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Purveyor

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

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Iran, Israel and the US election

By Anne Penketh - 02/21/12 09:31 AM ET

Foreign leaders don’t cast a vote in American elections. But they do have the opportunity to influence the outcome.

In the case of the showdown over Iran’s nuclear program, both Iran and Israel are closely watching the U.S. election. Their actions in the coming months and their calculations about President Obama’s reelection chances will undoubtedly help determine the outcome.

Here’s the way I look at it. The Obama administration wants quiet on the foreign-policy front before Nov. 6. Two wars are being wound down and the administration is averse to a third with particularly unpredictable consequences. So from there to believing that Obama’s reelection chances could be scuttled by Israeli strikes against Iran is just a short step. Cue visit by the national security adviser, Tom Donilon, to plead with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against acting any time soon.

U.S. intelligence leaders said on Capitol Hill last week that the Israeli government has not yet decided whether to carry out military strikes on Iran. I believe that the Israeli calculation will have as much to do with the U.S. presidential election as to the much-discussed window of opportunity based on Iran’s uranium enrichment program. And that political determination has not yet been made by Israel, even though Netanyahu has hardly bothered to conceal his preference for anyone-but-Obama.

MORE...

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/presidential-campaign/211703-iran-israel-and-the-us-election

Bibi: Arab Spring Inflating Israel's Defense Costs

By JTA
Published February 21, 2012.

The Islamistization of the Arab Spring movement has placed “enormous pressure” on Israeli defenses and progress in the peace process, Benjamin Netanyahu told American Jewish leaders.

The Israeli prime minister, speaking Sunday night to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations’ annual meeting in Jerusalem, said his country’s economy must continue to grow to support financing of the increased defense needs.

Netanyahu said that when the revolutions across the Arab landscape began, he heard criticism that he was not optimistic enough.

“I think optimism is being realistic and addressing things as they are, and we looked at it with sober eyes and we said it might go to the Google generation, but it might not. It might go to the Islamist direction. And by and large it has,” he said.

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http://forward.com/articles/151704/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=The%20Forward%20Today%20%28Monday-Friday%29&utm_campaign=Daily_Newsletter_Mon_Thurs%202012-02-22

Experts Say Iran Attack Is Irrational, Yet Hawks Are Winning the Debate

From the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the head of Mossad, the experts are speaking out against attacking Iran over its nuclear program, but hawks like the GOP presidential candidates are drowning out the warnings.

by Peter Beinart Feb 21, 2012 4:45 AM EST

The debate over whether Israel should attack Iran rests on three basic questions. First, if Iran’s leaders got the bomb, would they use it or give it to people who might? Second, would a strike substantially retard Iran’s nuclear program? Third, if Israel attacks, what will Iran do in response?
Mideast Iran Nuclear

The vast majority of people opining on these questions—myself very much included—lack the expertise to answer. We’ve never directed a bombing campaign; we have no secret sources in Tehran; we don’t spend our days studying the Iranian regime. So essentially, we decide which experts to trust.

As it happens, both the American and Israeli governments boast military and intelligence agencies charged with answering exactly these sorts of questions. And with striking consistency, the people who run, or ran, those agencies are warning—loudly—against an attack.

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http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/21/experts-say-iraq-attack-is-irrational-yet-hawks-are-winning-the-debate.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_morning&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_morning&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet

Karzai: No Agreement with U.S. Until Night Raids End

MOSCOW, February 20 (RIA Novosti)

Night raids conducted by U.S. troops in Afghanistan remain a major stumbling block to a U.S.-Afghan agreement on long-term strategic cooperation, the Afghan media reported on Monday.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai received a delegation of U.S. lawmakers led by Senator John McCain in Kabul on Sunday. Karzai reiterated that he wants an end to the night raids and the transfer of U.S.-run prisons to the Afghan authorities before signing any pact.

The Afghan authorities have no say in the night raids, in which the U.S. military is liable to break into any home it suspects of harboring people linked to the Taliban. Karzai has repeatedly said that he will not sign the agreement without an end to the night raids.

U.S. officials have tried to for more than a year to conclude a partnership agreement that would include a role for U.S. soldiers beyond 2014, after NATO forces are due to leave Afghanistan.

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http://en.rian.ru/world/20120220/171418877.html

Poll: Democrats Have A "Pretty Good Chance" Of Taking Back Michigan House

X-post from Politics 2012 forum:

LANSING – State Democrats say a new poll showing that the party has “a pretty good chance of retaking control of the House” shows Michigan voters are unhappy with the Republican agenda.

But GOP leaders say the poll is produced by a Democratic organization, and they’re confident state House representatives will win their districts and remain in control.

The MIRS capitol news service reported Friday that the survey from Public Policy Polling shows Democrats ahead by 14 points in a generic legislative ballot.

“Democrats should have a pretty good chance at retaking control of the House there this fall,” the firm wrote in its analysis, according to MIRS.

MORE...

http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/02/poll_democrats_have_a_pretty_g.html


http://www.democraticunderground.com/125114308

Poll: Democrats Have A "Pretty Good Chance" Of Taking Back Michigan House

LANSING – State Democrats say a new poll showing that the party has “a pretty good chance of retaking control of the House” shows Michigan voters are unhappy with the Republican agenda.

But GOP leaders say the poll is produced by a Democratic organization, and they’re confident state House representatives will win their districts and remain in control.

The MIRS capitol news service reported Friday that the survey from Public Policy Polling shows Democrats ahead by 14 points in a generic legislative ballot.

“Democrats should have a pretty good chance at retaking control of the House there this fall,” the firm wrote in its analysis, according to MIRS.

MORE...

http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/02/poll_democrats_have_a_pretty_g.html

Dennis Ross’ ‘Red Line’ To The White House

By Barak Ravid

Last week I published an article in Haaretz which stated that Dennis Ross, who had left the White House in November after more than two years as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region, is still advising President Barack Obama even in his old-new position as a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Following the report, two independent sources approached me – one an Israeli academic, and the second a U.S. official. Both sources divulged a small, but very significant detail that clarified just how much Ross is still involved in framing U.S. policy regarding Israel and the Middle East.

Apparently, a short while after Ross left his position in the Obama administration, the White House made an unusual request to install a secure phone line in Ross' office at the Washington Institute. The secure line is known in Israel as a "red phone", which could be used to discuss confidential information without the risk of wiretapping.

In America, the term “red telephone” brings back memories of the Cold War and apocalyptic films such as of Dr. Strangelove. Guarded telephones in the U.S. Department of State as well as those in the White House are mostly white or gray. One of them sits in Dennis Ross’ office in his research institute, through which Ross receives updates regarding classified government information connected to his profession. There aren’t many independent researchers that receive such privileges.

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http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/diplomania/dennis-ross-red-line-to-the-white-house-1.410054

Iran Holds Anti-Air Exercises Defending Nuclear Sites

(AFP) – 4 hours ago

TEHRAN — Iran's military announced on Monday it has launched four days of manoeuvres in the south of the country aimed at boosting anti-air defences protecting nuclear sites.

"These exercises aim to reinforce the integrated abilities of the country's anti-air defences," said a statement from the Katem-ol-Anbia military air base coordinating Iran's anti-air and ballistic missile systems.

Missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, radars and warplanes were being deployed, it said.

The declaration, reported by the official news agency IRNA, came as officials from the UN nuclear watchdog were holding talks in Tehran on Iran's suspect nuclear programme which has unsettled the West and Israel.

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http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hJwHDOH0JgPDOQfVYeBXN-Np8BXg?docId=CNG.f13de0108ae1c7f81766bf946431112b.6b1

White House: Netanyahu, Obama To Meet In Washington On March 5

U.S. President Barack Obama will host a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on March 5, the White House said on Monday, a session that will likely center on the West's efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions.

A White House statement rounding up the recent Israel visit by Obama's National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, which announced the date for the upcoming meeting, indicated that the top advisor discussed the "full range of security issues of mutual concern" during his meetings with Israeli leadership.
Netanyahu Obama - GPO - 20.5.11

"The visit is part of the continuous and intensive dialogue between the United States and Israel and reflects our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security," the statement added.

Donilon's visit, as well as the planned Netanyahu-Obama meeting, came at a time of intense speculation concerning the possibility that Israel may initiate a strike against Iran's nuclear weapons over its fears the Islamic Republic is progressing toward nuclear weapons capability.

MORE...

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/white-house-netanyahu-obama-to-meet-in-washington-on-march-5-1.413816

Obama Team Expects GOP Attack Over Rising Gasoline Prices

By Michael D. Shear
The New York Times
Posted: 02/19/2012 01:00:00 AM MST

WASHINGTON — Rising gasoline prices, trumpeted in foot-tall numbers on street corners across the country, are causing concern among advisers to President Barack Obama that a budding sense of economic optimism could be undermined just as he heads into the general election.

White House officials are preparing for Republicans to use consumer angst about the cost of oil and gas to condemn his energy programs and buttress their argument that his economic policies are not working.

In a closed-door meeting last week, Speaker John Boehner instructed fellow Republicans to embrace the gas-pump anger they find among their constituents when they return to their districts for the Presidents Day recess.

"This debate is a debate we want to have," Boehner told his conference Wednesday, according to a Republican aide who was present. "It was reported this week that we'll soon see $4-a-gallon gas prices. Maybe higher. Certainly, this summer will see the highest gas prices in years. Your constituents saw those reports, and they'll be talking about it."

MORE...

http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_19996809
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