President Barack Obama’s speech about recent developments in the Middle East was unimpressive. He proclaimed the U.S. supports democracy and “universal rights” but given the U.S.’s practice of torture and occupation of two countries, that proclamation is hypocritical. Obama said that the United States supports the current Arab uprisings. Yet, the U.S. was late in supporting the Egyptian uprising since the tyrant being overthrown — Hosni Mubarak — was a key U.S. ally. The U.S. supported the revolution when it was clear that Mubarak was going to leave. Obama talked about Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi’s violence against his own people, which justified U.S./NATO intervention. Qaddafi has a long history of repression but that did not stop the U.S. government from using Libya as a rendition destination for detainees to be tortured, which is illegal. Obama was also reluctant to support the Bahraini uprising and accused Iran of meddling in the country. However, Iran is not militarily occupying Bahrain — Saudi Arabia is, a U.S. ally. Bahrain is another key U.S. ally, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, securing American influence in the oil-rich Gulf. Hence, the reluctance. As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Obama said nothing new. He lectured the Palestinians to not use terrorism, stop delegitimizing Israel and called for a de-militarized (i.e., defenseless) Palestinian state along the 1967 borders — just like Bush. Israel, on the other hand, gets continued U.S. support for its security interests but “must act boldly” to advance peace — whatever that means. The core issues of settlement expansion, right of return for Palestinian refugees and the future of Jerusalem were left unaddressed. Overall, Obama’s speech was unimpressive, hypocritical and a regurgitation of tired political platitudes.
Category Archives: Israel/Palestine
In the same way that the Pentagon Papers exposed the lies about the U.S. war in Vietnam, the Palestine Papers have exposed the ugly truth of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. This past week, Al-Jazeera obtained over 1,600 internal documents which, according the network, detail “the inner workings of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations”. The documents date between 1999 and 2010. High-level Israeli, American and Palestinian Authority officials were involved in these negotiations. The documents were also shared with the British newspaper the Guardian. What the documents essentially reveal is that Israel, with unconditional support from the U.S., has been able to achieve most, if not all, of its demands, while the Palestinian Authority (PA) appeases them. Read the rest of this entry »
Last month, my PolicyMic colleague Gabriel Kohan argued that an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran is necessary to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East. This relies on the assumption that Iran is a dire threat to Middle Eastern peace. I disagree with this argument for a number of reasons.
First, the threat posed by Iran to Middle Eastern peace is exaggerated not just in Kohan’s piece but also in the mainstream media. The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate stated that Iran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not restarted it as of mid-2007. While some say that Iran may have resumed “research” on how to build a nuclear bomb, it is not engaged in any actual development. In other words, Iran does not have a nuclear weapon and is not trying to build one at the moment. On the other hand, Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons and refuses to allow any inspections or sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Read the rest of this entry »
RussiaToday’s CrossTalk had a good debate between Dan Diker and Robert Fisk about the Middle East Peace Process. For those who are relatively uninformed about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the aggravating “peace process”, I highly recommend watching this debate.
It’s been a while since I last posted a blog so I decided to comment on Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla. This is an excellent segment by The Real News Network. It shows how Israel planned its May 31st attack on the Gaza humanitarian aid flotilla, which resulted in the deaths of 9 people.