Saturday, July 31, 2010

US Pressing PA?

Palestinian Authority leaders say America delivered an ultimatum, enter direct negotiations with Israel or face a loss of U.S. support. Israel has a history of tying up neighbors in negotiations before making war in the region. Might that pattern repeat regarding Iran?

Update: Obama's support in the Middle East dims.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hosni's Endowment to Grow?

Congress passed a $50 million endowment for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. That may grow significantly:

Egyptian diplomats are negotiating the terms of a possible endowment fund for US economic aid that, if passed by the US Congress this year, could give Egypt access to hundreds of millions of American aid dollars with little to no legislative oversight.

While the terms of such an endowment appear to be far from final, any such deal could afford Egypt far more control over the terms of its aid than any other US aid recipient.

The proposal for what many here are already calling “Mubarak’s trust fund.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted that foreign aid would change when she spoke from the Peter G. Peterson Institue. Giving Mubarak a private economic fund reeks. He'll still get $1.3 billion a year in U.S. military aid.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Libya's Arab Summit: Abbas Favors War

In March Palestinian Authority Chair Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the Arab League. He said:

"If you want war, and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favor. But the Palestinians will not fight alone because they don't have the ability to do it.”
Egypt and Jordan have peace treaties with Israel, so not all Arab nations will fight. The Arab League has an Israeli peace plan on the table, where it lingered since 2002. While Abbas postures on war, peace withers further. That didn't prevent the U.S. and Tony Blair from pushing economic peace with Fatah or approving direct war with Hamas.

Colonel Muammar Gadhafi hosted the Arab League gathering. American branded mulit-nationals salivate over opportunities in Libya, North Africa and the Middle East. Gadhafi also heads the African Union. He aspires to make it an economic union, much like the European Union (EU) or the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Which way will Arab and African states cooperate, on war or their economies? Their partners in either case are global greed & power players. The release of the Lockerbie bomber provides a glimpse into that world.

Update: Egypt's Hosni Mubarek tried to push Abbas-Netanyahu together. AP reported "Mubarak received a message Sunday from President Barack Obama and a telephone call from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging a swift move to direct peace talks." That's a big change in four months, from favoring war to direct peace negotiations.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gadhafi Privy to Every Detail of Deals

The son of Colonel Muammar Ghadafi supervised two deals, the diversion of Libya's Gaza aid ship and the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Here's what Haaretz reported on the aid ship:

Gadhafi told the newspaper that the arrangement was reached between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Egyptian intelligence chief Omer Suleiman, and that he himself was privy to every detail of the deal.

The release of the Lockerbie bomber began stinking last year, long before four U.S. Senators crafted a letter. The TelegraphUK reported on the bomber's heroes welcome in Libya:

"It is to be said for the first time, you were present on the table in all commercial, oil and gas agreements that we supervised in that period," he (Saif Gadhafi) told Megrahi, as the pair sat together in the private jet's luxury lounge. "You were on the table in all British interests when it came to Libya, and I personally supervised this matter."
BP admitted they lobbied the British government for the bomber's release. Might Tony Blair weigh in? He can sell anything. While Gadhafi supervised, Tony Blair slipped on a change in strategy on Gaza.

Israel tries to quiet as many fronts as possible. Tony, will there be another strategic change in the region? Is it supported by Hillary Clinton, General James Jones and President Obama? When Avigdor Lieberman is being nice, something nefarious is up. I bet John McCain knows.

Update: Haaretz quoted John McCain on the subject. The article is titled"Poll: Most Americans back Israeli military action against Iran"

Update 8-28-11:  Libya's new Rebel rulers will not extradite the convicted Lockerbie bomber.  A deal's a deal  Saif needs to be dismantled, now that his father is no longer in power.  There is a mirror for the West in nearly a decade of Gahafi courting.

Update 9-3-12:  An Israeli actress pleaded for the life of Saif Gadhafi, sayng ""Saif worked closely with Mr. Blair before he was captured. The two are old friends."  Blair and his greedy peers washed their hands of Saif.  Winners of war garner the spoils.  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Plant to Open by September

The Jerusalem Post reported:

Iran will open its first nuclear power plant by September, according to Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Israel said it wouldn't allow Iran to become a nuclear power. Adding to the international tension, Iran said it would launch a satellite in late August and Israel issued a high level threat warning for citizens abroad.

The drama deepens with a Libyan ship headed to Gaza, Egypt & Jordan worried about a nuclear Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah on high alert.

Should Israel conduct a preemptive strike, the U.S. military would contain Iranian blow back. CENTCOM's David Petraeus was recently reassigned to Afghanistan. His replacement, General James Mattis, "likes to shoot some people." Orders may be coming. Has the Countdown begun?

Update: Egyptian President Mubarek heads to Germany for "medical treatment" and Russian President Medvedev says Iran is close to nuke capability. Will Israel strike during Mubarek's 10 day trip?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rapid Spy Movement

What is the U.S. hiding in the plea deal for Russian spies in "middle America"? The move to trade captured Russian spies for convicted U.S. counterparts advanced rapidly. It culminated in a plea on minor charges, with sentences for time served.

"This was an extraordinary case, developed through years of work by investigators, intelligence lawyers and prosecutors."

None of that was heard. What testimony did citizens miss in the trade rush? Maybe compromising positions with Nouriel Roubini, adviser to central banks...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

U.S. Announces Grant for Auschwitz

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged millions for Aushwitz, however the story played differently around the world. Notice the difference between these two headlines:

1. Clinton announces U.S. pledge of $15M for Auschwitz preservation (The Hill)

2. Clinton: U.S. to contribute $150 million to Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation (Haaretz)

The discrepancy is $135 million. Haaretz made an error in their title. The body of their piece states $15 million. Given that most people read the headline and move on, what does this "error" imply?

Here's my guess. The U.S. government is making a definitive statement about the Holocaust, intending to thumb its deniers and curry favor among Israel supporters. While this could be a reasonable aim, American citizens may not appreciate our generosity in difficult economic times.

This $15 million foundation grant comes atop a $50 million gift to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek. Hillary Clinton promised change in America's foreign aid. It's working.

Arab League Will Declare Palestinian State

The Arab League's long standing peace offer to Israel comes with an expiration date. If an agreement isn't reached by September, The Arab League will ask the UN Security Council to declare an independent Palestinian state. Talk of peace usually grows in direct relation to the threat of war.