Daily Archives: July 22, 2008

jstreet speaks

Media Advisory: New Survey of the American Jewish Community

Here are a few files on the findings of a new poll on American Jewish attitudes on America’s role in the Middle East that JStreet commissioned in early July, 2008.

nutty yanks

O’Reilly : he’s completely crackers.

O’REILLY: Ok, now [Gore] shows up on Saturday at the most hateful, there is not — and I’m including the Nazis and the Klan in here — there is not a more hateful group in the country than these Daily Kos people. Now, will they come to your house and hurt you? I don’t know, probably not. But, do they want to hurt you? Do they say terrible things about Tony Snow when he dies? All day long. Ok. Hateful hateful hateful. The rhetoric that they use and the rhetoric that the Klan and the Nazis use are the same rhetoric. It’s hate. Everyone knows that. Now why would you go to a convention sponsored by these people when you know that currently on the Kos is stuff about Tony Snow, it’s good that he’s dead, he’s in hell, all of that. But Gore did, Gore went there. So did Nancy Pelosi. That disqualifies Gore from any serious consideration by me in the future. Al Gore now is done. He’s done. Ok. He is not a man of respect, he doesn’t have any judgment. The fact that he went to this thing is the same as if he stepped into the Klan gathering. It’s the same. No difference. None. K, he loses all credibility with me. All credibility.

nice comment:

I’m reminded of when my late father, a lifelong Republican with moderate views, realized what Bill0, and Faux, really represent. As I recall, Bill0’s remark was, “anyone who claims to be a moderate is just a liberal who lacks the conviction to admit it”. It prompted the third, and final, “F-bomb” I ever heard from my dad and caused him to cancel cable. I’m proud to say that I have followed his example and will never subscribe to cable so long as “corporate news” exists.

source : ThinkProgress

cfr weighs in on pakistan

Securing Pakistan’s Tribal Belt
Daniel Markey, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia
Council on Foreign Relations Press, July 2008, 80 pages
ISBN 978-0-87609-414-3, Council Special Report No. 36


Pakistan constitutes one of the most important and difficult challenges facing U.S. foreign policy. What is at stake is considerable by any measure. Pakistan is the world’s second-most populous Muslim-majority country, with nearly 170 million people. It shares borders with Afghanistan, where U.S. and allied forces are struggling to promote stability amid a continuing insurgency, and India, with which it has fought a series of conflicts. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and history of abetting proliferation put it in a position to dilute global efforts to stem the spread of nuclear materials and weapons. And it is host to local extremist groups, the Taliban, and global terrorist organizations, most notably al-Qaeda.

The relationship between the United States and Pakistan has long been characterized by cooperation and recrimination alike. Pakistan is a strategic friend of the United States, but one that often appears unable or unwilling to address a number of vexing security concerns. Political disarray has further hampered Islamabad’s capacity for strong and united action. The result in Washington is often frustration mixed with uncertainty about what to do about it.

Few dimensions of dealing with Pakistan are the source of as much frustration as the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, the subject of this Council Special Report commissioned by the Center for Preventive Action. Daniel Markey analyzes the unique challenges of this region, which has long been largely outside Pakistani government control. He argues that the United States must work with Islamabad to confront security threats and improve governance and economic opportunity in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), something that could reduce militancy. The report lays out a cooperative, incentives-based strategy for the United States that would aim to increase the capacity of the Pakistani government and its security institutions, foster political and economic reform, and build confidence in the bilateral relationship. At the same time, the report outlines alternatives to be considered should this positive approach fail to advance U.S. interests. These alternatives, be they coercive sanctions to induce Pakistan to act or unilateral U.S. action against security threats, could bring some short-term progress in dealing with significant threats—but at the cost of bringing about a more hostile Pakistan that would cease to be a partner of any sort.

There is no way to escape either the difficulties or the dilemmas. Securing Pakistan’s Tribal Belt is a thorough and knowledgeable examination of a critical set of issues involving Pakistan, the United States, and much more. The report offers detailed and wide-ranging recommendations for a country and a region that has long challenged U.S. leaders and that is sure to be a priority of the next U.S. administration as well.

how dare impertinent yankees meddle?

The United States security coordinator for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, retired general James Jones, is preparing an extremely critical report of Israel’s policies in the territories and its attitude toward the Palestinian Authority’s security services. A few copies of the report’s executive summary (or, according to some sources, a draft of it) have been given to senior Bush Administration officials, and it is reportedly arousing considerable discomfort. In recent weeks, the administration has been debating whether to allow Jones to publish his full report, or whether to tell him to shelve it and make do with the summary, given the approaching end of President George Bush’s term.

Jones was appointed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice following the Annapolis peace conference last November. His assignment was to draft a strategic plan to facilitate stabilization of the security situation, as a necessary accompaniment to Israeli-Palestinian final-status negotiations. In this context, he assessed the PA security forces in the West Bank, whose reform is being overseen by another American general, Keith Dayton. Jones has visited the region several times and met with senior Israeli government officials and army officers.

According to both Israeli and American sources, the envoy’s conclusions about Israel are scathing. Israelis who met with Jones on his most recent visit here a few weeks ago, including Israel Defense Forces officers, said their impression was that the report would be “very harsh, and make Israel look very bad.” Jones is apparently critical of Israel on two key issues. One is its fairly broad definition of its security interests in the West Bank under any final-status agreement. The other is its attitude toward the PA security services. However, the sources said, Jones also had some criticism for Washington: He said its efforts to reform the PA security services fell short and complained that U.S. government agencies are not coordinating their assistance for these forces. In addition, he reportedly concluded that the PA forces are not yet capable of effectively enforcing the law in the West Bank.

The harsh criticisms contained in the executive summary are reportedly upsetting the Bush administration. Some senior U.S. officials are demanding that the full report not be published, so as not to create a storm in advance of the presidential elections in November. Jones, however, is apparently insisting that his full report be published, just as the report he issued last year on the Iraqi security forces was. Officials at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv declined to comment.
Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz, Jul 22, 2008

Senior officials in the U.S. State Department, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have repeatedly complained to Israel recently over relatively minor Palestinian issues that it would have ignored until a few months ago, Israeli officials say. Complaints about settlement construction or army operations that kill Palestinian civilians have always been the norm. But Israeli officials are worried by the State Department’s new tendency to intervene in a much broader range of issues.

One such case occurred two weeks ago, when the daughter of Palestinian parliamentarian Hanan Ashrawi sought to visit Israel. At one time, she had lived in East Jerusalem and had permanent resident status, but after several years of living in the United States, her residency had lapsed. She therefore asked the State Department to intervene, which resulted in Israel giving her a laissez-passer to come here and arrange her status. However, she was warned at Ben-Gurion Airport that she had two weeks to do so. Via her mother, a personal friend of Rice, the younger Ashrawi complained to the State Department again over this dictum. Within minutes, Israeli sources said, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch had phoned senior Israeli officials to demand they intervene. The surprised Israelis responded that these procedures are required by law.

Another case was Washington’s demand that 10 Gazan Fulbright scholars be allowed to enter Israel for visa interviews at the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem. However, Israel refused, saying they had been blacklisted for security reasons. Rice personally intervened. In addition, an Israeli official said, the consulate leaked the story to the New York Times to embarrass Israel. Israel suggested that the interviews be conducted at the Erez border crossing with Gaza, and Washington eventually agreed. Now, the students are waiting for the consulate to approve their visas.

Yet another case involved an eviction order issued to an East Jerusalem family over nonpayment of rent. Officials from the U.S. consulate visited the family and sent a telegram to Washington, and the State Department demanded that Israel prevent the eviction. The stunned Israelis responded that the eviction had been upheld by the High Court of Justice. Moreover, they said, this was an internal affair. A senior Israeli official said that the person behind this growing American criticism is the U.S. consul in Jerusalem, Jacob Wallace. “Every week, he receives dozens of complaints from Palestinians and transfers them to Washington without examination,” the official said. “He’s really inflaming the atmosphere, causing public relations damage to Israel and even may damage our relations with the U.S.” An embassy spokesman responded that the embassy considers its relationship with the Foreign Ministry “excellent.”
Barak Ravid, Haaretz, Jul 22, 2008


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