(Source: ABC News This Week with George Stephanopolous)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Madam Secretary, thanks very much for doing this.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I’m glad to see you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, we were just talking about Cairo, did you ever imagine you’d be here as secretary of state?
CLINTON: Never. (LAUGHTER)
CLINTON: Never crossed my mind. And what an extraordinary honor to be here, especially for this speech today.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president has a very high-powered team, Vice President Biden, General Jones, Secretary Gates. You’ve got envoys for Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea. How do you fit in?
(LAUGHTER) CLINTON: Well, I&
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your role, exactly?
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.”
(Source: White House Press Office)1:21 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, listen, I first of all want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for making this visit. I think we had a extraordinarily productive series of conversations, not only between the two of us but also at the staff and agency levels.
Obviously this reflects the extraordinary relationship, the special relationship between the United States and Israel. It is a stalwart ally of the United States. We have historical ties, emotional ties. As the only true democracy of the Middle East it is a source of admiration and inspiration for the American people.
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.
(Source: The Vatican)
I greet all of you from my heart, and I warmly thank the President, Mr Mahmoud Abbas, for his words of welcome. My pilgrimage to the lands of the Bible would not be complete without a visit to Bethlehem, the City of David and the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Nor could I come to the Holy Land without accepting the kind invitation of President Abbas to visit these Territories and to greet the Palestinian people. I know how much you have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the turmoil that has afflicted this land for decades. My heart goes out to all the families who have been left homeless. This afternoon I will pay a visit to the Aida Refugee Camp, in order to express my solidarity with the people who have lost so much. To those among you who mourn the loss of family members and loved ones in the hostilities, particularly the recent conflict in Gaza, I offer an assurance of deep compassion and frequent remembrance in prayer. Indeed, I keep all of you in my daily prayers, and I earnestly beg the Almighty for peace, a just and lasting peace, in the Palestinian Territories and throughout the region.
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.”
(Source: White House Press Office)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Please. (Applause.) Larry, thank you for that introduction.
Ladies and gentlemen, there’s an old — there’s an old Saxon expression. And what it says is — (applause) — there’s an old expression. This is the man who introduced me to AIPAC. And there’s an old expression that says an institution is little more than the lengthened shadow of a man. This is the man right here. This is the man. (Applause.)