|Southwest Asia News Digest
Ha'aretz: Obama's Mideast Policy 'Will Not Bring Peace'
Aug. 16 (EIRNS)In a damning condemnation of the six-month-old Obama Presidency, Gideon Levy, a commentator in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, says that the "hoopla" is gone, and that the "hope" that came in with Barack Obama "is now on its deathbed."
Levy writes, "An America that will not pressure Israel is an America that will not bring peace," after documenting how Obama has forced his special envoy to the Mideast, George Mitchell, into dealing with "trivialities" and haggling over a one-year freeze or a six-month freeze on Israeli settlements, etc. Levy points out that right-wing former Prime Minister Menachem Begin delivered more on peace agreements in less time in office than Obama's six months. The article appears as current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's negotiator on settlements, Yitzhak Molcho, left for Washington today.
The Netanyahu government does not fear anything from Obama, who emits nothing but hot air. Levy writes, "One source familiar with Obama's inner circle likened him this week to a man who inflates a number of balloons every day in the hope that one of them will rise." None of them have, and now, the word is out: "To hell with Obama. The settlers continue to move into more homes in East Jerusalem, Netanyahu is silent, and Israelis sense that the 'danger' has passed. Israel is once again permitted to do as it pleases."
Obama has abandoned the Israeli peace faction, Levy writes. "Those of us who are here, Mr. President, are sinking in the wretched mud...."
AIPAC Financing Congressmen's Escape from Mass Strike
Aug. 11 (EIRNS)After giving years of support to the security of Israel, American Congressmen are finally getting something in return: protection from their constituents. The right-wing Israeli lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is currently financing a trip to Israel for 51 Congressmenincluding 31 Democrats fleeing from their constituentswho are there under cover of studying the security situation in the Middle East and the alleged Iranian nuclear threat.
Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, met with members of the delegation, which is said to be the largest in history.
The constituents of Rep. Parker Griffith (D-Ala.), for one, think the ostensible reasons for the trip are a cover story. The Huntsville Times reports that Griffith went to Israel with the claim that he is supporting the Alabama weapons industry, which sells to Israel. Most of the following ten reader comments on the newspaper's website slam Griffith for fleeing from his constituents. A few examples:
* "Since he won't hold a true well-publicized town hall not sponsored by some special interest group, he might as well not be in his district."
* "He's doing what ANY Rep from the 5th District would be doingsupporting the industries from this area. What he refuses to do is much more telling, show up and go on the record on issues where he'll have to choose between his constituents and his handlers in D.C. I think the 5th deserves better than having a Pelosi lapdog in Congress."
* "Well, that's one way to get away from all the troubles in your district, Rep. Griffith!!! Run, Parker, Run!!! The gutless Congressman of the 5th district."
* "When I first read this I thought, he's escaping talking to his constituents. Let's see what happens when reelection time comes around next year. Bet he wants be in Israel then. I'm for cleaning the house."
Suicide Car Bomber Kills Seven at NATO Headquarters
Aug. 15 (EIRNS)On Aug. 15, a suicide car bomber passed through three checkpoints, and hit NATO headquarters, located in what has been the most secure area in Kabul. Afghanistan's Defense Ministry said at least 7 were killed and nearly 100 wounded. Some of those wounded were International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) members of NATO. RFE/RL Radio Free Afghanistan reports that an Afghan Member of Parliament, Hawa Alam Nuristani, and at least four ISAF soldiers were among those wounded in the blast.
Although most observers pointed at the plan to disrupt the Aug. 20 elections as the prime motive that led to this car bombing, the fact remains that Afghan insurgents are gaining ground rapidly; it is expected that this blast will reduce voter turnout. In the last month, the number of violent incidents has grown by more than 60%. While the U.S. and NATO troop commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal is pushing ahead with the Obama Administration's unstated strategy to secure a military victory in Afghanistan, the regrouped Afghan insurgents seem to be ready to face the challenge. It is expected that the insurgents will ratchet up the level of violence and hit the foreign occupiers deep inside their most secured territories.