Obama’s Middle East speech
Or same song, different verse.
Not much new in this that I was able to discern, especially about Israel. While claiming that the Palestinians have some responsibilities and the Hamas/Fatah reconciliation is troubling, most of the onus for peace is once again placed on Israel with the claim that it should withdraw to the ‘67 borders. Of course the last time they agreed to a withdrawal and did so, they paid a price for it. Doubt this is going to fall for that again.
Couple of interesting things to note. Speaking of Libya:
As I said when the United States joined an international coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in Iraq just how costly and difficult it is to impose regime change by force – no matter how well-intended it may be.
About “Arab spring”:
Indeed, one of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides need not lead to conflict. In Iraq, we see the promise of a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian democracy. There, the Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence for a democratic process, even as they have taken full responsibility for their own security. Like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. As they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner.
Hmmm … anyone else spot a little contradiction here?
Back to the now officially “illegal” war in Libya:
Unfortunately, in too many countries, calls for change have been answered by violence. The most extreme example is Libya, where Moammar Gaddafi launched a war against his people, promising to hunt them down like rats. As I said when the United States joined an international coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in Iraq just how costly and difficult it is to impose regime change by force – no matter how well-intended it may be.
But in Libya, we saw the prospect of imminent massacre, had a mandate for action, and heard the Libyan people’s call for help. Had we not acted along with our NATO allies and regional coalition partners, thousands would have been killed. The message would have been clear: keep power by killing as many people as it takes. Now, time is working against Gaddafi. He does not have control over his country. The opposition has organized a legitimate and credible Interim Council. And when Gaddafi inevitably leaves or is forced from power, decades of provocation will come to an end, and the transition to a democratic Libya can proceed.
Two points – one, massacres in Iraq, using the Obama reasoning here, were already ongoing. Anyone, was Saddam hunting down opposition like “rats”? Er, yeah. So, what’s the beef with doing what Obama attempts to sell here for that reason only? And if Iraq was a dumb war, notwithstanding the same thing happening as in Libya, does that make Libya a dumb war (as well as “illegal”)?
Two – How does he know that “the transition to a democratic Libya” will be the result? And how does he plan to ensure it?
Obama gave Syria and Iran a tongue lashing, but I expect little else to occur in terms of action. Some sanctions will be imposed which, as they always do, hurt the poorest in the nation. He also mentioned Bahrain and Yemen in the speech.
Conspicuously absent from his bombast was any criticism of Saudi Arabia.
Like I said, nothing much new in the speech.