Archive for May 2011
Some of those listening to President Obama’s AIPAC speech could be forgiven for thinking they had heard it all before — especially if they had been in attendance at the Anti-Defamation League’s 2010 National Leadership Conference to hear the remarks of Daniel B. Shapiro, senior director for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Security Council. Shapiro, whom Obama referred to at AIPAC as “one of my top advisors on Israel and the Middle East for the past four years” and “a close and trusted advisor and friend,” would appear to have had a significant input into the president’s address to the pro-Israel lobby (see below). According to Ha’aretz, the fluent Hebrew speaker and regular synagogue attendee maintains “close relations with the Israeli prime minister and his close advisers and senior defense ministry officials” — presumably close enough to ensure that Obama’s Israel policy doesn’t stray too far from what is acceptable to Tel Aviv.
From the G8 summit, Reuters reports:
The external financing needs of oil-importing countries in the Middle East and North Africa will exceed $160 billion over the next three years and donor countries must step in to help, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.
In a report to the Group of Eight meeting in Deauville, France, the IMF urged G8 industrial nations and rich Arab partners to develop an action plan that lays out what help they could provide countries in need.
“The region needs to prepare for a fundamental transformation of its economic model,” Masood Ahmed, in charge of Middle East and Africa at the IMF, told journalists on the sidelines of a Group of Eight meeting in northern France.
“This will be greatly facilitated if international players including the G8 can enter into strategic partnership with these countries…where incentives are linked to a social agenda.”
Supporting the IMF’s call for deeper indebtedness to support the supposedly threatening democratic upheaval in the region, U.S. President Barack Obama said:
First, we’ve asked the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to present a plan at next week’s G8 summit for what needs to be done to stabilize and modernize the economies of Tunisia and Egypt. Together, we must help them recover from the disruptions of their democratic upheaval, and support the governments that will be elected later this year. And we are urging other countries to help Egypt and Tunisia meet its near-term financial needs.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron:
Leading nations’ financial support for the so-called Arab Spring will reduce extremism and immigration, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said. The UK is giving £110m over four years for political and economic development in North Africa and the Middle East. At the two-day G8 summit in France, the UK and US are pushing for other pledges of financial support. Mr Cameron said the summit should send a message to the countries of the Arab Spring that “we are on your side”.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said it is critical that Group of Eight leaders deliver firm commitments to help Tunisia and Egypt during their two-day summit in France. Speaking at a press conference, G8 summit host – French President Nicolas Sarkozy – said it is critical that the popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt succeed. He said mobilizing “considerable aid” is among the central goals of the G8 meeting here in Deauville.
Lest anyone think the three leaders’ putting taxpayers’ money where their mouths are in support of Arab democracy might be a betrayal of the West’s “unwavering ally” in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured a sycophantic U.S. Congress that the “Arab Spring” is kosher:
Fifteen years ago, I stood at this very podium. By the way, it hasn’t changed. (Laughter.) I stood here and I said that democracy must start to take root in the Arab world. Well, it’s begun to take root, and this beginning holds the promise of a brilliant future of peace and prosperity, because I believe that a Middle East that is genuinely democratic will be a Middle East truly at peace.
Netanyahu tells Israeli-occupied U.S. Congress of his hopes for “real democracy” in the Middle East (like the one Arabs enjoy in Israel)
While most Middle East analysts believe that Israel is opposed to the pro-democracy protests in the Middle East, Netanyahu’s address to the U.S. Congress reveals a different story: Israel is on the side of the Arab protestors in what the Israeli Prime Minister calls an “epic battle” in the Middle East “between tyranny and freedom.” With the region standing at a “fateful crossroads,” Netanyahu told Congress that he prays that its peoples will choose “the path of liberty.” Citing a prediction made by 19th century English novelist George Eliot, the Israeli leader claimed that the Jewish state shines “like a bright star of freedom amid the despotisms of the East.”
With Israeli President Shimon Peres having previously said that Israel could benefit from the Arab “awakening,” will Middle East observers now reconsider their belief that the Jewish state fears democratic change in the region?
Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, is in Libya, pursuing “a pro-Israeli agenda of sowing chaos” and division, says a Middle East analyst.
“Back in 1982, an Israeli strategist, Oded Yinon, recommended the breaking up of the region into small, weak divided states,” Maidhc Ó Cathail, investigative journalist in Osaka, Japan, told Press TV’s U.S. Desk on Tuesday.
He said that the United States’ ultimate goal in Libya is to divide the country.
Watch Press TV video here.