Obama, Hamas, Obama's circle, and Iran's grand strategy

By Soren Dayton Posted in | | | Comments (22) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Much has been written about the firing of Bob Malley by Barack Obama's campaign. Commentary's Jen Rubin asks one of the most important questions. What do Obama's statements on Iran and the Palestinian question have to do with expressions of support?

Hamas endorsed Obama. It is worth considering why. Is it because he favors direct, presidential talks with Hamas’ sponsor Iran? Or because Hamas sees him as lacking resoluteness or as excessively sympathetic to the Palestinian cause? And it’s not as if Hamas is an isolated case of fringe groups and individuals favoring Obama.

Consider Jen's first question in the context of this from today's Washington Times, quoting a Hamas official:

"What happened in Gaza in 2007 is an achievement; now it is happening in 2008 in Lebanon. It's going to happen in 2009 in Jordan and it's going to happen in 2010 in Egypt," Sheik Khader said in an interview. "We are seeing a redrawing of the map of the Middle East where the forces of resistance and steadfastness are the ones moving the things on the ground."

An Israeli legislator sees something quite concrete in this "redrawing":

"What is going on in Lebanon at this hour is actually the overthrow of Lebanon by Hezbollah. The democratic Lebanese government will become a puppet government — an Iranian dream," said Ze'ev Boim, a lawmaker from Israel's governing Kadima party. "It is particularly awful to see an Iranian battalion on the northern border of Israel."

Note that Hamas sees "the forces of steadfastness ... advancing" while an Israeli legislator sees this in terms of "an Iranian battalion on the northern border of Israel." A fundamental question for the next President is how he will respond to this "steadfast" pressure from Iran. Enter a view of Barack Obama that has currency in Arab and pro-Palestinian circles, courtesy of an LA Times story entitled "Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama":

And yet the warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor's going-away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say.

It is important to consider how a view of Barack Obama that has currency in the Middle East connects with Iran's strategy on the ground. Read on.

The LAT story describes the evening and Obama's toast to Khalidi, a negotiator for the Palestinians in the Oslo Accords and a fundraiser for Barack Obama in 2000:

It was a celebration of Palestinian culture -- a night of music, dancing and a dash of politics. Local Arab Americans were bidding farewell to Rashid Khalidi, an internationally known scholar, critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights, who was leaving town for a job in New York. ... A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. ...

His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases. . . . It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table, "but around "this entire world."

What would it mean in a year with a President Obama to have this conversation after 2007 in Gaza, 2008 in Lebanon, 2009 in Jordan, and 2010in Egypt, as Sheik Khader told the Washington Times? What would a "conversation ... around this entire world" look like?

Now I am not arguing that Obama will work with the Iranians or their agents, Hamas and Hezbollah. But when President Obama enters office on a promise to withdraw from Iraq, Iran advancing directly and through its proxies in the region, and a new President who is understood as uniquely open to a Palestinian perspective, how will that be viewed in the region? Who will have won?

Perhaps the Iranians are just thinking ahead?

Surprisingly, as pointed out by another commenter recently, there are a large number of Jewish Americans that are not pro-Israel.

Now also found at The Minority Report

I'm not voting for Obama but this is not one of the reasons why. I'm glad he's more open to the Palestinian point of view. President Bush has also been so and is the first sitting President to call for an independent Palestinian state. Being pro Israel does not mean always siding with current Israeli government.

Of course, all of that discussion is moot if we can get John McCain elected in November.

No Republican has gotten that big a share since Ronald Reagan in 1980 against anti-Israel Jimmy Carter. Getting 2/3 of the Jewish vote is an ominous sign for Obama.

“.....women and minorities hardest hit”

LAST WEEK had a Gallup poll showing Obama 62% to McCain 32% in the general election. This is with difficulty in accurately predicting who is a jew and ascertaining their votes. It was Kerry 77% Bush 24% in 2004..

McCain will get more Jewish votes than any US presidential nominee other than perhaps Reagan in 1980..

"Small town folks get bitter after which they cling to guns or religion, or antipathy to people who aren't like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment."

I said the split was 2/3 to 1/3. I was writing based on my memory of the Gallup poll. I'm happy to hear that Obama's share of the Jewish vote appears to be lower than John Kerry's

Israeli government is being to weak, not too aggressive.

The fact that neither the U.S. President nor the Israeli Prime Minister is raising much of a fuss about Lebanon is really really bad news.

Lebanon could be much better example of ME democracy than Iraq will ever be. However, the opportunity is passing as many people flee or become convinced to back the strong horse . . .

We need to get comfortable saying it, 'cuz it's true.

Senator Obama, here's
Descriptive text here
A multi-culti msg 4 u!

So, gullible, yet so Democratic!

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it"-Winston Churchill

for issues related to international affairs.

Samantha Powers - fired for calling Hillary a monster but she was as much a sore point on Mideast issues as she was on campaign comments. She was as anti-Israeli as anyone except maybe Jeremiah Wright.

Austan Goolsby - straddling the fence between economics and foreign affairs on the NAFTA issues with Canada.

These problems may be the result of inexperience, but perhaps not. It seems that Obama maintains deniability while others make overtures on his behalf.

I had a friend in high school whose sole job on the basketball team was to go out when coach said and foul someone if needed or take a foul if needed, whatever advanced the team's cause.

Sounds like Sen. Obama has a few "foul guys" on his team.

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people."
A. Lincoln

Obviously I don't know what the Iranians are thinking.

But I do know what I read on the left-wing blogs like Daily KOS and HuffPo and TPM Cafe and so on.

And what they are saying is:

1. The U.S. must put more pressure on Israel to reach a settlement with the Palestinians (these leftists never think we need to pressure the Palestinians or other Muslims, just Israel)

2. They expect that as President, Obama will do just that. Which is another reason (besides Iraq) that they support him and not Hillary, whom they regard as beholden to the "Israel lobby".

Evidently Obama has given off certain signals to his supporters that he will be the least pro-Israel, and maybe the most anti-Israel, President since Jimmy Carter. That conflicts with his public statements. But his supporters are getting those signals from somewhere.

So here is a good example of Hamas’ main backer cheerleading for Obama and using his quotes directly. Frankly, it appears to me they make the most of his inexperience and Democrats general proclivity to use Iraq without intellectual intervention or objective consideration as a negative;

The Illinois senator, battling Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, told war commander General David Petraeus and US ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker that a "diplomatic surge" was needed "that includes Iran."

"Because if (Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki) can tolerate normal neighbor-to-neighbor relations in Iran, then we should be talking to them as well," Obama said in a crucial Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing.

"I do not believe we're going to be able to stabilize the situation without them. (Iran)"

Here are some quotes which show the dangerous, contra intellectual nature of that position;

Conner's axiom – never fight unless you have to – looms over policy discussions today over rogue nations like Iran that support terrorism; that is a destabilizing force throughout the Middle East and Southwest Asia and, in my judgment, is hellbent on acquiring nuclear weapons.

Another war in the Middle East is the last thing we need. And in fact, I believe it would be disastrous on a number of levels. But the military option must be kept on the table, given the destabilizing policies of the regime and the risks inherent in a future Iranian nuclear threat – either directly or through nuclear proliferation.
SecDef Gates at West Point, 21st April

Or this;

Iran's handwriting is all over the wall from the chemical to the nuclear arms program in Syria. Indeed, in research conducted last year as part of an article published in Washington's The Examiner, this reporter delved into Syrian's secret nuclear program, making the point that Syria might actually be "Plan B" for Iran. By helping develop nuclear sites in Syria, strikes on Iran might turn out to be useless. This was a smart strategy until Israel bombed the Syrian nuclear site on September 6 and made the world notice.
ME Times, Nov. 2007

So we have the Democratic Speaker traveling to Syria and their likely Presidential Candidate moving away from democratic endeavors such as Iraq purely for political, populist appeal. This is a grotesque failure to comprehend factual, tangible realities which are building blocks for basic, lucid and solidly grounded foreign policy. In a dangerous world do we trust our future safety to such sophomoric, political appeals encased within specious mantras of “change”. Hardly, this is an assault on common sense and call for return to the policies of past failures typified by Jimmy Carter. It is a “change” that will be our downfall and yield nothing but further encouraging the proliferation of radical forces behind a veil of fallacious, platitudinous diplomacy.

Barack Obama will not be sensible or tough with respect to Middle East foreign policy. His statements and posture to date prolifically bear witness to that characterization. It is this latter point which drives Hamas and other radicals to his side; not some hidden affection for their philosophy. It is a recipe for utter and complete disaster which helped encourage detestable acts such as the September 11th attacks. I for one, will never stand idle or silent while such ignorant and destructive philosophy is hidden behind catch phrases meant to disquise real intent.

"Nec Aspera Terrent"
bene ambula et redambula
Contributor to The Minority Report

Strangely enough, I think the Clinton Administration tried to be sensible, and as tough as it could be, given the temper of the 90's.

Nobody ever truly believed we were at war with those people, and America was at peace. Given the tenor of those innocent days, I'm not surprised at the rather relaxed reaction to Jihadist provocation.

Obama has the benefit of history to examine, and what the jihadi say to each other. His sense of relaxation in this regard is unforgivable.

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it"-Winston Churchill

Obama and Hamas together in the title again? I believe that there is a huge difference between being open to a palestinan perspective (as Bush was by proposing a two-state alternative, or Rice was by saying that Israeli settlement expansion was hurting any peace process) and being a puppet of Iran.

Hamas won the popular election. We may not like it, but as of the last test, the popular sentiment agreed with them. Which is scary, but is nevertheless the reality. No solution will be possible without their inclusion. If we ignore Hamas, they will have no other connection, no other alternative, than to those who are willing to deal with them. Like Iran.

Why should we deal with Hamas at all?

No solution is possible with the inclusion of Hamas since their Charter actually requires the destruction of Israel.

The idea that we have to deal with Hamas is erroneous.

You should visit memri.org and look at what passes for cartoons shown to "Palestinian" children. There is not going to be any kind of "deal" in the next 50 years.

If Joseph Cirincione has been discussed on RS before, can someone please provide a link? I have been waiting to see this guy's name pop up here, but haven't run across it yet. Thanks for your indulgence in advance.

Joseph Cirincione, director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress. Cirincione has been described in media reports as a top nuclear advisor to Obama. But he characterizes his role as writing occasional memos to Obama's campaign.

thus McCain supports the Burmese government and supression of democracy!


That, of course, is not true and is based on deceptively relevant sounding evidence that doesn't really support the conclusion. Let us be cautious with our accusations, shall we?

but neither supports the respective conclusions: that McCain supports Burma or Obama supports Hamas.

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