Zardari – Mr. 10% available anywhere, anytime except in his own country which is in a state of veritable civil war — how much time has he spent away from the levers of power since the Swat campaign began? Guess who’s in charge in Pakistan: Still the Army.
Ahmadinejad – He’s saying, “Look at me Bibi! Here’s my brother who already has nukes … Suck It.”
Panetta Visit Hopeful Sign Obama’s Administration Won’t Turn Blind Eye to Israel Further Destabilizing Middle East
America’s spy chief was sent on a secret mission to Israel to warn its leaders not to launch a surprise attack on Iran without notifying the US Administration.
As Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, prepares to visit Washington, it emerged yesterday that Leon Panetta, the head of the CIA, went to Israel two weeks ago. He sought assurances from Mr Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, the Defence Minister, that their hawkish new Government would not attack Iran without alerting Washington.
If Israel is going to continue to nurse at the teat of U.S. aid, it would be nice if a U.S. presidential administration would demand some accountability from them. The Iranian question won’t be solved by a half-baked scheme to destroy Iranian nuclear sites. I don’t believe the world can even imagine what the blowback would be from such a move and for how long it would damage any efforts at diplomacy in the entire Middle East.
As long as Israel continues to enforce an apartheid-like control over the Palestinian territories and trample the human rights of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians alike, we’ve got plenty of “optics” issues with her Arab neighbors.
Obama needs to be given half a chance to talk some sense into the idiots running Iran.
Don’t know if they will, but they’re trying to get ready …
From the Jerusalem Post:
… The MIG 29, developed by the soviets in the 1970s, is one of the best fighter jets used by eastern and Arab countries, as well as by Syria and Iran. It was developed to counter American-made jets such the F-16 or F/A-18.
The jets were loaned to Israel by an unnamed foreign country. The experiment is meant to prepare IAF pilots for missions where they might have to fight a foreign air-force. …
… An additional experiment conducted recently by the air force involved loading an F-16 with weapons to its utmost capacity, or “flight in a heavy formation,” as the test pilot labeled it. The experiment was meant to measure the pilot’s safety and the fighter’s capability when it was carrying the maximum amount of armaments.
A jet so armed might be used in a long-distance sortie. The pilots interviewed would not name which foreign countries might be the targets of such sorties, but it was clear the main target of such an ambitious mission would be Iran’s nuclear installations.
Some say don’t think all Iranians believe what they’re president says — the Iranian people love America. It’s just that nasty little brute of a president they’ve got runs his mouth.
Well folks, as an American who “loves” other countries and their people, I know we all got the ultimate bad rap for around six of Bush’s years. The reason why of course is that leaders matter, especially when they’re elected by the people. Leaders make decisions and carry out policies that affect people outside of their own borders.
The Iranians have an opportunity to send Mahmoud Ahmadinejad back under a rock in a few weeks. If they don’t, he’s still speaking for all of them. We had the same opportunity in 2004. Let me just say to my Iranian friends tonight: If you vote this guy back in, things can get worse.
At any rate here’s what Ahmadinejad had to say today, courtesy of AFP:
On the United States:
Ahmadinejad, whose visit to Damascus came as Defence Secretary Robert Gates toured US allies in the region to reassure them about overtures to the Tehran regime by President Barack Obama, hit out at the continuing US military presence on Iran’s borders.
“They weren’t invited in. They’re unwelcome visitors who should leave Afghanistan and the borders of Pakistan,” the Iranian president said.
“We don’t want honey from bees that sting us. Efforts must be made to rid the region of the presence of foreigners… and to reform the unjust global political and economic system.”
Ahmadinejad said Iran and Syria were standing together to “resist foreign intervention and the major powers trying to impose their hegemony over the region.”
The United States “has put pressure on Syria and Iran, but it needs us and wants to develop relations,” he said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed Zionism as “occupation” and “aggression” Tuesday as he delivered his latest diatribe against the Jewish state on a visit to key Middle East ally Syria.
“The Zionist occupiers are destructive microbes, because Zionism itself is occupation, aggression, the use of assassination and annihilation,” he told a joint news conference with President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian capital.
“Zionism was created to threaten us. To support the Palestinian resistance is a humanitarian and popular obligation,” Ahmadinejad said in remarks in Farsi that were translated into Arabic.
“Syria and Iran are united in supporting the Palestinian resistance.”
If you thought that merely replacing one American president who spent eight years trying to bend the world to his will with one talking the good game of peace and cooperation would get foreign leaders to stop acting crazy you were wrong.
Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong-Il, Ayatollah Khamenei, Vladmir Putin — they’re all still idiots who hate America because we’re America. It doesn’t matter that the American people sent a message to the world with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. That message could be divined around the world as “Hey, we’re really sorry about the whole Bush-Cheney thing. But check this new guy out, you can work with this new guy …” Instead, we get Putin’s Russia testing the Monroe Doctrine, North Korea taking U.S. journalists hostage, Chavez calling Obama and “ignoramus,” and Iran’s Supreme Leader greeting Obama’s extended hand with the back of his own.
Two of these instances occurred just this weekend. Yesterday, in response to Obama’s conciliatory YouTube message directed at the Iranian People, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had this to say, according to the LA Times:
“We do not have any record of the new U.S. president,” he said in a live television broadcast. “We are observing, watching and judging. If you change, we will also change our behavior. If you do not change, we will be the same nation as 30 years ago.”
The crowd chanted, “God is great! Khamenei is the leader!”
As he spoke, Khamenei glanced cursorily at his notes, suggesting that his words were carefully considered. His remarks were the most detailed and authoritative response by any Iranian leader to several attempts by the Obama administration to reach out to the Islamic Republic.
The White House issued a 3 1/2 -minute video message from Obama early Friday morning greeting the Iranian people and officials on the occasion of the important holiday, acknowledging three decades of strained relations with America and offering a new beginning.
Iranian officials quickly responded by welcoming the address but voicing skepticism about its sincerity. On Saturday, Khamenei recited a list of grievances against the U.S. over the last three decades, including the 1988 downing of an Iranian civilian plane by a U.S. warship in the Persian Gulf, the freezing of Iranian assets, and strong support for Israel and armed Iranian opposition groups.
“They are talking of extending a hand to Iran on the occasion of the New Year and they are congratulating the Iranian people,” he said. “At the same time, they are accusing [Iran] of terrorism and the manufacturing of nuclear weapons.”
And then there’s Chavez. If you want to witness a real hoot, check out The Hugo Chavez Show, a PBS Frontline Documentary. Chavez is this era’s stereotypical Central/South American meglomaniacal, self-absorbed dictator. Today, Chavez unloaded on an American president and it wasn’t GW Bush – from Reuters:
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama was at best an “ignoramus” for saying the socialist leader exported terrorism and obstructed progress in Latin America.
“He goes and accuses me of exporting terrorism: the least I can say is that he’s a poor ignoramus; he should read and study a little to understand reality,” said Chavez, who heads a group of left-wing Latin American leaders opposed to the U.S. influence in the region.
Chavez said Obama’s comments had made him change his mind about sending a new ambassador to Washington, after he withdrew the previous envoy in a dispute last year with the Bush administration in which he also expelled the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela.
“When I saw Obama saying what he said, I put the decision back in the drawer; let’s wait and see,” Chavez said on his weekly television show, adding he had wanted to send a new ambassador to improve relations with the United States after the departure of George W. Bush as president.
In a January interview with Spanish-language U.S. network Univision, Obama said Chavez had hindered progress in Latin America, accusing him of exporting terrorist activities and supporting Colombian guerrillas.
“My, what ignorance; the real obstacle to development in Latin America has been the empire that you today preside over,” said Chavez, who is a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy.
In both cases – Iran and Venezuela – you have leaders who are faced with difficult and structural economic problems and who rely on the price of oil being in the $75 per barrel range to make their countries’s economic engines run. Both fancy themselves the leaders of “revolutions.” What they’re most worried about is the next revolution that may sweep them from power. There is also, however, an element of truth in what both leaders say. U.S. meddling in Iranian internal politics in the 1950s led to nearly 30 years of repression under the American-friendly Shah Reza Pahlavi. U.S. government and corporate meddling in the internal state affairs of countries large and small in Central and South America has a storied history. Chavez, largely due to the largess of Venezuela’s oil wealth and his big mouth, is now seen throughout the region as the newest Fidel or Che.
From the time of Jimmy Carter on, the United States has had the chance to set things straight with the developing world, once our covert operations playground. Old habits have been hard to break, though. Just when we put together a good string of time without getting ourselves caught trying to kill some foreign leader or destabilize a country, we do get caught. We won’t – meaning Barack Obama won’t – live this down until U.S. foreign policy delivers on the promise of the extended hand over the long run.
And, oh, by the way. There will be some leaders we won’t be able to deal with because they’re idiots. Chavez and some others fall into this category. Their own power comes before anything else and they’ll lubricate their masses with American hate rhetoric as long as it takes the target off of them.
- Iran’s Khamenei rebuff’s Obama’s overture – Los Angeles Times
- Iran demands change in U.S. policy – BBC
- Iran’s Supreme Leader dismisses Obama – New York Times
- Obama’s message to Iran is opening bid in diplomatic effort – New York Times
(Source: White House Press Office)
THE PRESIDENT: Today I want to extend my very best wishes to all who are celebrating Nowruz around the world.
This holiday is both an ancient ritual and a moment of renewal, and I hope that you enjoy this special time of year with friends and family.
In particular, I would like to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nowruz is just one part of your great and celebrated culture. Over many centuries your art, your music, literature and innovation have made the world a better and more beautiful place.