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The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story

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  • The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story




    Saturday, March 13, 2010 - 11:05 PM
    Posted By Mark Perry

    On Jan. 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide, 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM's mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) "too old, too slow ... and too late."


    The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus's instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. "Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling," a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. "America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding." But Petraeus wasn't finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command -- or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus's reason was straightforward: with U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region's most troublesome conflict.

    [UPDATE: A senior military officer denied Sunday that Petraeus sent a paper to the White House.

    "CENTCOM did have a team brief the CJCS on concerns revolving around the Palestinian issue, and CENTCOM did propose a UCP change, but to CJCS, not to the WH," the officer said via email. "GEN Petraeus was not certain what might have been conveyed to the WH (if anything) from that brief to CJCS."

    (UCP means "unified combatant command," like CENTCOM; CJCS refers to Mullen; and WH is the White House.)]

    The Mullen briefing and Petraeus's request hit the White House like a bombshell. While Petraeus's request that CENTCOM be expanded to include the Palestinians was denied ("it was dead on arrival," a Pentagon officer confirms), the Obama administration decided it would redouble its efforts -- pressing Israel once again on the settlements issue, sending Mitchell on a visit to a number of Arab capitals and dispatching Mullen for a carefully arranged meeting with the chief of the Israeli General Staff, Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi. While the American press speculated that Mullen's trip focused on Iran, the JCS Chairman actually carried a blunt, and tough, message on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: that Israel had to see its conflict with the Palestinians "in a larger, regional, context" -- as having a direct impact on America's status in the region. Certainly, it was thought, Israel would get the message.

    Israel didn't. When Vice President Joe Biden was embarrassed by an Israeli announcement that the Netanyahu government was building 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem, the administration reacted. But no one was more outraged than Biden who, according to the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, engaged in a private, and angry, exchange with the Israeli Prime Minister. Not surprisingly, what Biden told Netanyahu reflected the importance the administration attached to Petraeus's Mullen briefing: "This is starting to get dangerous for us," Biden reportedly told Netanyahu. "What you're doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace." Yedioth Ahronoth went on to report: "The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel's actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism." The message couldn't be plainer: Israel's intransigence could cost American lives.

    There are important and powerful lobbies in America: the NRA, the American Medical Association, the lawyers -- and the Israeli lobby. But no lobby is as important, or as powerful, as the U.S. military. While commentators and pundits might reflect that Joe Biden's trip to Israel has forever shifted America's relationship with its erstwhile ally in the region, the real break came in January, when David Petraeus sent a briefing team to the Pentagon with a stark warning: America's relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America's soldiers. Maybe Israel gets the message now.

    Mark Perry's newest book is Talking To Terrorists

    [UPDATE 2--from Mark Perry: A senior military officer told Foreign Policy by email that one minor detail in my report, "The Petraeus Briefing" was incorrect: a request from General Petraeus for the Palestinian occupied territories (but, as I made clear, not Israel itself), be brought within CENTCOM's region of operation was sent to JCS Chairman Mullen - and not directly to the White House. My information was based on conversations with CENTCOM officials, who believed they were giving me correct information. It is significant that the correction was made, not because it is an important detail, but because it is was inconsequential to the overall narrative. In effect, the U.S. military has clearly said there was nothing in this report that could be denied.]

    http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/pos...he_whole_story

    --------------------

    Very interesting. I have been saying this for a while, I don't see what US is getting from Israel other than intel and arms sell with AIPEC being second strongest lobby in US (second to military lobby) and most politicans ignoring America's interests. I agree with this notion that Israeli actions are putting US troops in danger and Israel don't seem to care. I don't see US abondening Israel but I am hoping that this blind allience comes to an end.

    White House should take the warning seriously.
    B0zkurt Hunter

  • #2
    Re: The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story

    The white house and everything in the usa is run by hrias, this is just some acting bs. The USA never did and never will get anything good out of Isreal. Its not considered a weapon sale when we give them the money and they use it to buy weapons lol. Isreal has been putting USA in danger for ever now (did we forgget 911?), we are to do its dirty work while it sits back and watches young pregnant palastinian mothers bleed to death (its the hria national passtime).
    Hayastan or Bust.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story

      This report is actually very hush hush. The media is even reporting wrong info about the VP Biden's visit.

      Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
      The white house and everything in the usa is run by hrias, this is just some acting bs. The USA never did and never will get anything good out of Isreal. Its not considered a weapon sale when we give them the money and they use it to buy weapons lol. Isreal has been putting USA in danger for ever now (did we forgget 911?), we are to do its dirty work while it sits back and watches young pregnant palastinian mothers bleed to death (its the hria national passtime).
      The trend among Americans seems to be changing.
      B0zkurt Hunter

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story

        I read the report a few days ago. While I wish it would bring about real change in u.s.-israeli relations, it is highly unlikely to do such a thing. The only way this situation will change is if the military is no longer led by civilians who are basically bought and sold by special interests. However, one has to wonder how many American patriots are still left in the high echelons of the U.S. military.
        For the first time in more than 600 years, Armenia is free and independent, and we are therefore obligated
        to place our national interests ahead of our personal gains or aspirations.



        http://www.armenianhighland.com/main.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story

          http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/po...s#commentspace
          For the first time in more than 600 years, Armenia is free and independent, and we are therefore obligated
          to place our national interests ahead of our personal gains or aspirations.



          http://www.armenianhighland.com/main.html

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story

            Originally posted by Armanen View Post
            I read the report a few days ago. While I wish it would bring about real change in u.s.-israeli relations, it is highly unlikely to do such a thing. The only way this situation will change is if the military is no longer led by civilians who are basically bought and sold by special interests. However, one has to wonder how many American patriots are still left in the high echelons of the U.S. military.
            I am sure most of them are patriots but even their hands are tied and commited to certain degree. You can see the frustration in the Generals.

            The influences from the special interest groups must turn down its level, specially from foreign countries.......with more power given to the people.
            B0zkurt Hunter

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story

              Originally posted by Eddo211 View Post
              The influences from the special interest groups must turn down its level, specially from foreign countries.......with more power given to the people.

              And that's not going to happen.
              For the first time in more than 600 years, Armenia is free and independent, and we are therefore obligated
              to place our national interests ahead of our personal gains or aspirations.



              http://www.armenianhighland.com/main.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story

                Through this whole issue people always ignore the facts.

                1. Israel has nuclear weapons
                2. Israel has the most powerful (and technologically advanced) military in the middle east
                3. Palestinians and the neighbouring nations are no threat (militarily) to Israel which the events of the 6 day war proved
                4. Israeli's have the power, Palestinians have none
                5. Israel is run by right wing xxxs and Israeli nationalists

                So essentially it's stupid to think that if the US tries to cut ties that Israel will stop what it wants to do, it won't. People can pass resolutions and complain but nothing will change. Try to force Israel (considering the people in power) they would have no qualms pushing the button and nuking Iran, Syria and its neighbours to dust if they tried to invade and destroy Israel.

                The only real change can come from within Israel itself, rather than responding with violence and hatred; it would be far more effecive to respond with peaceful protests (like the independence protests of India) and try and gain the help of leftist Israeli's (though few in number). The existence of militant groups in Israel gives the military the excuse to occupy the areas in which Palestinians live; and stifles any effort by leftist groups to show Palestinians as helpless civilians.

                Also one fact I find is that any military action or war taken against Israel simply causes even more extreme Israeli's to come to power and to isolate or try to undermine Israel would make the situation 100x worse and give even more power to right winger's and nationalists in Israel. You might say the war with Lebanon was nothing more than a tool to gain votes by creating an atmosphere of fear.
                Last edited by hipeter924; 03-18-2010, 08:33 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story

                  Originally posted by Armanen View Post
                  And that's not going to happen.
                  It is all a matter of accountability..........all must be held responsible for their action in all spheres of government afairs and scapegoating should not be tolerated. Anyway I do agree with you in regards to giving more power to the Generals in Washington.

                  Nothing like retired Generals or politicians to tell it like it is.

                  ---------------------

                  The Poodle Gets Kicked
                  March 15, 2010

                  By Patrick J. Buchanan


                  Actually, Joe set himself up. From the moment he set foot on Israeli soil, our vice president was in full pander mode.

                  First, he headed to Yad Vashem memorial, where he put on a yarmulke and declared Israel “a central bolt in our existence.”

                  “For world xxxry,” Joe went on, presumably including 5 million Americans, “Israel is the heart. … Israel is the light. … Israel is the hope.”

                  Meeting Shimon Peres the next day, Joe confessed that when he first visited at age 29, “Israel captured my heart.”

                  In Peres’ guestbook, he wrote, “The bond between our two nations has been and remains unshakeable.”

                  He then told Peres and the world, “There is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security.”

                  As Peres spoke, Biden took notes. When Peres called him “a friend,” Joe gushed, “It’s good to be home.”

                  Even at AIPAC, they must have been gagging.

                  Walking around the corner to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office, Joe called him by his nickname, “Bibi,” declared him a “real” friend and said the U.S. relationship with Israel “has been and will continue to be the centerpiece of our policy.”

                  Then the sandbag hit.

                  Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced construction of 1,600 new apartment units in Arab East Jerusalem. Stunned and humiliated, Biden issued a statement saying he “condemned” the decision.

                  He then retaliated by coming late to dinner at Bibi’s house.

                  Netanyahu has apologized for the timing, but they are going ahead with the apartments. What are the Americans going to do about it? At this point, nothing but bluster.

                  Indeed, a day later, at Tel Aviv University, Joe was back at it: “(T)he U.S. has no better friend … than Israel.”

                  On his departure for Jordan, Ha’aretz reported that Israel plans to build 50,000 new homes in East Jerusalem over the next few years.

                  Biden may feel he was played for a fool, and Americans may feel jilted, but we got what grovelers deserve. And if we wish to understand why the Arabs who once respected us now seem contemptuous of us, consider that battered-spouse response to a public slap across the face.

                  Consider also the most remarkable statement of Biden’s first 24 hours.

                  “Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the United States and Israel.”

                  Biden is saying we are a more effective force for Mideast peace in a region where Arabs outnumber Israelis 50 to one if everyone knows we sing from the same song sheet as Israel and have no policy independent of Israel’s.

                  How can America be seen as an honest broker between Arabs and Israelis if there is “no space” between America and Israel?

                  Even with the closest ally in our history, Britain in World War II, there was space between Winston Churchill and FDR on where to invade — North Africa, Italy, France, the Balkans? — whether to beat Stalin to Berlin, Prague and Vienna, who should be supreme allied commander, even whether the British Empire should survive.

                  Israel keeps its own interests foremost in mind, and when these dictate actions inimical to U.S. interests, Israel acts unilaterally. David Ben-Gurion did not seek Dwight Eisenhower’s permission to attack Egypt in collusion with the French and British in 1956, enraging Ike.

                  Israel did not consult JFK on whether it could steal enriched uranium from the NUMEC plant in Pennsylvania for its atom bomb program.

                  Israel did not consult us on whether it could attack the USS Liberty in the Six-Day War, or suborn Jonathan Pollard to loot our security secrets, or transfer our weapons technology to China. They went ahead and did it, knowing the Americans would swallow hard and take it.

                  Ehud Olmert did not consult President-elect Obama on whether to launch a war on Gaza and kill 1,400 Palestinians. Nor did Netanyahu consult us before Mossad took down the Hamas minister in Dubai.

                  What Netanyahu and Yishai are telling Obama with their decision to keep building on occupied land is, “When it comes to East Jerusalem and the West Bank, we decide, not you.”

                  And if Netanyahu has jolted Joe and others out of their romantic reveries about Israel, good. At least now we no longer see as through a glass darkly.

                  Israeli and U.S. interests often run parallel, but they are not the same. Israel is concerned with a neighborhood. We are concerned with a world of 300 million Arabs and a billion Muslims. Our policies cannot be the same.

                  If they are, we will end up with all of Israel’s enemies, who are legion, and only Israel’s friends, who are few.

                  And if our policy and Israel’s are one and the same, the Arab perception will be what it is today — that America cannot stand up to Israel, even when her national interests command it.

                  Joe’s performance before he got the wet mitten across the face only underscored the point: The mighty superpower is a poodle of Israel.

                  http://buchanan.org/blog/the-poodle-gets-kicked-3731
                  Last edited by Eddo211; 03-19-2010, 06:09 AM.
                  B0zkurt Hunter

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story

                    There was a speech a while back where Sharon said something along the lines of "we control America" and he ranted on for quite a while about n a pretty shocking and pompous way.

                    Found it.

                    Sharon to Peres: "Don't worry about American pressure; we control America"

                    Occupied Jerusalem: 3 October, 2001 (IAP News)

                    An acrimonious argument erupted during the Israeli cabinet weekly
                    session last week between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and
                    his foreign Minister Shimon Peres during which Sharon reportedly
                    yelled at Peres, saying "don't worry about American pressure, we
                    control America."

                    According to Israel radio (in hebrew) Kol Yisrael, Peres warned
                    Sharon Wednesday that refusing to heed incessant American
                    requests for a cease-fire with the Palestinians would endanger
                    Israeli interests and "turn the US against us."

                    At this point, a furious Sharon reportedly turned toward Peres,
                    saying "every time we do something you tell me Americans will do
                    this and will do that. I want to tell you something very clear,
                    don't worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the xxxish
                    people control America, and the Americans know it."

                    The radio said Peres and other cabinet ministers warned Sharon
                    against saying what he said in public because "it would cause us
                    a public relations disaster."
                    http://www.wrmea.com/html/newsitem_s.htm

                    Comment

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