February 2011 Archives

Hardening positions

This article in last week's The Jewish Week pointed out that current events in the Middle East are only hardening the positions of those on the left and right with respect to the urgency and viability of the so-called peace process.  That may be the case, but clearly only one side has any evidence or logic to support it.

JW blogger James Besser appears to agree.  At least to a point.

Interactions like this offer hopeful signs that someday true peace might come to the region.  But ignoring reality isn't the way to get there, and translating such small snippets of hope into meaningful developments is going to take a long, long time and a heck of a lot of work.

Shabbat Shalom.

People like me do want to be interviewed. We have spent years accumulating knowledge that we want to impart, especially when a generally obscure issue we've worked on for a decades becomes the world's main story. But what's the point when they only want to use you as window dressing to claim they are balanced when in fact they aren't?
Read the whole thing at The Rubin Report.

Watching Wisconsin

I'm sure the mullahs in Iran are doing just that.  Watching Wisconsin and the distraction that the President of the United States has allowed encouraged it to become, along with all of the other distractions our government seems to be wrapped up in right now. 

I'm just sayin' ...

Veto power

After his stupid ploy failed, at least he exercised it.  How many kicks in the pants will it take for Obama to figure out that kissing up to the Arab world never works?  It's total capitulation or nothing. 

There's a meaningful difference between a non-binding UNSC statement that rejects "the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," (the proposed compromise) and a binding resolution that declares it "illegal" and demands an immediate and complete moratorium on "all settlement activities," and specifically "including East Jerusalem."  The latter would have represented total capitulation or very close to it.  But the former would still have sent the wrong message, yet again, to just about everyone.  And just by floating it, (more) damage has already been done.

Nevertheless, I appreciate the veto.

Shabbat Shalom.

Spin and more spin

Nobody is pretending the Bush administration supported Israeli expansion of "settlements" in the disputed territories (i.e., Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan).  It didn't, and it made quite a lot of nasty noise about it, too.  That's why, as US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton was obliged to reflect the policy of the administration when, as rotating president of the Security Council (not on his own behalf), he recited this Presidential Statement in 2006, which included, among other things, the following language:

The Security Council reminds both parties of their obligation under the Road Map and on existing agreements, including on movement and access.  It calls on both parties to avoid unilateral actions which prejudice final status issues.  The Security Council underlines the need for the Palestinian Authority to prevent terrorist attacks and dismantle the infrastructure of terror.  It reiterates its view that settlement expansion must stop and its concern regarding the route of the barrier.
Colum Lynch at Foreign Policy is trying to make a big issue of this, implying that Bolton's critique of Obama's compromise on the current anti-settlement resolution is hypocrisy.  It's not.  I'm sure there were many policies of the Bush administration with which Bolton took issue and many policies of the Security Council, as well.  He wasn't the (U.S.) President.  He wasn't calling the shots.

For the record, here's Wikipedia's description of a Security Council Presidential Statement:

A Presidential Statement is often created when the United Nations Security Council cannot reach consensus or are prevented from passing a resolution by a permanent member's veto, or threat thereof. Such statements are similar in content, format, and tone to resolutions, but are not legally binding.

The adoption of a Presidential Statement requires consensus, although Security Council members may abstain. The Statement is signed by the sitting Security Council President.

The sitting Security Council President this month, by the way, is Brazil.

For one good analysis of the pending train wreck, see Robert Satloff (via Jeffrey Goldberg).

Three's the charm


Since we're indulging in clich├ęs ... "be careful what you wish for" comes to mind.

What just happened?

Not much of anything, according to the Fox News interpreter at Tahrir Square, just before they cut off his mic.  Mubarak said something "vague" (translator's word) about recognizing the need for a transfer of authority.  But he's clearly planning to stick around.  And "not take orders" from "foreign countries"/"outsiders."  Hmmm.  I wonder who he means by that.  Maybe the guy who was sort of almost taking a victory lap over the (obviously erroneous) reports that Mubarak was stepping down.  Oops.

The protesters don't sound at all happy.

Update:  As usual, a) there's a lot of misinformation/misunderstanding out there about what Mubarak said and b) you really want to read Barry Rubin's take.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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