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JFP 5/20 - Kinzer: UN sanctions risk real progress on Iran

Just Foreign Policy News
May 20, 2010

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Here comes the war supplemental
The White House wants the Afghanistan war supplemental by Memorial Day. Urge your Representative and Senators to 1) Support the Feingold McGovern bill, requiring the President to establish a timetable for military withdrawal 2) Oppose the war supplemental 3) join the "Out of Afghanistan Caucus" (see below.)

Email:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern
Call:
1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard.

Out of Afghanistan Caucus Formed
Rep. Conyers has established an "Out of Afghanistan" Caucus in the House.
http://conyers.house.gov/_files/OutofAfghanistanCaucusPrinciples.pdf

Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) By reflexively dismissing the Brazil-Turkey-Iran deal, the US risks seeming unreasonable and petulant, writes Stephen Kinzer for GlobalPost. A wiser course would be to welcome the deal as a promising foundation, and seek positive ways to build on it.

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JFP News 5/18: Parsing the White House Statement on the Iran Fuel Swap Deal

Just Foreign Policy News
May 18, 2010

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your financial support allows us to educate Americans about U.S. foreign policy and to create opportunities for Americans to advocate for U.S. policies that are more just.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Here comes the war supplemental
The White House wants the Afghanistan war supplemental by Memorial Day. Urge your Representative and Senators to 1) Oppose the war supplemental and 2) Support the Feingold McGovern bill, requiring the President to establish a timetable for military withdrawal..
Email:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern
Call:
1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard.

Parsing the White House Statement on the Iran Nuclear Fuel Swap Deal
Unlike many commenters - such as the German government - the White House response leaves the door open for a negotitated deal, by focusing its objection on 20% enrichment, rather than enrichment per se; unlike the response of other critics, the White House response is at least consistent with the original spirit of the deal, the whole point of which was to open up a road for dealing with international concerns about Iran's nuclear program without recourse to the non-starter demand of suspension of all enrichment.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/581

Summary:
U.S./Top News

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Parsing the White House Statement on the Iran Nuclear Fuel Swap Deal

Perhaps I still have a bit too much of that "hopey-changey" Kool-Aid in my system, but I read the White House statement in response to the Iran-Turkey-Brazil announcement as saying to Iran: "We acknowledge that you moved. We're still ready to deal, and we'll see you in Geneva."

The White House statement is here:

I think it's fair to assume that a good deal of thought went into crafting this statement. Robert Gibbs did not come up with these words on his own. The folks in the Obama Administration who run nuclear diplomacy chose these words.

So what words did they choose, and what should we infer from them?

1. "We acknowledge the efforts that have been made by Turkey and Brazil."

This is positive. Regardless of what the Obama Administration said before the President of Brazil went to Iran, what the Obama Administration is saying now is: "Mazl Tov! Parabens! Tebrikler!" This is good. If you want a deal, the role of Brazil and Turkey is positive, not negative. Clearly, the involvement of Brazil and Turkey is raising the comfort level of the Iranians with the fuel swap deal. That's a good thing that should be encouraged. If you want a deal, you want the other side to be comfortable with the deal. Plus, now Brazil and Turkey have skin in the game. If Iran reneges, it's going to make Brazil and Turkey look bad. That's good. We are now in a situation where it's not "P5+1" on one side of the table and Iran on the other, but P5+1 on one side of the table and Iran +2 on the other. If your goal is to isolate Iran, that's bad. But if your goal it's to get a deal, that's good. The more signatures there are on the paper, the stronger the deal is.

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JFP 5/17: "Gooaal!" for Lula Against Western Push for Iran Sanctions

Just Foreign Policy News
May 17, 2010

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It's "Gooaal!" for Lula Against Western Push for Iran Sanctions
AP reports that the fuel swap deal that Iran has agreed to with Brazil and Turkey is substantially the same deal that the US has been promoting. Is the Obama Administration prepared to take "yes" for an answer?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/its-gollllllll-for-lula-a_b_578390.html

Statement by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Iran

Acknowledges efforts made by Turkey and Brazil; says proposal announced in Iran must be conveyed to the IAEA before US can formally respond; says it would be a positive step for Iran to transfer low-enriched uranium off of its soil; notes Iran said it would continue its 20% enrichment, which Iran originally justified by pointing to the need for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor; says US remains committed to a diplomatic solution.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/statement-white-house-press-secretary-robert-gibbs-iran

Summary:
U.S./Top News

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It's "Gollllllll!" for Lula Against Western Push for Iran Sanctions


If I were in Washington this morning, I would run down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to Congress with a big Brazilian flag, as the young Brazilians run down the Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo during the the "football" match, shouting "Gollllllll!"

Because with the news this morning that Iran has agreed to ship most of its enriched uranium to Turkey, in a nuclear fuel swap deal reached in talks with Brazil and Turkey that could "deflate a U.S.-led push" for new sanctions against Iran, the President of Brazil has scored a goal against the neocons in the West who want to gin up confrontation with Iran towards a future military conflict.

AP reports:

 

JFP 5/14: Could Congress Block Antiworker IMF 'Bailouts' in Europe?

Just Foreign Policy News
May 14, 2010

Could Congress Block Antiworker IMF 'Bailouts' in Europe?

Republicans are trying to block the Treasury Department from supporting U.S. tax funded IMF contributions to the "bailouts" in Europe, which, as economist Mark Weisbrot explains, aren't bailouts for working families at all - for working families, the IMF programs guarantee extreme hardship, and most Europeans would be much better off if these IMF packages collapse - but bailouts of European banks with bad loans. If a handful of anti-IMF Democrats decide to pile in with the Republicans, it's a whole new ballgame.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/05/14-9

VIDEO: Zackie Achmat speech (Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa) at May 13th Obama AIDS (non-)treatment protest in NYC

See also article from the Advocate, #5 below; 8 people were arrested.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=futmdmjE2ew&

VIDEO: Urge Congress to End the War in Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy made a short video to help publicize the McGovern bill and the importance of a timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Spread it all around. http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/video/feingold-mcgovern

Beverly Bell - The Urgency of Housing in Haiti: First Priority in Addressing Widespread Rape
Conditions in the camps substantially heighten the risk.
http://www.truthout.org/the-urgency-housing-haiti-first-priority-addressing-widespread-rape-part-i59464

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Could Congress Block Antiworker IMF "Bailouts" in Europe?

Republicans in Congress are trying to block the U.S. Treasury Department from supporting U.S. tax funded International Monetary Fund contributions to the so-called "bailouts" in Europe, which, as economist Mark Weisbrot explains, aren't bailouts for working families at all - for working families, the IMF programs guarantee extreme hardship, and most Europeans would be much better off if these IMF packages collapse - but bailouts of European banks with bad loans.

The purpose of the IMF packages is to force European working families to pay off the banks' bad loans through economic austerity, rather than forcing the banks to take their losses on their bad bets, which would be capitalism, or at least the capitalism they lecture us about it in school and on the nation's op-ed pages when the politically weak are on the chopping block. As we know from the recent Latin American experience, if a country like Greece defaulted on the bad debt and got it over with, economic growth could resume. But the IMF is more of a collection agency for the big banks than an institution concerned with boosting economic growth and employment or reducing poverty.

JFP 5/13: $33 Billion for War, But Not $5.6 Billion to Fight AIDS

Just Foreign Policy News
May 13, 2010

Call Congress! Urge Support for Feingold-McGovern, ending the Afghan war
This week, the Friends Committee for National Legislation has provided a toll-free number: 1-888-543-5234. This connects you to the Capitol Switchboard. Ask to be connected to your Representative or Senator, urge your Rep. or Senator to co-sponsor the Feingold-McGovern bill, and to oppose the war supplemental. More info and reportback:
http://noescalation.org/2010/05/05/withdrawal-timetable/

Did Obama Say Yes to Afghan Peace Talks?

Here's what Obama said in public: "On the related subject of Afghan-led peace and reconciliation efforts, I appreciated the President sharing his plans for the upcoming consultative peace jirga - an important milestone that America supports. In addition, the United States supports the efforts of the Afghan government to open the door to Taliban who cut their ties to al Qaeda, abandon violence, and accept the Afghan constitution, including respect for human rights. And I look forward to a continued dialogue with our Afghan partners on these efforts."

The final version of the ad we put in the Politico, and the letter that 15 groups sent to President Obama urging him to say yes to peace talks, are here:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/573

$33 Billion for War, But Not $5.6 Billion to Fight AIDS in Africa and Haiti

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On Helping - If Not On Killing - Is America a Quitter?

When President Obama visited Afghanistan in March, he assured U.S. troops that "the United States of America does not quit once it starts on something."

But according to Sunday's New York Times, it ain't necessarily so. When it comes to combating AIDS in the world's poorest countries, the greatest nation on earth has apparently decided to cry "Uncle."

Clinics in Uganda are turning people away, on orders from the U.S. government. A U.S.-run program in Mozambique has been told to stop opening clinics.

Why? According to lying U.S. officials, we don't have the money to maintain our commitment. Budgets are tight. We had to bail out Wall Street.

But the numbers on offer don't make any sense. Michel Sidibe, executive director of Unaids, says there is a global shortfall of about $17 billion for controlling the epidemic. The expected U.S. share of such a shortfall would be about a third, or $5.6 billion. Meanwhile, Congress is about to be asked to fork over $33 billion in our tax dollars for more war in Afghanistan. This $33 billion would only pay for four months of the war, until the end of the fiscal year, when next year's appropriation will become available.

So on an annual basis, we're being asked to spend almost 20 times more on killing in Afghanistan than it is claimed that we don't have to help stop Africa and Haiti from being decimated by AIDS.

Or, to put it another way: if we could end the war in Afghanistan, then every year we'd save $99 billion compared to the world in which the war continues. We could use $5.6 billion to pay what we owe on controlling the AIDS epidemic, and have $93.4 billion left for domestic job creation, tax cuts, going to the beach, whatever ya want.

Groups to Obama: Say Yes to Peace Talks in Afghanistan

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, Peace Action, NETWORK, Just Foreign Policy and Voters for Peace (update: and other groups, see updated list of signers at end) are sending the following letter to President Obama, urging him to say yes to the Afghan government's request that the US support peace talks. An ad with the same message will run in the Politico on Wednesday, and can be viewed here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Taliban_Talks_Ad_Fi...

UPDATE 5/12: the final letter, as delivered, is here:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/sites/default/files/TalktoTaliban_Lette...

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Dear President Obama:

President Hamid Karzai’s visit to Washington this week will mark a critical juncture for U.S. policy in the war in Afghanistan.

After conducting “talks about talks” with Taliban leaders and intermediaries for more than a year, President Karzai will seek U.S. support to launch Afghan national reconciliation talks that include the Afghan Taliban. We strongly urge you to agree. Hindering Afghan efforts to resolve their differences can only prolong the war and increase its human suffering and material costs.

Recognition is growing that talks with Afghan insurgent leaders, including the Taliban, are essential to ending the war. President Karzai and other senior Afghan politicians support talks with the Taliban. More and more ordinary Afghans, including Afghan women professionals, believe that peace in Afghanistan cannot be achieved without including Taliban leaders in a national reconciliation process.