The Obama-Netanyahu Showdown

Robert Dreyfuss is one of the best analysts of the forces shaping US foreign policy. Had more people been reading him in the lead up to the Iraq war, it is likely that they could have acted more effectively to prevent the war. While some like Noam Chomsky would have you believe that there is a unified ‘elite’ which makes unanimous decisions, the reality is far more complicated and far less hopeless. There are forces within the establishment who are deeply wary of the neoconservative worldview, and while 9/11 had put them in a disadvantaged position, now they are silent no more. Here Dreyfuss reports on the stern advice Obama received from one of the leading lights of the Realist camp.

President Obama got some strongly worded advice yesterday on how to deal with Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, who’ll be making his first visit to the United States as Israel’s new leader in mid-May. The Obama-Netanyahu meeting promises to be a showdown.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the veteran strategist and hardliner — who was Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser — told a conference yesterday that in the history of US peacemaking in the Middle East, the United States has never once spelled out its own vision for what a two-state solution would look like. That, said Brzezinski, is exactly what President Obama needs to do. And fast.

Brzezinski was speaking at a conference on US-Saudi relations sponsored by the New America Foundation and Saudi Arabia’s Committee on International Trade. Brzezinski, who advised Obama early in the presidential campaign, was exiled from Obamaland after his less-than-devout support for Israel made him a liability.

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Moderate Muslims

75-year-old widow to be flogged‘, the Independent reports. This is Saudi Arabia which, like Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, is pronounced ‘moderate’ by the West because it shows high tolerance for Israeli atrocities (unlike the ‘extremists’ of Syria, Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah).

The sentencing of a widow to 40 lashes for mingling with two young men has sparked new criticism of Saudi Arabia.

Khamisa Sawadi, who is Syrian but was married to a Saudi, was convicted and sentenced last week for meeting with men who were not her immediate relatives.

The two men, including one who was Mrs Sawadi’s late husband’s nephew, were reportedly bringing her bread. They were also found guilty and sentenced to prison terms and lashes.

The woman’s lawyer, Abdel Rahman al-Lahem, said today that he plans to appeal against the verdict, which also demands that Mrs Sawadi be deported after serving her prison term.

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