Monday, February 2, 2009

Obama's Secret Meetings With Iran

By Findalis of Monkey in the Middle During the last campaign season it seems that now President Obama was conducting his own foreign policy. He had representatives meet with high officials of Syria and Iran, promising them what? And giving them what guarantees?

United States President Barack Obama employed representatives and experts to hold secret high-level talks with Iran and Syria months prior to his election as president, organizers of the meetings told Agence France Presse on Monday. Over the past few months, Obama campaign and election officials, as well as nuclear non-proliferation experts, had several "very, very high-level" contacts with Iranian leaders, according to Jeffrey Boutwell, executive director for the U.S. branch of the Pugwash group, a Nobel Prize-winning international organization of scientists. Former defense secretary William Perry, who served in Obama's election campaign, also participated in some of the meetings, which included discussions on Iran's nuclear program and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Though Boutwell refused to name other participants, he said they were senior figures in the Iranian and US governments. In his first television interview as president, conducted by the Muslim Al-Arabiya television network, Obama called Iranians "a great people," adding "the U.S. has a stake in the well being of the Muslim world." Syrian President Bashar al-Assad affirmed the reports Monday that Obama officials had repeated contact with his country for some time prior to the U.S. elections. "Dialogue started some weeks ago in a serious manner through personalities who are close to the administration and who were dispatched by the administration," Assad said. A group of experts, under the auspices of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) think tank, announced Thursday that they met for more than two hours in Damascus with President al-Assad. Obama transition team member and former Clinton White House adviser Ellen Laipson attended the meeting as well, they said.
Seeing that Obama is reaching out to the Muslim/Arab world, and seeing that his Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, was one of the biggest supporters of the Arab world, it is not surprising to me that Israelis do not see Obama as a friend, but one who is opposed to the very idea of Israel and is working towards its demise. As Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, dear friend of Obama has recently stated:
Accusing the Jewish state of "genocide," an anti-Israel Palestinian activist once commended by President Obama has predicted the end of Israel, which, he boasted, is "within reach, in our lifetimes."

In a piece earlier this month titled, "Why Israel won't survive," Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian online publication, accused Israel of war crimes and gloated, "Now, the other pillar of Israeli power – Western support and complicity – is starting to crack. We must do all we can to push it over."

"It is Israel as a Zionist state, not Palestine or the Palestinian people, that cannot survive this attempted genocide. Its problem is legitimacy, or rather a profound and irreversible lack of it," wrote Abunimah.

Abunimah previously was described as close to Obama and has introduced the politician at pro-Palestinian events. Referring to a time period in the late 1990s, Abunimah said that "Obama used to be very comfortable speaking up for and being associated with Palestinian rights and opposing the Israeli occupation."

Abunimah was quoted stating Obama was "quite frank that the U.S. needed to be more evenhanded, that it leaned too much toward Israel."

He noted Obama's unusual stance toward Israel, commenting "these were the kind of statements I'd never heard from a U.S. politician who seemed like he was going somewhere, rather than at the end of his career."

In his piece this month, Abunimah blasted Israel's three-week campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, accusing the Israel Defense Forces of "massacr[ing] civilians in the hope that the population would turn against those fighting the occupier."

Just another one of Obama's close friends. This one is closer to the President than Ayers, or Wright. And Obama receives his advice on the region from this man, not anyone else.

Obama screams that he wants an open government, but his actions speak volumes of the secrecy and deceit that he has and does employ.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton