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Ed Webb

Clinton questions Jordan's stability, provoking ire in Amman - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of... - 1 views

  • Clinton told an audience Oct. 7 in Mount Vernon, Iowa, that a final peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is unlikely until both sides “know what happens in Syria" and also depends on whether Jordan remains stable.
  • Questioning Jordan’s long-term stability angered many in the country’s political elite
  • “If such statements come from an individual who has no background to the Middle East and has a lack of intelligence about the situation in Jordan, nobody would react to it. But because it comes from Mrs. Clinton, this really has generated very serious and poor reactions in Jordan.”
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  • The local media has extensively covered Clinton’s comments, raising attention to an unwelcome issue for the Jordanian government.
  • While Clinton argued that potential Jordanian instability reduces chances for a peaceful Israeli-Palestinian outcome, many observers in Amman hold the opposite viewpoint: Israeli-Palestinian violence destabilizes the tranquil Hashemite kingdom. A Royal Court official told the International Crisis Group in March 2015, “Instability at Al-Aqsa harms internal Jordanian security and King Abdullah’s standing. We managed the Arab Spring with barely any protests of more than 800 participants. But an escalation at Al-Aqsa could bring out 80,000.” During the recent Jerusalem tensions, thousands of Jordanians protested in Amman and Irbid calling for harsher government policies against Israel. Amman faces a delicate balancing act given the public’s passionate opposition toward the Jewish state while still maintaining the country’s 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
Sana Usman

Clinton failed to impress India, Oil supply continue from Iran - 0 views

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    NEW DELHI: U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton failed to impress India on oil supply issue with Iran. India said it communal the United States' aim of preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons, but claims that Islamic republic of Iran remained an "important source of oil".
Michael Fisher

US encourages resolution of Western Sahara dispute - 4 views

  • Clinton reiterated the U.S. commitment to facilitating an Israeli-Palestinian peace, and also singled out the Western Sahara dispute, reaffirming longstanding U.S. policy that supports autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty as the only realistic solution to end the 34-year-old conflict.
  • Clinton was sharply criticized for restating what has been U.S. policy for three successive administrations.
  • The Algerian-backed rebel group Polisario Front accused Clinton of misstating U.S. policy on the Sahara and over-praising Morocco for its unarguably impressive record of political reforms, social progress and economic growth over the last decade.
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  • Current U.S. policy on Western Sahara is that “autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty is the only feasible solution to the Western Sahara dispute” and should be negotiated “within the U.N.-led framework.”
  • The U.S. adopted the policy as the only realistic solution to ending the decades-long stalemate over Western Sahara, which continues to be a roadblock to regional cooperation to grow economies in North Africa, address security concerns including terrorism and trafficking, and create a pillar of stability in an unstable part of the world.
  • Failure to resolve the conflict also perpetuates the suffering of tens of thousands of refugees trapped for more than three decades in desert camps in Algeria, held hostage by Polisario leaders and a failed ideology willing to sacrifice a people’s future to score political points.
Sana Usman

Foreign office rejects the allegations about Hafiz Saeed & Al-Zawahri - 0 views

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    Ministry of Foreign affairs rejects the allegations about Hafiz Saeed and Aiyman Al-Zawahri, Pakistan's foreign office today answered U.S. Secretary of State Miss Hillary Clinton's comments that it had not ended enough against the 2008 Mumbai massacre attacks organizer Hafiz Saeed saying if there any indication against him should be communal with Pakistan so that it can be examined by the courts.
Ed Webb

Debate Gaffes, Platitudes and Absurdities On National Security | Foreign Policy - 0 views

  • voters and foreign governments are likely more perplexed than ever before about where America could be headed on crucial national security issues, thanks to a litany of contradictory and confusing statements from Republican nominee Donald Trump — as well as another round of vague platitudes from his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton
  • The wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan: One of the two candidates on the debate stage  ultimately will be charged with overseeing the military campaigns to retake the Islamic State-held cities of Mosul, in Iraq, and Raqqa, in Syria. Within months of taking office, the new president will have to work through a latticework of constantly shifting local alliances to keep some sort of peace in those sprawling cities while keeping Russian and Turkish forces — and political complexities — at bay.    Yet more mental energy was spent Monday  debating police tactics in New York City and 1990s-era beauty pageant contestants than how to close out 15 years of Washington’s wars — in which approximately 13,000 U.S. troops remain on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Clinton stuck to the points she has long advocated: ramping up airstrikes on ISIS fighters, launching an “intelligence surge” to pinpoint targets while hitting extremists before they can attack Americans, and doubling down on eliminating the Islamic State’s leadership.   In short, continuing what President Barack Obama has been doing, just more of it. And Clinton made no mention of imposing a “no-fly-zone” in Syria, a proposal she has advocated during the political campaign, and gave no indication whether she would take a tougher line with the regime in Damascus. Trump, as always, wouldn’t reveal his so-called secret plan to win the war against ISIS, while complaining that “we should have taken the oil” before leaving Iraq, an idea he has never explained. Apart from being illegal and physically impossible, as some senior officers have pointed out, it would require thousands of U.S. troops to stay behind to guard the oil facilities.
Ed Webb

F.A.Q. on U.S. Aid to Egypt: Where Does the Money Go-And Who Decides How It's Spent? - ... - 0 views

  • article has been updated to reflect new developments. It was first published on Jan. 31, 2011
  • How much does the U.S. spend on Egypt? Egypt gets the most U.S. foreign aid of any country except for Israel. (This doesn't include the money [3] spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.) The exact amount varies from year to year and there are many different funding streams, but U.S. foreign assistance to Egypt has averaged about $2 billion a year since 1979
  • military funding also enables Egypt to purchase U.S.-manufactured military goods and services
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  • Congress threatened to block the aid when Egypt began a crackdown on a number of American pro-democracy groups this winter. A senior Obama administration official said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had no way to certify [10] the bill's conditions were being met. But in March Clinton waived the certification requirement (yes, she can do that) and approved the aid, despite concerns remaining about Egypt's human rights record. The reason? "A delay or cut in $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt risked breaking existing contracts with American arms manufacturers that could have shut down production lines in the middle of President Obama's re-election campaign," the New York Times reported [11]. Breaking the contracts could have left the Pentagon on the hook for $2 billion.
  • U.S. economic aid to Egypt has slumped from $815 million in 1998 to about $250 million in 2011
  • When the Obama administration announced last month [18] that it was sending the Egyptian government $450 million to help forestall a budget crisis, Representative Kay Granger, a Texas Republican and the chairwoman of a subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, said she would block the money because of concerns about Egypt's direction under the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sana Usman

Islam prevents atomic weapons & mass destruction arms. Nejad - 0 views

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    Islam prevents atomic weapons and other arms of accumulation destruction, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed on Wednesday ahead of his country's nuclear discussion with global powers in Baghdad, as Israel recommended to world powers not to hesitate in key talks with Iran.
Ed Webb

Will House pass Armenian genocide resolution this time? | McClatchy - 0 views

  • "Our interests remain a full, frank and just acknowledgement of the facts related to the historical events," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee last Thursday. "But the best way to do that, with all respect, is for the Armenians and Turkish people themselves to address the facts of their past as part of their efforts to move forward."In a similar vein, Defense Secretary Robert Gates cautioned last month that, "Anything that would impede the success of those (Turkish and Armenian) discussions and negotiations I think is objectionable."
  • The 2000 census recorded 385,000 U.S. residents of Armenian ancestry, three times the number who claim Turkish ancestry.
  • passing the resolution would "make it very difficult if not impossible" for the Turkish legislature to ratify protocols negotiated between Turkey and Armenia. The protocols seek to reconcile the two countries, in part by establishing a historical commission to research what happened during World War I and afterward.
Jim Franklin

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran nuclear fuel deal 'agreed' - 0 views

  • Iran and three world powers have been handed a draft agreement aimed at reducing international concerns over Tehran's nuclear programme.
  • International Atomic Energy Agency, which proposed the plan after talks in Vienna, wants an answer by Friday.
  • plan is believed to involve Iran exporting uranium to be enriched in France and Russia.
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  • "Everybody at the meeting was trying to help, trying to look to the future and not to the past, trying to heal the wounds that existed for many years," he said.
  • enriched uranium would then be returned to the IAEA and sent to France, which has the technology to add the "cell elements" needed for Iran's reactor, they said.
  • This process would enable Iran to obtain enough enriched uranium for its research reactor, but not enough to produce a weapon.
  • Iranian chief negotiator Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh talked positively about a deal, but did not mention uranium export.
  • US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran to act quickly, and said her country would continue "to discuss the full range of issues that have divided Iran and the United States for too long".
  • We are not prepared to talk just for the sake of talking."
Michael Fisher

Israel announces partial settlement freeze - BBC News - 0 views

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    Wasn't that the agreement since 2003, but including Jerusalem?
Ed Webb

Israeli, Saudi, and Emirati Officials Privately Pushed for Trump to Strike a "Grand Bar... - 0 views

  • While America’s closest allies in Europe viewed with a sense of dread Trump’s interest in partnering with Putin, three countries that enjoyed unparallelled influence with the incoming Administration—Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E.—privately embraced the goal. Officials from the three countries have repeatedly encouraged their American counterparts to consider ending the Ukraine-related sanctions in return for Putin’s help in removing Iranian forces from Syria.
  • Putin has neither the interest nor the ability to pressure Iranian forces to leave Syria
  • As an inducement for Putin to partner with Gulf states rather than Iran, the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia started making billions of dollars in investments in Russia and convening high-level meetings in Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, and the Seychelles.
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  • If Hillary Clinton had won the election, the idea of accepting Russian aggression in Ukraine would have been a nonstarter, current and former U.S. officials told me. But Trump promised a different approach
  • a former U.S. official recalled having a conversation after Trump’s Inauguration with an Israeli Cabinet minister with close ties to Netanyahu in which the minister pitched the American on the idea of “trading Ukraine for Syria.” The former official told me, “You can understand why Russia’s help with Syria is a far higher priority for Israel than pushing back on Russian aggression in Ukraine. But I considered it a major stretch for Israel to try to convince the United States that U.S. interests are well served by looking the other way at Russian aggression in Ukraine. Of course, Trump may disagree for his own reasons.”
Ed Webb

How Biden Kept Screwing Up Iraq, Over and Over and Over Again - 0 views

  • Reviewing Biden’s record on Iraq is like rewinding footage of a car crash to identify the fateful decisions that arrayed people at the bloody intersection. He was not just another Democratic hawk navigating the trauma of 9/11 in a misguided way. He didn’t merely call his vote for a disastrous war part of “a march to peace and security.” Biden got the Iraq war wrong before and throughout invasion, occupation, and withdrawal. Convenient as it is to blame Bush—who, to be clear, bears primary and eternal responsibility for the disaster—Biden embraced the Iraq war for what he portrayed as the result of his foreign policy principles and persisted, most often in error, for the same reasons. 
  • “I think the vast majority of the foreign policy community thinks [my record has] been very good.” That will be important context should Biden become president. He’s the favorite of many in Democratic foreign policy circles who believe in resetting the American geopolitical position to what it was the day before Trump was elected, rather than considering it critical context for why Trump was elected. 
  • National Democrats embraced the war on terrorism with enthusiasm and, with few exceptions, were disinclined to challenge Bush on foreign policy even as that foreign policy became more militant and extreme
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  • Biden’s hearings highlighted the dangers of occupation, such as the basic uncertainty around what would replace Saddam Hussein, as well as the bloody, long, and expensive commitment required to midwife a democratic Iraq. “In many ways, those hearings were remarkably prescient about what was to happen,” said Tony Blinken, Biden’s longtime aide on the committee and a deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration. “He and [GOP Sen. Richard] Lugar talked about not the day after but the decade after. If we did go in, they talked about the lack of a plan to secure any peace that followed the intervention.”
  • But the balance of expert testimony concerned guessing at Saddam’s weapons program, the pragmatic questions of invading, and the diplomatic legwork of an action whose justice—if not necessarily its wisdom—was presumed
  • the regnant foreign policy consensus in America: Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and had sealed his fate by doing so. It was an enormous factual mistake born out of an inability to see that Saddam believed that transparent disarmament would spell his doom at the hands of Iran. This misapprehension led advocates to accept that the U.S.—preferably with others, but alone if necessary—was justified or even obligated to get rid of Saddam
  • Bush’s secretary of state, Colin Powell, convinced the White House to attempt securing United Nations support for the war. It was a cynical maneuver: the Security Council could accept additional weapons inspections but not war; Bush could claim he tried for an internationalist solution before invading unilaterally. Its primary effect was to legitimize the war in the eyes of uncomfortable congressional Democrats who had made the tactical error of disputing the war for insufficient multilateralism rather than arguing it was wrong
  • For Biden, the critical point, “what this is about,” was America daring to “enforce” U.N. Security Council disarmament resolutions that the U.N. was saying did not justify war. When the world stood against America, in the forum Biden considered critical and Bush considered pretextual, America would simply act in the world’s name. He approvingly quoted the infamous Henry Kissinger: “As the most powerful nation in the world, the United States has a special, unilateral capacity, and indeed obligation, to lead in implementing its convictions, but it also has a special obligation to justify its actions by principles that transcend the assertions of preponderance of power.” America’s confidence in its nobility was, in the end, all the justification it required. 
  • Biden acknowledged that the “imminence and inevitability” of the threat Iraq posed was “exaggerated,” although that recognition was irrelevant to both his reasoning and his vote. He performed an end-zone dance over Bush advisers who favored what he called the doctrine of preemption—a euphemism for wars of aggression—as if his vote did not authorize exactly the preemptive war those advisers wanted. The trouble Biden saw was that elevating preemption to a foreign policy “doctrine” would grant “every nation an unfettered right of preemption.” Left unsaid was that it would be better for America to keep that unfettered right for itself.
  • Nothing that followed went the way Biden expected. Bush did not share Biden’s distinction between the U.N. weapons-inspection process and the invasion. Iraq did not passively accept its occupation. And Biden did not reap the political benefit of endorsing the war that seemed so obvious to the Democratic consultant class in the autumn of 2002. 
  • Iraq was an abstraction to Biden—as it was, ironically, to the neoconservatives Biden had criticized—a canvas on which to project theories of American power
  • Biden was unprepared to break from prevention, which is always the prerogative of hegemonic powers. Boxed in, he continued to argue that the trouble was Bush elevating preemption to centrality in foreign policy, and fretted that predatory states would cite that “doctrine” to prey on weaker ones. He neglected to see that all those states needed was the example of the Iraq war itself. Eleven years later, when Biden was vice president, Vladimir Putin cited Iraq as a reason the U.S. had no standing to criticize him for invading Ukraine. 
  • Biden praised the leadership of the Coalition Provisional Authority, a shockingly corrupt and incompetent organization. Its chief, Jerry Bremer, was “first-rate,” Biden said mere months after Bremer disbanded the Iraqi army, the greatest gift America could have given the insurgency
  • Rebuilding Iraq’s police force was left to former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, whom Biden called “a serious guy with a serious team.” Iraq’s police would soon become indistinguishable from sectarian death squads; Kerik would soon plead guilty to tax fraud and other federal corruption charges
  • By the next summer, with Iraq in flames, Biden continued his misdiagnosis. The original sin wasn’t the war itself, it was Bush’s stewardship—the same stewardship Biden praised in 2002. “Because we waged a war in Iraq virtually alone, we are responsible for the aftermath virtually alone,” he thundered at the 2004 Democratic convention. The intelligence “was hyped to justify going to war,” Biden continued, causing “America’s credibility and security [to] have suffered a terrible blow.” Yet Biden made no call for withdrawal. It was easier to pretend that Bush was waging a different war than the one he empowered Bush to wage. 
  • The U.S., unable to win the war it chose, would be better off reshaping the map of Iraq into something that better suited it. The proposal was a natural outgrowth of viewing Iraq as an abstraction. Now that Iraq had undermined American power, Iraq would be subject to a kind of dismemberment, a theoretically cleaner problem to solve than a civil war or a weak client state. In September 2007, Biden prevailed upon his fellow senators to endorse his proposal on a staggering 75-23 vote. There was no support for the idea among actual Iraqis outside Kurdistan, but they were beside the imperial point.
  • 2007 saw Biden’s most valorous act on Iraq. With the war a morass, Biden secured $23 billion, far more than the Pentagon requested, to buy Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, whose hull design proved more survivable against the insurgency’s improvised bombs. Replacing insufficiently armored Humvees with MRAPs was “a passion,” he said. While the number of lives MRAPs saved over the course of the program’s $45 billion lifespan has been disputed, the Pentagon estimated in 2012 that over 2,000 service members are alive today because of the vehicle. Biden counted securing the funding for the MRAP among his greatest congressional achievements.
  • Barack Obama had opposed the Iraq war, but was hardly afflicted with the “distrust of the use of American power” that Biden feared in 2004. Selecting Biden as his vice president laundered Biden’s reputation. No longer was Biden the man whose faith in American exceptionalism had driven the U.S. into a morass. He was the lovable uncle in aviators who washed his metaphorical Trans Am on the White House lawn. Obama gave him responsibility for a three-year project of U.S. withdrawal, one that Biden considers an accomplishment. 
  • Biden and other U.S. officials appeared at times dangerously unconcerned about Maliki’s consolidation of power that once again marginalized Sunni Iraq, which the war had already proven would give jihadis the opportunity they needed
  • Biden reflected America’s schizophrenic attitude toward ending post-9/11 wars, in which leaving a residual force amidst an unsettled conflict does not count as continuing a war.
  • “I’ll bet you my vice presidency Maliki will extend the SOFA,” the Times quoted him. Instead, the following year, the Iraqi parliament did no such thing
  • Biden is the last of the pre-Obama generation of Democratic foreign policy grandees who enabled the Iraq war. John Kerry and Hillary Clinton both lost their presidential bids, saddled in both cases with the legacy of the war they supported
  • A President Biden is likely to find himself a man out of time. Writing in The Guardian, David Adler and Ben Judah recently described Biden as a “restorationist” in foreign policy, aiming at setting the American geopolitical clock back to what it was before Trump took office. Yet now an emergent China, a resurgent Russia, and the ascent of nationalism and oligarchy across Europe, India, and South America have fragmented the America-centric internationalist order that Biden represents. While Trump has accelerated these dynamics, he is far less responsible for them than is the martial post-9/11 course of U.S. foreign policy that wrecked itself, most prominently in Iraq.
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