Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Obama hurts Israel over and over


US to Send 20 Fighter Jets to Egypt Despite Turmoil

Tuesday, 11 Dec 2012 11:33 AM
By Stephen Feller
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The U.S. government will give Egypt 20 F-16 fighter jets with delivery to start in January as part of American aid to that country despite President Mohammed Morsi's power grab and ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The jets are part of Egypt’s $1 billion U.S. foreign aid package, with the shipment dating to a 2010 order when Hosni Mubarak was still in power that has been kept in place since his fall and Morsi's election, reported Fox News.

The $213 million order was approved by Congress in 2010, with the first Lockheed Martin-constructed jets due to arrive in Cairo on Jan. 22. The new F-16s will join a fleet of more than 200 fighter planes mostly bought and built by the U.S.

"The U.S.-Egypt defense relationship has served as the cornerstone of our broader strategic partnership for over 30 years," said Lt. Col. Wesley Miller, spokesman for the Pentagon. "The delivery of the first set of F-16s in January 2013 reflects the U.S. commitment to supporting the Egyptian military's modernization efforts.  Egyptian acquisition of F-16s will increase our militaries' interoperability, and enhance Egypt's capacity to contribute to regional mission sets."

Delivering the planes as ordered to a different Egyptian leadership has been questioned by leaders and analysts because of the recent uprising resulting from Morsi’s dictatorial power grab last month.

Among the concerns is an overreaction by Egypt over issues with Israel — given the Muslim Brotherhood’s history in the Middle East — and that American built military hardware could be used against the Jewish state or worse.

“The Obama administration wants to simply throw money at an Egyptian government that the president cannot even clearly state is an ally of the United States,” said Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinenthe Republican chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

And Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute, pointed out that if the tumoil in Egypt result in another war with Israel, the United States would be "in an embarrassing position of having supplied massive amounts of military hardware … to both belligerents."

2. Aids Iran's pursuit of nuks

Administration Pushes For Lighter Iran Sanctions In Legislative Fight

A version of the Iran sanctions legislation from the administration would give the regime more time. Fewer business would face sanctions.
Image by Charles Dharapak / AP
The Obama administration is requesting a number of changes to congressional sanctions on Iran that would make the sanctions less strict, according to a redlined version of the legislation sent to the Armed Services Committees of the House and Senate.
The document, provided to BuzzFeed by a Democratic source who is privy to the negotiations, proposes a number of alterations to a package aimed at raising the pressure on Iran to abandon a nuclear program most American observers believe is aimed at building a weapon. The administration's changes would include waiting 180 days for the sanctions to take effect, as opposed to the 90 days as passed by the Senate.
The bill as passed by the Senate would bar transactions with businesses owned by Iran's government, which are on a Department of the Treasury list of "specially designated nationals," or SDN's. The administration wants to prevent this part from applying to any of these business entities that aren't already flagged for terrorism, human rights abuses or proliferation. The administration also wants to remove sanctions from metal providers.
The legislation as it stands would give President Obama a national security waiver on all the sanctions, and the administration is looking to boost this power with three more waiver opportunities.
The negotiations between Capitol Hill and the White House are part of a long-running back-and-forth, in which the Hill has consistently pushed for tougher sanctions. They also come as a post-election Obama Administration feels more political breathing room on the question of Iran's nuclear program.

3. Uses surrogate Chicago mayor Emanuel to blast Israel
Richard Baehr

"According to an account by New Yorker journalist David Remnick, Emanuel had said that Netanyahu had 'repeatedly betrayed' Obama, and that the latest Israeli moves – apparent retaliations for the successful Palestinian bid to achieve non-observer state status last week at the United Nations – were especially galling given U.S. support for Israel during its recent mini-war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.”
Emanuel has always had the reputation, one he seems to enjoy, of being the tough guy, an enforcer. Rahm’s home city is in the midst of a murder spree that has made it the undisputed murder capital of America, (25 percent more murders this year than New York City, which is more than three times Chicago’s size). In September, Emanuel failed in his attempt to prevent a teachers’ strike, a strike settled only after Emanuel conceded on pretty much all major issues to the Chicago Teachers’ Union. It is no wonder that Emanuel undoubtedly enjoyed the opportunity to get out of Chicago and pontificate on national and international affairs. Emanuel, as the son of an Israeli father who was a member of the Irgun, is given more allowance to use tough language directed against Israel’s prime minister than many other politicians. It is likely that given the president’s obsession with Israeli settlements in his first three years in office, that Emanuel’s comments were more reflective of the Obama's views than Clinton’s far milder reproach.
There were also reports that Obama encouraged several European nations to call in their Israeli ambassadors and read them the riot act for the announcement of the settlement expansion, particularly the plan to build in E-1. The complaints directed at Israel were that Israel’s actions would make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible in the West Bank, killing the chances for the “two-state solution.”
Of course, four of the five European nations which summoned their Israeli ambassador – France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden – had voted for the Palestinian Authority’s observer status in the General Assembly, a step that violated the Oslo Accords and, to use the terminology of the peace processors, could also kill the chances of a negotiated two-state solution. If the report is true, it means that Obama wanted Israel publicly condemned, but would not do it personally.
What is unclear is whether the Israel bashing by Emanuel and the Europeans was choreographed as part of an effort to enhance Mahmoud Abbas, which was the same explanation offered by many analysts to explain why many European nations endorsed the PA’s move at the U.N.
The General Assembly vote seemed to temporarily lift Abbas’ standing in the West Bank, after Hamas had gained some international stature after its fight with Israel. The Israeli response to the U.N. vote probably diminished the glow for Abbas, thereby explaining the European criticism of Israel and Emanuel’s caustic comments. In any case, neither the brief Gaza war, the U.N. vote, the Israeli actions, nor the European criticism of Israel has changed the reality of a peace process that does not exist, and hasn’t for many years. It is no wonder that elaborate dances are the diplomats’ daily fare.

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