Posts Tagged ‘session’

‘I was just (de) briefed by Israelis!’

June 25th, 2012 Comments off

“… Mitt Romney told donors attending his campaign’s Utah retreat that he is briefed on the Middle East by Israeli government officials.About 50 of the 700 donors who attended the retreat this weekend in Park City were Jewish, according to one in attendance.
Many of these attended a breakout session Friday afternoon on the U.S.-Israel relationship, although between half and three quarters of the 100 donors attending the session were not Jewish.
Romney dropped in on the session, and said he had just been briefed by the Israeli ambassador, Michael Oren, speaking about, among other issues, the situation in Syria, the elections in Egypt and the effort to isolate Iran.…..
Addressing the U.S.-Israel session were William Kristol, a founder of the Emergency Committee for Israel which recently ran ads accusing Obama of not doing enough to stop Iran; Michael Chertoff, the Bush administration Homeland Security Secretary, who is Jewish; and Norm Coleman, the former U.S. senator from Minnesota, who is also Jewish.
To attend the retreat, donors either had to have donated $50,000 to the campaign or had to have raised $250,000.
GOP stars such as tactician Karl Rove, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen Jon Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the U.S. House of Representatives majority leader, were in attendance, a sign of a unified front after a rough primaries campaign.
There was kosher food on hand, and a Shabbat dinner for Jewish attendees..…”

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UAE minister meets counterparts in New York

September 25th, 2011 Comments off

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), met his counterparts from various countries on the sidelines of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly in
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Pakistani Parliament Reacts against US Incursions

May 14th, 2011 Comments off

Pakistan’s elected parliament held a 10-hour session on Friday and decided at the end of it that US incursions, including drone strikes, into Pakistan must cease. The American drone strikes in the northwest, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas have long been unpopular in parliament and with the general public (though in some of the FATA administrative divisions as few as 10% say they even care; some are more worried about al-Qaeda spreading local terrorism than about drones).

parliament said that if the drone strikes do not cease, it will take revenge by impeding the free passage of NATO materiel destined for landlocked Afghanistan.

In an unprecedented move, the Pakistani military allowed itself to be grilled by the civilian parliamentarians. Gen. Shuja Pasha, the current head of Inter-Services Intelligence, took responsibility for two major intelligence errors– failing to find Bin Laden even though he was in Abbotabad near the military academy, and failing to detect US helicopters coming into the country to carry out the mission against Bin Laden. Gen Pasha even offered to resign if the parliament asked that of him. Accountability and contrition and willingness to step down are not generally attributes of the Pakistani officer corps.

Many countries in the greater Middle East are characterized by ‘dual sovereignty.’ That is, there are two major seats of power, authority and legitimacy rather than just one. For decades, in Turkey the civilian, elected government was constrained by the power of the officer corps. The same thing was true in Pakistan. In Iran, the elected parliament and prime minister are constrained by the Supreme Leader, a cleric.

Since 2007, when military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf made the mistake of sacking the chief justice of the Supreme Court, civilian society has been gradually asserting itself against the military. It has had successes and failures. The Pakistan Spring of 2007-2008 force Gen. Musharraf from power and returned the country to the civilian political parties such as the Pakistan People’s Part, the Muslim League, the MQM, and so forth. Musharraf ultimately had to step down. But although the army went back to the barracks, and the civilian political parties came to power, the power of the army has been virtually unchecked nevertheless. In the Musharraf period, there was no dual sovereignty, since

We should not overestimate the significance of Friday’s parliamentary session. It is a little unlikely that parliament can effectively stop the drone strikes. And President Asaf Ali Zardari and his prime minister Gilani are both complicit in allowing the US to hit Pakistan, according to state department cables released by Wikileaks.

Still, Friday saw steps forward toward ending dual sovereignty and restoring a rule of law and civilian control over the military in Pakistan.

The US, which has long held that Pakistan should move to a more democratic system, is therefore in a conundrum. If parliament is asserting more prerogatives, this is a good thing from Washington’s point of view. But the assertion of those rights threatens US ability to act with impunity toward Pakistan and toward the Taliban in that country.

The drone strikes have long been questioned by civil libertarians and they should only continue if a) they are carried out by the Department of Defense, not the CIA (government officials cannot even discuss a classified CIA operation); and b) if there is a status of forces agreement between the US and Pakistan governing their use.

The Pakistani parliament will have done us all a great favor if it helped provoke this outcome.

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Abbas holds urgent talks ahead of UN settler vote (AFP)

February 18th, 2011 Comments off

A new housing project at the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in east Jerusalem. President Mahmud Abbas has called an urgent session of the Palestinian leadership after a top-level US bid to halt an appeal to the UN Security Council over settlements.(AFP/File/Menahem Kahana)AFP – President Mahmud Abbas called an urgent session of the Palestinian leadership on Friday after a top-level US bid to halt an appeal to the UN Security Council over settlements.

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‘Enough’s enough’ says Obama as he bypasses Congress to Syria …

December 29th, 2010 Comments off

“….Obama took the controversial step of forcing through the appointments of Ambassador Robert Ford and five other officials while the Senate — which normally needs to confirm nominations — was out of session. A senior administration official traveling with Obama on vacation in Hawaii justified the recess appointments, which are certain to irritate Republicans after both sides spoke of bipartisanship in the waning days of the last Congress.
“All administrations face delays in getting some of their nominees confirmed, but the extent of Republican obstruction of Obama nominees is unprecedented,” the official said on condition of anonymity…..
The administration sees Syria as a crucial link in diplomatic efforts to negotiate peace in the Middle East. It has also hoped to step up intelligence cooperation with Syria, while saying that Ford would directly air US concerns. Republicans, who swept November mid-term elections, have adamantly opposed the appointment….
Ford, who would likely head soon to Damascus, is a veteran US diplomat in the Arab world…”

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First session of Gulf Cooperation Council summit ends

December 7th, 2010 Comments off

Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) discussed political, economic, security and military issues Monday night in the first session of the 31st GCC Summit being held here in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
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The Dynasty’s ‘brain storming’ session

June 18th, 2010 Comments off
Categories: Arab Blogs Tags: , , ,

Jerusalem Old City Initiative: The Podcasts

May 7th, 2010 Comments off

I posted Wednesday about the Jerusalem Old City Initiative Conference Presentation MEI hosted that day, and linked to the Initiative’s own information-rich website. MEI’s podcasts of the event are now up, the first being the main presentation, the second the brainstorming session/Q&A part. I believe video may be forthcoming, but here’s plenty to listen to. Note: these links go straight to the MP3 podcasts, so use earphones if you’re in a group setting.

The Presentation

The Brainstorming Session

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In Malta, discussing Jerusalem

February 13th, 2010 Comments off

Well, on Thursday I was finally able to get out of Washington… I had a long layover in Munich yesterday and got here to Malta, to the U.N. conference on Palestine, about an hour after the start of the session I was scheduled to speak in… No matter, they were running hopelessly behind schedule, so the session started around 20 minutes after I appeared. I didn’t have time to print out my presentation but delivered it by read it on my laptop. Not ideal, but not too bad, I felt.

Wow. I’m really impressed with the U.N. information system. They already have a press release out about the session I took part in, and you can read there the words I would have delivered in dulcet tones had I not been rushing a little through the end of my presentation on Jerusalem. (I gave them the text on a thumbstick. Must get it back.)

Working on the paper, which I did Wednesday and in the Munich transit lounge yesterday, really helped me think through several things about the Jerusalem Question that have been rattling around inside my head for a while now. I argued there that thinking seriously about how to establish a fair and sustainable governance system in Jerusalem could actually help everyone perform the same task regarding the whole of the area of Mandate Palestine… And numerous people– going back to early work that Naomi Chazan, Rashid Khalidi, and others did ways back in the 1980s, and continuing until today– have done some good, often very fair-minded and visionary work on Jerusalem issues.

Within a two-state model for the whole of Mandate Palestine, Jerusalem could be either divided or shared under some form of a corpus separatum model, and I explored in the paper how we might design a CS 2.0 for Jerusalem that would not have the imperialistic overtones of CS 1.0. Dividing it between the two states would almost certainly be a horrendous process, and could lead to the prolongation of many of the gross inequities of the existing, settler-dominated order things there. (See, for example, the Geneva Initiative’s proposal for how to divide Jerusalem.)

It also would still require a huge amount of coordination between the governments of the two states– something that Mick Dumper underlined in this important recent essay.

Wouldn’t it be better, therefore, to go back to the old CS model and explore how that could work in the two-state context– which was, after all, the context in which the CS idea was first presented, during the Partition Plan of 1947, which remains the UN’s last definitive word on territory and governance issues in the whole of Mandate Palestine.

I note, too, that the EU has recently, slightly tentatively, revived its interest in the CS idea.

So you could look at how to devise a fair, sustainable CS model for Greater Jerusalem in the context of a two state solution… and each of the two states could indeed have its national capital well within the city.

My idea of this is laid out a bit more in my paper. As soon as I’ve cleaned it up a bit, I’ll upload it here for you all to see.

Alternatively, once you’ve done all that work on how to govern Jerusalem, why bother with preserving those other territorial units within Mandate Palestine (the rest of the independent states of Israel and Palestine)? Why not just expand the concept of the shared Jerusalem to the whole area and have one state in it that is equitably shared, accountably governed, and to which everyone with a legitimate claim on the land could return?

… Anyway, those were some of my ideas. I also underlined the perilous, extremely oppressive situation in which Jerusalem’s 260,000 Palestinians are currently forced to live and the hair-trigger nature of the situation in the city, which must be of great concern to the whole world community.

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UN body to debate Gaza ‘crimes’

October 8th, 2009 Comments off

The UN brings forward a Security Council session on the Middle East after Libya demands a Gaza war crimes debate.
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