Treason: Leaked Wiretaps Reveals Netanyahu Bribed Republicans To Sabotage Obama’s Iran Peace Deal

Source:Occupy Democrats

Author: Colin Taylor

Emphasis Mine

You may remember the ridiculous doomsday prophecies and outrageous fear-mongering that defined the Republican campaign against President Obama’s nuclear peace deal with Iran. The motivation behind their unwise and ultimately ineffective resistance to the President’s diplomatic agenda has finally come to light. A new report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that NSA wiretaps found that the the Israeli Prime Minister and other officials of the Israeli governments attempted to, and most likely succeeded, to bribe American legislators in exchange for their support against the deal.

“A U.S. intelligence official familiar with the intercepts said Israel’s pitch to undecided lawmakers often included such questions as: “How can we get your vote? What’s it going to take? Mr. Netanyahu and some of his allies voiced confidence they could win enough votes.” The answers to Israeli proposals have yet to be fully revealed, but it is clear that favors were offered – bribes were proposed – and from the subsequent behavior of Republican lawmakers, we can only infer that our legislators accepted those bribes, from a foreign government in exchange for opposing the diplomatic efforts of the Obama Administration. At the very least, the very discussion itself indicates that they conspired with a foreign government to undermine the foreign policy agenda of their elected Commander-in-Chief, which certainly amounts to treason.

Given the fact that Republican politicians are notorious for the amount of money they accept from special interests within the United States, what makes anyone think they wouldn’t accept them from a foreign government? The fact that forty-seven Republican Senators sent a letter to the Iranian government without consulting the administration in a direct attempt to undermine the President’s policies is only further evidence of their treachery, putting their ill-gotten rewards above the effectiveness of our foreign policy and consequently the good of our nation and the security of the voters they claim to represent.

It’s painfully ironic that the Republican Party is a major supporter of the NSA’s rampant spying on American citizens without warrants, but as soon as the tables are turned, they are suddenly die-hard supporters of privacy and free speech – which only further implicates them for treasonous activities, strongly implying that they have something to hide. While the Israeli government shrugged off the revelations that they had been spied upon (“Everyone listens to everyone else all the time”), the Republicans in Congress and the right-wing echo machine is working overtime to paint President Obama as the bad guy and accusing him of committing some kind of enormous diplomatic sin, while having laughed off the complaints of our allies when our intelligence organizations targeted Germany and the United Kingdom.

The Republican Party’s seditious letter to Iran has completely backfired and exploded in their faces. Sure, Tom Cotton, Mitch McConnell and their band of traitors in the Senate may have expected to be touted as heroes for defying the evil Obama administration and ensuring we risk starting a war with Iran and once again destabilizing the entire Middle East. Instead, the 47 Senators have widely received nothing but mockeryfrom Fox News, from President Obama, and even from Iranian government officials.

Now, the New York Times Editorial Board has joined in the universal mockery and condemnation of these 47 traitors in a scathing editorial posted on Wednesday. “After helping to ignite a firestorm over a possible nuclear agreement with Iran, Senator John McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate, is now sort of acknowledging his error. ‘Maybe that wasn’t exactly the best way to do that,’ he said on Fox News on Tuesday,” the Times began.

Indeed, McCain is scrambling to backpedal on his decision to sign the letter. Politico reported that McCain’s excuse…is a snowstorm:

“Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Republicans — many of whom blessed the missive during a brisk signing session at a Senate lunch a week ago, as senators prepared to flee a Washington snowstorm — should have given it closer consideration.

“‘It was kind of a very rapid process. Everybody was looking forward to getting out of town because of the snowstorm,’ McCain said. ‘I think we probably should have had more discussion about it, given the blowback that there is.’”

“The letter was an attempt to scare the Iranians from making a deal that would limit their nuclear program for at least a decade by issuing a warning that the next president could simply reverse any agreement,” the Editorial Board noted. “It was a blatant, dangerous effort to undercut the president on a grave national security issue by communicating directly with a foreign government.”

“Instead of trying to be leaders and statesmen,” the Board continued, “the Republicans in Congress seem to think their role is outside the American government, divorced from constitutional principles, tradition and the security interests of the American people.”

The editorial noted that, out of spite for President Obama, Republicans are not only willing to sabotage any deal with Iran but “to diminish America’s standing as a global power capable of crafting international commitments and adhering to them.”

The Editorial Board expressed concerns that this inappropriate and illegal attempt to interfere with negotiations could “embolden hard-liners in Iran who, like the Republicans and some of the Democrats in Congress, oppose any nuclear agreement between Iran, the United States and its major allies.”

So far, Iranian leaders have treated the letter as though it was a poorly-executed joke, mocking the signatories’ lack of knowledge of international law and of the U.S. Constitution. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Javad Zarif, replied to the letter, pointing out that “the authors not only do not understand international law, but are not fully cognizant of the nuances of their own Constitution when it comes to presidential powers in the conduct of foreign policy.”

Change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor in a possible agreement about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program,” Zarif added. “I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law.”

For now, the letter has had no visible impact on negotiations — but it has told our allies, enemies, and future allies that the United States does not honor its commitments. And, of course, if the negotiations fall through, the Republicans’ stunt will place millions of lives at risk.

“The best and only practical way to restrain Iran from developing a bomb is through negotiating a strict agreement with tough monitoring,” the Board concluded. “In rejecting diplomacy, the Republicans make an Iranian bomb and military conflict more likely.”

These 47 Senators broke the law in contacting the Iranian government outside official channels in an attempt to sabotage ongoing talks — specifically, the Logan Act, which  prohibits unauthorized citizens from directly or indirectly corresponding with foreign government officials  “with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States.”

A petition asking that all 47 Senators be charged under the Logan Act has accumulated more than 230,000 signatures — well above the threshold required to receive a response from the White House.

See:http://www.occupydemocrats.com/treason-leaked-wiretaps-reveals-netanyahu-bribed-republicans-to-sabotage-obamas-iran-peace-deal-2/

GOP Presidential Candidates Go to Israel and Return With Fairy Tales

Israel is playing a greater role in the Republican presidential race than perhaps ever before.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Zaid Jilani

Emphasis Mine

The past year has seen an effective merger between the Republican Party and Israel’s right-wing Likud Party. This is particularly explicit with regards to the presidential race, where contenders are courting pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who could instantly unleash tens of millions of dollars to bolster their candidacies.

As a part of this “Adelson primary,” as it has been dubbed by the media, these presidential candidates are taking trips to Israel, where they meet with far-right politicians and studiously avoid interacting with everyday Palestinians or the occupation. They then come back and tell fairy tales of a liberal democracy under existential threat.

Here’s who has gone and what they’ve come back to say.

Rick Santorum: Santorum has not yet announced, but is considered a likely contender. He visited Israel last year on a trip organized by the right-wing group “Patriot Voices.” While there, he called the right-wing outlet Newsmax to give an interview. Despite the tremendous political, economic and military support the United States provides Israel, Santorum said “the average Israeli knows whose side that John Kerry and Barack Obama are on, and it’s not to protect the security of Israel.” For Santorum, re-arming the Israelis as they were assaulting the Gaza Strip while vocally defending their actions simply wasn’t supportive enough.

Scott Walker: Walker visited Israel this month, and when he returned he wrote a post on Medium detailing his “reflections.” The Israel Walker says he saw is “one of the world’s most vibrant democracies,” and one of “America’s most important allies.” That’s an odd phrasing for a country that systematically disenfranchises 4.5 million Palestinians and gives millions of non-Jews citizenship without the same full legal rights as Jewish Israelis. Walker also seemed to endorse the Bush administration’s foreign policy, saying he would “take the fight to them before they take the fight to us,” which echoed similar remarks by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in support of the unprovoked war against Iraq.

Ben Carson: The former neurosurgeon’s strange comments about Israel actually began before he actually got there. GQ’s Jason Zengerle accompanied Carson on his trip to the country, and witnessed a bizarre conversation he had with his Israeli guide. He admitted he did not know what the Knesset (the Israeli legislature) actually did, and had his guide explain it. After she finished, he responded, “It sounds complex. Why don’t they just adopt the system we have?” When he actually got to Israel, he was quick to draw conclusions. When informed about foreign fighters ending the Syrian civil war, he concluded, “It’s just like the troublemakers in Ferguson.”

When he returned to the United States, Carson was suddenly an expert on world affairs, trying to lump in Iran with ISIS. “We need to recognize that the Shia in Iran are every bit as dangerous, perhaps more dangerous,” he said, a sectarian warning that could easily be found in the text of an extremist Saudi cleric.

Carly Fiorina: The former HP executive visited Israel in 2010, in a trip widely seen as oriented around courting pro-Israel political forces. This spring, she claimed that tensions with Israel are “in no small measure due to President Obama,” simply ignoring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s series of provocative words and actions. She also went further, pledging to repudiate an Iran deal on her first day in office—essentially rejecting Obama’s diplomatic efforts.

Coming Polarization

Israel is playing a greater role in the GOP presidential race than perhaps ever before. The Adelson primary is transforming the same political party that once harshly clashed with Israeli leadership over its failure to make peace into one that is indistinguishable from the Likud.

But something else is happening on the Democratic side. While candidates there are not openly calling for sanctions or cutting aid to Israel, they’re not leaping up to defend it, either. The topic is all but absent in the Democratic primary, despite the fact that the party is the traditional base of the pro-Israel lobby. Polling shows that the party’s rising base of young people and racial minorities is increasingly hostile to Israeli foreign policy, in ways that will surely at some point impact American policy.

Many in the United States have lamented the increasing polarization of the Israel issue, but it is that polarization that may finally give Americans a choice about policy, rather than bipartisan support for Israel, right or wrong.

Zaid Jilani is an AlterNet staff writer. Follow @zaidjilani on Twitter.

see: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/gop-presidential-candidates-go-israel-and-return-fairy-tales?akid=13149.123424.PcpnCs&rd=1&src=newsletter1037039&t=5

The Rare Courage and Respect That Drove Iran Deal

The men and women who conducted this diplomacy deserve great thanks from the entire world.

Source: Alternet

Author: Rami Khoury

Emphasis Mine

The agreed parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program that were reached Thursday between Iran and the P5+1 powers represent a monumental achievement that affirms the power of reason and diplomacy over the ravages of fear and warfare. The technical details of the complex understanding remain to be completed. For now, though, the lasting significant aspects of this development are about the past and the future: The past being the bold leadership that Iran and the United States have shown in launching and advancing the diplomatic negotiations, and the future being about the potential significant regional changes that will follow the implementation of a full agreement.

I will assess in a separate column the potential positive changes in the region that this agreement could trigger. Here I would note enthusiastically the historic lessons to be learned about the power of negotiations over threats. More specifically, this is about the capacity of serious and responsible leaders to advance a diplomatic negotiation by having the courage and confidence to change positions they had long held, but that had become untenable over time. It took serious courage, for example, for the United States and the others with it to finally accept that Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, under international inspections and safeguards.

The United States and Israel in particular for years had fervently opposed allowing Iran to maintain any enrichment facilities that would allow it to produce its own nuclear fuel. Israel stuck to its extremist position, but the United States came to terms with the reality that threats, sanctions and repeated talk of war had not slowed down Iran’s uranium enrichment program, but in fact only saw it expand. The United States’ tacit acknowledgment in 2013 that Iran would maintain its enrichment capabilities — because it had already achieved them and they could not be bombed away — opened the door for a serious negotiation.

Toning down the constant threats of American military attacks against Iran also helped to open that door. Never mind that Washington continues until this day to use offensive language about Iran that presupposes Tehran’s deception and mendacity in conducting its policies and negotiations, treating Iran like one would treat a delinquent offender who has to be nursed back into a normal life under strict police supervision. Iran understood that this was primarily for domestic U.S. and Israeli consumption, where racist language against Arabs, Iranians and others in this region is routine.

Iran largely ignored the offensive tone, in favor of focusing on the substance of the negotiations that had to allow Iran two things: to continue its nuclear program, including enriching uranium and conducting research and development work, for verifiably peaceful purposes; and, simultaneously to result in lifting the sanctions against Iran. The Americans and their partners eventually acknowledged these two demands.

The Iranians also had to make some significant changes in their positions. These included issues like the length of the agreement, the nature of inspections and monitoring, the pace of sanctions reduction, and the magnitude and kinds of nuclear materials production facilities. Iranian leaders mustered significant humility and courage to accept the key demands of the P5+1 parties that are supposed to prevent Iran from achieving a speedy breakthrough to producing a nuclear bomb.

Iran made such big concessions for two important reasons, or principles, that others in conflict situations can learn from: reciprocity and respect. When the Americans and their colleagues started dealing with Iran on the basis that concessions would be made by both sides, and that such concessions would happen on the basis of respecting the rights of all parties equally, breakthroughs started to happen.

The obvious agreement that could have been identified a decade ago finally moved ahead towards consummation in the past year, with all negotiators getting their key demands. Israel has been left in the dust to a large extent for now. The human and political sides of reaching agreement have been much tougher than the technical details. Rarely in modern history have we seen such decisive statesmanship, reflecting a rare combination of realism, honesty, humility, boldness and foresighted leadership. These attributes rarely all gather in the chests of individual human beings, but they have done so here.

We have seen such history-making leadership in several other episodes in the past two generations: when the United States and China reconciled, when the Apartheid South African system transformed to democratic majority rule, when Northern Ireland leaders ended their conflict and shared power democratically, when Polish leaders and opposition members negotiated a transition away from Communist authoritarianism towards an elected government, and when Mikhail Gorbachev saw the bankruptcy of Soviet authoritarianism and initiated a transition to something better for his people.

The men and women who conducted this diplomacy join a special group of leaders and officials, all of whom deserve great thanks and appreciation from the entire world for reminding us of the immense power of negotiating on the basis of reciprocity and respect.

Rami G. Khouri is published twice weekly in the Daily Star. He was founding director and now senior policy fellow of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. Follow him on Twitter @ramikhouri.

See: http://www.alternet.org/world/rare-courage-and-respect-drove-iran-deal?akid=12970.123424.SiLuJY&rd=1&src=newsletter1034293&t=11

Noam Chomsky: Why Israel’s Netanyahu Is So Desperate to Prevent Peace with Iran

Source: Democracy Now via AlterNet

Author: Amy Goodman

Emphasis Mine

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in the United States as part of his bid to stop a nuclear deal with Iran during a controversial speech before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday. Dozens of Democrats are threatening to boycott the address, which was arranged by House Speaker John Boehner without consulting the White House.

Netanyahu’s visit comes just as Iran and six world powers, including the United States, are set to resume talks in a bid to meet a March 31 deadline. “For both Prime Minister Netanyahu and the hawks in Congress, mostly Republican, the primary goal is to undermine any potential negotiation that might settle whatever issue there is with Iran,” says Noam Chomsky, institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “They have a common interest in ensuring there is no regional force that can serve as any kind of deterrent to Israeli and U.S. violence, the major violence in the region.” Chomsky also responds to recent revelations that in 2012 the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, contradicted Netanyahu’s own dire warnings about Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear bomb, concluding that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form. 

AARON MATÉ: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in Washington as part of his bid to stop a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu will address the lobby group AIPAC today, followed by a controversial speech before Congress on Tuesday. The visit comes just as Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., are set to resume talks in a bid to meet a March 31st deadline. At the White House, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Netanyahu’s trip won’t threaten the outcome.

PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST: I think the short answer to that is: I don’t think so. And the reason is simply that there is a real opportunity for us here. And the president is hopeful that we are going to have an opportunity to do what is clearly in the best interests of the United States and Israel, which is to resolve the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program at the negotiating table.

AARON MATÉ: The trip has sparked the worst public rift between the U.S. and Israel in over two decades. Dozens of Democrats could boycott Netanyahu’s address to Congress, which was arranged by House Speaker John Boehner without consulting the White House. The Obama administration will send two officials, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, to address the AIPAC summit today. This comes just days after Rice called Netanyahu’s visit, quote, “destructive.”

AMY GOODMAN: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also facing domestic criticism for his unconventional Washington visit, which comes just two weeks before an election in which he seeks a third term in Israel. On Sunday, a group representing nearly 200 of Israel’s top retired military and intelligence officials accused Netanyahu of assaulting the U.S.-Israel alliance.

But despite talk of a U.S. and Israeli dispute, the Obama administration has taken pains to display its staunch support for the Israeli government. Speaking just today in Geneva, Secretary of State John Kerry blasted the U.N. Human Rights Council for what he called an “obsession” and “bias” against Israel. The council is expected to release a report in the coming weeks on potential war crimes in Israel’s U.S.-backed Gaza assault last summer.

For more, we spend the hour today with world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author, Noam Chomsky. He has written over a hundred books, most recently On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare. His forthcoming book, co-authored with Ilan Pappé, is titled On Palestine and will be out next month. Noam Chomsky is institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than 50 years.

Noam Chomsky, it’s great to have you back here at Democracy Now!, and particularly in our very snowy outside, but warm inside, New York studio.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Delighted to be here again.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Noam, let’s start with Netanyahu’s visit. He is set to make this unprecedented joint address to Congress, unprecedented because of the kind of rift it has demonstrated between the Republicans and the Democratic president, President Obama. Can you talk about its significance?

NOAM CHOMSKY: For both president—Prime Minister Netanyahu and the hawks in Congress, mostly Republican, the primary goal is to undermine any potential negotiation that might settle whatever issue there is with Iran. They have a common interest in ensuring that there is no regional force that can serve as any kind of deterrent to Israeli and U.S. violence, the major violence in the region. And it is—if we believe U.S. intelligence—don’t see any reason not to—their analysis is that if Iran is developing nuclear weapons, which they don’t know, it would be part of their deterrent strategy. Now, their general strategic posture is one of deterrence. They have low military expenditures. According to U.S. intelligence, their strategic doctrine is to try to prevent an attack, up to the point where diplomacy can set in. I don’t think anyone with a grey cell functioning thinks that they would ever conceivably use a nuclear weapon, or even try to. The country would be obliterated in 15 seconds. But they might provide a deterrent of sorts. And the U.S. and Israel certainly don’t want to tolerate that. They are the forces that carry out regular violence and aggression in the region and don’t want any impediment to that.

And for the Republicans in Congress, there’s another interest—namely, to undermine anything that Obama, you know, the Antichrist, might try to do. So that’s a separate issue there. The Republicans stopped being an ordinary parliamentary party some years ago. They were described, I think accurately, by Norman Ornstein, the very respected conservative political analyst, American Enterprise Institute; he said the party has become a radical insurgency which has abandoned any commitment to parliamentary democracy. And their goal for the last years has simply been to undermine anything that Obama might do, in an effort to regain power and serve their primary constituency, which is the very wealthy and the corporate sector. They try to conceal this with all sorts of other means. In doing so, they’ve had to—you can’t get votes that way, so they’ve had to mobilize sectors of the population which have always been there but were never mobilized into an organized political force: evangelical Christians, extreme nationalists, terrified people who have to carry guns into Starbucks because somebody might be after them, and so on and so forth. That’s a big force. And inspiring fear is not very difficult in the United States. It’s a long history, back to colonial times, of—as an extremely frightened society, which is an interesting story in itself. And mobilizing people in fear of them, whoever “them” happens to be, is an effective technique used over and over again. And right now, the Republicans have—their nonpolicy has succeeded in putting them back in a position of at least congressional power. So, the attack on—this is a personal attack on Obama, and intended that way, is simply part of that general effort. But there is a common strategic concern underlying it, I think, and that is pretty much what U.S. intelligence analyzes: preventing any deterrent in the region to U.S. and Israeli actions.

AARON MATÉ: You say that nobody with a grey cell thinks that Iran would launch a strike, were it to have nuclear weapons, but yet Netanyahu repeatedly accuses Iran of planning a new genocide against the Jewish people. He said this most recently on Holocaust Remembrance Day in January, saying that the ayatollahs are planning a new holocaust against us. And that’s an argument that’s taken seriously here.

NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s taken seriously by people who don’t stop to think for a minute. But again, Iran is under extremely close surveillance. U.S. satellite surveillance knows everything that’s going on in Iran. If Iran even began to load a missile—that is, to bring a missile near a weapon—the country would probably be wiped out. And whatever you think about the clerics, the Guardian Council and so on, there’s no indication that they’re suicidal.

AARON MATÉ: The premise of these talks—Iran gets to enrich uranium in return for lifting of U.S. sanctions—do you see that as a fair parameter? Does the U.S. have the right, to begin with, to be imposing sanctions on Iran?

NOAM CHOMSKY: No, it doesn’t. What are the right to impose sanctions? Iran should be imposing sanctions on us. I mean, it’s worth remembering—when you hear the White House spokesman talk about the international community, it wants Iran to do this and that, it’s important to remember that the phrase “international community” in U.S. discourse refers to the United States and anybody who may be happening to go along with it. That’s the international community. If the international community is the world, it’s quite a different story. So, two years ago, the Non-Aligned—former Non-Aligned Movement—it’s a large majority of the population of the world—had their regular conference in Iran in Tehran. And they, once again, vigorously supported Iran’s right to develop nuclear power as a signer of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. That’s the international community. The United States and its allies are outliers, as is usually the case.

And as far as sanctions are concerned, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s now 60 years since—during the past 60 years, not a day has passed without the U.S. torturing the people of Iran. It began with overthrowing the parliamentary regime and installing a tyrant, the shah, supporting the shah through very serious human rights abuses and terror and violence. As soon as he was overthrown, almost instantly the United States turned to supporting Iraq’s attack against Iran, which was a brutal and violent attack. U.S. provided critical support for it, pretty much won the war for Iraq by entering directly at the end. After the war was over, the U.S. instantly supported the sanctions against Iran. And though this is kind of suppressed, it’s important. This is George H.W. Bush now. He was in love with Saddam Hussein. He authorized further aid to Saddam in opposition to the Treasury and others. He sent a presidential delegation—a congressional delegation to Iran. It was April 1990—1989, headed by Bob Dole, the congressional—

AMY GOODMAN: To Iraq? Sent to Iraq?

NOAM CHOMSKY: To Iraq. To Iraq, sorry, yeah—to offer his greetings to Saddam, his friend, to assure him that he should disregard critical comment that he hears in the American media: We have this free press thing here, and we can’t shut them up. But they said they would take off from Voice of America, take off critics of their friend Saddam. That was—he invited Iraqi nuclear engineers to the United States for advanced training in weapons production. This is right after the Iraq-Iran War, along with sanctions against Iran. And then it continues without a break up to the present.

There have been repeated opportunities for a settlement of whatever the issues are. And so, for example, in, I guess it was, 2010, an agreement was reached between Brazil, Turkey and Iran for Iran to ship out its low-enriched uranium for storage elsewhere—Turkey—and in return, the West would provide the isotopes that Iran needs for its medical reactors. When that agreement was reached, it was bitterly condemned in the United States by the president, by Congress, by the media. Brazil was attacked for breaking ranks and so on. The Brazilian foreign minister was sufficiently annoyed so that he released a letter from Obama to Brazil proposing exactly that agreement, presumably on the assumption that Iran wouldn’t accept it. When they did accept it, they had to be attacked for daring to accept it.

And 2012, 2012, you know, there was to be a meeting in Finland, December, to take steps towards establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the region. This is an old request, pushed initially by Egypt and the other Arab states back in the early ’90s. There’s so much support for it that the U.S. formally agrees, but not in fact, and has repeatedly tried to undermine it. This is under the U.N. auspices, and the meeting was supposed to take place in December. Israel announced that they would not attend. The question on everyone’s mind is: How will Iran react? They said that they would attend unconditionally. A couple of days later, Obama canceled the meeting, claiming the situation is not right for it and so on. But that would be—even steps in that direction would be an important move towards eliminating whatever issue there might be. Of course, the stumbling block is that there is one major nuclear state: Israel. And if there’s a Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone, there would be inspections, and neither Israel nor the United States will tolerate that.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to ask you about major revelations that have been described as the biggest leak since Edward Snowden. Last week, Al Jazeera started publishing a series of spy cables from the world’s top intelligence agencies. In one cable, the Israeli spy agency Mossad contradicts Prime Minister Netanyahu’s own dire warnings about Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear bomb within a year. In a report to South African counterparts in October 2012, the Israeli Mossad concluded Iran is “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.” The assessment was sent just weeks after Netanyahu went before the U.N. General Assembly with a far different message. Netanyahu held up a cartoonish diagram of a bomb with a fuse to illustrate what he called Iran’s alleged progress on a nuclear weapon.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: This is a bomb. This is a fuse. In the case of Iran’s nuclear plans to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled with enough enriched uranium. And Iran has to go through three stages. By next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage. From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks, before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb. A red line should be drawn right here, before—before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September 2012. The Mossad assessment contradicting Netanyahu was sent just weeks after, but it was likely written earlier. It said Iran, quote, “does not appear to be ready,” unquote, to enrich uranium to the highest levels needed for a nuclear weapon. A bomb would require 90 percent enrichment, but Mossad found Iran had only enriched to 20 percent. That number was later reduced under an interim nuclear deal the following year. The significance of this, Noam Chomsky, as Prime Minister Netanyahu prepares for this joint address before Congress to undermine a U.S.-Iranian nuclear deal?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, the striking aspect of this is the chutzpah involved. I mean, Israel has had nuclear weapons for probably 50 years or 40 years. They have, estimates are, maybe 100, 200 nuclear weapons. And they are an aggressive state. Israel has invaded Lebanon five times. It’s carrying out an illegal occupation that carries out brutal attacks like Gaza last summer. And they have nuclear weapons. But the main story is that if—incidentally, the Mossad analysis corresponds to U.S. intelligence analysis. They don’t know if Iran is developing nuclear weapons. But I think the crucial fact is that even if they were, what would it mean? It would be just as U.S. intelligence analyzes it: It would be part of a deterrent strategy. They couldn’t use a nuclear weapon. They couldn’t even threaten to use it. Israel, on the other hand, can; has, in fact, threatened the use of nuclear weapons a number of times.

AMY GOODMAN: So why is Netanyahu doing this?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Because he doesn’t want to have a deterrent in the region. That’s simple enough. If you’re an aggressive, violent state, you want to be able to use force freely. You don’t want anything that might impede it.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think this in any way has undercut the U.S. relationship with Israel, the Netanyahu-Obama conflict that, what, Susan Rice has called destructive?

NOAM CHOMSKY: There is undoubtedly a personal relationship which is hostile, but that’s happened before. Back in around 1990 under first President Bush, James Baker went as far as—the secretary of state—telling Israel, “We’re not going to talk to you anymore. If you want to contact me, here’s my phone number.” And, in fact, the U.S. imposed mild sanctions on Israel, enough to compel the prime minister to resign and be replaced by someone else. But that didn’t change the relationship, which is based on deeper issues than personal antagonisms.

 

 

See: http://www.alternet.org/world/noam-chomsky-why-israels-netanyahu-so-desperate-prevent-peace-iran?akid=12841.123424.cMyi55&rd=1&src=newsletter1032656&t=3

Noam Chomsky: The Real Reason Israel “Mows the Lawn” in Gaza

Like other states, Israel pleads “security” as justification for its aggressive and violent actions. But knowledgeable Israelis know better.

Source: TomDispatch via AlterNet

Author: Noam Chomsky

Emphasis Mine

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On August 26th, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) both accepted a ceasefire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind. The agreement calls for an end to military action by both Israel and Hamas, as well as an easing of the Israeli siege that has strangled Gaza for many years.

This is, however, just the most recent of a series of ceasefire agreements reached after each of Israel’s periodic escalations of its unremitting assault on Gaza. Throughout this period, the terms of these agreements remain essentially the same.  The regular pattern is for Israel, then, to disregard whatever agreement is in place, while Hamas observes it — as Israel has officially recognized — until a sharp increase in Israeli violence elicits a Hamas response, followed by even fiercer brutality. These escalations, which amount to shooting fish in a pond, are called “mowing the lawn” in Israeli parlance. The most recent was more accurately described as “removing the topsoil” by a senior U.S. military officer, appalled by the practices of the self-described “most moral army in the world.”

The first of this series was the Agreement on Movement and Access Between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in November 2005.  It called for “a crossing between Gaza and Egypt at Rafah for the export of goods and the transit of people, continuous operation of crossings between Israel and Gaza for the import/export of goods, and the transit of people, reduction of obstacles to movement within the West Bank, bus and truck convoys between the West Bank and Gaza, the building of a seaport in Gaza, [and the] re-opening of the airport in Gaza” that Israeli bombing had demolished.

That agreement was reached shortly after Israel withdrew its settlers and military forces from Gaza.  The motive for the disengagement was explained by Dov Weissglass, a confidant of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was in charge of negotiating and implementing it. “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process,” Weissglass informed the Israeli press. “And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders, and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a [U.S.] presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.” True enough.

“The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,” Weissglass added. “It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.”  Israeli hawks also recognized that instead of investing substantial resources in maintaining a few thousand settlers in illegal communities in devastated Gaza, it made more sense to transfer them to illegal subsidized communities in areas of the West Bank that Israel intended to keep.

The disengagement was depicted as a noble effort to pursue peace, but the reality was quite different.  Israel never relinquished control of Gaza and is, accordingly, recognized as the occupying power by the United Nations, the U.S., and other states (Israel apart, of course).  In their comprehensive history of Israeli settlement in the occupied territories, Israeli scholars Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar describe what actually happened when that country disengaged: the ruined territory was not released “for even a single day from Israel’s military grip or from the price of the occupation that the inhabitants pay every day.” After the disengagement, “Israel left behind scorched earth, devastated services, and people with neither a present nor a future.  The settlements were destroyed in an ungenerous move by an unenlightened occupier, which in fact continues to control the territory and kill and harass its inhabitants by means of its formidable military might.”

Operations Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense 

Israel soon had a pretext for violating the November Agreement more severely. In January 2006, the Palestinians committed a serious crime.  They voted “the wrong way” in carefully monitored free elections, placing the parliament in the hands of Hamas.  Israel and the United States immediately imposed harsh sanctions, telling the world very clearly what they mean by “democracy promotion.” Europe, to its shame, went along as well.

The U.S. and Israel soon began planning a military coup to overthrow the unacceptable elected government, a familiar procedure. When Hamas pre-empted the coup in 2007, the siege of Gaza became far more severe, along with regular Israeli military attacks.  Voting the wrong way in a free election was bad enough, but preempting a U.S.-planned military coup proved to be an unpardonable offense.

A new ceasefire agreement was reached in June 2008.  It again called for opening the border crossings to “allow the transfer of all goods that were banned and restricted to go into Gaza.” Israel formally agreed to this, but immediately announced that it would not abide by the agreement and open the borders until Hamas released Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held by Hamas.

Israel itself has a long history of kidnapping civilians in Lebanon and on the high seas and holding them for lengthy periods without credible charge, sometimes as hostages.  Of course, imprisoning civilians on dubious charges, or none, is a regular practice in the territories Israel controls.  But the standard western distinction between people and “unpeople” (in Orwell’s useful phrase) renders all this insignificant.

Israel not only maintained the siege in violation of the June 2008 ceasefire agreement but did so with extreme rigor, even preventing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which cares for the huge number of official refugees in Gaza, from replenishing its stocks.

On November 4th, while the media were focused on the U.S. presidential election, Israeli troops entered Gaza and killed half a dozen Hamas militants.  That elicited a Hamas missile response and an exchange of fire.  (All the deaths were Palestinian.)  In late December, Hamas offered to renew the ceasefire.  Israel considered the offer, but rejected it, preferring instead to launch Operation Cast Lead, a three-week incursion of the full power of the Israeli military into the Gaza strip, resulting in shocking atrocities well documented by international and Israeli human rights organizations.

On January 8, 2009, while Cast Lead was in full fury, the U.N. Security Council passed a unanimous resolution (with the U.S. abstaining) calling for “an immediate ceasefire leading to a full Israeli withdrawal, unimpeded provision through Gaza of food, fuel, and medical treatment, and intensified international arrangements to prevent arms and ammunition smuggling.”

A new ceasefire agreement was indeed reached, but the terms, similar to the previous ones, were again never observed and broke down completely with the next major mowing-the-lawn episode in November 2012, Operation Pillar of Defense.  What happened in the interim can be illustrated by the casualty figures from January 2012 to the launching of that operation: one Israeli was killed by fire from Gaza while 78 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.

The first act of Operation Pillar of Defense was the murder of Ahmed Jabari, a high official of the military wing of Hamas.  Aluf Benn, editor-in-chief of Israel’s leading newspaper Haaretz, described Jabari as Israel’s “subcontractor” in Gaza, who enforced relative quiet there for more than five years.  As always, there was a pretext for the assassination, but the likely reason was provided by Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin.  He had been involved in direct negotiations with Jabari for years and reported that, hours before he was assassinated, Jabari “received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the ceasefire in the case of a flare-up between Israel and the factions in the Gaza Strip.”

There is a long record of Israeli actions designed to deter the threat of a diplomatic settlement.  After this exercise of mowing the lawn, a ceasefire agreement was reached yet again.  Repeating the now-standard terms, it called for a cessation of military action by both sides and the effective ending of the siege of Gaza with Israel “opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods, and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas.”

What happened next was reviewed by Nathan Thrall, senior Middle East analyst of the International Crisis Group.  Israeli intelligence recognized that Hamas was observing the terms of the ceasefire. “Israel,” Thrall wrote, “therefore saw little incentive in upholding its end of the deal. In the three months following the ceasefire, its forces made regular incursions into Gaza, strafed Palestinian farmers and those collecting scrap and rubble across the border, and fired at boats, preventing fishermen from accessing the majority of Gaza’s waters.” In other words, the siege never ended. “Crossings were repeatedly shut.  So-called buffer zones inside Gaza [from which Palestinians are barred, and which include a third or more of the strip’s limited arable land] were reinstated.  Imports declined, exports were blocked, and fewer Gazans were given exit permits to Israel and the West Bank.”

Operation Protective Edge 

So matters continued until April 2014, when an important event took place.  The two major Palestinian groupings, Gaza-based Hamas and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in the West Bank signed a unity agreement.  Hamas made major concessions. The unity government contained none of its members or allies.  In substantial measure, as Nathan Thrall observes, Hamas turned over governance of Gaza to the PA.  Several thousand PA security forces were sent there and the PA placed its guards at borders and crossings, with no reciprocal positions for Hamas in the West Bank security apparatus.  Finally, the unity government accepted the three conditions that Washington and the European Union had long demanded: non-violence, adherence to past agreements, and the recognition of Israel.

Israel was infuriated.  Its government declared at once that it would refuse to deal with the unity government and cancelled negotiations.  Its fury mounted when the U.S., along with most of the world, signaled support for the unity government.

There are good reasons why Israel opposes the unification of Palestinians.  One is that the Hamas-Fatah conflict has provided a useful pretext for refusing to engage in serious negotiations.  How can one negotiate with a divided entity?  More significantly, for more than 20 years, Israel has been committed to separating Gaza from the West Bank in violation of the Oslo Accords it signed in 1993, which declare Gaza and the West Bank to be an inseparable territorial unity.

A look at a map explains the rationale.  Separated from Gaza, any West Bank enclaves left to Palestinians have no access to the outside world. They are contained by two hostile powers, Israel and Jordan, both close U.S. allies — and contrary to illusions, the U.S. is very far from a neutral “honest broker.”

Furthermore, Israel has been systematically taking over the Jordan Valley, driving out Palestinians, establishing settlements, sinking wells, and otherwise ensuring that the region — about one-third of the West Bank, with much of its arable land — will ultimately be integrated into Israel along with the other regions that country is taking over.  Hence remaining Palestinian cantons will be completely imprisoned.  Unification with Gaza would interfere with these plans, which trace back to the early days of the occupation and have had steady support from the major political blocs, including figures usually portrayed as doves like former president Shimon Peres, who was one of the architects of settlement deep in the West Bank.

As usual, a pretext was needed to move on to the next escalation.  Such an occasion arose when three Israeli boys from the settler community in the West Bank were brutally murdered.  The Israeli government evidently quickly realized that they were dead, but pretended otherwise, which provided the opportunity to launch a “rescue operation” — actually a rampage primarily targeting Hamas.  The Netanyahu government has claimed from the start that it knew Hamas was responsible, but has made no effort to present evidence.

One of Israel’s leading authorities on Hamas, Shlomi Eldar, reported almost at once that the killers very likely came from a dissident clan in Hebron that has long been a thorn in the side of the Hamas leadership.  He added, “I’m sure they didn’t get any green light from the leadership of Hamas, they just thought it was the right time to act.”

The Israeli police have since been searching for and arresting members of the clan, still claiming, without evidence, that they are “Hamas terrorists.” On September 2nd, Haaretz reported that, after very intensive interrogations, the Israeli security services concluded the abduction of the teenagers “was carried out by an independent cell” with no known direct links to Hamas.

The 18-day rampage by the Israeli Defense Forces succeeded in undermining the feared unity government.  According to Israeli military sources, its soldiers arrested 419 Palestinians, including 335 affiliated with Hamas, and killed six, while searching thousands of locations and confiscating $350,000.  Israel also conducted dozens of attacks in Gaza, killing five Hamas members on July 7th.

Hamas finally reacted with its first rockets in 18 months, Israeli officials reported, providing Israel with the pretext to launch Operation Protective Edge on July 8th.  The 50-day assault proved the most extreme exercise in mowing the lawn — so far.

Operation [Still to Be Named]

Israel is in a fine position today to reverse its decades-old policy of separating Gaza from the West Bank in violation of its solemn agreements and to observe a major ceasefire agreement for the first time.  At least temporarily, the threat of democracy in neighboring Egypt has been diminished, and the brutal Egyptian military dictatorship of General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is a welcome ally for Israel in maintaining control over Gaza.

The Palestinian unity government, as noted earlier, is placing the U.S.-trained forces of the Palestinian Authority in control of Gaza’s borders, and governance may be shifting into the hands of the PA, which depends on Israel for its survival, as well as for its finances.  Israel might feel that its takeover of Palestinian territory in the West Bank has proceeded so far that there is little to fear from some limited form of autonomy for the enclaves that remain to Palestinians.

There is also some truth to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s observation: “Many elements in the region understand today that, in the struggle in which they are threatened, Israel is not an enemy but a partner.” Akiva Eldar, Israel’s leading diplomatic correspondent, adds, however, that “all those ‘many elements in the region’ also understand that there is no brave and comprehensive diplomatic move on the horizon without an agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and a just, agreed-upon solution to the refugee problem.” That is not on Israel’s agenda, he points out, and is in fact in direct conflict with the 1999 electoral program of the governing Likud coalition, never rescinded, which “flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”

Some knowledgeable Israeli commentators, notably columnist Danny Rubinstein, believe that Israel is poised to reverse course and relax its stranglehold on Gaza.

We’ll see.

The record of these past years suggests otherwise and the first signs are not auspicious.  As Operation Protective Edge ended, Israel announced its largest appropriation of West Bank land in 30 years, almost 1,000 acres.  Israel Radio reported that the takeover was in response to the killing of the three Jewish teenagers by “Hamas militants.” A Palestinian boy was burned to death in retaliation for the murder, but no Israeli land was handed to Palestinians, nor was there any reaction when an Israeli soldier murdered 10-year-old Khalil Anati on a quiet street in a refugee camp near Hebron on August 10th, while the most moral army in the world was smashing Gaza to bits, and then drove away in his jeep as the child bled to death.

Anati was one the 23 Palestinians (including three children) killed by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank during the Gaza onslaught, according to U.N. statistics, along with more than 2,000 wounded, 38% by live fire. “None of those killed were endangering soldiers’ lives,” Israeli journalist Gideon Levy reported.  To none of this is there any reaction, just as there was no reaction while Israel killed, on average, more than two Palestinian children a week for the past 14 years.  Unpeople, after all.

It is commonly claimed on all sides that, if the two-state settlement is dead as a result of Israel’s takeover of Palestinian lands, then the outcome will be one state West of the Jordan.  Some Palestinians welcome this outcome, anticipating that they can then conduct a civil rights struggle for equal rights on the model of South Africa under apartheid.  Many Israeli commentators warn that the resulting “demographic problem” of more Arab than Jewish births and diminishing Jewish immigration will undermine their hope for a “democratic Jewish state.”

But these widespread beliefs are dubious.

The realistic alternative to a two-state settlement is that Israel will continue to carry forward the plans it has been implementing for years, taking over whatever is of value to it in the West Bank, while avoiding Palestinian population concentrations and removing Palestinians from the areas it is integrating into Israel.  That should avoid the dreaded “demographic problem.”

The areas being integrated into Israel include a vastly expanded Greater Jerusalem, the area within the illegal “Separation Wall,” corridors cutting through the regions to the East, and will probably also encompass the Jordan Valley.  Gaza will likely remain under its usual harsh siege, separated from the West Bank.  And the Syrian Golan Heights — like Jerusalem, annexed in violation of Security Council orders — will quietly become part of Greater Israel.  In the meantime, West Bank Palestinians will be contained in unviable cantons, with special accommodation for elites in standard neocolonial style.

These basic policies have been underway since the 1967 conquest, following a principle enunciated by then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, one of the Israeli leaders most sympathetic to the Palestinians.  He informed his cabinet colleagues that they should tell Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, “We have no solution, you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads.”

The suggestion was natural within the overriding conception articulated in 1972 by future president Haim Herzog: “I do not deny the Palestinians a place or stand or opinion on every matter… But certainly I am not prepared to consider them as partners in any respect in a land that has been consecrated in the hands of our nation for thousands of years.  For the Jews of this land there cannot be any partner.” Dayan also called for Israel’s “permanent rule” (“memshelet keva”) over the occupied territories.  When Netanyahu expresses the same stand today, he is not breaking new ground.

Like other states, Israel pleads “security” as justification for its aggressive and violent actions.  But knowledgeable Israelis know better.  Their recognition of reality was articulated clearly in 1972 by Air Force Commander (and later president) Ezer Weizmann.  He explained that there would be no security problem if Israel were to accept the international call to withdraw from the territories it conquered in 1967, but the country would not then be able to “exist according to the scale, spirit, and quality she now embodies.”

See:http://www.alternet.org/noam-chomsky-real-reason-israel-mows-lawn-gaza

For a century, the Zionist colonization of Palestine has proceeded primarily on the pragmatic principle of the quiet establishment of facts on the ground, which the world was to ultimately come to accept.  It has been a highly successful policy.  There is every reason to expect it to persist as long as the United States provides the necessary military, economic, diplomatic, and ideological support.  For those concerned with the rights of the brutalized Palestinians, there can be no higher priority than working to change U.S. policies, not an idle dream by any means.

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among his recent books are Hegemony or Survival, Failed StatesPower Systems,Occupy, and Hopes and Prospects. His latest book, Masters of Mankind, will be published this week by Harmarket Books, which is also reissuing 12 of his classic books in new editions over the coming year. His work is regularly posted at TomDispatch.com.  His website is www.chomsky.info.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook and Tumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me.

Copyright 2014 Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics and philosophy at MIT.

 

We can learn from Judah the Maccabee

Aaron Zelinski, HuffPost:

“Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. Modern celebrants (including Senator Hatch) focus on the miracle of the Menorah, which tradition tells us stayed lit for eight days on a single day’s oil. However, Chanukah is also the political story of a few determined Maccabees leading an uprising against the much stronger Seleucid Empire.

Though the events Chanukah commemorates took place over 2,000 years ago, the historical story of the Maccabees provides useful lessons for our modern era. From the Seleucids, we see how not to fight a guerrilla insurgency. From the Maccabees, we learn how to rally a people and a nation.

Here are Chanukah’s five geopolitical lessons:

1) Corrupt governments propped up by outsiders are inherently unstable. …Massive military force cannot prop up a deeply corrupt regime indefinitely. If we want to end the insurgency, we must clean up the corruption.”

2) Insurgencies feed off charismatic leaders…In the modern fight against terrorism, the United States should not create figures like Judah, charismatic leaders for the other side to rally around. President George W. Bush did exactly the opposite: He promoted the cult of Bin Laden after September 11th, focusing the world’s attention on one man who was wanted “Dead or Alive.” Such pronouncements give guerilla insurgencies a guiding symbol.

3) Rebuilding symbolic structures matters… The literal meaning of Chanukah is “rededication.”

4) Israel was an independent state when much of Europe was untamed wilderness. The modern State of Israel is not a post-Holocaust reparation to the Jewish people, but rather the restoration of an ancient independent state of the Jewish people.

5) The world marches on…For us, even as we confront difficult decisions in Afghanistan and Iraq, we must not lose sight of the broader political ebbs and flows of the world.”


Elections Matter!

Alternet:

Change: “…he also spoke of a knowledge deficit about Islam in the U.S. and the West, and said that “we have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam.”
Obama intends to DISTANCE himself from the policies of his predecessor, the wildly UNPOPULAR George W. Bush, and present a new image to the Muslim and Arab worlds. 

SEE: http://www.alternet.org/world/140444/bush_left_america’s_standing_in_the_mideast_at_rock_bottom_–_can_obama_turn_it_around_in_cairo/

From McClatchy:

CAIRO — President Barack Obama, courting Muslims internationally, said Thursday that the United States does not accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory and that “just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s.”

In a speech he conceived well before his election last November, aimed at repositioning U.S. standing in the Middle East in the wake of the Iraq war, and drafted with the help of prominent Muslim-Americans, Obama told an audience at Cairo University that “I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.”

The relationship, he said, should be founded on mutual interests and respect and “the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition.”

see: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/world/