Iran Deal Worth More than All U.S. Aid to Israel Since 1948

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The exact amount that Iran would gain through the unfreezing of its foreign assets is a matter of some dispute. The Israeli ambassador has put the number at $150 billion; the Obama administration puts the number at $50 billion, since some of Iran’s assets “have already been obligated, including for projects with China,” the New York Times reports. Others say the number is higher; Foreign Policy estimated the number at “north of $120 billion,” with an additional $20 billion per year in oil revenues, making the deal worth $420 billion over 15 years. Continue reading

Obama frowns on Egyptian army’s alignment with Gulf regimes, coming crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood

After US Secretary of State John Kerry was filmed vacationing on his yacht at the peak of the Egyptian crisis, President Barack Obama released this statement early Sunday, July 7: “The US is not aligned with and is not supporting any particular Egyptian political party or group and condemns “ongoing violence across Egypt.”  Obama made these points in a telephone conference with the National Security Council from Camp David.

Nothing was said about the general’s response. The military has along denied staging a coup, insisting it only stepped in to avert civil bloodshed and a provisional government would prepare the country for early elections.

Both parties to this exchange were putting on an act. For President Obama, the Muslim Brothers’ ouster was and remains unacceptable. By denying support for any particular party or group, he was also saying he wants no truck with the generals who made it happen. Continue reading

Obama plans to extract timetable for Israeli pullout from West Bank

JERUSALEM — U.S. President Barack Obama has demanded a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

Israeli sources said Obama, scheduled to arrive in Israel on March 20, wants a detailed Israeli withdrawal plan from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the president’s visit. The sources said the Israeli plan would be considered in what could be an imminent U.S. initiative to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank in 2014.

“Obama has made it clear to Netanyahu that his visit is not about photo-ops, but the business of Iran and a Palestinian state,” a source said. “The implication is that if Israel won’t give him something he can work with, then he’ll act on his own.Continue reading