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padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 02:04 AM
transcript (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/04/obama-egypt-speech-video_n_211216.html)

video (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/04/obama-cairo-speech-video_n_211210.html) ~55 minutes (I just read the transcript)

so, what do people think?

josef k.
05-06-2009, 02:07 AM
Impressive. He really changes the tone. The line I recall vividly was:

"Our bond with Israel is unbreakable. The situation in Palestine is intolerable."

Obama is right that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the principal contradiction (to borrow a term from Mao) in the middle east, and that America's problems with the Muslim world organize around that.

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 02:36 AM
yeah he gives a fine speech of course. tho that's nothing new. as ever he's a master of flipping the most sensitive issues into "our interests should unite us more than our divisions" type thing. nifty Koran quotes (& hey! didja know Jefferson kept a Koran in his library? the U.S & Islam, BFF!).

the bit on Israel/Palestine was indeed very fine, as good as you're going to get from a major U.S. politician (that goes for a lot of it, actually). I mean, we'll see. I think a massive problem, again, is that neither side has the capability to enforce promises made on their own people.

the line - "violent resistance is wrong & never succeeds" - the former is of course debatable & dependent on context, but the latter is flatly wrong. violent resistance succeeds all the time. tho I guess it depends on what you mean by "success".

& of course, as he himself acknowledged, it was just a speech. or the opening of a dialogue, as I think he'd prefer.


Obama is right that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the principal contradiction (to borrow a term from Mao) in the middle east, and that America's problems with the Muslim world organize around that.

did he say that? I don't think so. I also don't know if it's true. or perhaps you could elaborate.

droid
05-06-2009, 10:59 AM
Interesting words on I/P. Most liberal speech on the topic from a US president since Carter - especially coming out of Cairo... that said, his pre-election 'Jerusalem is the rightful capital of Israel' line was probably one of the most pro-zionist staements ever publicly expressed by a US president - so maybe he's just going for balance.

crackerjack
05-06-2009, 11:04 AM
Interesting words on I/P. Most liberal speech on the topic from a US president since Carter - especially coming out of Cairo... that said, his pre-election 'Jerusalem is the rightful capital of Israel' line was probably one of the most pro-zionist staements ever publicly expressed by a US president - so maybe he's just going for balance.

Didn't his campaign people climb down from that almost immediately? Certainly the AIPAC types who crowd around certain websites saw it as an example of his duplicity, rather than fidelity to Israel.

josef k.
05-06-2009, 11:06 AM
did he say that? I don't think so. I also don't know if it's true. or perhaps you could elaborate.

Unfortunately, Obama didn't quote Mao in his Cairo speech. What I think he understands, though, is that the I/P antagonism is the principle axis around which anti-US sentiment in the Muslim world organizes... one of the reasons (I would say) why the US is compelled to support people like Mubarak is because of its politically-draining strategic commitment to Israel... the I/P conflict is in fact destabilizing for the whole region, and the US will never have the leverage it wants in the middle east until it finds a way to get itself (and Israel) out of this strategic straitjacket...

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 12:32 PM
Interesting words on I/P. Most liberal speech on the topic from a US president since Carter - especially coming out of Cairo... that said, his pre-election 'Jerusalem is the rightful capital of Israel' line was probably one of the most pro-zionist staements ever publicly expressed by a US president - so maybe he's just going for balance.

I reckon it's pragmatic. I mean he's got to give them something so they'll come to the table. even if he backed off of it.

also it's much easier to see the Israelis giving up the West Bank settlements than it is to see them giving up East Jerusalem. both ideologically & via feet on the ground - Jews are 1/10th of the West Bank but they're over 40% of East Jerusalem. I just can't envision it happening (which, note, is not the same as saying I'm in favor - morally or pragmatically - of them retaining it).

I wonder also if the political will exists in Israel for a major showdown w/the settlers & their supporters, who would definitely force the issue if push came to shove.

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 12:56 PM
What I think he understands, though, is that the I/P antagonism is the principle axis around which anti-US sentiment in the Muslim world organizes... one of the reasons (I would say) why the US is compelled to support people like Mubarak is because of its politically-draining strategic commitment to Israel... the I/P conflict is in fact destabilizing for the whole region, and the US will never have the leverage it wants in the middle east until it finds a way to get itself (and Israel) out of this strategic straitjacket...

I think that is selling the American talent for making ourselves unpopular short. Certainly I/P is one of (& perhaps foremost among) the principal axes but certainly not the only one. pre-2003 I I feel your point would've been more cogent but even then there was the enormous legacy of Western colonialism/imperialism & US/USSR Cold War position jockeying.

I'm also dubious that I/P is a central issue for most Muslims (other than radical Islamists) in Pakistan, Indonesia, Bosnia etc. an issue, surely, but not the principal one. they also their own reasons to dislike the U.S. - meddling in their own countries, mainly. it seems Islamists also spend the most time fighting their own regimes, whether or not those regimes take a hard line on Israel.

also remember - for a considerable number of Muslims (if not a majority), especially among those who are most strongly anti-American - the only solution to I/P is no Israel. no compromise will ever be good enough.

josef k.
05-06-2009, 01:31 PM
True, there are a great many reasons why people in the middle east might dislike the US, but I believe the I/P antagonism is the main axis around which it organizes... and polarizes: this image of injustice, oppression. I think if you remove that, the rhetorical sting is at least somewhat defanged.


for a considerable number of Muslims (if not a majority), especially among those who are most strongly anti-American - the only solution to I/P is no Israel. no compromise will ever be good enough.

Attitudes can change surprisingly quickly...

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 02:08 PM
True, there are a great many reasons why people in the middle east might dislike the US, but I believe the I/P antagonism is the main axis around which it organizes... and polarizes: this image of injustice, oppression. I think if you remove that, the rhetorical sting is at least somewhat defanged.

I just have to disagree w/you, I guess. it is a serious issue, no doubt, but somehow Egyptians managed to deal with it when Sadat made a separate piece & left the Palestinians twisting in the wind. ditto the Bedouin segment of the Jordanian population (who of course have all kinds of tensions w/the Palestinian Jordanians).

I also think it's much more complicated than you make it out. the Arabs - & obviously they aren't the only people for whom this is true - have a long history of hating each other as much if not moreso than anyone else. that "organization" is always tenuous, unstable. further, the U.S. is merely the latest in a long line of outsiders meddling in Arab affairs - British, Turks, etc


Attitudes can change surprisingly quickly...

yeah. things could get worse. much worse.

josef k.
05-06-2009, 02:16 PM
further, the U.S. is merely the latest in a long line of outsiders meddling in Arab affairs - British, Turks, etc

If you look around the world at the major trouble spots, one common theme emerges: the British were there!


yeah. things could get worse. much worse.

You seem determinedly pessimistic...

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 02:28 PM
If you look around the world at the major trouble spots, one common theme emerges: the British were there!

well you guys are the dons of this messing up huge chunks of the world business, no doubt.


You seem determinedly pessimistic...

there's a reason not to be? I might say you're naively optimistic. I guess it doesn't matter either way. I certainly don't relish being pessimistic. I might ask what you base your outlook on...?

spend 5 minutes talking to my (orthodox, settler) dad & I feel like you'd be pessimistic too...

josef k.
05-06-2009, 02:31 PM
well you guys are the dons of this messing up huge chunks of the world business, no doubt.

Don't include me in this!


if you spent time talking to my (orthodox, settler) dad you'd probably feel pessimistic too.

We know different Israeli's...

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 02:34 PM
We know different Israeli's...

you're kidding man cos I know plenty of liberal Jews & Israelis too & not a single one I talk to is enthusiastic about the future.

if anything they're even more pessimistic than I am.

droid
05-06-2009, 02:34 PM
one of the reasons (I would say) why the US is compelled to support people like Mubarak is because of its politically-draining strategic commitment to Israel... the I/P conflict is in fact destabilizing for the whole region, and the US will never have the leverage it wants in the middle east until it finds a way to get itself (and Israel) out of this strategic straitjacket...

hmmm... Id suggest that support for Israel has been so historically important for the US's strategic dominance of the region that the political considerations are secondary. Destabalisation (within limits) is the desired result. Israel largely took over over Iran's role as 'local policemen on the beat', whose (highly subsidised) strategic function is essentially to wield the biggest stick and to keep the natives in line whilst the US supports a web of dictators who keep populations in check whilst allowing the oil to flow.


True, there are a great many reasons why people in the middle east might dislike the US, but I believe the I/P antagonism is the main axis around which it organizes... and polarizes: this image of injustice, oppression. I think if you remove that, the rhetorical sting is at least somewhat defanged.


So Israel is an instrument of US control in the region and also a rallying point for resistance to that control. A resolution to the conflict followed by (presumably) some kind of demilitarisation in the region as part of a peace deal would be highly damaging to US strategic concerns IMO.

On the assertion of 'most Muslims want to destroy Israel', I think that the diplomatic record, including repeated acceptance of peace proposals by Arab governments and surveys of populations (inc. the Palestinians) shows a willingness to tolerate (if not accept) the presence of a non-belligerent Israel in the mid east.


yeah. things could get worse. much worse.

Uh-huh.

Sick Boy
05-06-2009, 02:46 PM
Perhaps if we're talking about India, Pakistan, etc. the I/P issue might not have as much weight, but certainly (and the current polls are reflecting this), in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, etc. this is the number one issue America must deal with to improve relations in the Middle East. For instance, Lebanon is about to go to elections so are probably concerned that if they vote for a Hezbollah coalition government if the U.S. are going to be cool with that.

josef k.
05-06-2009, 02:51 PM
hmmm... Id suggest that support for Israel has been so historically important for the US's strategic dominance of the region that the political considerations are secondary. Destabalisation (within limits) is the desired result. Israel largely took over over Iran's role as 'local policemen on the beat', whose (highly subsidised) strategic function is essentially to wield the biggest stick and to keep the natives in line whilst the US supports a web of dictators who keep populations in check whilst allowing the oil to flow.

So Israel is an instrument of US control in the region and also a rallying point for resistance to that control. A resolution to the conflict followed by (presumably) some kind of demilitarisation in the region as part of a peace deal would be highly damaging to US strategic concerns IMO.

This seems too simplistic... America's present-day relationship with Israel is a lot to do with domestic politics and the power of AIPAC; it isn't a pure geostrategic calculation. I agree with Mearsheimer and Walt on this: there is a way in which the present situation is damaging to US interests. The dictators keep the natives in line, not Israel, while Israel serves as a rallying-point for pan-Arabism (cf. Nasser).



On the assertion of 'most Muslims want to destroy Israel', I think that the diplomatic record, including repeated acceptance of peace proposals by Arab governments and surveys of populations (inc. the Palestinians) shows a willingness to tolerate (if not accept) the presence of a non-belligerent Israel in the mid east.

Egypt remains the only country in the middle east to maintain anything like normal diplomatic relations with Israel... in the teeth of Egyptian public opinion (cf Sadat). The basic situation is a cycle of violence which is fueled by Israeli paranoia and aggression, but which is not wholly one-sided; there are psycho-cultural factors in play here which have deepened and ramified over time. But this a matter of record and contention. The key point is that the situation needs to change... and Obama seems resolved to change it. Perhaps I am naive, but I feel optimistic - at least, things look brighter than they did.

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 02:52 PM
hmmm... Id suggest that support for Israel has been so historically important for the US's strategic dominance of the region that the political considerations are secondary. Destabalisation (within limits) is the desired result. Israel largely took over over Iran's role as 'local policemen on the beat', whose (highly subsidised) strategic function is essentially to wield the biggest stick and to keep the natives in line whilst the US supports a web of dictators who keep populations in check whilst allowing the oil to flow.

certainly true, if a bit oversimplified.


On the assertion of 'most Muslims want to destroy Israel', I think that the diplomatic record, including repeated acceptance of peace proposals by Arab governments and surveys of populations (inc. the Palestinians) shows a willingness to tolerate (if not accept) the presence of a non-belligerent Israel in the mid east.

I would never say most - & again I think it makes more sense to talk about Arabs rather than Muslims - just a significant minority. setting aside whether being "tolerated" is acceptable.

re: the diplomatic record - it is mixed, on both sides (& of course varies also by country). which is unsurprising, as that is diplomacy. "repeated acceptance of peace proposals" - to what are you referring, specifically? the treaties? Oslo? all something else? all of the above?

if you have handy links I'd like to see some of those surveys.

"non-belligerent" can be difficult to define.

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 03:06 PM
The dictators keep the natives in line, not Israel, while Israel serves as a rallying-point for pan-Arabism (cf. Nasser).

this is really where you're losing me. Pan-Arabism? are you serious man? that was a mess even when Nasser was alive. what do you back that up with, if anything? even leaving out that Iran isn't an Arab country.


Egypt remains the only country in the middle east to maintain anything like normal diplomatic relations with Israel... in the teeth of Egyptian public opinion (cf Sadat). The basic situation is a cycle of violence which is fueled by Israeli paranoia and aggression, but which is not wholly one-sided; there are psycho-cultural factors in play here which have deepened and ramified over time. But this a matter of record and contention. The key point is that the situation needs to change... and Obama seems resolved to change it. Perhaps I am naive, but I feel optimistic - at least, things look brighter than they did.

Jesus, do you know what holds up those relations? billions & billions of $ in yearly U.S. aid to Egypt, mate (Israeli military deterrence - paranoia, as you might put it - has something to do w/it too). I would also suggest that Egyptians have more problems with their own regime than they do with Israel. & that the U.S. is not supporting that regime, in the main, b/c it's kept the peace w/Israel.

to the rest - yeah, it's all the Israelis' fault. right. them & their unwarranted paranoia. I'm glad you managed to admit it's not "wholly one-sided". that was generous of you. *EDIT* before Droid goes apeshit I'm not suggesting they haven't done a lot of egregious stuff & that aren't in much stronger militarily. just that their paranoia is, yunno, kinda justified.

droid
05-06-2009, 03:11 PM
This seems too simplistic... America's present-day relationship with Israel is a lot to do with domestic politics and the power of AIPAC; it isn't a pure geostrategic calculation. I agree with Mearsheimer and Walt on this: there is a way in which the present situation is damaging to US interests. The dictators keep the natives in line, not Israel, while Israel serves as a rallying-point for pan-Arabism (cf. Nasser).

Sure, its more complex now, that's why I said 'historically' - but the bare facts remain. The US does not support Israel out of principle or internal pressure, though the second is a factor. It supports Israel primarily because such support offers them strategic advantages in accessing the 'glittering prize' of mid east energy resources.


Egypt remains the only country in the middle east to maintain anything like normal diplomatic relations with Israel...

By diplomatic record I am specifically referring to various peace proposals down through the years.

Sorry for not elaborating more here or providing the usual links. Deadlines... :eek: Certainly the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 springs to mind, Egypt and Jordan accepting 242 in the wake of the 6 day war, ... there's some very intriguing stuff in the record of UN general assembly resolutions as well.

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 03:15 PM
Perhaps if we're talking about India, Pakistan, etc. the I/P issue might not have as much weight, but certainly (and the current polls are reflecting this), in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, etc. this is the number one issue America must deal with to improve relations in the Middle East. For instance, Lebanon is about to go to elections so are probably concerned that if they vote for a Hezbollah coalition government if the U.S. are going to be cool with that.

2 of those countries already have treaties w/Israel, Syria is the most hardline country on Israel, Lebanon is a mess (which the Israelis had a large hand in, of course, along with Syria). I think also the Lebanese elections - at least as I understand it - depend more on a few Maronite swing votes than on the U.S.' attitude towards Hizballah. Joe Biden essentially admitted that America will keep funding the Lebanese Armed Forces regardless of who wins. (http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/2009/05/biden-in-beirut-ii.html)

what do you mean by "improve relations"? for whom, with whom? to what end?

josef k.
05-06-2009, 03:17 PM
It supports Israel primarily because such support offers them strategic advantages in accessing the 'glittering prize' of mid east energy resources.

How exactly?

josef k.
05-06-2009, 03:18 PM
this is really where you're losing me. Pan-Arabism? are you serious man? that was a mess even when Nasser was alive. what do you back that up with, if anything? even leaving out that Iran isn't an Arab country.

Hatred of Israel is pretty much the only thing that the rest of the region can agree on... no?

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 03:25 PM
By diplomatic record I am specifically referring to various peace proposals down through the years.

Sorry for not elaborating more here or providing the usual links. Deadlines... :eek: Certainly the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 springs to mind, Egypt and Jordan accepting 242 in the wake of the 6 day war, ... there's some very intriguing stuff in the record of UN general assembly resolutions as well.

OK, the Arab Peace Initiative is a really good example. Resolution 242, less so - that was accomplished by Israeli force of arms, really.

there have also been some stunning rejections. by Arafat, most prominently, but the Arabs & especially the Palestinians have a long history of shooting themselves in the foot over peace deals. the Jews have been stubborn too, of course, they're just (usually) cagier about it.

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 03:27 PM
Hatred of Israel is pretty much the only thing that the rest of the region can agree on... no?

how does that equate to Pan-Arabism? hating Israel & hating each other are not exactly contradictory. in fact they seem to go hand in hand.

droid
05-06-2009, 03:33 PM
How exactly?

It's self evident isn't it? In the simplest terms, If you're a mob boss who wants to project your power into another city it's quite handy to have a friendly and heavily armed aggressive lieutenant in place.

Interestingly enough, the 'cop on the beat' phrase':


was first used by Nixonís Secretary of Defense, Melvyn Laird, referring to US policy in the Middle East. Similar descriptions were given at the same time by US intelligence, by Senator Henry Jackson (the Senateís leading specialist on the Middle East and energy), and others. And often at other times.

droid
05-06-2009, 03:37 PM
OK, the Arab Peace Initiative is a really good example. Resolution 242, less so - that was accomplished by Israeli force of arms, really.

there have also been some stunning rejections. by Arafat, most prominently, but the Arabs & especially the Palestinians have a long history of shooting themselves in the foot over peace deals. the Jews have been stubborn too, of course, they're just (usually) cagier about it.

I have to go back to Arafat in the UN in '78... acceptance of UN 242, de facto recognition etc...

And my point about 242 is that Jordan and Egypt accepted it - not that they initiated it - and yes Israel achieved it through force of arms - by starting a war and seizing the OT's..,

vimothy
05-06-2009, 03:41 PM
Think the idea that the US has had a continuous, consistent and unconflicted strategy in the ME in general and WRT Israel in particular is, well...

And of course such a strategy implies policy objectives, so I guess that this is easily proven, if true.

Furthermore, it applies a perculiarly homo economicus-esque analysis to the situation. Motivations are stripped to rational choices about mere self-interest. (For example, Christian Zionism has a long history in America -- nothing self-interested about that, unless its the self-interest of politicians wanting to please their constituents).

In any case the logic of this strategy is not clear to me. Certainly it does not appear to be a rational choice if we accept realist premises about the behaviour of states. Why could they not simply abandon Israel and continue to buy oil much as they do now?


It's self evident isn't it?

Is it? Could you maybe make it more explicit for the hard-of-thinking amongst us?

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 03:58 PM
I have to go back to Arafat in the UN in '78... acceptance of UN 242, de facto recognition etc...

And my point about 242 is that Jordan and Egypt accepted it - not that they initiated it - and yes Israel achieved it through force of arms - by starting a war and seizing the OT's..,

re: starting a war - keep in mind that Nasser demanded (& got, with no protest) a UNEF withdrawal, moved troops into the Sinai, mobilized his army, closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping (which he knew Israel would go to war over), etc before the Israelis responded. Syria also kicked things off 2 months before the war started by getting into it w/the IDF in the '56 DMZ. the Syrians had also been subsidizing guerrillas to carry out cross-border raids for years. so "starting a war" is not as simple as you make out.

re: Arafat - I didn't say he never made peace overtures. just that he rejected some crucial ones as well.

re: 242 - the point is it wasn't out of the goodness of their hearts or b/c they suddenly saw the light. if the point you're trying to make is that Arabs are willing to accept a non-belligerent Israel then surely resolutions accepted essentially at gunpoint don't reinforce your point?

droid
05-06-2009, 04:18 PM
re: starting a war - keep in mind that Nasser demanded (& got, with no protest) a UNEF withdrawal, moved troops into the Sinai, mobilized his army, closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping (which he knew Israel would go to war over), etc before the Israelis responded. Syria also kicked things off 2 months before the war started by getting into it w/the IDF in the '56 DMZ. the Syrians had also been subsidizing guerrillas to carry out cross-border raids for years. so "starting a war" is not as simple as you make out.

Well, this is all for another thread, but 'Straits of Tiran' = 5% of israeli shipping, internal records indicate it was not the cause for war. UNEF could easily have been redeployed on the other side... as I mentioned to you before '1967' by Tom Segev is a good place to start on this. The point is that despite escalations on both sides Israel knew they had a huge advantage and attacked first, which makes them the aggressor (and they were very aware of the perception of their actions and went to great efforts to hide this fact).


re: Arafat - I didn't say he never made peace overtures. just that he rejected some crucial ones as well.

Not disagreeing, but do you have anything particular in mind?


re: 242 - the point is it wasn't out of the goodness of their hearts or b/c they suddenly saw the light. if the point you're trying to make is that Arabs are willing to accept a non-belligerent Israel then surely resolutions accepted essentially at gunpoint don't reinforce your point?

242 wasn't forced 'at gunpoint' onto Egypt and Jordan, though I'm certainly claiming that there was any kindness involved, the point is (the usual paradigm for victors v losers sure) is that Israel rejected and continues to reject 242, whilst nearly all other states in the region have at some point accepted it and based peace plans on it.

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 04:43 PM
Well, this is all for another thread, but 'Straits of Tiran' = 5% of israeli shipping, internal records indicate it was not the cause for war. UNEF could easily have been redeployed on the other side... as I mentioned to you before '1967' by Tom Segev is a good place to start on this. The point is that despite escalations on both sides Israel knew they had a huge advantage and attacked first, which makes them the aggressor (and they were very aware of the perception of their actions and went to great efforts to hide this fact).

the issue wasn't, as you well know, the % of Israeli shipping but whether Israel could allow Nasser to close off the Straits as he pleased w/o responding. again w/UNEF the issue isn't whether the UN force was actually there but whether Nasser could just order them out & take Sharm Ash-Sheikh as he pleased w/o Israeli response. I find your logic that being the stronger side automatically makes you the aggressor dubious to say the least. if you are Nasser (& Syria) & you know you are weaker & you continue the cycle of provocation then you bear some of the responsibility when you get attacked & demolished. @ "hide this fact" - so what? what country hasn't done that, in every war ever fought?

but as you said, another thread.


Not disagreeing, but do you have anything particular in mind?

most famously the rejection of Barak's offer in 2000 for a Palestinian state that would have included all of Gaza & over 90% of the WB. tbc I don't to mean to focus exclusively on Arafat. other examples would be; rejection of the Peel Commission, rejection the favorable to them White Paper, rejection of the Partition Plan (accepted, albeit grudgingly, by the Jews), the three no's of the Khartoum Resolution, etc etc


(the usual paradigm for victors v losers sure)

you said it, not me.

droid
05-06-2009, 04:55 PM
the issue wasn't, as you well know, the % of Israeli shipping but whether Israel could allow Nasser to close off the Straits as he pleased w/o responding. again w/UNEF the issue isn't whether the UN force was actually there but whether Nasser could just order them out & take Sharm Ash-Sheikh as he pleased w/o Israeli response. I find your logic that being the stronger side automatically makes you the aggressor dubious to say the least. if you are Nasser (& Syria) & you know you are weaker & you continue the cycle of provocation then you bear some of the responsibility when you get attacked & demolished. @ "hide this fact" - so what? what country hasn't done that, in every war ever fought?

but as you said, another thread.

Thats not my logic. My logic is that if you get into an argument with someone and you're the one who throws the first punch then you are the aggressor. But yes, the ins and outs of 67 require another thread - but read that book! :D


most famously the rejection of Barak's offer in 2000 for a Palestinian state that would have included all of Gaza & over 90% of the WB. tbc I don't to mean to focus exclusively on Arafat. other examples would be; rejection of the Peel Commission, rejection the favorable to them White Paper, rejection of the Partition Plan (accepted, albeit grudgingly, by the Jews), the three no's of the Khartoum Resolution, etc etc

Well I think this interpretation of Barak's offer is bollocks TBH, but as I've been promising to address it in another thread I'm happy to leave it for now. :D

Peel commission? are we seriously going back that far? Khartoum? I'm talking post-67 (and not just a few months after).


you said it, not me.

Sure... and that's the problem in a nutshell. Israel need to lose to negotiate. Israel can lose only once. Therefore Israel must negotiate before they lose, but Israel need to lose to negotiate...

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 05:08 PM
Well I think this interpretation of Barak's offer is bollocks TBH, but as I've been promising to address it in another thread I'm happy to leave it for now.

no let's have it. unless you really don't want to get into it. & before you do - yeah, I'm aware the it was only like 65-70% of the WB at first & that the rest was to be ceded over time contingent on various conditions, that it didn't include Jerusalem, etc.


Peel commission? are we seriously going back that far? Khartoum? I'm talking post-67 (and not just a few months after).

I said it was a long history. plus, unless you want to lay into Barak's offer...

let's add Hamas to the list, w/its ambiguous attitude towards the Arab Peace Initiative. and towards negotiation in general.


Sure... and that's the problem in a nutshell. Israel need to lose to negotiate. Israel can lose only once. Therefore Israel must negotiate before they lose, but Israel need to lose to negotiate...

yes, it's a difficult position to be in.

droid
05-06-2009, 05:11 PM
no let's have it. unless you really don't want to get into it. & before you do - yeah, I'm aware the it was only like 65-70% of the WB at first & that the rest was to be ceded over time contingent on various conditions, that it didn't include Jerusalem, etc.

I said it was a long history. plus, unless you want to lay into Barak's offer...

let's add Hamas to the list, w/its ambiguous attitude towards the Arab Peace Initiative. &

yes, it's a difficult position to be in.

Sorry Padraig, I have to go home now and vote and then mind the baby! :cool: I started a reply to Scott's points about Barak's offer. Hopefully Ill get back to it soon.

Sorry for being such a waster. :o

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 05:26 PM
Sorry Padraig, I have to go home now and vote and then mind the baby! :cool: I started a reply to Scott's points about Barak's offer. Hopefully Ill get back to it soon.

Sorry for being such a waster. :o

not that's alright! surely voting & looking after the baby are x1000000 than wasting time on message boards!

enjoy the weekend then ya bastard. not even lunchtime yet for me.:D

nomadthethird
05-06-2009, 05:39 PM
This isn't really politically relevant, but does anyone else think Obama is getting increasingly smarmy and turning more and more into Bill Clinton every day? I thought his delivery of that speech was a little off. He sounds less and less earnest all of the time. This one sounded really canned, in that delightfully Obama way where it sounds like it was written months ago by Obama himself then copyedited by a crack team of 100 staff members to smooth out the overly optimistic parts.

Sick Boy
05-06-2009, 05:43 PM
.

Joe Biden essentially admitted that America will keep funding the Lebanese Armed Forces regardless of who wins. (http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/2009/05/biden-in-beirut-ii.html)

Perhaps I'm reading this wrong, but it seems like Biden actually insinuated the opposite?


The US will evaluate the shape of its assistance programme based on the composition of the new government and the policies it is advocating


It’s about building up institutions over time, regardless of who wins the election. But make no mistake; if a Hizbollah-led coalition wins the election in June, aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces will be a real fight in Congress. I think the administration, the department of defence, and US Central Command all understand that. Israel’s more hard-line supporters in the Congress will push hard for a curtailment of aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces

padraig (u.s.)
05-06-2009, 06:17 PM
.Perhaps I'm reading this wrong, but it seems like Biden actually insinuated the opposite?

no I think you're reading it right. I read it a few weeks ago & I forget about that conclusion. tho, the other side being;


We appreciate the broad support in Lebanon and around the world for you, President Suleiman; for your efforts to produce a -- pursue a national unity dialogue and to revitalize the vision of a peaceful Lebanon, a democracy that obviously cannot be strong without strong institutions. [AM: So you're going to keep funding the LAF no matter who wins?]

...And therefore the United States remains committed to making sure that Lebanon's institutions are as strong as possible. [AM: Is that a yes?]

Abu M's most recent take on it. (http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/2009/06/lebanese-armed-forces-case-for.html)

it sounds like it'll be a real fight in Congress if Hizballah wins the elections. still, it's not like if Hizballah wins the U.S. is going to say "well, f**k you".

anyway the point I really should have made is that Lebanese public opinion - unlike, say, Turkish or Egyptian public opinion - doesn't really matter that much in the scheme of U.S. foreign policy, not to sound callous towards the Lebanese. your point having been about public opinion in Arab countries.

josef k.
07-06-2009, 05:12 AM
Perry Anderson on the US-Israel axis:


The Middle East is the one part of the world where the us political system, as presently constituted, cannot act according to a rational calculus of national interest, because it is inhabited by another, supervening interest. For its entire position in the Arab—and by extension Muslim—world is compromised by its massive, ostentatious support for Israel. Universally regarded in the region as a predator state that could never have enjoyed forty years of impunity without vast supplies of American arms and money, and unconditional American protection in the un, Israel is the target of popular hatred for its expropriation and persecution of the Palestinians. By logical extension, America is detested for the same reason. Al-Qaeda’s attack on it was rooted in this context. From the standpoint of American power, rationally considered, a Palestinian state that was somewhat more than a Bantustan would pose no threat whatever, and could have been created at any time in the past half century by merely holding back the flow of dollars, guns and vetoes for Israel. The reason why this has never happened is perfectly clear. It lies in the grip of the Israeli lobby, drawing strength from the powerful Jewish community in the us, on the American political and media system. Not only does this lobby distort ‘normal’ decision-making processes at all levels where the Middle East is concerned. Until recently—and even then, only incipiently—it could not even be mentioned in any mainstream arena of discussion: a taboo that, as with all such repressions, injected a further massive dose of irrationality into the formation of us policy in the region.

VIA (http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=2695)

vimothy
07-06-2009, 01:31 PM
Hegghammer has the jihadi reactions (http://www.jihadica.com/jihadi-reactions-to-obama/)....

droid
08-06-2009, 10:03 AM
This is funny (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uxt9HwfPwPo)

padraig (u.s.)
08-06-2009, 05:53 PM
This is funny (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uxt9HwfPwPo)

especially cos everyone interviewed is American (the only Israeli the skinny dude who said Obama cares about Muslims & Jews both - was by far the most reasonable). it's hard to see Israelis being that obnoxious, even if only in a don't shit where you live kinda thing.

also lol at the orthodox-ish Trustafarian dude rockin' it Matisyahu style.

scottdisco
10-06-2009, 12:08 AM
good speech

josef k.
11-06-2009, 12:09 PM
Peres calls for Palestinian State

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1092140.html


* Mods: Maybe this thread should merge with the Israel/Palestine thread?

padraig (u.s.)
11-06-2009, 12:53 PM
Peres calls for Palestinian State

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1092140.html

what does that mean, tho, really? what power does he actually have? not very much, I think - he's oooold & also, unlike Rabin or even Barak, has roughly zero credibility w/Israelis who don't already agree w/him. I'll wait & see what Netanyahu says on Saturday. tho anyway reaffirming the Road Map in speeches doesn't mean much. More stalling tactics, I'd suspect. the Israelis are smart enough not to take Obama head-on. on the other hand if they make nice & string things along indefinitely he's got so much stuff on his plate...*EDIT* also the Israelis are old hands at exactly those kinds of delay tactics (tho I should note also that at times they've been helped by either Hamas/other fundamentalists or Hizballah launching attacks when more moderate factions were trying to negotiate)

the big difference will be if a Labor government comes into power in the near future while Obama still has a lot of political coin to spend. if I'm Netanyahu I'm just trying to weather the storm for the next ~2 1/2 years until the election cycle gets back into swing & hoping for a more sympathetic President.

polystyle desu
11-06-2009, 05:44 PM
Can we now say that Obama's speech in Cairo may have had an effect on the Lebanon election ?
And tomorrow as well , in the rather large Iran election ?

Can't take much away from the man's timing ... and sense of catching which way the wind blows .

vimothy
11-06-2009, 06:04 PM
Can we now say that Obama's speech in Cairo may have had an effect on the Lebanon election ?
And tomorrow as well , in the rather large Iran election ?

No.

padraig (u.s.)
11-06-2009, 06:13 PM
Can we now say that Obama's speech in Cairo may have had an effect on the Lebanon election?

I'm very dubious of this. & in general highly suspicious attributing the outcomes of foreign elections & other major events to the actions of Western, & specifically American, politicians rather than the actual people in those countries. an effect perhaps, but not a major one & certainly not decisively - the election turned entirely on the Christian swing vote.


And tomorrow as well , in the rather large Iran election?

this, on the other hand, I find to be slightly more plausible, if only b/c the U.S. (and Israel) is more directly engaged with Iran. still it will be the Iranians who decide things, not one Obama speech.

Kind of surprised that the Iranian elections haven't received more attention here in the U.S.

droid
11-06-2009, 06:32 PM
I'm very dubious of this. & in general highly suspicious attributing the outcomes of foreign elections & other major events to the actions of Western, & specifically American, politicians rather than the actual people in those countries.

Except of course when same politicians are rigging the vote! ;)

padraig (u.s.)
11-06-2009, 06:57 PM
Except of course when same politicians are rigging the vote! ;)

but clearly that's not the case in Lebanon. or Iran.

when was the last time this happened, actually? it seems to have gone out of favor since the end of the Cold War.

also no answers re: Barak's offer yet Droid? get on it wasteman!:D

polystyle desu
11-06-2009, 08:18 PM
OK , so Vimothy says flatly 'No' to any Obama effect on the Lebanon vote ,
Padraig says 'an effect perhaps' -but more likely to be the case in Iran.
Fair enough.

Of course, would be interested in what the Lebanese citizens - voters on the streets have to say about it ...

There has ben so much coverage about the Iranian election here in the States,
daily on mulitple channels , CNN has Christian Amonpour in Tehran all week it seems like, media outlets have antenna up.
The old mullahs against the current Iranian PM don't like where he's taken things and are pushing back behind the scenes.

So I disagree - Obama is helping shape these elections -to a small degree or a larger degree we'll just have to see.

vimothy
11-06-2009, 08:30 PM
I'm sure that some people watched Obama's speech, and that some of those people live in Lebanon. But did it decide the outcome of an election? I doubt it.

Qifa Nabk (http://qifanabki.com/2009/06/08/anatomy-of-a-victory/)i:


...Far more decisive, in my opinion, seems to have been: (1) the high turnout of Sunnis in Zahle ó many of whom came from abroad ó coupled with a low turnout of Christians; (2) strong feelings of antipathy towards Hizbullah by the Christians of Beirut who voted decisively for March 14thís list in the district of Achrafieh; (3) some rare rhetorical blunders by Nasrallah in the past couple of weeks, calling the events of May 7th ďa glorious dayĒ for the resistance.

padraig (u.s.)
11-06-2009, 08:32 PM
Padraig says 'an effect perhaps' -but more likely to be the case in Iran.

let me be clear that by "an effect" I explicitly meant a negligible one. I am much more in line w/Vim's flat no.


There has ben so much coverage about the Iranian election here in the States

not really, especially relative to what a fairly big deal they are. overshadowed perhaps by North Korea in the international news spotlight.

also, CNN is a total waste of time.


So I disagree - Obama is helping shape these elections -to a small degree or a larger degree we'll just have to see.

how exactly? can you point to anything specific? do you have anything that actually backs that up? beyond vague assertions that it's true, I mean.

polystyle desu
11-06-2009, 08:39 PM
All we have are our opinions guys, Padraig ...

padraig (u.s.)
11-06-2009, 08:40 PM
I suspect much more decisive factors in the Iranian elections will be things like:

-who gets the most support from the clerics
-how happy/unhappy young people, women, etc are w/the status quo
-whether or not the election is rigged

I'm sure if Ahmedinejad is booted many Western journalists & pundits will (with varying degrees of enthusiasm) claim it as a victory for Obama. of course when Lebanon or Iran (or whatever) eventually blows up in his/our face he'll get the blame so I guess he might as well get the undeserved credit now.

vimothy
11-06-2009, 08:42 PM
Fair enough! I is sceptical is all.

The problem is that you could pluck anything out of the air and call it the result of Obama's speech: terrorist attacks in downtown Baghdad, victory for M14 in Lebanon, victory for Ahmedinejad in Iran, a spike in the price of Brent Crude, Russian sovereign CDS spreads, the birth of a two-headed lamb in Indonesia...

polystyle desu
11-06-2009, 08:44 PM
Some Obama effect is different from no Obama effect.
And i mean specifically Obama's effect ( who he is, where he's coming from, the visual portrayed- hyped by the US, the 'West' or not ), not what the 'West wants'.
If one doesn't agree there has been an effect - then we just disagree.
Period.

padraig (u.s.)
11-06-2009, 08:44 PM
All we have are our opinions guys, Padraig ...

speak for yourself.

polystyle desu
11-06-2009, 08:50 PM
I WAS speaking for myself , thank you.
But hey man its your thread.

padraig (u.s.)
11-06-2009, 08:53 PM
Some Obama effect is different from no Obama effect.
And i mean specifically Obama's effect ( who he is, where he's coming from, the visual portrayed- hyped by the US, the 'West' or not ), not what the 'West wants'.
If one doesn't agree there has been an effect - then we just disagree.
Period.

everything has -some- effect on everything else. the POTUS' effect, regardless of who it is, will naturally be disproportionately large.

that's not what you're saying tho - you're saying specifically that Obama, by his words or actions or both, directly influenced (perhaps decided) the elections in Lebanon & will in Iran as well. this seems very dubious. you offer up no evidence, or even reasoning. as Vim notes it's very easy to point to something & say "that's what caused it!".


But hey man its your thread.

oh for crissakes...

vimothy
11-06-2009, 09:09 PM
Over a longer time-frame I think that this kind of approach -- meaning diplomacy in general, rather than one speech in particular -- will have a definite effect, though.

padraig (u.s.)
11-06-2009, 10:47 PM
Over a longer time-frame I think that this kind of approach -- meaning diplomacy in general, rather than one speech in particular -- will have a definite effect, though.

sure. if it's done consistently (tho I'd argue it's already inconsistent) & over a longer period of time, if the deeds match the words, etc. definitely an effect, tho maybe not the intended effects. let's wait & see innit .

vimothy
11-06-2009, 11:01 PM
Maybe words are more important than deeds.

padraig (u.s.)
11-06-2009, 11:07 PM
you don't really believe that do you?

aside from that words are, in themselves, also deeds.

vimothy
11-06-2009, 11:33 PM
I'm not sure what I believe.

scottdisco
12-06-2009, 10:41 AM
And tomorrow as well , in the rather large Iran election ?

hope so

Hooman Majd in the LAT here (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-majd10-2009jun10,0,4569232.story); meanwhile, Mohsen Sazegara in the Boston Globe here (http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/06/10/dark_side_of_a_reformist_win_in_iran/)


Tony Blair: There is global struggle in which we need a
policy based on democracy, on freedom and on justice..

John Humphrys: Our idea of
democracy..

Blair: I didnít know that there was another idea of
democracy..

Humphrys: If I may say so, thatís naÔve in the view of many people..

Blair: The one basic fact about democracy, surely, is that you
can get rid of your government if you donít like them.

Humphrys: The Iranians elected their own government, and
weíre now telling them..

Blair: Hold on John, something like 60 per cent of the
candidates were excluded.

(Radio 4, 22nd February 2007)