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Ed Webb

President Obama Is Busy - - 2 views

    One of those rare occasions when Tom Friedman uses his influential niche to say something worth saying.
Ed Webb

Fahmy: Relations with US bound to change under Obama or Romney | Caravan - 0 views

  • whether it's Obama or Romney the relationship will change, because for the first time they will have to take into account the public opinion, as well as the government's and they are not used to that.
  • you should not underestimate the complexity of managing a relationship with completely different players today, and a different paradigm in the region than what we have been used to for the past 50 years.
  • a lot of moving parts
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  • the US has been traditionally used to dealing with a centralized point of authority, in other words governments, and ignoring the Arab street. Well, Arab governments, now, will not be able to ignore their street, and therefore foreign governments will not be able to ignore the street
Ed Webb

Syrian opposition group tells U.S. to stay out of internal politics | McClatchy - 0 views

  • “The politics of the United States are very, very bad, very stupid,” said Mohammed Sarmini, spokesman for the Syrian National Council, whose 310 members represent most of the major parties and organizations in exile. “This may be an American project, but it is very offensive to the Syrian people. You should support us on the ground, not get into our politics.”
  • signs that the Obama administration may be out of touch with Syrian exile politics
  • accord in four major areas, the most important of which is probably the plan for a transitional government. The accord calls for an assembly of 300 Syrians, to be held inside the country if possible, to elect the government. Most of the participants would be from the inside, intended to give the legitimacy that many transitional governments do not have.

    One-quarter of the participants would represent the municipal councils set up to run liberated areas, one-quarter from the armed resistance groups, one-quarter of state bureaucrats who have defected to the opposition and one-quarter from the Syrian National Council.

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  • a new constitution, based on the 1950 constitution, which put heavy stress on civil rights; to institute an election law that provides for multiple parties and a parliamentary system; to institute a new national security administration and to make it a constitutional requirement that the military stays out of politics
  • American officials have been elusive and avoided media inquiries
  • Ziadeh said he was not sure whether the United States had actually drafted the plan for the opposition or had bought into a new plan drafted by Riad Seif, a prominent dissident who left Syria earlier this summer after a decade of house arrest and jail
  • The humanitarian situation in Syria is now one of if not the worst crisis on Earth. Officially the death toll is stated at 30,000 to 35,000. But a European diplomat in Istanbul who closely monitors the war and humanitarian aid efforts estimates the actual death toll at more than 100,000, a number with which reputable Syrian opposition figures agree
    The US should not be bungling stuff like this. If Washington and its allies want more say in the Syrian transitional process (and why should they?) then they need to be more actively engaged and supportive. But in general they should not be in the game of trying to pick winners among the opposition, even if they are worried about radicals. The latter will only ever be a minority.
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.
Ed Webb

Turkey Arrests Two After Killing of U.S. Ambassador: TV - Bloomberg - 0 views

  • suspects, identified as Tunisians,
  • fake passports
  • not clear whether the suspects might be extradited to Libya or the U.S.
Ed Webb

Egyptian Leader Mohamed Morsi Spells Out Terms for U.S.-Arab Ties - - 0 views

  • He said it was up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world and to revitalize the alliance with Egypt, long a cornerstone of regional stability.
  • If Washington is asking Egypt to honor its treaty with Israel, he said, Washington should also live up to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule. He said the United States must respect the Arab world’s history and culture, even when that conflicts with Western values.
  • the United States should not expect Egypt to live by its rules
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  • “Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region,” he said, by backing dictatorial governments over popular opposition and supporting Israel over the Palestinians.
  • When he grew animated, he slipped from Arabic into crisp English
  • “The president of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the commander of the armed forces, full stop. Egypt now is a real civil state. It is not theocratic, it is not military. It is democratic, free, constitutional, lawful and modern.”
  • But he also argued that Americans “have a special responsibility” for the Palestinians because the United States had signed the 1978 Camp David accord. The agreement called for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank and Gaza to make way for full Palestinian self-rule.

    “As long as peace and justice are not fulfilled for the Palestinians, then the treaty remains unfulfilled,” he said.

  • But he also displayed some ambivalence. He effused about his admiration for American work habits, punctuality and time management. But when an interpreter said that Mr. Morsi had “learned a lot” in the United States, he quickly interjected a qualifier in English: “Scientifically!”

    He was troubled by the gangs and street of violence of Los Angeles, he said, and dismayed by the West’s looser sexual mores, mentioning couples living together out of wedlock and what he called “naked restaurants,” like Hooters.

    “I don’t admire that,” he said. “But that is the society. They are living their way.”

Ed Webb

Cultural Clash Fuels Muslims Raging at Film - - 0 views

    For discussion on 9/17
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