Crisis Group President Jean-Marie Guéhenno discusses Syria and the UN on the BBC.
Showing posts tagged as "obama"
Showing posts tagged obama
Barack Obama looks to Muslim countries for help in crushing Isis | Ian Black
Barack Obama has called for a “broad-based international coalition” to “degrade and destroy” Islamic State (Isis) after the beheading of the American journalist Steven Sotloff. But it is not clear which countries would take part in such a grouping and, crucially, whether its mission would be limited to Iraq or include fighting the jihadis in their Syrian strongholds.
In Washington and London, government officials say they had long known that their nationals were being held hostage by the extremist group, so the latest killing, plus the now explicit threat to murder a UK captive, will not change their fundamental calculations.
Talk of building a coalition to tackle Isis has been in the diplomatic air for the past two weeks, but Obama gave deeper insight into his thinking on Wednesday: “The question is going to be making sure we have the right strategy but also making sure that we have got the international will to do it,” the president said. “What we have got to make sure is that we are organising the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world, along with the international community to isolate this cancer.”
FULL ARTICLE (The Guardian)
Photo: Christopher Dilts for Obama for America/flickr
Divisions, Harsh Realities Plague Obama’s Afghan Surge | Catherine Maddux
When President Obama took office six years ago, among the many burdens he inherited were two costly and complex wars: Iraq and Afghanistan.
He campaigned hard against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, calling it the “wrong war” and made good on a promise to end American involvement. The White House touts that as a crowning achievement despite Iraq battling insurgency and sectarian strife.
The other war — Afghanistan — has posed a different set of dilemmas for the president.
Just this week, Obama was reminded of the grim realities of 13 years of military engagement when a man dressed as an Afghan soldier killed a two-star American general, the highest ranking officer killed in combat since 1970, according to the Pentagon.
FULL ARTICLE (Voice of America)
Photo: The U.S. Army/flickr
Gaza tests US-Israel ‘special relationship’ | Gregg Carlstrom
Tel Aviv, Israel - The three-week-old Israeli offensive in Gaza has been turned into a full-fledged campaign to demilitarise the Strip, a war that for many Israelis involves not just Hamas but also John Kerry. The US secretary of state has become the target of unprecedented hostility over the past few days, since his failed attempt to broker a ceasefire and end a war that has killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, and 58 Israelis, most of them soldiers.
Kerry was publicly humiliated last week by the Israeli cabinet, which rejected his proposal hours before he was due to introduce it. Journalists picked up the campaign from there, dubbing him a “betrayer”, even an “alien”. The top diplomat of Israel’s main ally suddenly found himself labelled a friend of Palestinian faction Hamas.
"I’m not sure that we can trust Kerry in these negotiations," said Nir Shaul, sitting in a cafe off Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv, where there were few signs of the war raging an hour to the south. "Maybe it’s not him personally. Obama wants the war to end, he thinks Israel can reach an agreement with Hamas. It’s not realistic."
FULL ARTICLE (Al Jazeera)
Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/flickr
American aid to Israel doesn’t seem to buy any leverage. Why? | Zack Beauchamp
It’s been a bad year for US diplomacy in Israel-Palestine. Both major pushes by Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate some kind of deal — first the Palestinian Authority-Israel peace framework negotiations in mid-2014, then a Hamas-Israel ceasefire this weekend — have failed. About 24 hours after Kerry’s proposed cease fire fell apart, Kerry was still defending his approach from fierce Israeli and Palestinian criticism.
The US, it turns out, does not have quite as much ability to nudge its Israeli allies as you might think. The United States failed to get a permanent settlement freeze in 2009, couldn’t get Israelis to agree to a framework for peace negotiations the Palestinians would accept (and vice versa), and hasn’t made any headway on the “immediate ceasefire" in Gaza that President Obama has repeatedly called for. This all seems strange on the surface: the US is a superpower, provides about $3 billion in aid to Israel every year, and uses its veto to protect Israel at the United Nations when no one else will. So why hasn’t the US been able to force Israel to see things its way? Why does it appear to have so little leverage?
FULL ARTICLE (VOX)
Photo: Matty Ster/flickr
Obama-Rohani Handshake at UN Holds Promise Amid Danger | Indira A.R. Lakshmanan & Kambiz Foroohar
Next week’s United Nations gathering in New York offers Presidents Barack Obama and Hassan Rohani the chance to take a symbolic step beyond the hostility and distrust that have infused three decades of U.S.-Iran relations.
A breakthrough in the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and U.S.-backed economic sanctions is possible because of the new Iranian leader’s campaign to make over Iran’s image, marked by moves including the release of political prisoners and an exchange of letters with Obama.
Even a handshake between Obama and Rohani during the opening week of the UN General Assembly would be a milestone as the first direct encounter between the two nations’ leaders since relations ruptured during the 1979 Iranian revolution and U.S. embassy hostage crisis. It also would present risks and rewards for both sides.
FULL ARTICLE (Bloomberg)
Photo: Rob Young/Flickr
With Britain Out, Allies Abandon Obama on Syria | Nico Hines
If President Obama orders a military strike against Syria in the next few days, America will almost certainly be forced to act in isolation. The battle to secure a broad international coalition has collapsed in disarray as a swath of regular allies sought postponements or rejected the idea of firing missiles toward Damascus.
The drumbeats of war appeared to be strengthening in Washington, but recent partners from conflicts in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan have been backing away from direct involvement in the proposed military action against President Bashar al-Assad.
FULL ARTICLE (The Daily Beast)
Photo: The Prime Minister’s Office/Flickr
US must not miss new opportunity to engage with Iran
by Ali Vaez, Senior Iran Analyst
Squandering any opportunity for détente has been the norm in US-Iran relations during the past three decades. Iranians missed a major opening when President Obama came to power in 2009. Americans – especially as they meet with their allies in Brussels today to discuss next steps in nuclear negotiations with Tehran – should avoid a redux with Iran’s President-elect Hassan Rouhani.
Photo: Mojtaba Salimi / Wikimedia Commons
Next Up After U.S.-China Talks: The Details | Wall Street Journal
By Thomas Catan, Colleen McCain Nelson, and Jeremy Page
"There are a lot of broad statements and lofty hopes but the devil is always in the details," said Stephanie T. Kleine-Ahlbrandt, Northeast Asia project director and China adviser for the International Crisis Group. "We’ll have to see what comes out of the strategic and economic dialogue and what changes we see on the ground in terms of China’s relationship with North Korea."
Photo: US Army MWR/Flickr