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Posts Tagged ‘us taxpayer’

Egypt Raids 17 Human Rights NGOs: Did They Just Shoot Santa Claus?

December 29th, 2011 Comments off

The Egyptian military receives $1.3 billion annually from the US taxpayer. Today the Egyptian government raided 17 human rights organizations and NGOs, reportedly to investigate “foreign funding.” Employees are being detained in their offices, computers confiscated, etc. Among the 17 are the US-based National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute (both of which receive State Department funding), Freedom House, and others.

I am, however, doubtful that all these NGOs put together receive as much “foreign funding” as the Egyptian Armed Forces.

This is a sad day for human rights and civil society in Egypt. It also may be the day that SCAF shot Santa Claus.


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Obama: Peace in US interest

September 23rd, 2009 Comments off

Finally, he said it!

Just as I and some others have been urging him to do for some time now, today Pres. Obama said this about getting a final Israeli-Palestinian peace:

    It’s not just critical for the Israelis and the Palestinians; it’s critical for the world. It is in the interests of the United States. And we are going to work as hard as necessary to accomplish our goals.

Here’s why this is important. Under both Clinton and George W. Bush, the (Dennis Ross-inspired) mantra from the White House was always “We can’t want peace more than the parties themselves!”

That gave a complete veto to whichever of the two parties wanted to block or delay the peacemaking. Which in practice was nearly always the Israelis, as they continued their drive to steal the land from under the Palestinians’ feet and implant their own settlers on it (with generous continuing subsidies from the US taxpayer, no less.)

So now, finally Obama is saying not just– as he has said for so long– “We think this is in Israel’s interest” but also “It is in our interest, as Americans!”

Which means that next time the Israeli government tries to stall and say, “Oh, we can’t do this”, or Oh, we can’t move forward because we’re concerned about that”, Obama and his people can say, “We hear your concerns. But sorry, buster, we’re pursuing our own compelling interests in this peacemaking too, and this is how we need it to proceed!”

Shocking? Not really. I mean, haven’t you heard just a few times the Israelis telling us they’re going to pursue their own interests in the peacemaking?

Now, it is true that Obama only slid that line about peace being in the US’s own interests in at the end of the remarks he made today after the “three-way” with Netanyahu and Abbas, rather than putting them more prominently at the beginning.

And it’s true that for Abbas to agree to the three-way– and even more so, to agree to send his negotiators to start the negotiations in Washington next as Obama asked him to do– marks a significant concession on his longheld previous position, given that Israel’s land-grabbing policies in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank continue apace.

But still, as I have written a number of times, it is crucial for the final peace negotiations to get started– and even more crucial for them to get speedily and successfully finished.

And if that is to happen, then the US President needs to not only declare but also single-mindedly pursue the US’s own interest in seeing them concluded in a timely and sustainable fashion.

So today’s declaration was a good (though long overdue) start in that process.

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