Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

After Cairo, It’s Clinton Time – By Thomas L. Friedman, NYT

June 7, 2009



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June 7th, 2009 1:46 pm

Like a true Jewish tactician, Friedman is following the Netanyahu line of prevarication, derailing and using diversionary means to try to shift Obama’s peace focus on Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio to yet another alternative trouble spot, after Iran is now more or less defanged as diversion. According to him, peace in Iraq should have priority and Hillary Clinton should not waste her time and energy on any peace moves in Israel-Palestinian sector, as it is, according to him, beyond diplomacy.

One fails to fully grasp the meaning of the phrase -‘beyond diplomacy’, if the alternative suggested by him is that only war in the region will bring peace. Another interpretation of his brushing out diplomacy in Israel/ Palestinian peace effort, could be that he gives out a hint to Israeli hawks to tone down or else? But reading his columns over the time, I doubt if he has guts to risk the flak from his own community, in the US as well as in Israel.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

—    Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai, India






After Cairo, It’s Clinton Time



Published: June 6, 2009

It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry after reading the reactions of analysts and officials in the Middle East to President Obama’s Cairo speech. “It’s not what he says, but what he does,” many said. No, ladies and gentlemen of the Middle East, it is what he says and what you do and what we do. We must help, but we can’t want democracy or peace more than you do.


Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

What should we be doing? The follow-up to the president’s speech will have to be led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This will be her first big test, and, for me, there is no question as to where she should be putting all her energy: on the peace process.

No, not that peace process — not the one between Israelis and Palestinians. That one’s probably beyond diplomacy. No, I’m talking about the peace process that is much more strategically important — the one inside Iraq.

The most valuable thing that Mrs. Clinton could do right now is to spearhead a sustained effort — along with the U.N., the European Union and Iraq’s neighbors — to resolve the lingering disputes between Iraqi factions before we complete our withdrawal. (We’ll be out of Iraq’s cities by June 30 and the whole country by the close of 2011.)

Why? Because if Iraq unravels as we draw down, the Obama team will be blamed, and it will be a huge mess. By contrast, if a decent and stable political order can take hold in Iraq, it could have an extremely positive impact on the future of the Arab world and on America’s reputation.

I have never bought the argument that Iraq was the bad war, Afghanistan the good war and Pakistan the necessary war. Folks, they’re all one war with different fronts. It’s a war within the Arab-Muslim world between progressive and anti-modernist forces over how this faith community is going to adapt to modernity — modern education, consensual politics, the balance between religion and state and the rights of women. Any decent outcome in Iraq would bolster all the progressive forces by creating an example of something that does not exist in the Middle East today — an independent, democratizing Arab-Muslim state.

“The reason there are no successful Arab democracies today is because there is no successful Arab democracy today,” said Stanford’s Larry Diamond, the author of “The Spirit of Democracy.” “When there is no model, it is hard for an idea to diffuse in a region.”

Rightly or wrongly, we stepped into the middle of this war of ideas in the Arab-Muslim world in 2003 when we decapitated the Iraqi regime, wiped away its authoritarian political structure and went about clumsily midwifing something that the modern Arab world has never seen before — a horizontal dialogue between the constituent communities of an Arab state. In Iraq’s case, that is primarily Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

Yes, in a region that has only known top-down monologues from kings, dictators and colonial powers, we have helped Iraqis convene the first horizontal dialogue to write their own social contract for how to share power.

At first, this dialogue took place primarily through violence. Liberated from Saddam’s iron fist, each Iraqi community tested its strength against the others, saying in effect: “Show me what you got, baby.” The violence was horrific and ultimately exhausting for all. So now we’ve entered a period of negotiations over how Iraq will be governed. But it’s unfinished and violence could easily return.

And that brings me to Secretary Clinton. I do not believe the argument that Iraqis will not allow us to help mediate their disputes — whether over Kirkuk, oil-sharing or federalism. For years now, our president, secretary of state and secretary of defense have flown into Iraq, met the leaders for a few hours and then flown away, not to return for months. We need a more serious, weighty effort. Hate the war, hate Bush, but don’t hate the idea of trying our best to finish this right.

This is important. Afghanistan is secondary. Baghdad is a great Arab and Muslim capital. Iraq has something no other Arab country has in abundance: water, oil and an educated population. It already has sprouted scores of newspapers and TV stations that operate freely. “Afghanistan will never have any impact outside of Afghanistan. Iraq can change minds,” said Mamoun Fandy, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

You demonstrate that Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds can write their own social contract, and you will tell the whole Arab world that there is a model other than top-down monologues from iron-fisted dictators. You will expose the phony democracy in Iran, and you will leave a legacy for America that will help counter Abu Ghraib and torture.

Ultimately, which way Iraq goes will depend on whether its elites decide to use their freedom to loot their country or to rebuild it. That’s still unclear. But we still have a chance to push things there in the right direction, and a huge interest in doing so. Mrs. Clinton is a serious person; this is a serious job. I hope she does it.

Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich are off today.



January 23, 2009


by Feroze Mithiborwala
23rd January 2009

President Obama in his urge to show the world that one of the first acts of his administration will be to get actively involved in the Palestine / Israel conflict and the larger Arab arena as well as the South Asian theatre has made three appointments. But the imbalance inherent in the appointments of George J. Mitchell as special envoy to Palestine / Israel and the Arab states, Richard Holbrooke to Afghanistan / Pakistan and Dennis Ross to Iran have sowed the seeds for further destruction and war.

Of the three, George J. Mitchell is the only honest negotiator in the Obama team with a track record of proven results in Ireland. He is a true Democrat, in the legacy of Jimmy Carter, with both a commitment and a conviction to bring peace to Palestine and Israel and thus all the region.

Whilst announcing Mr. Mitchell’s appointment, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who herself is beholden to the Israeli Lobby and is a Zionist herself, did not even mention Palestine and stated that G. J. Mitchell would undertake to negotiate between Israel and the Arab States. It was only after Mr. Mitchell clearly mentioned Palestine as being the key to the region, did Hillary refer to the matter.

One may also recall that Hillary had also threatened to “nuke Iran” and today she is the Secretary of State.

Moreover President Obama himself is giving very little room for Mr. Mitchell to involve all the representative forces within Palestine.

Unfortunately Obama still believes that ex-President Mahmood Abbas enjoys the support of his people, moreover since his constitutional term expired on 9th January 2009. The Palestine Authority is in tatters due to the Israeli intransigence and yet Obama wants to exclude the democratically elected Hamas government from the dialogue. This is a sure recipe for a guaranteed disaster and will only serve to reduce any space for maneuver for Mr. Mitchell who faces the most daunting and onerous task.

Especially after the Israeli genocidal attack on Gaza, where Obama chose to keep mum, the will of the Palestinian people to resist the occupation has grown and so has the global support for the cause of the Palestinian nation. Even during Obama’s inaugural speech, he chose to desist from condemning the “shoah” in Gaza that was witnessed across every household in the world and had miraculously (?) come to a halt two days prior to the swearing in of the new president.

Richard Holbrooke the special envoy for Afghanistan & Pakistan is a hawk and is currently part of the neoconservative organization, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). Mr. Holbrooke is also referred to as a Hillary Neoconservative. He has co-authored a statement with the extreme hawk and Neocon, Dennis Ross that openly threatens military action against Iran.

Holbrooke has also been part of the National Endowment for Democracy that advocates “regime change”. Holbrooke is also part of the “Council for Foreign Relations” which is the bastion of the Israeli lobby and it is the CFR that dominates and determines US foreign policy.

Dennis Ross who is the special envoy to Iran is a hardened Neocon, an Iran baiter and an Israel-Firster. He supported the war on Iraq which Obama has opposed. Ross has also served with the pro-Israel think tank, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) as well as with the “Jewish People Policy Planning Institute” (JPPPI), based in Jerusalem.

Dennis Ross has co-authored the report “Meeting the Challenge: US Policy towards Iranian Nuclear Development”. This report alludes to an Iranian nuclear programme that has been debunked by the CIA National Intelligence Report (Nov 2007) that said that the Iran nuclear program was on hold.

The report calls for the military encirclement of Iran, pressure on Iran to abrogate its nuclear programme and thus leading to its logical extension where “war becomes inevitable”.

It is clear to all those who understand the regions of the Middle East and South Asia that the Obama appointees are doomed to fail. If Obama was serious in pursuing peace then Holbrooke and Ross would not have been the considered choice.

And failure, as per the calculations of the Neoconservatives and the Zionists will lead to war.

The call for war under a McCain would have not found support either within America or the world at large, but the Neoconservative / Zionist calculation is to have a supposed liberal called Obama, who having tried to negotiate and use diplomacy and having failed, will then appeal for war.

Obama in his inaugural speech had also stated that,

“Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred” &

“We will not apologise for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense”

and more ominously he further states that,

“For those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughter of innocents (very applicable to Israel), we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken, you cannot outlast us & we will defeat you”.

All of the above are classic Bush-Neoconservatism, couched in the suave & sophisticated liberalism of a Black president, with Hussein as his middle name.

And therein lies the danger !!