It seems there’s an awful lot of surety around when it comes to action, or non-action, on Syria. But a deeper look at what is happening there does not lead to simple solutions, or even to a whole lot of clarity on the nature of who the “good guys” are. I examine the dynamics in this week’s column at Souciant.
Posts Tagged ‘Muslim Brotherhood’
Posted in Syria, tagged Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, CIA, David Lesch, Facebook, France, Free Syrian Army, Hafez al-Assad, Hama, Hezbollah, Iran, Jane Harman, John McCain, Joseph Lieberman, Lebanon, Lindsey Graham, Muslim Brotherhood, Rafik-Al Hariri, Salam Idriss, Sunni, Syria, Turkey, United States, Victoria Nuland on April 5, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Barack Obama, Bibi Netanyahu, Turkey, tagged Avigdor Lieberman, Benjamin Netanyahu, Danny Ayalon, Egypt, Erdogan, Flotilla, Hamas, Jordan, Mavi Marmara, Moshe Ya'alon, Muslim Brotherhood, Syria, Turkey on March 23, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
A reader at LobeLog asked how I thought Netanyahu’s surprising and long-belated apology to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara killings fit in with my analysis of Obama’s speeches in Jerusalem and Ramallah. I thought my readers here would be interested in my response, so I reprint it below.
I think it fits in perfectly. What Obama set out to do, in my view, was to reset his foreign policy priorities, given not only the pivot to Asia, but also the domestic political
realities that severely limit his options in dealing with Israel (i.e. AIPAC et al). He’s essentially trying to move the conflict out of the way.
It may well be that events, maybe in Syria, possibly even in Egypt or Jordan, will change the status quo by drawing Israel in and that may hamper the move to lessen US involvement in all of this. But for now, Obama will do what he must as dictated by US politics but I think little if anything more, and that was his message to the Israeli public.
To Bibi, I think he handed that perspective as a gift, or more precisely a payoff. Basically, he said I’m not going to push you the negotiating table, but you’re going to pay me back for that by making this issue less of a thorn in my side. I think the rapprochement with Turkey is the centerpiece of that, because while the split between those two US allies has not always been in the news, it is a central concern for US diplomats. This makes matters simpler.
I think Obama was also hoping that Bibi would agree to turn the heat back down on the Iran issue and let Obama take the lead. Such a thing would probably be wise for Israel, even from their point of view, because Obama’s own rhetoric on Iran has hardly been mollifying. But I think that was an area where Bibi was much less forthcoming. He knows his new defense minister prefers the US hit Iran rather than Israel, but also that he very much believes that the US should be pressured to do so–Ya’alon does not seem to share the assessment of his military and intelligence leaders on Iran, which is pretty much identical to the US’. (more…)
Posted in Barack Obama, Congress, tagged AIPAC, Arab Spring, Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bill Clinton, Camp David II, democracy, Egypt, Gaza, George H.W. Bush, Great Depression, Hezbollah, Iraq, Israel, Israel Lobby, Jewish State, Jews, Middle east, Mitt Romney, Muslim Brotherhood, Netanyahu, Oslo Process, Palestine, pro-Israel, Syria, United States, Yitzhak Shamir on September 21, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
In this week’s piece at Souciant, I start taking a look at what Barack Obama’s second term may look like in terms of Middle East policy now that Mitt Romney has bungled himself into a position where he will need an unprecedented comeback to defeat the incumbent. Yet, while I see serious trouble for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has actively worked for Obama’s defeat, I don’t see a lot of fundamental change in Washington’s attitude in the region for the next four years. At least, not at the instigation of the White House; change will come from the region itself, if it comes at all.