Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Middle East Media Sampler 4/11/2012: Romney And Netanyahu Were Friends In 1976 (Gasp!)

1) The Bibi-Mitt axis 

Michael Barbaro of The New York Times reported on A Friendship Dating to 1976 Resonates in 2012. (h/t Robert Avrech) The history is interesting...
Mr. Romney, never known for his lack of self-confidence, still recalls the sense of envy he felt watching Mr. Netanyahu effortlessly hold court during the firm’s Monday morning meetings, when consultants presented their work and fielded questions from their colleagues. The sessions were renowned for their sometimes grueling interrogations.
but marred by several paragraphs:

Mr. Romney has suggested that he would not make any significant policy decisions about Israel without consulting Mr. Netanyahu — a level of deference that could raise eyebrows given Mr. Netanyahu’s polarizing reputation, even as it appeals to the neoconservatives and evangelical Christians who are fiercely protective of Israel.
...
Martin S. Indyk, a United States ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, said that whether intentional or not, Mr. Romney’s statement implied that he would “subcontract Middle East policy to Israel.”
“That, of course, would be inappropriate,” he added.
Barbaro treats boasts made by Romney as actual policy in order to suggest that there's something untoward about the friendship between Romney and Netanyahu.

In contrast consider President Obama. As he campaigned four years ago he said:
“I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt a unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel,” the Illinois senator and contender for the Democratic presidential nominee told a group of Jewish leaders in Cleveland on Sunday. “If we cannot have an honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we’re not going to make progress.”
The statement betrayed an ignorance of Israeli politics and suggested that if Likud came to power (as it did a year later) President Obama would be adversarial to the Israeli government. Though there were exceptions, Obama's comment attracted little comment at the time.

Allies are going to work together and will have differences. If the leaders of the respective countries are friendly, presumably the alliance will be more successful.

2) Kofi's latest fail

Usually in an organization, promotions are the results of successes. The United Nations works differently. Certainly, the case of Kofi Annan shows that at the UN, "failure is job 1." Jonathan Schanzer documents them in It's Time to Add Syria to Kofi Annan's Long List of Failures:
THE STRING OF FAILURES begins in 1994, when Annan, then head of peacekeeping, dismissed the warnings of General Romeo Dallaire, commander of the U.N.’s peacekeeping forces in Rwanda, about arms caches that would soon be used for mass murder. In July 1995, with Annan still head of peacekeeping, came another mass murder, this time in Srebrenica. Serbs slaughtered more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims while peacekeepers stood by.
During his tenure as U.N. chief, from 1997-2006, his responsibilities included overseeing the Oil-for-Food relief program for Iraq. The program, run by the U.N. from 1996 until Saddam Hussein’s overthrow in 2003, was supposed to ease the pain imposed on Iraq’s people by sanctions targeting Saddam’s regime. Instead, Oil-for-Food evolved into one of the most corrupt failures in the history of humanitarian relief, while Annan urged its expansion and praised its performance.
Now he's repeating his experience in Syria:
Now, as before, Annan is tipping the scales in favor of a murderous regime. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov smugly noted, Annan’s plan includes “no talk about Assad’s departure.” One Syria opposition leader, Burhan Ghalioun, predicts the plan will “waste a month or two of pointless mediation efforts” while buying Assad more time.
3) Doomed to repeat

A fascinating feature at InstaPundit is his newly instituted "Ten years ago on Instapundit" feature. Most of the items point to media bias or malfeasance reminding us that the issues he's been highlighting haven't changed much.

Last night the relevant post linked to:
A BUNCH OF PEOPLE have sent me copies of their letters to the Norwegian Embassy protesting the absurd and nasty action of expelling a man from the Norwegian Parliament building for wearing a Star of David, even as many people were wearing Palestinian emblems.
The issue was also picked up in Best of the Web today, which also ran a link to the Norwegian Embassy "contacts" page with its item. I think they probably got a fair amount of email on this. Good.
In the present he added:
But they’re still anti-semitic.
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