Middle East moments: If U.S. doesn’t stop Iran, Israel might; and Jimmy Carter’s Syrian connection

Two magazine articles on the Middle East are making news today.

First, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has this:

In an interview conducted shortly before he was sworn in today as prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu laid down a challenge for Barack Obama. The American president, he said, must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—and quickly—or an imperiled Israel may be forced to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities itself.

“The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told me. He said the Iranian nuclear challenge represents a “hinge of history” and added that “Western civilization” will have failed if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh has taken a look at thawing relations between the U.S. and Syria, and the role that former President Jimmy Carter has played with a late 2008 trip to the Middle Eastern country:

A senior White House official confirmed that the Obama transition team had been informed in advance of Carter’s trip to Syria, and that Carter met with Obama shortly before the Inauguration.

The two men—Obama was accompanied only by David Axelrod, the President’s senior adviser, who helped arrange the meeting; and Carter by his wife, Rosalynn—discussed the Middle East for an hour. Carter declined to discuss his meeting with Obama, but he did write in an e-mail that he hoped the new President “would pursue a wide-ranging dialogue as soon as possible with the Assad government.”

An understanding between Washington and Damascus, he said, “could set the stage for successful Israeli-Syrian talks.”

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4 comments Add your comment

SickoftheTyranny

March 31st, 2009
2:32 pm

Nice of Netanyahu to define our priorities for us! I say: Let Israel do whatever it thinks appropriate and, if that runs afoul of US objectives, let Israel do it without the benefit of US foreign aid money.

Lee

March 31st, 2009
3:06 pm

Remember the Liberty!!!!

Not one thin dime of aid to Israel. Let Israel stand or fall on their own two feet and quit dragging the US into every petty squabble they get themselves into.

Allen

March 31st, 2009
5:23 pm

Sorry Bibi, but Obama is president of THIS country. His priorities include our economy and our national security. If that means not paying billions in dollars and sacrificing our security to back whatever nonsense you want to engage in, I guess you’re on your own.
In other words, you’re bluffing.

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

April 1st, 2009
4:44 pm

I think that Hamas are a bunch of terrorists.

But, BUT, remind me what exactly we’re getting out of our alliance with Israel again? I mean we’re giving them billions every year, and another few billion to keep Egypt friendly, and then they elect Dick Cheney….no, more like Bill O’riely as foreign minister….

So….its OK to hold the people of Gaza responsible for electing terrorists, but it isn’t OK to hold Israel responsible for electing trigger happy psychotics?

Hmm.