countries
now have to do at airports to guard against the atrocities committed by Islamic extremists

And what is never explained is why if there is such
a thing as a “Palestinian nation” was it not
declared between 1949 and 1967 when Israel was not
in control of the West Bank?

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, December 22, 2010 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an unregistered pre-censored virtual thing):

“Let’s not forget that Cole is not as “progressive” as he is often believed to be.”
____________

A Democrat is a perpetual war party voter by whatever name they pretend to not be.

No good can possibly come from electoral politics until there are no Democrats left Left deceiving.

Die, Democrats, die!

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By pre-censored, December 21, 2010 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s not forget that Cole is not as “progressive” as he is often believed to be.  For example, he stated his support for the Afghan invasion on 07/14/2004 on his blog:

Cole: “The Afghanistan war was the right war at the right time, and it did break up the network of al-Qaeda training camps from which terrorists would have gone on hitting the United States.”

Also, the Iraq invasion on 3/19/03 on his blog:

“My mind and heart are, like those of so many Americans, focused on the Gulf and Iraq tonight. I am thinking about all those brave young men and women in the US and British armed forces whose lives are on the line, and send them my warm support. And I am thinking about all the innocent Iraqis in the line of fire, who fear what awaits them. I remain convinced that, for all the concerns one might have about the aftermath, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the murderous Baath regime from power will be worth the sacrifices that are about to be made on all sides.” - Juan Cole.

Also he has opposed “out now” as far back as 08/22/05 on his blog:

“Personally, I think “US out now” as a simple mantra neglects to consider the full range of possible disasters that could ensue. For one thing, there would be an Iraq civil war. Iraq wasn’t having a civil war in 2002. And although you could argue that what is going on now is a subterranean, unconventional civil war, it is not characterized by set piece battles and hundreds of people killed in a single battle, as was true in Lebanon in 1975-76, e.g. People often allege that the US military isn’t doing any good in Iraq and there is already a civil war. These people have never actually seen a civil war and do not appreciate the lid the US military is keeping on what could be a volcano.”

And on Democracy Now 03/17/09:

“the issue is not so much the rate at which the United States withdraws from Iraq. “

and…

“Well, again, I’m not so worried about the timetable for withdrawals (from Afghanistan); I’m worried about what they leave behind.”

Finally, he is a supporter of the Bush-negotiated, Obama-implemented SOFA, as he made clear in this article on Salon on 02/03/09:

“Obama cannot afford to make his calculations about Iraq solely with an eye to domestic American politics. He extended his original proposal of a 16-month withdrawal of active combat brigades to 18 months so as to leave more troops in place to help with the next Iraqi parliamentary elections, scheduled for December 2009. It is still the case that Iraqi elections can only go forward if the country is locked down and vehicular traffic forbidden, preventing car-bombings and coordinated guerrilla strikes. It might be possible for the Iraqi military to provide security for national elections in 2013 should the country’s future ruler or rulers deign to hold them, but the Iraqi military cannot hope to do so this year.

Iraq’s military also continues to need logistical support from U.S. forces. Australian commander John Snell warned Agence France Presse, the French news service, of supply chain problems: “If we were leaving today, [the Iraqi army] will be able to defend itself but it would rapidly disintegrate.” Iraqi national security director Muwaffaq al-Rubaie listed for AFP other realms in which the new Iraqi army cannot stand alone: “[S]urveillance of frontiers, the air force, the navy, sophisticated counter-terrorism weapons, and we need to make serious progress in intelligence matters.” An Iraqi military that altogether collapses, as Snell foresees, would prove a disaster for Obama and might well necessitate a return of U.S. forces to Iraq.”

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/03/02/obama_iraq/

SIDENOTE:  Cole has previously blocked any posting of these comments on Informed Comment.  If his defense is that he feels these quotes are out of context, I recommend reading the original posts and deciding for yourself.

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By omop, December 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

Rabbi Yosef a leader of the Shas and a chief coalition partner in the current
Israeli government, knew whom he was talking about

Yosef, a former Chief Rabbi of Israel, was quoted by the right-wing newspaper,
the Jerusalem Post, as saying that the basic function of a goy, a derogatory word
for a gentile, was as donkey or cattle to serve Jews.

“Non-Jews were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the
world-only to serve the People of Israel,” Yosef said in his weekly Saturday night
sermon which was devoted to laws regarding actions non-Jews are permitted to
perform on the Sabbath.

For further and more in depth coverage of Obama and other American goys it
makes more sense to check with Eric Cantor, Berman, Lieberman and AIPAC

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By Joe, December 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Muslim pundits who are in the mainstream media are always very entertaining

They have to take such great care not to say anything that has any bearing on reality otherwise they would get shut out of the media I suppose

I for one lost any respect I might have had for Juan Cole after his ridiculous analysis of the Iranian elections.  This article seems to confirm my beliefs about him

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By FRTothus, December 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Camp David was a rejection of Palestinian rights, and simply adds to the long list of “agreements” by the bribed and coerced to continue the war against the victims of Western aggressive warfare, collective punishment, and imperial occupation.  Neither the US nor Israel is the least bit interested in peace or democracy or human rights, and have been blocking every offer of a peaceful settlement and violating every agreement, every cease-fire, for decades. Not surprising when we realize that Israel would have nothing if it couldn’t claim it is under threat, and that the US and Western bankers make huge money lending to the West for its endless wars.

With regard to Iran, the characterization Cole presents is false:  Iran has widespread popular support in most of the world, it’s only the oligarchs and tyrants the West supports who see him as threat (because their paymaster does not like the competition to their protection racket).  Further, Iran has every right under the NPT to pursue nuclear power, and would be wise to develop a nuclear weapon if only to keep the belligerent US and its lap-dogs in NATO and the UN at bay.  Tossing around terms like “anti-American” to describe the US oligarchy’s designated enemies, or indeed anyone who questions or resists US aggression, reveals the author’s prejudice and unquestioning acceptance of official doctrine, as well as a distinct lack of intellectual honesty.

This administration has served power, not the people, and has left the US Constitution and Bill of Rights in tatters, thus failing in its primary and most important duty.  It has engaged in criminal behavior as bad or worse than the previous regime. All else is superfluous.

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By MeHere, December 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Our performance in the Middle East is not much more than re-runs of previous
shows.

By the way, there isn’t that much about Israel in Truthdig. Considering that Israel
is often in the news and it has been the largest cumulative recipient of US
assistance for a long time, my impression is that we don’t get too many good
articles on the subject.

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By Richard J. McKenzie, December 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The USA invaded Iraq to force them to obey UN Security Council resolutions [see Public Law 107-243, sec.2, (1)]
Israel ignores UN SC resolutions (for starters, #242), and…
The hypocrisy is obvious to anyone with open eyes.

As for Iran, let’s talk about the USS Vincennes blowing an Iranian airliner out of the sky in 1988.
That would be decried as terrorism, if anybody else perpetrated it.
The hypocrisy is again obvious.

As for the AfPak theater of the global insanity against al-Qaeda (also fought against the Taliban), there can be no victory for the USA.
Public Law 107-40 - the goal is ‘preventing future terrorism’ by our enemies.
Tell me, when will future terrorism be finally prevented?
Because that’s when we get the victory parade [in other words, never].

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By samosamo, December 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

****************


“”“As the decade draws to a close, it is clear that
the bright hopes inspired by Obama’s 2009 Cairo
speech have markedly faded, and the
disappointments have outweighed achievements
in the most important arena for contemporary
American foreign policy. In some important
respects, the fault lies with Obama himself for
being less a leader than a coordinator.”“”
*****************
Fault does lie with o and it probably has more to
do with his willingness to side with the ‘men
behind the curtains’. All talk and no action does
not a good leader make.

*********
“”“U.S. State Department’s hopes that the March 7
parliamentary elections would contribute to
national reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites
and form a bridge to a successful American
withdrawal have been put in doubt.”“”
*********
Pretty good tactic to keep america tangled in an
energy and resource draining endeavor. True
reconcilliation would happen after the u.s. totally
leaves Iraq, if at all.

Forget izrael, they own the u.s. pretty much lock,
stock and barrel and o already assured the aipac
that he would do whatever they wanted him to
do.

Right now Afghanistan and the Pakistan wars are
the bread and butter of the military industrial
congressional financial cia msm complex stake in
ripping off america.

o never has been a good politician, just an
obedient one. Again, sweet tongue rhetoric
versus real actions does not a leader make.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, December 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

Zionist Lobby’s New Orders For Obama

By Alan Hart

December 17, 2010

“After his appointment as chairman of the United
States House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
California’s representative Howard Berman told The
Forward: “Even before I was a Democrat, I was a
Zionist.” This is the man, one of the Zionist lobby’s
most influential stooges in Congress, who introduced
House Resolution 1734 which gives President Obama his
new orders.


Israel’s instructions to Obama

Thoroughly disingenuous, the resolution, which was
drafted by the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC) and in my view is an indication of
panic on its part, was approved unanimously by the
House of Representatives on 15 December.
It

strongly and unequivocally opposes any attempt to
seek recognition of a Palestinian state by the United
Nations or other international forums;

calls upon the administration to continue its
opposition to the unilateral declaration of a
Palestinian state;

calls upon the administration to affirm that the
United States would deny any recognition, legitimacy,
or support of any kind to any unilaterally declared
‘‘Palestinian state’’ and would urge other
responsible nations to follow suit, and to make clear
that any such unilateral declaration would constitute
a grievous violation of the principles underlying the
Oslo Accords and the Middle East peace process;

calls upon the administration to affirm that the
United States will oppose any attempt to seek
recognition of a Palestinian state by the United
Nations or other international forums and will veto
any resolution to that end by the United Nations
Security Council ;

calls upon the president and the secretary of state
to lead a high-level diplomatic effort to encourage
the European Union and other responsible nations to
strongly and unequivocally oppose the unilateral
declaration of a Palestinian state or any attempt to
seek recognition of a Palestinian state by the United
Nations or other international forums; and

supports the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict and the achievement of a true and lasting
peace through direct negotiations between the
parties.

As M.J. Rosenberg predicted, the Berman bill
passed overwhelmingly, actually unanimously, “because
that is how things work in a city where policy is
driven by campaign contributions – and not just on
this issue”.
He added:

The only difference between how AIPAC lobbyists
dictate US Middle East policy and pretty much every
other major lobby is that AIPAC works to advance the
interests of a foreign country.
In other words,
comparisons to the National Rifle Association (NRA)
would only be applicable if the gun owners that the
NRA claims to represent lived in, say, Greece. Oh,
and NRA-backed bills usually take longer than a day
to get to the House floor.

What Rosenberg thinks and writes is particularly
interesting because in the early 1980s he was
editor of AIPAC’s weekly newsletter, “Near East
Report”
.

He noted that as is usual with Berman, “his
resolution exclusively blames Palestinians for the
collapse of peace talks; not a word of criticism of
Israel appears”
.

He went on:

There is only one reason that Israeli-Palestinian
negotiations collapsed. It is the power of the “pro-
Israel lobby”, led by AIPAC, which prevents the
United States from saying publicly what it says
privately: that resolution of a conflict which is so
damaging to US interests is consistently being
blocked by the intransigence of the Netanyahu
government and its determination to maintain the
occupation.

For now, Rosenberg says, the bottom line is money:
“The US government dances to Israel’s tune because it
is afraid to risk campaign contributions.”

~~~

Click on link for the rest:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27088.htm

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By Lou, December 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Professor,

What a stretch.  I counted NO successes in the ME policy, other than “good intentions,” whatever the hell that is suppose to be.  And to be clear, I could care less if the US “fails” in the ME, US failure actually means a more safer world.  It means the US has “failed” to foment racial and ethnic tensions around the world, to create “failed states,” that the American Exceptionlists frauds and hypocrites can now “save.” 

Given that Obama has continued Bush’s ME policy, actually a Bush policy on steroids, why would anyone either want him to succeed or expect him to succeed?

People in the ME ain’t as stupid as Americans.  And thanks to Wikileaks they no longer have to assume US treachery they know it as fact.

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Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, December 21, 2010 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

The road to Perdition is paved with good intentions—and the smoothest, widest parts of said road may be said to be paved with the best of intentions.

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By WeAreWideAwake/eileenfleming, December 21, 2010 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ann Jones, humanitarian aid worker and author of Kabul in Winter recently wrote from Kabul, Afghanistan:

“I’ve come back to the Afghan capital again, after an absence of two years, to find it ruined in a new way. Not by bombs this time, but by security.The heart of the city is now hidden behind piles of Hescos giant, grey sandbags produced somewhere in Great Britain. They’re stacked against the walls of government buildings, U.N. agencies, embassies, NGO offices, and army camps (of which there are a lot)—and they only seem to grow and multiply…What’s called security generates fear.

“How Lies Begat Illusions Begat Lies…you can’t understand the Taliban without knowing about America’s covert operations in the region in the 1980s. Back then, President Ronald Reagan’s administration, mainly through the CIA, used the Pakistani Intelligence services to fund, arm, and train Afghan and foreign Islamist jihadis to defeat the Soviet army in Afghanistan. Pakistan subsequently used “channels built with U.S. money” to install in Afghanistan a friendly government—the Taliban.

“Later, after the George W. Bush administration invaded the country and the U.S. ousted the Taliban, it installed Hamid Karzai as president and returned many of the old Islamist jihadis to power in his government. Thus, this peculiar, well-established fact underlies the current war in Afghanistan: the United States sponsored both sides.

“Only the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has called, year after year, for a moral accounting. Its surveys of Afghan citizens consistently find that the people want lasting peace, and to attain it, they would prefer some sort of truth and reconciliation procedure, like the one that took place in South Africa, to cleanse the country and set it on an honest intellectual and moral footing.

“As I write, 4,000 newly arrived U.S. Marines are trudging through the blistering heat of Helmand Province to push back the Taliban so local Pashtuns can turn out to vote next month for Karzai, their fellow Pashtun. What’s wrong with this new Obama strategy? For one thing, in some areas the local Pashtun population has instead turned out to fight against the foreign invaders, side by side with the Taliban (who, it should be remembered, are mostly local Pashtuns). They’re as fed up as anybody with the puppet Karzai. Like millions of other Afghans, they say Karzai has done nothing for the people. But saddled with history, Karzai remains the horse the U.S. rode in on.”

The Hescos of Afganastan and the twelve foot high concrete walls in Baghdad that divide the Sunni and Shia populations are dwarfed by the 30ft high concrete ones in the ‘Holy’ Land; which is in pieces, Bantustans.

All the builders of these barriers and walls claim that they are democracies and that the walls are all about Security.

All builders of these barriers and walls exhibit the schizophrenic discipline of thinking two contradictory truths at the same time. Coined by George Orwell in “1984” as ‘doublethink’ the Ministry of Peace wages war, the Ministry of Truth fabricates lies and the Ministry of Love tortures and kills any it deems threatening. Most threatening of all for Big Brother are those with independent thought…

To all the Sharp Dressed Soldiers Shipping Out @
http://www.wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1343&Itemid=222

Report this

By WeAreWideAwake/eileenfleming, December 21, 2010 at 9:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ann Jones, humanitarian aid worker and author of Kabul in Winter wrote from Kabul, Afghanistan:

“I’ve come back to the Afghan capital again, after an absence of two years, to find it ruined in a new way. Not by bombs this time, but by security.The heart of the city is now hidden behind piles of Hescos giant, grey sandbags produced somewhere in Great Britain. They’re stacked against the walls of government buildings, U.N. agencies, embassies, NGO offices, and army camps (of which there are a lot)—and they only seem to grow and multiply…What’s called security generates fear.

“How Lies Begat Illusions Begat Lies…you can’t understand the Taliban without knowing about America’s covert operations in the region in the 1980s. Back then, President Ronald Reagan’s administration, mainly through the CIA, used the Pakistani Intelligence services to fund, arm, and train Afghan and foreign Islamist jihadis to defeat the Soviet army in Afghanistan. Pakistan subsequently used “channels built with U.S. money” to install in Afghanistan a friendly government—the Taliban.

“Later, after the George W. Bush administration invaded the country and the U.S. ousted the Taliban, it installed Hamid Karzai as president and returned many of the old Islamist jihadis to power in his government. Thus, this peculiar, well-established fact underlies the current war in Afghanistan: the United States sponsored both sides.

“Only the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has called, year after year, for a moral accounting. Its surveys of Afghan citizens consistently find that the people want lasting peace, and to attain it, they would prefer some sort of truth and reconciliation procedure, like the one that took place in South Africa, to cleanse the country and set it on an honest intellectual and moral footing.

“As I write, 4,000 newly arrived U.S. Marines are trudging through the blistering heat of Helmand Province to push back the Taliban so local Pashtuns can turn out to vote next month for Karzai, their fellow Pashtun. What’s wrong with this new Obama strategy? For one thing, in some areas the local Pashtun population has instead turned out to fight against the foreign invaders, side by side with the Taliban (who, it should be remembered, are mostly local Pashtuns). They’re as fed up as anybody with the puppet Karzai. Like millions of other Afghans, they say Karzai has done nothing for the people. But saddled with history, Karzai remains the horse the U.S. rode in on.”

The Hescos of Afganastan and the twelve foot high concrete walls in Baghdad that divide the Sunni and Shia populations [see video here: ]http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2008/mar/17/baghdad.city.of.walls] are dwarfed by the 30ft high concrete ones in the ‘Holy’ Land; which is in pieces, Bantustans.

All the builders of these barriers and walls claim that they are democracies and that the walls are all about Security.

All builders of these barriers and walls exhibit the schizophrenic discipline of thinking two contradictory truths at the same time. Coined by George Orwell in “1984” as ‘doublethink’ the Ministry of Peace wages war, the Ministry of Truth fabricates lies and the Ministry of Love tortures and kills any it deems threatening. Most threatening of all for Big Brother are those with independent thought…

http://wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1343&Itemid=222

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, December 21, 2010 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (Juan Cole):

“Obama should get credit for good intentions”
____________

Why? There’s no evidence to support that faith-based belief.

For Evil to succeed, it only needs people to keep voting for “good” Democrats.

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