Powered by WebAds

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Israel to warn Obama on withdrawal from Iraq

Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama is scheduled to be here on Tuesday in a visit that is designed mostly to convince American voters that he has 'foreign policy experience.' Obama will meet with Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert, President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu. In what may be telling as to where the Obama campaign expects Israeli politics to go, Livni will get the most 'face time' with Obama and will take him on a helicopter tour of the country's borders (if that sounds familiar, it should).

But there will be a lot more than socializing going on while Obama is here. This may be Israel's 'leadership's last shot with Obama before the elections, and they already have several issues with him. One of them is Iraq, and another is his about-face on Jerusalem.
The Israeli leg of Senator Obama's trip will follow stops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Jordan. He is scheduled to meet with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Opposition Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu. He will also travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Livni, who has the most 'Obama time,' will accompany the senator on a helicopter tour over the country as well as on a visit to the rocket-battered town of Sderot near the Gaza border.

In Israel most will focus on two key themes during Obama's tour. The first of these is the candidate's decision to backtrack on statements he made during a speech before AIPAC regarding Jerusalem's status as a unified city.

Faced with criticism from the Arab world after saying he believed "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided," Obama was quick to backpedal, saying his words had been "poorly phrased." He further said that he had only meant the city should not have a barrier running through it.

The Israeli officials are expected to expound on the vital role the security fence plays.

The second matter at hand is the continued presence of American troops in Iraq. Israel is concerned a hasty withdrawal by the US will strengthen Iran and further destabilize the Middle East. Obama has promised voters that, if elected, he will immediately start implementing a 16-month timetable to withdraw all American troops from Iraq. The senator has said the war there cannot be won and US involvement in Iraq is what is preventing Washington from dealing with the Al-Qaeda terror threat on the Afghan-Pakistani border and the Iranian threat.
Now as it happens, the lefty blogosphere has been going crazy all day Saturday because of an interview that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki gave to the German Magazine Der Spiegel in which he allegedly said that Obama's 16-month plan to withdraw from Iraq would be "the right time frame." But CNN is now reporting that al-Maliki is disputing Der Spiegel's translation of his words (Hat Tip: Memeorandum):
But a spokesman for al-Maliki said his remarks "were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately."

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the possibility of troop withdrawal was based on the continuance of security improvements, echoing statements that the White House made Friday after a meeting between al-Maliki and U.S. President Bush.
And al-Maliki certainly has no intention of endorsing Obama.
In the magazine interview, Al-Maliki said his remarks did not indicate that he was endorsing Obama over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain.

"Who they choose as their president is the Americans' business. But it's the business of Iraqis to say what they want. And that's where the people and the government are in general agreement: The tenure of the coalition troops in Iraq should be limited," he said.

"Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic," al-Maliki said.
Israel should go along with a gradual withdrawal provided that it does not lead to a deterioration in the security situation in Iraq. The fear here is that Obama will insist on withdrawing in the same way that Ehud Barak fled from Lebanon in 2000 - immediately and regardless of the consequences - or that he will insist on sticking to his 'timetable' regardless of the situation on the ground. That would be a disaster for the entire region.


At 8:33 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

America cannot afford Obama as its Commander In Chief.


Post a Comment

<< Home