With continued terror in place for Iraq and Afghanistan, promised terror for Pakistan, Obama’s place to change American foreign policy lies US relations with the UN and Israel.
Amidst the fawning over the inauguration of the Obamessiah as POTUS is the discussion of changing America’s foreign policy. (Domestically, we’ll see the same ol’ fascist corporatism, Big Brother spying on the American people, and explicitly saying “we can’t worry short term about the deficit” that is the primary cause for the US economic crisis.)
As one of his first actions, Obama plans to name former senator George J. Mitchell (D-Maine) as his Middle East envoy, aides said, sending a signal that the new administration intends to move quickly to engage warring Israelis and Palestinians in efforts to secure the peace.
Mitchell’s appointment will follow this afternoon’s expected Senate vote to confirm Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state. And tomorrow afternoon, aides said, Obama will convene a meeting of his National Security Council to launch a reassessment of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
By the end of the week, Obama plans to issue an executive order to eventually shut down the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to lay out a new process for dealing with about 250 detainees remaining at the prison….
Publicly, the president-elect has deferred to President Bush and has declined to comment on the recent fighting in the Gaza Strip and the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. But privately, he and his aides have been preparing to dramatically reshape the country’s foreign policy, starting with the broad conflict zone from Israel to Pakistan.
Last Thursday, in an interview with Washington Post editors and reporters, Obama criticized Bush for treating Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as “discrete” problems. Under his watch, Obama said, policy in that region will be treated as a single, unified one.
“One of the principles that we’ll be operating under is that these things are very much related and that if we have got an integrated approach, we’re going to be more effective,” he said.
Incoming officials were still debating yesterday how involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis should proceed during the first week. With a fragile Gaza cease-fire in place, the new administration plans to tread gingerly, working behind the scenes while allowing Egyptian and European initiatives to play out before taking a highly visible role.
Obama transition officials are acutely aware that the world — and especially the Israelis and Palestinians — will be watching to see what tone the new president takes. Sources said the initial emphasis will likely be on stepped-up presidential engagement rather than the specifics of a U.S. role, and empathy and aid toward humanitarian suffering….
Senior officers began late last year to prepare options for withdrawing from Iraq. Obama has said he will listen carefully to their recommendations before approving a plan that meets his specifications. He has said he expects to maintain a “residual force” in Iraq but has not indicated how many troops will remain over what period.
He has also indicated he will move ahead with existing plans for deployment of as many as 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan this year.
Iraq and Afghanistan
Residual forces are to be left in Iraq, as Sen. Clinton proposed and then Sen. Obama rejected during the primaries, and 30,000 will be added to Afghanistan continuing to exercise state terror in Afghanistan threatening Pakistan at all angles with India rattling the sabre.
Mr. Obama never kept it a secret that he wouldn’t hesitate to bomb Pakistan — completely ignoring their sovereignty, rattling this sabre as the Pakis were looking to democratically overthrow a military dictatorship. It was of no consequence that the military dictatorship of Fmr. Pres. Musharraf used this rhetoric as fearmongering to create the hysteria that killed Benazir Bhutto.
The people didn’t vote with fear and installed the social democracy of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The PPP isn’t a hawkish party, so India’s exploiting 26/11 to mobilize troops and put a hawk in India’s PM seat in order to pre-manufacture consent among the Indian people were a Hindu nationalist in office to attack Pak.
Is Mr. Obama going to play on these fears or scrutinize aggression?
Pres. Obama vowed to end the “go it alone” foreign policy of the Bush administration, but needs to pick a lane — uphold international law or withdraw from the UN. I understand that withdrawal from the UN is an extreme suggestion, so I’ll make a lesser one: if international law will not be upheld against the illegal occupation and war crimes committed by US-supplied Israel, relinquish veto power on the UN Security [sic] Council (UNSC).
The common criticism toward Hamas is that Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist — which isn’t mere perception as it’s well outlined in its charter which actually states:
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”
What’s ignored is that Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh agrees to the 1967 Allon Plan in accordance with UN resolution 242 and Israeli PM Ehud Olmert’s address to the US Congress stating, “I believed, and to this day still believe, in our people’s eternal and historic right to this entire land.”
What’s also widely and conveniently ignored is that:
- It is illegal, under international law, to acquire title to land by means of violence or coercion (terrorism).
- The UN has twice passed resolutions for Israel to remove itself from Palestinian territories acquired using these means.
- Every time the UN seeks to enforce these resolutions, the US vetoes in favor of Israel — overriding massive international consensus.
- Every year, the UN votes on a two-state settlement for Palestine and Israel, the US and Israel are the only countries that vote against it. (Recently there’s been four or five countries like Micronesia that join in, but since the first vote which was 153-2, the vote usually tallies as 170-7 — again, overriding massive international consensus)
After these facts surface, you almost have to ask ‘why would the majority of Palestinians align with a party that recognizes Israel’s right to exist?’. The US and Israel don’t recognize the right of a Palestinian state to exist and anti-American sentiment in the Middle East is heavily due to this and the fact that Israel doesn’t make Apaches and F-16’s to commit its illegal atrocities. Israel’s arms come from US companies subsidized by the US gov’t and the helicopters comes straight from the US government itself.
So, the US can’t constantly lump Hamas’s terrorism with Iran and neglect to include the US from Israel’s terrorism as the US is to Israel what Iran is to Hamas.
Putting the past aside and looking forward, the recent conflict in Gaza has seen Israel accused of war crimes. Again, this isn’t perception. Israeli officials are well aware of it. It isn’t just the usage of depleted uranium and white phosphorus that breach international law. Fida Qishta and Peter Beaumont spelled it out in yesterday’s guardian:
- attempting to bulldoze houses with civilians inside;
- killed civilians trying to escape under the protection of white flags;
- opened fire on an ambulance attempting to reach the wounded.
If the allegations are upheld, all the incidents would constitute breaches of the Geneva conventions.
The denunciations over what happened in Khuza’a follow repeated claims of possible human rights violations from the Red Cross, the UN and human rights organisations.
Concern over what occurred in the village of Khuza’a in the early hours of Tuesday was first raised by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. Although an Israeli military spokesman said he had “no information that this alleged incident took place”, witness statements collected by the Observer are consistent and match testimony gathered by B’Tselem.
There is also strong visible evidence that Khuza’a came under a sustained attack from tanks and bulldozers that smashed some buildings to pieces.
Pictures taken by photographer Bruno Stevens in the aftermath show heavy damage – and still burning phosphorus. “What I can tell you is that many, many houses were shelled and that they used white phosphorus,” said Stevens yesterday, one of the first western journalists to get into Gaza. “It appears to have been indiscriminate.” Stevens added that homes near the village that had not been hit by shell fire had been set on fire.
In a war where 1,300 Gazans died, including over 400 children among the 700 reported civilians, Israel Foreign Minister and 10 Feb PM candidate Tzipi Livni states that Palestinian deaths were a “product of circumstance,” Israel “had to carry out this operation” and that she is “at peace with the fact that [they] did it.”
This is Ms. Livni’s response to Muhammad Baroud, one of the students at the Islamic University in Gaza City that was obliterated by Israel Defensive [sic] Forces (IDF), who asked, “Why did you do this to us?”
Is Mr. Obama going to respond with international law by condemning Israel’s atrocities telling Mr. Baroud that there is no justification for Israel’s terror or walk in step with the rogue TerrorState of Israel telling him that the destruction of his school was merely a ‘product of circumstance’ within the meme of ‘Israel’s right to defend itself’:
“Common Western political wisdom has it that when Western countries support Israeli military action against Arab countries or the Palestinian people, they do so because they support Israel’s right to defend itself against its enemies.…
“The major argument here is two-fold, namely that while Israel has the right to defend itself, its victims have no similar right to defend themselves. In fact, the logic is even more sinister than this and can be elucidated as follows: Israel has the right to oppress the Palestinians and does so to defend itself, but were the Palestinians to defend themselves against Israel’s oppression, which they do not have a right to do, Israel will then have the right to defend itself against their illegitimate defense of themselves against its legitimate oppression of them, which it carries out anyway in order to defend itself legitimately.
“This is why, not only does Israel have the right to arm itself and to be a nuclear power and to have a military edge over the combined militaries of the entire region in which it lives, but it also must ensure that the military power of its neighbors is used to quell the Palestinians and not Israel, indeed to help Israel lay siege to the resisting Palestinians. When and if Palestinians try to arm themselves to defend their lives against Israeli invasions and slaughter, Israel makes every effort to prevent them from doing so and considers this “illegal smuggling.”
“The recent signing of an agreement between Israel and its US sponsor and the volunteering of European countries (France, Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain) to police the waters and borders of Gaza with Egypt to prevent the Palestinians from “smuggling” arms to defend themselves is the most recent application of this understanding. Israel’s US sponsor and European allies are horrified by the Palestinians’ attempts to arm themselves (to which they have no right) in order to defend their very lives against Israel’s right to slaughter them in order to defend itself.”