Obama demands “tough decisions” of Israel


Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, was dispatched last Friday to the Brookings Institution to advance the charm offensive that seeks to convince Israelis and American supporters of Israel that the Obama Administration is Israel’s best friend. He worked hard, but his bottom line was that Israel – not the Palestinians and not the Arab states – needs to do more for peace, specifically the “two state solution” to which the administration is wedded but which appears increasingly unlikely.

He described the work of the U.S.-Israel Joint Political-Military Group (JPMG) and the Defense Policy Advisory Group (DPAG) and touted the Juniper Cobra joint exercise. He talked about Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME). He mentioned money – lots and lots of money for Israel – but missed the $186 million in training and infrastructure so far (with $100 million more in 2010) for the Palestinian Security Force better known as Dayton’s Army. He didn’t mention the $400 million for the Lebanese Armed Forces for training and equipment that is shared with Hezbollah – while unnamed CENTCOM officers speculate about having the United States open relations with Hezbollah. He didn’t talk about what training Israel’s enemies does to the QME. He did mention the decision to notify Congress of the sale to Israel of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and he talked about Iron Dome.

He didn’t claim the JPMG and DPAG were Obama Administration inventions; just that they were improved but offered no details. He didn’t mention that Juniper Cobra has been around since 2001 – and although this year’s exercise was the largest, they have been growing in size and complexity from the first one. The money comes from a 2007 decision to fix Israel’s Security Assistance as a long-term item. Shapiro said, “The United States supports Israel’s defense needs through both our government-to-government Foreign Military Sales program and Direct Commercial Sales, including releasing advanced products restricted to only the closest of allies and partners.” That would be the JSF, which Israel does not want because it cannot have access to the main computer to install its own systems (the British can’t either). But in March, the administration denied Israel’s request for nine C-130J cargo planes, allowing only one with an option for two more.

One sometimes reliable source noted, “Officials acknowledged that the White House, which endorsed $20 billion worth of arms sales to the Middle East in 2009, has not approved any Israeli requests for combat platforms or other major military sales in 2009 and 2010.” The $20 billion to the Arab states is a known number; we’re still checking on what has been approved for Israel – or not, as it appears.

The $205 million for Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system is real. Which leads to the most important thing Shapiro said – and he said it twice.

    * It is our hope that the Administration’s expanded commitment to Israel’s security will advance the process by helping the Israeli people seize this opportunity and take the tough decisions necessary for a comprehensive peace.

    * Bolstering Israel’s security against the rocket threat will not by itself facilitate a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Conversely, a two-state solution will not in and of itself bring an end to these threats. But our support for Iron Dome and similar efforts do provide Israel with the capabilities and the confidence that it needs to take the tough decisions ahead for a comprehensive peace.

“Tough decisions” are a euphemism for ceding territory, ceding political rights, ceding security control to others – Palestinians, intermediaries, multinational forces. There was more in the speech that is worth noting, and we will, but it will take a while before we get over the idea that Obama Administration support for Israel’s defense – such as that support is – is a function of the administration’s determination to have Israel take actions that increase the risk to its people.
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July 20, 2010 | 4 Comments »

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  1. Mubarak Will Die Within One Year, Intelligence Sources Report 🙂

    So he will soon become a good Arab?

    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s cancer is terminal and he will die within a year, according to intelligence sources quoted by the Washington Times. Western diplomats are worried whether the 1979 peace treaty with Israel will survive. Both countries retain diplomatic embassies and exchanges, but the “cold peace” has been increasingly chilly.

  2. Hosni Mubarak’s cancer is terminal and he will die within a year, 🙂

    by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

    Egyptian President according to intelligence sources quoted by the Washington Times. Western diplomats are worried whether the 1979 peace treaty with Israel will survive. Both countries retain diplomatic embassies and exchanges, but the “cold peace” has been increasingly chilly.

    Egyptian authorities have previously denied Israeli and foreign media reports that Mubarak has cancer. It is known that he has traveled to Germany and France for medical care, but the Times report indicates his condition is a lot worse than it seems.

    Steven Cook, a senior fellow and Egyptian affairs specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the conservative-oriented newspaper, “When I was in Cairo in May, it was interesting. People were mellow about the prospect of him being ill. Everyone understood the end was near; the estimates were 12 to 18 months.”

    The Egyptian president has confounded the rumors by appearing vibrant and alert in recent meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, among others.

    Cook said the public appearances are made possible by drugs, and explained, “I heard that they pump him up with something that makes him able to function, so he can do these meetings and go to these public events.”

    Mubarak took power in 1981 following the assassination of Anwar Sadat by terrorists linked with the radical Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition party and which is officially outlawed.

    Mubarak has run a tight regime, using an emergency law that effectively silences political competitors. His likely successors are either his son Gamal, who has displayed strong skills in economic reforms, Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, or Mohamed ElBaradei, the former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    Martin Kramer, a scholar at the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center and an analyst on Egypt, however, told the Times that he thinks the peace treaty with Israel and Egypt would survive Hosni Mubarak’s death. “Egypt has kept the peace deal with Israel through the wars with Lebanon and through intifadas,” Mr. Kramer said.

    Mubarak and Saudi Arabia King Abdullah recently were described as “aging autocrats” by The Economist of Britain. Mubarak is 82, and the king is 86.

    “Decades of repression have ensured that the opposition is quiescent in Egypt and virtually inaudible in Saudi Arabia, but they have also made these countries vulnerable to violent disruption,” according to the magazine.

    Noting the instability that often accompanies transition in non-democratic countries, The Economist warned that Western interests will be in danger over security and energy if the countries do not accomplish a smooth succession.

    The underlying potential for an uprising is the elite’s ignoring the poor majority, The Economist added. “Though blessed with natural resources, especially the oil that has enriched Arab dynasties and their subservient elites while often leaving the masses in penury, few Arab countries have seen their non-oil economies flourish or their people enjoy the public services or freedoms taken for granted elsewhere.”

    It pointed out that the only stab at democracy in the Arab League has been in Lebanon, which has been divided by civil war and near-civil war for two decades. It added that Iraq is mired in corruption.

    The Palestinian Authority’s American-sponsored elections resulted in a victory by Hamas terrorists that left the United States in shock and has ended up with the PA running a government that is not legal because it has unilaterally postponed elections.

    “The closed political systems of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the uncertainties of dynastic power-mongering and the corruption inherent in patronage-ridden autocracies still often lead to plotting at the top and frustration that could spill over into anger at the bottom,” The Economist warned.

    “That becomes more likely as the Internet, mobile phones and easier travel make people far less easy to control.”

  3. Israel should just ignore the sideshow freak that currently occupies the White House. His Congressional enablers will be gone after this November’s election, and he will be gone as of January 2013.

    2 1/2 years is a long time nothing is for sure or in he bag. I wouldn’t count him out.