JFP 9/14: Romney admits same Iran red line as Obama; PBS NtK takes on drone strikes

Just Foreign Policy News, September 14, 2012
Romney admits same Iran red line as Obama; PBS NtK takes on drone strikes

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) PBS Need to Know has produced a program on the U.S. drone war in Pakistan. Need to Know's Hannah Yi traveled to Pakistan to investigate the impact that U.S. drone attacks are having on citizens in targeted areas. Video at link.

2) Days after the Israeli Prime Minister criticized the U.S. for not putting "red lines before Iran," Romney says he would draw the same line in the sand as Obama, George Stephanopoulos reports for ABC News: "My red line is Iran may not have a nuclear weapon." Stephanopoulos pointed out that President Obama also says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon and asked Romney if he therefore has the same "red line" as Obama? "Yes," Romney said.

3) Two of Romney's most senior foreign policy advisers, Eliot Cohen and Richard Williamson, claim that Romney's red line is different from what he told Stephanopoulos, the New York Times reports. Asked specifically how Romney's foreign policy differs from that of the Obama administration, Romney's advisers said that he would have already told Iran that he would not allow it to come close to building a bomb. But they did not say where the red line was. A Romney campaign spoke said Gov. Romney's red line is "Iran having a nuclear weapons capacity," [which of course is different from what Romney told Stephanopoulos, although the spoke claimed they were the same - JFP.]

4) Netanyahu wants to make the size of Iran's stockpile of close-to-bomb-grade uranium the threshold for a military strike by the U.S. against its nuclear facilities, the New York Times reports. Obama has rejected this demand. Basing a military judgment on Iran's stockpile of medium-enriched uranium could be tricky, because while the overall amount of this material has increased, the amount that can be readily used to fuel a bomb has declined since Iran converted some of it into plates to be used in a research reactor in Tehran, the Times notes.

5) A new report by a bipartisan group of foreign policy experts concluding that a U.S. or Israeli military strike would not stop and would likely accelerate Iran's nuclear program while risking a wider war is likely to reinforce U.S. opposition to a unilateral Israeli strike, Inter Press Service reports. The report was signed by former national security advisers Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Sandy Berger, and two former chiefs of the U.S. Central Command (CentCom), Gen. Anthony Zinni and Adm. William Fallon, as well as the former Deputy Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOC), Lt. Gen. Frank Kearney.

Besides Scowcroft, a former Air Force general who served as national security adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, other prominent Republicans included former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, former Trade Representative Carla Hills, and former Deputy Secretaries of State John Whitehead and Richard Armitage. Others signers who served in top national-security positions under Republican presidents included former U.N. Amb. Thomas Pickering, former Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, former Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs Edward Djerejian, former National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia Paul Pillar, and the former ambassador to Egypt, Frank Wisner.

6) Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat Obama, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels, the New York Times reports. Estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy has exceeded $153 million this year. That tally is nearly four times the $41 million spent by clean-energy advocates, the Obama campaign and Democratic groups to defend the president's energy record or raise concerns about global warming and air pollution.

The Climate Reality Project is not buying television ads at all, focusing instead on social media, training and organizing. "Whatever we would spend, it would just be washed away in this sea of fossil fuel money," said Maggie L. Fox, the group's chief executive. environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, are still running their own television commercials this year in support of Obama's policies. But "we are being outgunned by orders of magnitude," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. "There is just no way we can compete with some of the richest companies in the history of the world."

Honduras
7) A National Police spokesman said a suspect has been arrested in connection with the killing of journalist and gay rights activist Erick Martinez, EFE reports. 33 members of the media have been murdered in Honduras since 2003. A man was sentenced on Tuesday to 28 years in prison for the April 2010 murder of reporter Jorge Orellana. The sentence is the first handed down by a Honduran court in a case involving the killing of a journalist. At least 20 members of the LGTB community were murdered in Honduras between 2010 and 2011, but no one has been punished for the killings, the Human Rights Commissioner's Office said.

Israel/Palestine
8) Netanyahu's public outburst this week over America's unwillingness to issue an ultimatum to Iran has prompted some of the harshest American criticism of an Israeli leader in decades, writes Dan Ephron for the Daily Beast. The censures include a sharply worded letter from Senator Boxer, a withering editorial by former executive editor of The New York Times Bill Keller, and a raft of other denunciations from analysts and officials, including those ordinarily sympathetic to Israel's positions. The common thread in much of the commentary: that Netanyahu is maligning Obama in order to influence the outcome of the U.S. election in favor of Mitt Romney. Keller described Netanyahu's behavior as a form of "crude intervention in our politics." He said Obama, if reelected, is "unlikely to forget this exercise in manipulation by an Israeli leader he already has ample reason to mistrust."

Egypt
9) Egyptian President Morsi condemned the anti-Islam video that sparked protests around the Muslim world and also condemned the violent reactions to the video in his strongest language to date, the Washington Post reports. "We don't accept, condone, or approve at all for there to be attacks on embassies, consulates or people, or killing in any way," Morsi said.

10) In a letter to the New York Times, Khairat El-Shater, Deputy President of the Muslim Brotherhood, noted that the breach of the United States Embassy premises by Egyptian protesters is illegal under international law, and said the failure of the protecting police force has to be investigated.

Contents:
U.S./Top News
1) An eight-year war
Hannah Yi, PBS Need to Know, September 14, 2012
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/video/video-an-eight-year-war/14811/
[video at link.]

Drones have been a part of President Obama's war arsenal since his presidency began. The first drone strike under his administration took place in northwest Pakistan - just 72 hours after his inauguration. Since then there has been an estimated 300 drone strikes in Pakistan, according to The New America Foundation.

The majority of these drone attacks occur in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda and its affiliate militants often hide out in plain sight among civilians, often women and children.

Life in this region for civilians has long been difficult, between the war next door in Afghanistan and battles between the Pakistani military and militants. Moreover, there are few opportunities for economic advancement.

Drone strikes have added new elements to the already bleak environment: the flight of drones overhead, the fear of being targeted and the possibility of losing a loved one to a drone attack. Some Pakistani civilians, already traumatized by the conflict in the region, say they're now terrorized by the United States-led war on terror.

Need to Know's Hannah Yi traveled to Pakistan to investigate the impact that U.S. drone attacks are having on citizens in targeted areas. This report is a joint project between Need to Know and The International Center for Journalists, with funding by the Ford Foundation.

2) Romney on Iran: Share Same 'Red Line' As Obama
George Stephanopoulos, ABC News, Sep 14, 2012 6:57am
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/09/romney-on-iran-share-same-red-line-as-obama/

Mitt Romney has skewered President Obama's Iran policy. But in an exclusive interview, days after the Israeli Prime Minister criticized the U.S. for not putting "red lines before Iran," Romney told me he would draw the same line in the sand as Obama.

"My red line is Iran may not have a nuclear weapon. It is inappropriate for them to have the capacity to terrorize the world. Iran with a nuclear weapon or with fissile material that can be given to Hezbollah or Hamas or others has the potential of not just destabilizing the Middle East. But it could be brought here," Romney said. "Look, Iran as a nuclear nation is unacceptable to the United States of America," he said.

I pointed out that President Obama also says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon and asked Romney if he therefore has the same "red line" as Obama?

"Yes," Romney said.

The difference, Romney says, is what he would do to keep Iran from reaching the line.
[...]

3) Romney Statement on Iran at Odds With His Foreign Policy Advisers'
Ashley Parker, New York Times, September 14, 2012, 1:22 p.m.
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/romney-statement-on-iran-at-odds-with-his-foreign-policy-advisers/

As the turmoil in the Middle East thrust foreign policy to the forefront of the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney found himself at odds with his own foreign policy advisers. While two of his advisers in interviews said that Mr. Romney had a different "red line" on Iran from President Obama, Mr. Romney told ABC News that his red line is the same as that of the president.

"My red line is Iran may not have a nuclear weapon," Mr. Romney said, in an interview that was broadcast on Friday with George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America." "It is inappropriate for them to have the capacity to terrorize the world."

Though Mr. Romney has repeatedly said that he would have put in place "crippling sanctions" with Iran far before Mr. Obama did, the president has now also implemented sanctions, and Mr. Obama similarly draws his administration's red line at preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon.

When Mr. Stephanopoulos pointed out that Mr. Romney's red line was the same as the president's, Mr. Romney replied, "Yeah, and I laid out what I would do to keep Iran from reaching that red line."

Meanwhile, however, two of Mr. Romney's most senior foreign policy advisers, Eliot Cohen and Richard Williamson, were offering a far more muscular stance on Iran. Asked specifically how Mr. Romney's foreign policy differs from that of the Obama administration, Mr. Romney's advisers said that he would have already told Iran that he would not allow it to come close to building a bomb.

Mr. Romney, said Mr. Cohen, "would not be content with an Iran one screwdriver's turn away from a nuclear weapon." Though he did not say exactly where, in the development of nuclear capacity, Mr. Romney would draw his own red line, Mr. Cohen said that it would be far before Mr. Obama's own line - at the point of actual weaponization - and that it could be in a different place that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel draws it. "Once they get a weapon, or on the verge of getting it, it's too late," Mr. Cohen said.

The Romney campaign said Friday that there is no change in policy and pointed to the portion of the ABC News interview where he says that Iran should not have "the capacity to terrorize the world."

"As he said this morning, Gov. Romney's red line is Iran having a nuclear weapons capacity," said Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the campaign.

The campaign also claims that Mr. Stephanopoulous inadvertently mischaracterized Mr. Obama's position, saying it was the same as Mr. Romney's stance; that, they maintain, is the only reason Mr. Romney agreed that he had the same red line as the president. However, Mr. Stephanopoulos twice confirmed with Mr. Romney that he had the same red line as Mr. Obama, and twice Mr. Romney agreed.

"But your red line going forward is the same?" Mr. Stephanopoulos asked, a second time.

"Yes," came Mr. Romney's reply.

4) Obama Rebuffs Netanyahu on Setting Limits on Iran's Nuclear Program
Mark Landler and Helene Cooper, New York Times, September 13, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/world/middleeast/obama-rebuffs-netanyahu-on-nuclear-red-line-for-iran.html

Washington - President Obama on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to spell out a specific "red line" that Iran could not cross in its nuclear program, a senior administration official said, deepening the divide between the allies over how to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In an hourlong telephone conversation, this official said, Mr. Obama deflected Mr. Netanyahu's proposal to make the size of Iran's stockpile of close-to-bomb-grade uranium the threshold for a military strike by the United States against its nuclear facilities.

Mr. Obama, the official said, repeated the assurances he gave to Mr. Netanyahu in March that the United States would not allow Iran to manufacture a nuclear weapon. But the president was unwilling to agree on any specific action by Iran - like reaching a defined threshold on nuclear material, or failing to adhere to a deadline on negotiations - that would lead to American military action.

"We need some ability for the president to have decision-making room," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the talks. "We have a red line, which is a nuclear weapon. We're committed to that red line."
[...]
The source of the conflict is the belief by Mr. Netanyahu that Iran, having continued to stockpile uranium enriched to 20 percent, is nearing the point at which Israel will no longer be able to prevent it from making a bomb.

Administration officials contend that the United States will still be able to detect, and prevent, Iran from passing that point. Nor does the administration have evidence that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has even made a decision to build a bomb. Iran, for its part, insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes.

Israel's latest burst of anxiety about Iran comes in the midst of the American presidential election, leading some analysts to argue that Mr. Netanyahu is trying to use political leverage on Mr. Obama to stiffen his position. His Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has accused Mr. Obama of not doing enough to protect a close ally.

Israeli officials flatly deny that Mr. Netanyahu is playing election-year politics. They said the prime minister was deeply frustrated by a recent interview with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in which she said the United States was "not setting deadlines."

People with close ties to Israel say Mr. Netanyahu and other Israeli officials are also frustrated because the Americans do not appear sufficiently concerned about Iran's growing stockpile of medium-enriched uranium. In its latest report, the International Atomic Energy Agency says the Iranians have amassed enough low- and medium-enriched uranium that, with further enrichment, could fuel as many as six nuclear weapons.

Basing a military judgment on Iran's stockpile of medium-enriched uranium could be tricky, however, because while the overall amount of this material has increased, the amount that can be readily used to fuel a bomb has declined since Iran converted some of it into plates to be used in a research reactor in Tehran.
[...]
Israeli officials appear reluctant to act without the backing of the United States. Mr. Netanyahu faces deep divisions within his own country about the wisdom of a military strike. On Thursday, Israel's deputy prime minister for intelligence and atomic affairs, Dan Meridor, appeared to undercut Mr. Netanyahu, saying in an interview with Israeli Army radio, "I don't want to set red lines or deadlines for myself."

5) U.S., Israeli Attacks Unlikely to Destroy Iran's Nuclear Programme
Jim Lobe and Jasmin Ramsey, Inter Press Service, Sep 13 2012
http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/09/u-s-israeli-attacks-unlikely-to-destroy-irans-nuclear-programme/

Washington - While U.S. or Israeli air strikes may delay the building by Iran of a nuclear weapon, they are unlikely to prevent it altogether and could well prove counter-productive, according to a major new report signed by nearly three dozen former top U.S. foreign-policy makers, military officers, and independent experts.

The 56-page report, "Weighing Benefits and Costs of Military Action Against Iran," concluded that a unilateral Israeli attack could delay Iran's nuclear programme for up to two years while a more massive U.S. assault could set it back by up to four years.


But either effort is also likely to provoke both direct and indirect retaliation by Tehran – both in the region and beyond; destroy the U.S.-led international coalition that has imposed harsh economic sanctions against Iran; and increase the country's determination to acquire a weapon.

"(A) military action involving aerial strikes, cyber attacks, covert operations, and special operations forces would destroy or severely damage many of Iran's physical facilities and stockpiles," according to the report, which was signed by three former national security advisers and two former heads of the U.S. Central Command, among others.

"But in our judgment, complete destruction of Iran's nuclear program is unlikely; and Iran would still retain the scientific capacity and the experience to start its nuclear program again if it chose to do so."

"…In fact, we believe that a U.S. attack on Iran would increase Iran's motivation to build a bomb, because 1) the Iranian leadership would become more convinced than ever that regime change is the goal of U.S. policy, and 2) building a bomb would be seen as a way to inhibit future attacks and redress the humiliation of being attacked," according to the report, which was unveiled at the Wilson International Center for Scholars here Thursday.
[...]
The Obama administration has made little secret of its strong opposition to a unilateral Israeli strike for many of the reasons listed in the new report.

If anything, the report will likely reinforce that opposition, particularly given the prominence of many of its signers, among them, former national security advisers Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Sandy Berger, and two former chiefs of the U.S. Central Command (CentCom), Gen. Anthony Zinni and Adm. William Fallon, as well as the former Deputy Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOC), Lt. Gen. Frank Kearney.

Besides Scowcroft, a former Air Force general who served as national security adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, other prominent Republicans included former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, former Trade Representative Carla Hills, and former Deputy Secretaries of State John Whitehead and Richard Armitage.

Others signers who served in top national-security positions under Republican presidents included former U.N. Amb. Thomas Pickering, former Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, former Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs Edward Djerejian, former National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia Paul Pillar, and the former ambassador to Egypt, Frank Wisner.

The report itself stressed that it was "not an advocacy document", but rather an effort to "depoliticize discussion of a highly charged issue" and provide a summary of "informed analysis and opinion" regarding key questions that should be answered before any military action is undertaken.

Shared assumptions, it noted, included the notion that a nuclear-armed Iran would "pose dangerous challenges to U.S. interests and security, as well as to the security of Israel"; that Tehran has twice sought to secretly expand its nuclear programme; and that military force should be used as a "last resort".

The report, the product of six months of discussions, concluded that if Iran decided to "dash" for a bomb – a decision that has not yet been made and that, account to the report, U.S. intelligence agencies would likely detect – Tehran would need one to four months to produce enough weapons-grade material to produce one bomb and an additional two years to build a nuclear warhead that could be reliably delivered by a missile.

"(E)xtended military strikes by the U.S. alone or in concert with Israel could destroy or severely damage the six most important known nuclear facilities in Iran, setting back Iran's nuclear program for up to four years," it found. "Our informed estimate is that a military strike by Israel alone could delay Iran's ability to build a bomb for up to two years."

If Washington's aim was to ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear bomb, "the U.S. would need to conduct a significantly expanded air and sea war over a prolonged period of time, likely several years," it found.

"If the U.S. decided to seek a more ambitious objective, such as regime change …or undermining Iran's influence in the region, then an even greater commitment of force would be required to occupy all or part of the country."

Such a commitment, it warned, would require more than what Washington has already "expended over the past 10 years in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined", according to the report.
[...]
But the costs of such an attack could be very high indeed. "While some argue that that Iran might hold back using force in order to avoid provoking a larger scale conflict, we believe that Iran would retaliate, costing American lives; damaging U.S. facilities in the region; and affecting U.S. interests in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf, and elsewhere," the report noted, adding that Iran would also "hold Israel partly responsible for any attacks, whether or not Israeli forces participated in military action."

Tehran would likely act against both the U.S. and Israel indirectly, as well, using "well-armed proxies such as Hezbollah or Shiite militant groups in Iraq" to retaliate.

International support for sanctions and isolating Iran would likely break down, while an attack could also "introduce destabilizing political and economic forces in a region already experiencing major transformations," according to the report.

It also warned that unilateral U.S. action "could further alienate Muslims and others worldwide, reinforcing the view that the United States resorts too often to military force," and offering new recruitment opportunities to radical Islamist groups, including Al-Qaeda.

As for the possibility of an attack sparking regime change, "we conclude that U.S. and/or Israeli strikes are more likely to unify the population behind the government than to generate resistance," the report said.

6) Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign
Eric Lipton and Clifford Krauss, New York Times, September 13, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/us/politics/fossil-fuel-industry-opens-wallet-to-defeat-obama.html

Washington - When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming.

As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president's former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets.

This year's campaign on behalf of fossil fuels includes a surge in political contributions to Mitt Romney, attack ads questioning Mr. Obama's clean-energy agenda, and television spots that are not overtly partisan but criticize administration actions like new air pollution rules and the delay of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

"Since Obama became president, gas prices have nearly doubled," said one advertisement by the American Energy Alliance, a group financed in part by oil executives. "Tell Obama we can't afford his failing energy policies."

With nearly two months before Election Day on Nov. 6, estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy has exceeded $153 million this year, according to an analysis by The New York Times of 138 ads on energy issues broadcast this year by the presidential campaigns, political parties, energy companies, trade associations and third-party spenders.

That tally is nearly four times the $41 million spent by clean-energy advocates, the Obama campaign and Democratic groups to defend the president's energy record or raise concerns about global warming and air pollution. The Times rated presidential campaign and national policy ads by whether they promoted fossil fuels or pushed clean energy and conservation, regardless of their sponsors, using ad and spending data compiled by Kantar Media, a company that tracks television advertising.
[...]
Mr. Obama's policy decisions on the Keystone pipeline and clean air rules did not win him friends in the fossil fuel world, either. Many of the industry's titans are going all out to elect Mr. Romney, who has promised to open up more land and coastline to oil and gas drilling, end wind and solar power subsidies and curb regulations that discourage burning coal for electricity.

"The stakes are high," said Steve Miller, the recently retired president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which has spent about $12 million on pro-coal television ads, according to the Kantar data. "Our goal is to assure that whoever is elected will have seen a groundswell for coal in swing states."

The Times analysis shows that ads with energy themes have played an outsized role in the 2012 campaign season, with energy earning more frequent mentions than every other issue except jobs and the economy.

Energy first emerged as a major advertising topic during the last presidential election. Back then, one of the biggest spenders was the Alliance for Climate Protection, an environmental group backed by former Vice President Al Gore that spent an estimated $32 million on ads urging legislation to combat global warming.

This year, the alliance, now called the Climate Reality Project, is not buying television ads at all, focusing instead on social media, training and organizing. "Whatever we would spend, it would just be washed away in this sea of fossil fuel money," said Maggie L. Fox, the group's chief executive.

Other clean-energy players, particularly from the solar industry, are also keeping a low profile after Solyndra, a California solar module manufacturer that received half a billion dollars in federal loans, declared bankruptcy and became a favorite Republican target.

Certain environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, are still running their own television commercials this year in support of Mr. Obama's policies. And the wind industry is on a campaign to win renewal of a major tax credit. But "we are being outgunned by orders of magnitude," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. "There is just no way we can compete with some of the richest companies in the history of the world."
[...]

Honduras
7) Honduran police arrest suspect in killing of journalist
EFE, September 13, 2012
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2012/09/13/honduran-police-arrest-suspect-in-killing-journalist/

A suspect has been arrested in connection with the killing of journalist and gay rights activist Erick Martinez, whose body was found in May in eastern Honduras, a National Police spokesman said.

Eduardo Lopez, suspected of being one of the individuals involved in Martinez's murder, was arrested on Wednesday in Tegucigalpa's El Pedregal district, the National Police spokesman told Efe.

An arrest warrant was issued on Sept. 3 for Lopez in connection with the killing of Martinez, who worked with the Asociacion Kukulcan, a gay and lesbian organization, and founded the Diversity Resistance Movement, or MDR.
[...]
The journalist and gay rights activist ran for a seat in Congress from Francisco Morazan province on the ticket of the People's Refounding Force, or FRP, a movement of the Liberty and Refounding Party, or Libre, which emerged from the National People's Resistance Front, or FNRP, organized after the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, 2009.

A total of 33 members of the media have been murdered in Honduras since 2003, but the killers have gone unpunished, the National Human Rights Commission says.

A man was sentenced on Tuesday to 28 years in prison for the April 2010 murder of reporter Jorge Orellana in the northern city of San Pedro Sula.

The sentence is the first handed down by a Honduran court in a case involving the killing of a journalist.

At least 20 members of the lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual, or LGTB, community were murdered in the Central American country between 2010 and 2011, but no one has been punished for the killings, the Human Rights Commissioner's Office said.

Israel/Palestine
8) Has Bibi Netanyahu's Criticism of Obama's Iran Policy Gone Too Far?
The Israeli prime minister's recent remarks about Washington's Iran policy has subjected him to strong rebukes in the U.S.
Dan Ephron, Daily Beast, September 14, 2012
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/14/has-bibi-netanyahu-s-criticism-of-obama-s-iran-policy-gone-too-far.html

Benjamin Netanyahu has had his share of run-ins with the White House through the years. But his public outburst earlier this week over America's unwillingness to issue an ultimatum to Iran has prompted some of the harshest American criticism of an Israeli leader in decades.

The censures include a sharply worded letter from a U.S. senator, a withering editorial by the former executive editor of The New York Times, and a raft of other denunciations from analysts and officials, including those ordinarily sympathetic to Israel's positions.

The common thread in much of the commentary: that Netanyahu is maligning President Obama (though not by name) in order to influence the outcome of the U.S. election in favor of Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate.

While Netanyahu denied the charge and has since softened his tone, the episode marked further deterioration in his relationship with the U.S. administration, and it could well have adverse consequences for the Israeli leader if Obama is reelected in November.

"It appears that you have injected politics into one of the most profound security challenges of our time-Iran's illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons," wrote Barbara Boxer, the Democratic senator from California, in a note addressed to Netanyahu's office.

"I am stunned by the remarks that you made this week regarding U.S. support for Israel. Are you suggesting that the United States is not Israel's closest ally and does not stand by Israel? Are you saying that Israel, under President Obama, has not received more in annual security assistance from the United States than at any time in its history?" she wrote, striking a tone that is almost never heard on Capitol Hill when it comes to Israel.

Senator Boxer was referring to Netanyahu's remarks at a Jerusalem ceremony earlier this week, where he condemned the "international community" for failing to specify red lines that, once crossed, would prompt a U.S. strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Because Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had rejected the idea of issuing ultimatums just a day earlier, Netanyahu's statement was seen as directed at the United States.
[...]
Bill Keller, who edited The New York Times until last year and remains an opinion writer with the newspaper, described Netanyahu's behavior as a form of "crude intervention in our politics." He said Obama, if reelected, is "unlikely to forget this exercise in manipulation by an Israeli leader he already has ample reason to mistrust."
[...]

Egypt
9) Morsi remarks on Mideast violence
Ingy Hassieb, Washington Post, 11:58 AM ET, 09/13/2012
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/morsi-remarks-on-mideast-violence/2012/09/13/0fc1c930-fdb8-11e1-a31e-804fccb658f9_blog.html

While speaking at the European Commission in Brussels Thursday, Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi condemned the recent video that sparked protests around the Muslim world. Demonstrators say it insults Islam and the prophet Mohammed. But Morsi also condemned the violent reactions to the video in his strongest language to date.

Morsi repeatedly stressed Egypt is able to secure diplomatic delegations and visitors on its soil, directing his message of peace toward "the whole world."

Excerpts from his speech follow:

"Muslims and Christians in Egypt are equal citizens and have the same rights… We are cautious about those principles and human values, also respecting visitors and respecting tourists... and respecting and protecting diplomatic delegations and private and public properties, and not attacking them.

"Freedom, and ensuring safety of self, and protecting this freedom and people and preserving property is the responsibility of the Egyptian nation."

He continued: "The Egyptian nation is capable now of protecting people's opinions and allowing them breathing room, as well as protecting diplomatic delegations and all foreigners, visitors, tourists, embassies and consulates in Egypt."

"I see in Egypt and the Arab and Islamic world a severe anger toward the violations made by a very small number of individuals. They have insulted the prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him. We stand very strongly against this. We don't agree with or approve this, and we stand against anyone who tries to raise such false slogans and create these disturbances, tension and hatred between populations."

"Those [people] are not accepted, not by people in Egypt nor other Arab and Islamic countries, nor by their own people. I affirm that the American people reject this and I've called on them to declare their rejection of them, at the same time with our rejection of those bad practices that bring harm and not benefit."

"At the same time, we don't accept, condone, or approve at all for there to be attacks on embassies, consulates or people, or killing in any way."

"We want to cooperate with the entire world and we are cooperating now with the E.U. and the European people and with the American people and others and the U.S. administration to prevent such practices in the future. Also, we insist on the protection of persons, properties and embassies. The Egyptian people are very civilized and could not ever express their rejection of such practices with an attack on an embassy or person or consulate."

Morsi also said that he came to an agreement of cooperation with the EU, and that, as a friend of Egypt, the EU would help the country with its democratic transition, whether on a political or economic level. He said that they also agreed on the necessity of trying to find a way to end the "bloodshed" in Syria and help the country through its democratic transition based on the wishes and ambitions of the Syrian people.

10) 'Our Condolences,' the Muslim Brotherhood Says
Khairat El-Shater, Letter To the Editor, New York Times, September 13, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/opinion/our-condolences-the-muslim-brotherhood-says.html

Today's world is a global village; nations are closer than ever before. In such a world, respect for values and figures - religious or otherwise - that nations hold dear is a necessary requirement to build sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships.

Despite our resentment of the continued appearance of productions like the anti-Muslim film that led to the current violence, we do not hold the American government or its citizens responsible for acts of the few that abuse the laws protecting freedom of expression.

In a new democratic Egypt, Egyptians earned the right to voice their anger over such issues, and they expect their government to uphold and protect their right to do so. However, they should do so peacefully and within the bounds of the law.

The breach of the United States Embassy premises by Egyptian protesters is illegal under international law. The failure of the protecting police force has to be investigated.

We are relieved that no embassy staff in Cairo were harmed. Egypt is going through a state of revolutionary fluidity, and public anger needs to be dealt with responsibly and with caution. Our condolences to the American people for the loss of their ambassador and three members of the embassy staff in Libya.

We hope that the relationships that both Americans and Egyptians worked to build in the past couple of months can sustain the turbulence of this week's events. Our nations have much to learn from each other as we embark on building the new Egypt.

Khairat El-Shater
Deputy President, Muslim Brotherhood
Cairo, Sept. 13, 2012

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there's no doubt that Netanyahu is a war monger and has no respect for any opinions that will dilute his support from the Zionist that seem not to be able to envision a peaceful multi ethnic society. Of course there needs to be freedom of expression and protection of all sides from radical s that won't accept universal human rights, but it's necessary to keep trying to create a world of equality - legally and economically that respects the limits of this small planet to provide a home and safe conditions for all people to come together to solve their mutual problems.

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