12:00 PM, Dec 16, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid Secretary of State John Kerry a backhanded compliment in a recent speech to the Union for Reform Judaism.
"Secretary Kerry, John, who I talk to – I was going to say every day, but I’ll amend that to every few hours. He’s incredible; he just goes on and on, I mean, he’s great," said Netanyahu.
Kerry has been frequently in Israel these days to broker Middle East peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The Israeli prime minister addressed those efforts in his speech. Kerry "has said and I have said is that an agreement must address Israel’s legitimate security concerns." said Netanyahu.
"In the Middle East, the only peace that will endure is a peace we can defend, not only because of what I’ve just said, that there has to be an acceptance of the State of Israel, but you don’t know whether it will percolate down after decades of incitement against us in Palestinian schools and their textbooks and in the mosques and in their life. And it’s not symmetrical. We don’t indoctrinate our people that way. We don’t have state-controlled media. State-controlled media, what an idea! We don’t strike that; we don’t have that, okay? But that’s what they teach in suicide kindergarten camps, so you can’t rely on the possibility that an agreement that we make with the Palestinian leadership will hold. We cannot be sure about it."
But for it to hold, we must be able to protect the peace and ensure the security because otherwise it will unravel. And we also have to protect the peace or protect our security in case the peace agreement doesn’t hold. Both for the peace to hold and both to protect ourselves if it unravels, we need very, very strong security arrangements on the ground. Now again, I repeat, I am prepared to make a historic compromise, but I will never gamble with the future of the Jewish state.
That’s something I will never do.
Middle Easterners fear the White House will return to bad American habits.9:15 AM, Dec 13, 2013 • By DAVID SCHENKER
Back in 2006, during a particularly low point in the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the congressionally mandated Iraq Study Group issued a report in which the central contentious proposition was that “all key issues in the region are inextricably linked.” Accordingly, to stem the deterioration in Iraq and “achieve its goals” in the Middle East, the report posited the U.S. would have to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
11:23 AM, Dec 6, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Eric Cohen, executive director of the Tikvah Fund, interviews Michael Doran, a Brookings Institution senior fellow. They discuss the U.S., the Middle East, and President Obama.
1:25 PM, Nov 29, 2013 • By NOAH POLLAK
Sheera Frenkel, Buzzfeed’s recently-hired Middle East correspondent, should know the Israel beat better than most: She reported from the country for more than seven years, speaks Hebrew fluently, and knows Israeli society intimately.
The Iranian bomb is all that matters.Dec 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 13 • By LEE SMITH
Last week’s interim agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its nuclear weapons program offers the regime sanctions relief even as U.S. lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats, are demanding more and stricter sanctions. The White House counters that more sanctions will only narrow diplomatic channels, drive the Iranians away from the negotiating table, and lead to war. Critics of the deal argue that by providing sanctions relief Obama is simply feeding an Iranian beast hungry for more concessions.
But interim deal with Iran puts the White House and its traditional Middle East allies in opposing camps.2:52 PM, Nov 25, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
In the wake of the interim deal that the White House signed with Iran Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry said on the Sunday talk shows that nothing has changed, not with the American position in the Middle East, or with the U.S. alliance system in the region. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is screaming his head off, but Israel has nothing to worry about says Kerry.
12:41 AM, Nov 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The nuclear deal with Tehran is a "pause that refreshes" for Iran, says the Emergency Committee for Israel in a statement released tonight:
How the “hardline” American position on the Islamic Republic got farmed out to Israel.12:12 PM, Nov 19, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
It’s Congress’s fault if there’s a war with Iran, says the White House. Last week administration officials showed their frustration with lawmakers who seek to impose another round of sanctions on the Iranians. "It is important to understand that if pursuing a resolution diplomatically is disallowed or ruled out, what options, then, do we and our allies have to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon?" said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "The American people do not want a march to war."
4:04 PM, Nov 15, 2013 • By KEN JENSEN
The cartoon above is from the Great Game era in Central Asia, when the British and Russians were in a contest for places like Afghanistan and Iran. It's strongly (perhaps perversely) suggestive given current events.
Obama’s Middle East debacle.Nov 25, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 11 • By MICHAEL DORAN
Israel’s primary adversary is acquiring powerful new weapons that will overturn the military balance in the Middle East. But it needs at least a year before its weapons will be fully functional. In the meantime, the Israelis are signaling that they are contemplating a preemptive war. In Washington, however, the president does not share Israel’s sense of alarm. The fears of the Jewish state, he believes, are exaggerated. Its preparations are a tool for goading the United States into a policy that is more attentive to Israeli interests.
It was always an outpost of the Iranian revolutionNov 25, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 11 • By TONY BADRAN
Thirty years ago last month, Hezbollah blew up the barracks of the U.S Marines and French paratroopers stationed at the Beirut airport, killing 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 Frenchmen. It wasn’t Hezbollah’s first terrorist operation, but this attack, the most memorable in Lebanon’s vicious and chaotic 15-year-long civil war, marked the Party of God’s entry onto the world stage.
Nov 25, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 11 • By LEE SMITH
On November 20, negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons program recommence in Geneva. The last round two weeks ago ended with egg on the Obama administration’s face after Secretary of State John Kerry failed to clear “bracketed text” with his own side in the talks. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius is rightly credited with saving the day and stopping the White House from making a deal that would have given the Iranians virtually everything they wanted for nothing but empty promises.
Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
There’s a Washington think-tank variation on the board game Risk, and here’s how it goes: I give you a short statement about Obama policy in the Middle East, and you have to say who it’s from.
“The Persians are taking over Iraq and Syria and building a nuclear weapon. Are you Americans crazy? You think you will outsmart them in Geneva? They send Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah troops to fight in Syria and you do nothing? You draw a red line over chemical weapons and let Putin erase it?”
9:05 AM, Oct 30, 2013 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
Whether it’s “pivoting” or “rebalancing,” the Obama administration’s unceasing efforts to turn retreat into a virtue – particularly when it comes to the Middle East – have become a distinguishing feature of this president’s national security strategy.