|an ineffective foreign policy… obviously! The Ladies are all smiles, but they bite and scratch when backs are turned.
Kirchner and Clinton… Ha ha ha ha ha…..
With the help of Venezuela, there is reason to believe that Argentina is cooperating with Iran on its the nuclear issue in a deal that involves Argentina’s willingness to drop the accusations against Iran for the 1994 bombing in return for business.
In a confidential letter that was sent by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Foreign Relations Committee, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ros-Lehtinen sought to establish “status of any possible economic projects Argentina may be engaged in with Venezuela that may involve Iran.” Ros-Lehtinen also sought to establish “the extent of any nuclear cooperation that may be at play between Argentina, Venezuela and Iran.” The letter was co-signed by Florida’s Republican Congressmen Connie Mack and David Rivera. “We are writing to express our concerns about information that our offices have received about potential efforts by Iran of nuclear cooperation with Argentina, using Venezuela as its intermediary,” the three legislators wrote.
The existence of economic projects linking Iran, Venezuela and Argentina have long been known. Univision, a Spanish-language television network in the United States, mentions that, in the framework of this cooperation, Venezuela has launched a program for the development of at least 200 “socialist factories” through agreements with Iran and Argentina — mainly food processing plants and industrial equipment factories. Although the funding involved about $300 million, most of these factories have not been built and, very likely, will never be built. The suspicion is that financial resources have been diverted for different purposes: in particular that the so-called agricultural program is a cover-up operation to hide payments that have nothing to do with food factories.
In the past, Argentina and Iran maintained a nuclear cooperation agreement that, under pressure from U.S. President George Bush, was suspended in the early 1990s by then-President Carlos Menem, But more recently, Iran has become interested in acquiring scientific know-how and technology from the Argentine nuclear program. The Miami Herald reports that in 2007 Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had asked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, on a personal basis, to to use his good relations with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner to convince her to restart nuclear cooperation with Iran. Further, the website La Patilla published information about a meeting on February 6, 2010 between the Venezuelan vice President Elias Jaua and the Argentinean Planning Minister, Julio De Vido, close assistant to President Fernandez Kirchner, in which they discussed nuclear cooperation. Though the evidence implicating Argentina with Iran in nuclear development is yet not clear, last April the Argentinean paper Perfil reported that in a meeting last January with Iran’s ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Argentinean Foreign Minister, Hector Timerman, offered to drop investigations in Iran relating to the 1994 bombings in Buenos Aires against the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA). In return, it seems, Timerman’s desire was to deepen economic relations between Buenos Aires and Teheran.
According to Perfil, Syria then passed the Argentinean FM’s offer to Iran. In a leaked cable quoted by the newspaper, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi allegedly told the Iranian President that “Argentina is no longer interested in solving those two attacks, but in exchange prefers improving its economic relations with Iran.”
The AMIA bombing
This year marks the 17th anniversary of the AMIA bombing, which killed 87 people and injured more than 100, in 1994. Argentina was also hit by a terrorist attack in 1992; the bombing targeted the Israel Embassy in Buenos Aires, killed 29 people and wounded 242. In both events, Hezbollah and Iran are suspected of having perpetrated the terrorist attacks. To date, however, there has been no justice.. The person believed to be the bombings’s planner is Ahmad Vahidi, the current Iranian Defense Minister, who recently visited Bolivia after a controversial official invitation by Bolivian President Evo Morales.
The Iranian government recently said that is offering its help to “uncover the truth” behind the AMIA bombing. The Iranian Foreign Ministry wrote in a statement that “the ministry denounces the fact that the truth about the criminal action has become the target of plots and political games and that Argentine officials at the time, whose illegal actions have been disclosed and convicted by the court in this regard, misled judicial investigation and set the stage for the escape of real culprits behind the atrocity from the hands of justice through pointing a finger of blame at a number of nationals of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Despite these hypocritical remarks, and despite the fact that Iran says that the Argentinean justice leveled false allegations against Hezbollah and Iran, the current Argentinean government thanked Iran for offering its help. Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said that Iran’s offer is “an unprecedented and very positive step.” The Associated Press reported that Iran, which denies that Iranian citizens were involved, is even preparing its own report on the bombing and wants to begin a dialogue with the Argentines to help solve the case. Given the fact that in the past the Iranian government has accused the “Zionists” of perpetrating the 1994 bombing, the report will most likely bring paradoxical allegations that the “Jews” committed the attack against the Jewish center in Buenos Aires.
Still, the Argentinean FM Timerman said he is optimistic that Iran will help solve the case: “There is sufficient evidence to bring to trial various Iranian citizens, and we want to see if, through this dialogue, they will understand that we all have to submit ourselves to justice.” As some Argentinean media recently put it, Buenos Aires is apparently more interested in pursuing a rapprochement with Tehran, with all the good business that will follow, than pursuing the cause of justice. It is clear from Timerman’s words of appeasement that even a country such as Argentina, which suffered from terrorist attacks inspired by Iran, is willing to turn the page and open its doors to doing business with the Ayatollahs. What then are the chances for trade and military sanctions against Iran to succeed?
Iran looks to diversify allies in Latin America
The worries expressed by Ros-Lehtinen and her colleagues only add another tessera to the mosaic that Iran is preparing south of America’s doorstep. In response, the U.S. State Department answered Ros-Lehtinen with the following statement: “We have no evidence to support the claim that Venezuela serves as an interlocutor between Iran and Argentina on nuclear issues, nor that Argentina is granting Iran access to its nuclear technology. Argentina has long maintained a constructive position at the International Atomic Energy Agency with respect to Iran’s nuclear program”. There is no reason, unfortunately, to be reassured by the words of the State Department.
Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-Israeli political analyst, points out that, as Iran’s staunchest ally in Latin America, Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez, was diagnosed with a cancer, which means that the Venezuelan President might move further down in his alliance with Iran on its priority list. Chavez’s illness may be why Iran could try to forge a strong alliance with another important Latin American country:: Argentina. Although it is not yet clear whether Argentina is sending nuclear technology to Iran with the help of Venezuela, it is a reality that Teheran wants to diversify its relations in Latin America away from Venezuela.
For now, the Argentinean government is responding exactly as Iran wishes, as can bee seen in the Argentinean FM’s warm and friendly statements on Iran’s cooperation in the case of AMIA. Argentina is not just helping the mullahs’ regime by opening new doors in Latin America, it is also whitewashing Iran’s terrorist record, would leave hundreds of victims and their families permanently deprived of justice.
What incentive could the United States give Argentina to keep her from working with Iran? Follow the money! Good foreign policy would be to engage with Argentina as opposed to directly with terrorist groups.
image via hillary.foreignpolicy.com
Obama’s so called Neutrality invigorated socialists like Hugo Chavez to fight on Argentina’s side, but was it neutral or did Obama take their side? If there were a second Falklands war then our allies would not have the resources to fight our war in Afghanistan. These are not tiny Islands with penguins. This is one of the largest oil sources in the world. 60 billion barrels of oil is worth the oil of two large oil states (three times as much as the oil reserves of the United States)and Obama just wants to hand it over to OPEC? Venezuela and Argentina are in trouble financially because of their management irresponsibility and Obama just put a giant bulls-eye on the Falklands while he berates another friend.
In her meeting with left wing Argentinian President Christina Kirchner, Hillary Clinton could have quietly pressed her to back down. Instead Clinton endorsed a call for talks in order to resolve the status of the Falkland Islands. Which actually moved the United States away from supporting neutrality, and toward supporting the Argentinian position.
If Chavez and his allies get their hands on the Falklands oil, it will increase his leverage and power base. It will also inevitably raise the price of oil, which will further damage the US economy. That money will then be used to fuel terror in Columbia and raise up more Marxist regimes in Latin America. It will of course also be used to expand the Islamic-Marxist Red-Green alliance with countries such as Iran.
Vernet had been ceded Soledad Island (East Falkland) for commercial exploitation as payment for a debt the Buenos Aires Government owed him. Aside from Vernet’s worker, among which Argentinians were a minority, a few gauchos and adventurers lived in the Falklands.
Vernet’s daughter was the only person born in the Falklands during that precarious settlement. “Precarious” since there was no town hall, no churches, nor any civil society of any type. Aside from the couple of years of the Frenchman’s enterprise, there was nothing more than a pirate encampment.
In 1833 the Falklands had some 20 inhabitants of various nationalities. All were expelled by the British. Interestingly, shortly after, dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas offered more than once to cede the islands to the United Kingdom to pay off a debt Buenos Aires owed British banking institutions. However, London ignored the Argentinian claim or offer.
The Saudi government has tasked the head of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy with drawing up a cooperation agreement with Argentina regarding the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Source: ‘Okaz, Saudi Arabia, March 29, 2011
not sure this is a good thing. Argentina is very close to going to war over the Falklands again
|Kirchner and Presidents Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, in a 2006 summit in Brasilia.|
Latin America turned because Obama will not put his allegiance to America’s allies in writing. What loyalty can Latin America get from Obama? not a thing. They can get that loyalty from every enemy America has however.
Conclusion: America will be shocked when it realizes it has no friends, but how can we expect friends when we don’t ally ourselves with the friends we have?
Israelis can be excused for wondering why Brazil and Argentina unexpectedly announced they recognize an independent Palestinian state with its capital city in Israel’s capital city. Israelis can be forgiven for being taken by surprise by their move and by the prospect that Uruguay, and perhaps Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and El Salvador, will be following in their footsteps because the Israeli media have failed to report on developing trends in Latin America.And this is not surprising. The media fail to report on almost all the developing trends impacting the world. For instance, when the Turkish government sent Hamas supporters to challenge the IDF’s maritime blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza coastline, the media were surprised that Israel’s ally Turkey had suddenly become Hamas’s ally and Israel’s enemy.Their failure to report on Turkey’s gradual transformation into an Islamic supremacist state caused the media to treat what was a culmination of a trend as a shocking new development.The same is now happening with Latin America.Whereas in Turkey, the media failed only to report on the significance of the singular trend of Islamization of Turkish society, the media have consistently ignored the importance for Israel of three trends that made Latin America’s embrace of the Palestinians against Israel eminently predictable.Those trends are the rise of Hugo Chavez, the regional influence of the Venezuela-Iran alliance, and the cravenness of US foreign policy towards Latin America and the Middle East. When viewed as a whole they explain why Latin American states are lining up to support the Palestinians. More importantly, they tell us something about how Israel should be acting.OVER THE past decade Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez has inherited Fidel Castro’s mantel as the head of the Latin American anti-American club. He has used Venezuela’s oil wealth, drug money and other illicit fortunes to draw neighboring states into his orbit and away from the US. Chavez’s circle of influence now includes Cuba and Nicaragua, Bolivia, Uruguay and Ecuador as well as Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Peru. Democracies like Colombia and Chile are also taking steps in Chavez’s anti-American direction.Chavez’s choice of Iran is no fluke although it seemed like one to some when the alliance first arose around 2004. Iran’s footprint in Latin America has grown gradually. Beginning in the 1980s, Iran started using Latin America as a forward base of operations against the US and the West. It deployed Hizbullah and Revolutionary Guards operatives and other intelligence and terror assets along the largely ungoverned tri-border area between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. That staging ground in turn enabled Iran to bomb Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s.Iran’s presence on the continent allowed it to take advantage of Chavez’s consolidation of power. Since taking office in 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has developed strategic alliances with Venezuela and Nicaragua.With Chavez’s assistance, Teheran is expanding its web of alliances throughout Latin America at the expense of the US and Israel.On the face of it, Chavez and Ahmadinejad seem like an odd couple. One is a Marxist and the other is a messianic jihadist. But on closer inspection it makes perfect sense. They share the same obsessions with hating the US and loving power.Chavez has demonstrated his commitment to maintaining power by crushing his opponents, taking control over the judiciary and media, amending the constitution and repeatedly stealing elections.Meanwhile, the WikiLeaks sabotage campaign against the US gave us a first person account of the magnitude of Ahmadinejad’s electoral fraud.In a cable from the US Embassy in Turkmenistan dated 15 June 2009, or three days after Ahmadinejad stole the Iranian presidential elections, the embassy reported a conversation with an Iranian source regarding the true election results. The Iranian source referred to the poll as a “coup d’etat.”The regime declared Ahmadinejad the winner with 63% of the vote. According to the Iranian source, he received less than a fifth of that amount. As the cable put it, “based on calculations from [opponent Mir Hossain] Mousavi’s campaign observers who were present at polling stations around the country and who witnessed the vote counts, Mousavi received approximately 26 million (or 61%) of the 42 million votes cast in Friday’s election, followed by Mehdi Karroubi (10-12 million)…. Ahmadinejad received ‘a maximum of 4-5 million votes,’ with the remainder going to Mohsen Rezai.”There is no fence-sitting along the Iran-Israel divide. Latin American countries that embrace Iran always do so to the detriment of their ties with Israel. Bolivia and Venezuela cut their diplomatic ties with Israel in January 2009 after siding with Hamas in Operation Cast Lead. In comments reported on the Hudson New York website, Ricardo Udler, the president of the small Bolivian Jewish community, said there is a direct correlation between Bolivia’s growing ties with Iran and its animosity towards Israel. In his words, “Each time an Iranian official arrives in Bolivia there are negative comments against the State of Israel and soon after, the Bolivian authorities issue a communiqué against the Jewish state.”Udler also warned that, “there is information from international agencies that indicate that uranium from Bolivia and Venezuela is being shipped to Iran.”That was in October. With Iran it appears that if you’re in for an inch you’re in for a mile. This month we learned that Venezuela and Iran are jointly deploying intermediate range ballistic missiles in Venezuela that will be capable of targeting US cities.THERE IS no doubt that the Venezuelan-Iranian alliance and its growing force in Latin America go a long way towards explaining South America’s sudden urge to recognize “Palestine.” But there is more to the story.
Ortega and Arafat in the Past.
Just so we all know what we are dealing with here
Kerry and Harkin with Ortega
The final trend that the media in Israel have failed to notice is the impact that US foreign policy in South America and the Middle East alike has had on the positions of nations like Brazil and Argentina towards Israel. During the Bush administration, US Latin America policy was an incoherent bundle of contradictions. On the one hand, the US failed to assist Chavez’s opponents overthrow him when they had a chance in 2004. The US similarly failed to support Nicaraguan democrats in their electoral fight against Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega in the 2007 elections. On the other hand, the US did foster strong alliances with Colombia and Chile.
In April 2009 US President Barack Obama sat through a 50-minute anti-American rant by Ortega at the Summit of the Americas. He then sought out Chavez for a photo-op. In his own address Obama distanced himself from US history, saying, “We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms. But I pledge to you that we seek an equal partnership. There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations.”Unfortunately, Obama’s attempted appeasement hasn’t done any good. Nicaragua invaded neighboring Costa Rica last month along the San Juan River. Ortega’s forces are dredging the river as part of an Iranian-sponsored project to build a canal along the Isthmus of Nicaragua that will rival the Panama Canal.
Even Obama’s ambassador in Managua admits that Ortega remains deeply hostile to the US. In a cable from February illicitly published by WikiLeaks, Ambassador Robert Callahan argued that Ortega’s charm offensive towards the US was “unlikely to portend a new, friendly Ortega with whom we can work in the long-term.”It is not simply the US’s refusal to defend itself against the likes of Chavez that provokes the likes of Brazil’s President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva and Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to embrace Chavez and Iran.They are also responding the US’s signals towards Iran and Israel.Obama’s policy of engaging and sanctioning Iran has no chance of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And just like the Arabs and the Europeans, the South Americans know it. There is no doubt that at least part of Lula’s reason for signing onto a nuclear deal with Ahmadinejad and Turkey’s Reccip Erdogan last spring was his certainty that the US has no intention of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear arms.From Lula’s perspective, there is no reason to participate in the US charade of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. He might as well be on the winning side. And since Obama doesn’t mind Iran winning, Iran will win.THE SAME rules apply for Israel. Like the Europeans, the Arabs, the Asians and everyone else, the Latin Americans have clearly noted that Obama’s only consistent foreign policy goal is his aim of forcing Israel to accept a hostile Palestinian state and surrender all the land it took control over in 1967 to the likes of PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. They see that Obama has refused to rule out the possibility of recognizing a Palestinian state even if that state is declared without a peace treaty with Israel. That is, Obama is unwilling to commit himself to not recognizing a Palestinian state that will be in a de facto state of war with Israel.The impression that Obama is completely committed to the Palestinian cause was reinforced this week rather than weakened with the cancellation of the Netanyahu-Clinton deal regarding the banning of Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. The deal was to see Israel banning Jewish construction for an additional 90 days, in exchange for a US pledge not to ask for any further bans; to support Israel at the UN Security Council for a limited time against a Palestinian push to declare independence without peace; and to sell Israel an additional 20 F-35 fighter jets sometime in the future.It came apart because Obama was unwilling to put Clinton’s commitments – meager as they were – in writing. That is, the deal fell through because Obama wouldn’t make even a minimal pledge to maintain the US’s alliance with Israel.This policy signals to the likes of Brazil and Argentina and Uruguay that they might as well go with Chavez and Iran and turn their backs on Israel. No one will thank them if they lag behind the US in their pro-Iran, anti-Israel policies. And by moving ahead of the US, they get the credit due to those who stick their fingers in Washington’s eye.When we understand the trends that led to Latin America’s hostile act against Israel, we realize two things. First, while Israel might have come up with a way to delay the action, it probably couldn’t have prevented it. And second, given the US policy trajectory, it is again obvious that the only one Israel can rely on to defend its interests – against Iran and the Palestinians alike – is Israel.Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.
…with more and more countries recognizing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, what began as a seemingly empty threat to squeeze concessions from Israel has gained traction and appears increasingly likely to become a reality. A two-state solution may be around the corner, but that doesn’t mean peace will follow.
With the U.S.-led peace process looking increasingly moribund, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has begun enlisting foreign leaders in a dangerous effort to recognize a Palestinian state without Israel’s agreement. Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, began this effort earlier this year to strengthen the Palestinian negotiating position, and it is bearing more fruit than even he could have expected. Abbas, however, should be careful what he wishes for. A declaration of statehood without Israeli approval could start a war in which the Palestinians themselves would pay the highest price.
Abbas has been laying the diplomatic groundwork for a unilateral declaration of statehood for months, visiting foreign capitals and lobbying governments to extend recognition. But his efforts have gained momentum this month as a U.S. proposal for an Israeli settlement freeze has fallen apart.
JORDANA HORN, HILARY LEILA KRIEGER AND HERB KEI
After initial recognition by Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay follow suit, recognize “free and independent” Palestine with 1967 borders; Israel: recognition contradicts road map; Clinton to make major statement on talks.
Following in Brazil’s footsteps from last Friday, Argentina announced on Monday it recognized a “free and independent” Palestinian state, sparking an immediate condemnation from Israel.
Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a letter that her country recognized a Palestine defined by 1967 borders, Argentine officials said. The Argentine Foreign Ministry said in an e-mailed statement that the move was designed to help “definitively advance the negotiation process that will lead to the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
Uruguay announced soon afterward that it would recognize a Palestinian state next year. “Uruguay will surely follow the same path as Argentina in 2011,” Deputy Foreign Minister Roberto Conde told AFP.
Israel expressed “regret and disappointment” on Monday night at Argentina’s decision to join Brazil in recognizing an independent Palestinian state.
“Recognition of a Palestinian state is a violation of the interim agreement signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1995, which established that the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be discussed and solved through negotiations,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The statement said that recognition of a Palestinian state also contradicted the road map.
“All attempts to bypass negotiations and to unilaterally determine issues in dispute will only harm the trust of the sides and their commitment to agreed upon frameworks for negotiations,” the statement read.
The American Jewish Committee called the recognition of an independent Palestinian state by Brazil and Argentina both worrisome and counterproductive.
Such actions would only “encourage the PA to unilaterally declare independence,” which would “undermine the prospect for durable peace,” according to AJC Executive Director David Harris.
“If Latin American countries truly want to support Arab- Israeli peace, they should be pressing President Abbas to return to the direct talks that were revived with US assistance three months ago, and suspended a few weeks later by Abbas,” he added.
Over 100 countries have endorsed the Palestinians’ 1988 unilateral declaration of independent statehood.
Clinton preparing major statement on peace process
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is preparing a major statement on the process this week, as talks between the US and Israel over a plan to restart negotiations have stalled.
“I will be making a very formal set of remarks,” Clinton told the American-based Arabic TV station Al Hurra during her trip to Bahrain this weekend, declining to offer details of her plans.
She is scheduled to give a keynote address at the Saban Forum of the Brookings Institution Friday night, where she will be appearing with Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Clinton indicated that the US had “made progress” in continuing conversations with Israelis and Palestinians, but that the obligation remained on both sides to make the necessary compromises.
“We have been talking with both parties very substantively, and I think that the United States can play a role to help each make decisions about very difficult matters that then can be presented to the other side,” she said.
One source close to the issue said the remarks could include an announcement of a US-Israeli deal that has been in the works for weeks if it were completed on time, but he said there was a very low probability of it being worked out by the end of the week.