Sunday, May 22, 2011

How is it going after Obama's Thursday policy speech?

The White House website now has an official transcript of the May 19 Remarks by the President on the Middle East and North Africa.

It's hard to find the initial reactions to major elements of the President's speech encouraging.

Obama: We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.

Antonio Caño, Israel rechaza el plan de paz de EE UU El País 21.05.2011

Mazal Mualem, Cabinet rallies around Netanyahu after rejection of Obama speech Haaretz 22.05.11




Gideon Levy writes in Netanyahu has invited America to punish Israel Haaretz 22.05.11:

The United States has three choices. One is to distance itself again from the issue. That would be no less than a disaster. ...

Obama's second option is to speak to the Israelis over the heads of their leader. That will not work. ...

There is a third way, ostensibly more difficult for Israel than the others - pressure. A U.S. vote in the United Nations in favor of a Palestinian state would have to be the first step. Then would come isolation - it won't be pleasant fending alone with Micronesia - cuts in aid and abandonment. Although it would cause panic in Jerusalem and no less so in Tel Aviv, this is the only way to show Israel true friendship. Netanyahu has said (for all intents and purposes ) that this is the way. He has left no alternative.
But based on their record so far, any other response by the Obama Administration than the first one - "distance itself again from the issue" - seems to me unlikely in the extreme.

Obama: President Assad now has a choice: He can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests.

Syria mourners 'attacked by security forces' Aljazeera English 05/21/2011 "At least 11 mourners have been killed and at least 27 wounded in Homs after security forces opened fire on a massive funeral procession, according to human rights activists."

Enric González, El Asad lanza otra oleada de represión a pesar de la advertencia de Obama El País 21.05.2011



Obama: And through the moral force of non-violence, the people of the region have achieved more change in six months than terrorists have accomplished in decades.

Scott Peterson, NATO airstrikes cap week of rising pressure on Libya
Staff writer
Christian Science Monitor 05/20/2011: "NATO aircraft struck eight Libyan warships overnight Thursday, just hours after President Obama capped a week of increasing international pressure with a vow that Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi would fall from power." This action, of course, is entirely consistent with Obama's goal of regime change through war in Libya.

And for a bonus, on a development already in progress before Obama's speech:

China-Pakistan alliance strengthened post bin Laden AFP/Dawn 05/15/2011

Ángeles Espinosa, Pakistán refuerza sus relaciones militares con China El País 21.05.2011

Kalbe Ali, 'China agrees to run Gwadar port' Dawn 05/22/2011: Pakistani "Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar ... said Pakistan was grateful to the Chinese government for building the Gwadar port. 'However, we shall be more grateful to the Chinese if they agree to build naval base at Gwadar'."

US-Pakistan relations chronically suffers from another border dispute that resonates in the Muslim world but goes scarcely discussed in American news, the Pakistan-India dispute over Kashmir. Pakistani policy is to strive for a pro-Pakistan government in Afghanistan; Pakistan views the Karzai government in Kabul as pro-India. As long as that situation persists, Pakistan will continue to play a double game in Afghanistan, helping NATO in counterinsurgency on the one hand and supporting anti-Karzai guerrillsa (Taliban) on the other.

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