Good evening. My fellow Americans and fellow Middle Easterners, since so many people are now announcing their candidacy for high office, I have decided to launch my candidacy for U.S. Middle East policy czar.
Winston Churchill once said,
“A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”
But we can do better than that.
As you know, American interests in the region are in a serious recession. Far from being revived by the democracy stimulus package, things have gotten worse. Islamist forces are growing; America’s friends are trembling; the enemies of freedom are rejoicing.
The social security of America’s allies is in deep deficit. Millions of people have been added to the rolls of those not covered by U.S. strategic health insurance. Man-made global sharia-warming is happening despite my warning. Hate crimes against Americans, Christians, Bahais, and Jews are on the rise.
Winston Churchill also said that an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. At present, it is thought that if you say nice things about the crocodile, send it lots of money, and feed others to it, the crocodile will be your friend and not accuse you of crocodilophobia.
Something must be done to reverse this process, and the failed policies of the current administration will not do so. In fact, four more years of the same will send the region back four centuries.
Consequently, I feel the need to step forward and do something about it. In the months to come I will be entering the Saudi and Jordanian primaries, promising U.S. protection from revolutionary Islamism and Iran.
I will enter the Syria, Lebanon, and Turkish opposition primaries pledging my full support for their democratic aspirations and against their dictatorial governments.
If elected, I will call for an international alignment of forces opposing revolutionary Islamism, a united front against repressive extremism. North America, Europe, Israel, India, and all the relatively moderate governments and all the real democratic forces of the Arabic-speaking world, Turkey, and Iran should be mobilized and organized to work together to the greatest possible extent.
I will reinstate the doctrine that an intelligent foreign policy requires rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies. And that, in turn, must begin with a proper definition of friends and enemies.
I will not be afraid to use the words “terrorism” and Islamism.
I will only use the phrase, “The status quo is unsustainable” when referring to the dictatorships in Iran and Syria.
I will not throw allies under the bus.
I will support a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict when Fatah and the Palestinian Authority decide that they really want one. Being a Middle Easterner I am a very very patient man. Very, very, very patient. If they’re not in a hurry to find a real compromise solution, I’m not in a hurry.
In the fashion of the Middle East I will seek respect over popularity.
I will not send billions of dollars to Pakistan when it helps al-Qaida and the Taliban while launching terrorist attacks against India.
I will be willing to admit that Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood, and their ally, the current Turkish regime, are bad.
I will not say that the Taliban has a moderate wing or that Hizballah can’t be terrorist because it has lawyers among its members.
I will publicly announce that the Muslim Brotherhood is Muslim and a Brotherhood and Islamist and violent and anti-American and antisemitic.
I will advocate hope only when there is real hope, and change only when that change would be a real improvement.
My fellow Americans and my fellow Middle Easterners, in the immortal words of Marion Mitchell Morrison, “Life is hard; it’s harder if you’re stupid.” We can no longer afford to have a stupid U.S. Middle East policy jeopardizing our lives and our futures. Indeed, in the Middle East if you are stupid, life isn’t just hard, it’s short.
And so I humbly ask for your support and your vote in this critical election.
Thank you and good evening.
By the way, my birth certificate information is available on request.
PS: Marion Mitchell Morrison is better known by his professional name, John Wayne.
About the author,
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist at PajamasMedia http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/ His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is http://www.gloria-center.org. His PajamaMedia columns are mirrored and other articles available at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/.
Congressman Ron Paul issued a blistering critique of President Obama’s recent proposal for Israel to surrender its territory to pre-1967 borders and create a Palestinian state.
“Unlike this President, I do not believe it is our place to dictate how Israel runs her affairs,” the Texas Republican wrote in a May 20 press statement. “There can only be peace in the region if those sides work out their differences among one another. We should respect Israel’s sovereignty and not try to dictate her policy from Washington.” Representative Paul has announced an electoral challenge to Obama as a Republican, and will face Obama in November 2012 if he can win the GOP nomination.
Obama had proposed May 19 that “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.” The proposal rocked the relationship between the United States and Israel, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuffed Obama in person the next day from an Oval Office press conference, complaining that “while Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines — because these lines are indefensible; because they don’t take into account certain changes that have taken place on the ground, demographic changes that have taken place over the last 44 years.”
Obama also promised some $2 billion in additional direct foreign aid to Egypt in the May 19 address. Egypt was until the 1980s an enemy of the Jewish state. Obama pledged an additional $2 billion investment from the U.S. government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to North Africa and the Middle East.
By way of contrast, Rep. Paul has proposed eliminating all foreign aid. “I am not the only one who can see the absurdities of our foreign policy. We give $3 billion to Israel and $12 billion to her enemies,” Paul wrote. “Most Americans know that makes no sense…. We are facing $2 trillion dollar deficits, and the American taxpayer cannot afford any of it.”
Representative Paul also noted that U.S. foreign aid has often worked at cross-purposes with freedom in the Islamic world. Paul pointed out that for 30 years U.S. aid propped up the corrupt Mubarak regime in Egypt, a regime overthrown by the peaceful “Jasmine revolution” this spring. “As the President prepares to send even more support to Egypt, we should be reminded that it was our foreign aid that helped Mubarak retain power to repress his people in the first place. Now we have to deal with the consequences of those decisions, yet we keep repeating the same mistakes.”
Obama’s May 19 speech also took special note of the Jasmine revolution sweeping the Islamic world, a revolution that began in December in Tunisia and has since touched just about every Islamic nation. Obama claimed that “the people of the Middle East and North Africa had taken their future into their own hands.” Obama even acknowledged that the United States and its policies had nothing to do with the peaceful demonstrations: “It’s not America that put people into the streets of Tunis or Cairo -– it was the people themselves who launched these movements, and it’s the people themselves that must ultimately determine their outcome.”
But despite traditional U.S. foreign aid support for dictatorships, Obama implicitly threatened further intervention in Islamic nations and devoted particularly harsh criticism to Syria. “Most recently, the Syrian regime has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens. The United States has condemned these actions, and working with the international community we have stepped up our sanctions on the Syrian regime –- including sanctions announced yesterday on President Assad and those around him.” Syria has indeed launched a month-long bloody campaign against peaceful protesters, a campaign that appears to be getting bloodier.
Obama stressed that the United States stood for “universal human rights” and that “Our support for these principles is not a secondary interest. Today I want to make it clear that it is a top priority that must be translated into concrete actions, and supported by all of the diplomatic, economic and strategic tools at our disposal.” To many observers, “strategic tools” is a code word for U.S. military action.
Representative Paul, by way of contrast, has opposed Obama’s Libyan war and strongly condemned the implicit threat to attack Syria. “The President also defended his unconstitutional intervention in Libya, authorized not by the United States Congress but by the United Nations, and announced new plans to pressure Syria and force the leader of that country to step down,” Paul wrote. “Our military is already dangerously extended, and this administration wants to expand our involvement. When will our bombing in Libya end? Is President Obama seriously considering military action against Syria?…We need to come to our senses, trade with our friends in the Middle East (both Arab and Israeli), clean up our own economic mess so we set a good example, and allow them to work out their own conflicts.” via thenewamerican.com
Obama is trying to mimic G W Bush in that he supports Islam, but not radical Islam… but the real radical departure was that he no longer shows any loyalty to Islamic allies who have no Democracy. The moral statement rings hollow, but it is going to scare the hell out of the Saudis… who Obama is trying to play nice with. This shows how incompetent Obama really is. He can’t even help the so called “Moderates” he believes exist.
…this was not a speech about Israeli-Palestinian issues. On the contrary, he was trying to find a framework for pushing that question onto a backburner. Here he failed completely…
President Barack Obama’s big Middle East speech is extraordinarily important. I think that it has been largely misinterpreted and deserves a very detailed examination. Forgive me then for analyzing it at length but that’s necessary to understand both Obama’s thinking and policy.
First and foremost, this could be called Obama’s George Bush speech.
The intention was to find some way to make the main priority of U.S. policy the support of democracy in the Arab world. This is precisely the theme that Obama’s supporters ridiculed when Bush did it. So Obama had to find some way to approach the issue without anyone realizing he had copied Bush. He succeeded! No one seems to have caught on yet.Continue reading: Obama’s Middle East Speech: The Opposite of Strategy Is Catastrophe
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His latest book is Israel: An Introduction, to be published by Yale University Press later this year. You can read more of Barry Rubin’s posts at Rubin Reports, and now on his new blog, Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media
Obama’s Middle East Speech: A Big and Revealing Mistake That Nobody Has Noticed
There is a small detail at the end of Obama’s big Middle East speech that everyone has overlooked up until now but which shows how inept this administration is at understanding the Israel-Palestinian issue and why it continually makes Israel mistrustful.
In doing his balancing act on Israeli and Palestinian fears and hostility, he says this:
“I’m convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past….We see it in the actions of a Palestinian who lost three daughters to Israeli shells in Gaza. ‘I have the right to feel angry,’ he said. ‘So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate. Let us hope,’ he said, ‘for tomorrow.’”
That’s genuinely touching. But in the specific case Obama cites — that of Izzedin Abuelaish on January 16, 2009 — there is strong reason to believe that the three girls were killed because of Hamas, that is Palestinian, actions.
According to an official Israeli inquiry, Hamas snipers on the roof of their five-story building were shooting at Israeli soldiers. The tank returned fire. In addition, though, the investigation could not rule out the possibility that the girls were killed by an explosion of explosives and ammunition being stored in the building by Hamas or even by fire from Hamas forces.
In other words, the president took an incident where the cause was unclear and blamed Israel for it. And of course the tragic deaths of these girls took place because the United States did nothing to help prevent Hamas from taking over the Gaza Strip and then Hamas broke a ceasefire and attacked Israel.
Since then, the Obama Administration has pressured Israel to reduce sanctions on Hamas to an absolute minimum and provided $400 million to pay salaries in the Gaza Strip, which benefits Hamas’s rule.
In addition, since the Palestinian Authority has just announced it will pay money to those who are prisoners of Israel, U.S. taxpayer money will now go to reward those who have committed terrorist attacks.
And that tells us what we need to know: President Obama and his colleagues don’t get the facts straight and tend to blame Israel. In other words, Obama counterposed the reaction of an Israeli father whose son was murdered by Palestinian terrorists to that of a Palestinian father whose daughters were murdered by or because of the actions of…Palestinian terrorists.
And that’s the trouble with an “even-handed” approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
But, as with the Abu al-Aish case, it is the radicals who lead the Palestinian movement, several states, and the revolutionary Islamist oppositions — not Israel — are killing the peace process.
Terrorists attack Israel; Israel defends itself.
The revolutionary Islamists — not Israel or Husni Mubarak or the Saudi regime, or past U.S. policy — are destroying the Middle East. And since Obama Administration policy fails to realize these things then it, too, is destroying the Middle East.
About the author,
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist at PajamasMedia http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/ His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is http://www.gloria-center.org. His PajamaMedia columns are mirrored and other articles available at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/.
Obama berates Israel, embraces idea of terrorist-led state of Palestine, indefensible pre-1967 borders for IsraelMay 20, 2011
……… … … ……… … … did any of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters vote for Obama because of what he said on TV?
WASHINGTON (AP) – Exasperated by stalled Middle East peace talks in a season of tumultuous change, President Barack Obama jolted close ally Israel Thursday by embracing the Palestinians’ terms for drawing the borders of their new nation next door. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel rejected the idea as “indefensible” on the eve of his vital White House meeting with Obama.
The U.S. president said that an independent Palestine should be based on 1967 borders—before the Six Day War in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza—as adjusted by possible land swaps agreed upon by both sides. He said Israel can never live in true peace as a Jewish state if it insists on “permanent occupation.” More… via eye-on-the-world.blogspot.com
Here is the full text of Obama’s speech today. In it the President says:
The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.Before I get to some of the reactions, I would first like to address the fact that Obama’s call for a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines (1949 armistice lines) was not new for this administration. (h/t Jeffrey Goldberg)“We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.” – Hillary Clinton 2009Now for the responses.CHALLAH @ IsraelIsrael appreciates President Obama’s commitment to peace. Israel believes that for peace to endure between Israelis and Palestinians, the viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of the viability of the one and only Jewish state.
That is why Prime Minister Netanyahu expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of U.S. commitments made to Israel in 2004, which were overwhelmingly supported by both Houses of Congress.
Among other things, those commitments relate to Israel not having to withdraw to the 1967 lines which are both indefensible and which would leave major Israeli population centers in Judea and Samaria beyond those lines.
Those commitments also ensure Israel’s well-being as a Jewish state by making clear that Palestinian refugees will settle in a future Palestinian state rather than in Israel.
Without a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem outside the borders of Israel, no territorial concession will bring peace.
Equally, the Palestinians, and not just the United States, must recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, and any peace agreement with them must end all claims against Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will make clear that the defense of Israel requires an Israeli military presence along the Jordan River.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will also express his disappointment over the Palestinian Authority’s decision to embrace Hamas, a terror organization committed to Israel’s destruction, as well as over Mahmoud Abbas’s recently expressed views which grossly distort history and make clear that Abbas seeks a Palestinian state in order to continue the conflict with Israel rather than end it.Mahmoud Abbas has called an emergency meeting to discuss Obama’s speech. Hamas has rejected the speech and has said that the Arab nation does not need advice about democracy.
The ADL has welcomed Obama’s speech.
Jackson Diehl says Obama’s speech is filled with the soaring rhetoric.
Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Allen West are all upset as they believe Obama has thrown Israel under the bus. Roy Blunt says Obama is dreaming if he thinks unilateral concessions will bring peace.
John Bolton is upset that there was not enough of a focus on Iran.
Danny Danon thinks Netanyahu should tell Obama to forget about it.
ElderofZiyon has written a great piece that you should all check out. In it Elder writes: I expected much worse. But I think that the Palestinian Arabs expected much, much more. Their tweets so far are reflecting sheer anger. Given that they regard everything as a zero-sum game, then at least from their perspective this is a huge win for Israel and Netanyahu.
Obama’s speech may be fundamental shift in U.S. Policy – Josh Rogin
Michael Rubin says we should not rush the aid, wait and see how things play out.
The AP makes shit up about Obama’s speech – Charles Johnson
Jonathan Tobin writes: The problem with this strategy is that even this unprecedented move won’t convince those who hate Israel to love America. And by damaging Israel’s diplomatic position and making its isolation more likely, he has also undermined U.S. interests. In another post Jonathan says that Obama’s call regarding the 1967 lines is a radical policy shift.
Yaacov Lozowick says that Obama has clearly learned something as President.
Yisrael Medad says it could have been worse.
Jeffrey Goldberg says the big deal of the entire speech was “Obama’s forthright denunciation of the unilateral Palestinian plan to seek the General Assembly’s endorsement this September.”
Max Boot says that Obama has been mugged by the events in the Middle East.
Senator Kirk says that “Palestinian calls for ‘1967 borders’ should be outweighed by Israel’s need for secure borders to ensure the survival of a critical U.S. ally.”
Walter Russell Mead says Obama has embraced his inner Bush.
Alana Goodman is confused by all the bashing as she thought Obama’s speech was “excellent.”Omri Ceren says that decades of American policy have just been abandoned.
The Republican Jewish Coalition is concerned with some of Obama’s statements.Obama gave the most pro-Israel speech of his life, or at least he thought so.
Obama’s misstep, oh boy says Robert Satloff.
Eli Lake says speech was good for Palestinians and Israel.
Noah Pollak thinks the 2004 Bush-Sharon Letter referenced by Netanyahu will become bigger issue in coming days.
Jeffrey Goldberg doesn’t see where Obama threw Israel under the bus, rather says same view on border as George W. Bush. Hussein Ibish says not exactly the same, a little better.
“No American president has ever used this formulation before,” said former State Department official Aaron David Miller.
Elliot Abrams says Obama’s words will have no real effect.
Let me conclude by talking about another cornerstone of our approach to the region, and that relates to the pursuit of peace.For decades, the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region. For Israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could get blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own. Moreover, this conflict has come with a larger cost the Middle East, as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security, prosperity, and empowerment to ordinary people.
My Administration has worked with the parties and the international community for over two years to end this conflict, yet expectations have gone unmet. Israeli settlement activity continues. Palestinians have walked away from talks. The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on for decades, and sees a stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward.
I disagree. At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever.For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.
As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums. But precisely because of our friendship, it is important that we tell the truth: the status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.
The fact is, a growing number of Palestinians live west of the Jordan River. Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself.A region undergoing profound change will lead to populism in which millions of people – not just a few leaders – must believe peace is possible. The international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.
Ultimately, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them, nor can endless delay make the problem go away. But what America and the international community can do is state frankly what everyone knows: a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.
So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism; to stop the infiltration of weapons; and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign,non-militarized state. The duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.
These principles provide a foundation for negotiations. Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I know that these steps alone will not resolve this conflict. Two wrenching and emotional issues remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians.
Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel – how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist. In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. Meanwhile, the United States, our Quartet partners, and the Arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse.
I recognize how hard this will be. Suspicion and hostility has been passed on for generations, and at times it has hardened. But I’m convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past. We see that spirit in the Israeli father whose son was killed by Hamas, who helped start an organization that brought together Israelis and Palestinians who had lost loved ones. He said, “I gradually realized that the only hope for progress was to recognize the face of the conflict.” And we see it in the actions of a Palestinian who lost three daughters to Israeli shells in Gaza. “I have the right to feel angry,” he said. “So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate…Let us hope,” he said, “for tomorrow”That is the choice that must be made – not simply in this conflict, but across the entire region – a choice between hate and hope; between the shackles of the past, and the promise of the future. It’s a choice that must be made by leaders and by people, and it’s a choice that will define the future of a region that served as the cradle of civilization and a crucible of strife.
Following is a text of President Obama’s speech on the Middle East, delivered on Thursday in Washington, as released by the White House:
Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you. Please, have a seat. Thank you very much. I want to begin by thanking Hillary Clinton, who has traveled so much these last six months that she is approaching a new landmark — one million frequent flyer miles. (Laughter.) I count on Hillary every single day, and I believe that she will go down as one of the finest Secretaries of State in our nation’s history. The State Department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in American diplomacy. For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change taking place in the Middle East and North Africa. Square by square, town by town, country by country, the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights. Two leaders have stepped aside. More may follow. And though these countries may be a great distance from our shores, we know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security, by history and by faith. Today, I want to talk about this change — the forces that are driving it and how we can respond in a way that advances our values and strengthens our security. Now, already, we’ve done much to shift our foreign policy following a decade defined by two costly conflicts. After years of war in Iraq, we’ve removed 100,000 American troops and ended our combat mission there. In Afghanistan, we’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum, and this July we will begin to bring our troops home and continue a transition to Afghan lead. And after years of war against al Qaeda and its affiliates, we have dealt al Qaeda a huge blow by killing its leader, Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was no martyr. He was a mass murderer who offered a message of hate –- an insistence that Muslims had to take up arms against the West, and that violence against men, women and children was the only path to change. He rejected democracy and individual rights for Muslims in favor of violent extremism; his agenda focused on what he could destroy -– not what he could build. Bin Laden and his murderous vision won some adherents. But even before his death, al Qaeda was losing its struggle for relevance, as the overwhelming majority of people saw that the slaughter of innocents did not answer their cries for a better life. By the time we found bin Laden, al Qaeda’s agenda had come to be seen by the vast majority of the region as a dead end, and the people of the Middle East and North Africa had taken their future into their own hands. That story of self-determination began six months ago in Tunisia. On December 17th, a young vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi was devastated when a police officer confiscated his cart. This was not unique. It’s the same kind of humiliation that takes place every day in many parts of the world -– the relentless tyranny of governments that deny their citizens dignity. Only this time, something different happened. After local officials refused to hear his complaints, this young man, who had never been particularly active in politics, went to the headquarters of the provincial government, doused himself in fuel, and lit himself on fire. There are times in the course of history when the actions of ordinary citizens spark movements for change because they speak to a longing for freedom that has been building up for years. In America, think of the defiance of those patriots in Boston who refused to pay taxes to a King, or the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat. So it was in Tunisia, as that vendor’s act of desperation tapped into the frustration felt throughout the country. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets, then thousands. And in the face of batons and sometimes bullets, they refused to go home –- day after day, week after week — until a dictator of more than two decades finally left power. The story of this revolution, and the ones that followed, should not have come as a surprise. The nations of the Middle East and North Africa won their independence long ago, but in too many places their people did not. In too many countries, power has been concentrated in the hands of a few. In too many countries, a citizen like that young vendor had nowhere to turn -– no honest judiciary to hear his case; no independent media to give him voice; no credible political party to represent his views; no free and fair election where he could choose his leader. And this lack of self-determination –- the chance to make your life what you will –- has applied to the region’s economy as well. Yes, some nations are blessed with wealth in oil and gas, and that has led to pockets of prosperity. But in a global economy based on knowledge, based on innovation, no development strategy can be based solely upon what comes out of the ground. Nor can people reach their potential when you cannot start a business without paying a bribe. In the face of these challenges, too many leaders in the region tried to direct their people’s grievances elsewhere. The West was blamed as the source of all ills, a half-century after the end of colonialism. Antagonism toward Israel became the only acceptable outlet for political expression. Divisions of tribe, ethnicity and religious sect were manipulated as a means of holding on to power, or taking it away from somebody else. But the events of the past six months show us that strategies of repression and strategies of diversion will not work anymore. Satellite television and the Internet provide a window into the wider world -– a world of astonishing progress in places like India and Indonesia and Brazil. Cell phones and social networks allow young people to connect and organize like never before. And so a new generation has emerged. And their voices tell us that change cannot be denied. In Cairo, we heard the voice of the young mother who said, “It’s like I can finally breathe fresh air for the first time.” In Sanaa, we heard the students who chanted, “The night must come to an end.” In Benghazi, we heard the engineer who said, “Our words are free now. It’s a feeling you can’t explain.” In Damascus, we heard the young man who said, “After the first yelling, the first shout, you feel dignity.” Those shouts of human dignity are being heard across the region. And through the moral force of nonviolence, the people of the region have achieved more change in six months than terrorists have accomplished in decades. Of course, change of this magnitude does not come easily. In our day and age -– a time of 24-hour news cycles and constant communication –- people expect the transformation of the region to be resolved in a matter of weeks. But it will be years before this story reaches its end. Along the way, there will be good days and there will bad days. In some places, change will be swift; in others, gradual. And as we’ve already seen, calls for change may give way, in some cases, to fierce contests for power. The question before us is what role America will play as this story unfolds. For decades, the United States has pursued a set of core interests in the region: countering terrorism and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons; securing the free flow of commerce and safe-guarding the security of the region; standing up for Israel’s security and pursuing Arab-Israeli peace. We will continue to do these things, with the firm belief that America’s interests are not hostile to people’s hopes; they’re essential to them. We believe that no one benefits from a nuclear arms race in the region, or al Qaeda’s brutal attacks. We believe people everywhere would see their economies crippled by a cut-off in energy supplies. As we did in the Gulf War, we will not tolerate aggression across borders, and we will keep our commitments to friends and partners. Yet we must acknowledge that a strategy based solely upon the narrow pursuit of these interests will not fill an empty stomach or allow someone to speak their mind. Moreover, failure to speak to the broader aspirations of ordinary people will only feed the suspicion that has festered for years that the United States pursues our interests at their expense. Given that this mistrust runs both ways –- as Americans have been seared by hostage-taking and violent rhetoric and terrorist attacks that have killed thousands of our citizens -– a failure to change our approach threatens a deepening spiral of division between the United States and the Arab world. And that’s why, two years ago in Cairo, I began to broaden our engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. I believed then -– and I believe now -– that we have a stake not just in the stability of nations, but in the self-determination of individuals. The status quo is not sustainable. Societies held together by fear and repression may offer the illusion of stability for a time, but they are built upon fault lines that will eventually tear asunder. So we face a historic opportunity. We have the chance to show that America values the dignity of the street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator. There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity. Yes, there will be perils that accompany this moment of promise. But after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be. Of course, as we do, we must proceed with a sense of humility. It’s not America that put people into the streets of Tunis or Cairo -– it was the people themselves who launched these movements, and it’s the people themselves that must ultimately determine their outcome. Not every country will follow our particular form of representative democracy, and there will be times when our short-term interests don’t align perfectly with our long-term vision for the region. But we can, and we will, speak out for a set of core principles –- principles that have guided our response to the events over the past six months: The United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region. (Applause.) The United States supports a set of universal rights. And these rights include free speech, the freedom of peaceful assembly, the freedom of religion, equality for men and women under the rule of law, and the right to choose your own leaders -– whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus, Sanaa or Tehran. And we support political and economic reform in the Middle East and North Africa that can meet the legitimate aspirations of ordinary people throughout the region. Our support for these principles is not a secondary interest. Today I want to make it clear that it is a top priority that must be translated into concrete actions, and supported by all of the diplomatic, economic and strategic tools at our disposal. Let me be specific. First, it will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy. That effort begins in Egypt and Tunisia, where the stakes are high -– as Tunisia was at the vanguard of this democratic wave, and Egypt is both a longstanding partner and the Arab world’s largest nation. Both nations can set a strong example through free and fair elections, a vibrant civil society, accountable and effective democratic institutions, and responsible regional leadership. But our support must also extend to nations where transitions have yet to take place. Unfortunately, in too many countries, calls for change have thus far been answered by violence. The most extreme example is Libya, where Muammar Qaddafi launched a war against his own people, promising to hunt them down like rats. As I said when the United States joined an international coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in Iraq just how costly and difficult it is to try to impose regime change by force -– no matter how well-intentioned it may be. But in Libya, we saw the prospect of imminent massacre, we had a mandate for action, and heard the Libyan people’s call for help. Had we not acted along with our NATO allies and regional coalition partners, thousands would have been killed. The message would have been clear: Keep power by killing as many people as it takes. Now, time is working against Qaddafi. He does not have control over his country. The opposition has organized a legitimate and credible Interim Council. And when Qaddafi inevitably leaves or is forced from power, decades of provocation will come to an end, and the transition to a democratic Libya can proceed. While Libya has faced violence on the greatest scale, it’s not the only place where leaders have turned to repression to remain in power. Most recently, the Syrian regime has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens. The United States has condemned these actions, and working with the international community we have stepped up our sanctions on the Syrian regime –- including sanctions announced yesterday on President Assad and those around him. The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy. President Assad now has a choice: He can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests. It must release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests. It must allow human rights monitors to have access to cities like Dara’a; and start a serious dialogue to advance a democratic transition. Otherwise, President Assad and his regime will continue to be challenged from within and will continue to be isolated abroad. So far, Syria has followed its Iranian ally, seeking assistance from Tehran in the tactics of suppression. And this speaks to the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime, which says it stand for the rights of protesters abroad, yet represses its own people at home. Let’s remember that the first peaceful protests in the region were in the streets of Tehran, where the government brutalized women and men, and threw innocent people into jail. We still hear the chants echo from the rooftops of Tehran. The image of a young woman dying in the streets is still seared in our memory. And we will continue to insist that the Iranian people deserve their universal rights, and a government that does not smother their aspirations. Now, our opposition to Iran’s intolerance and Iran’s repressive measures, as well as its illicit nuclear program and its support of terror, is well known. But if America is to be credible, we must acknowledge that at times our friends in the region have not all reacted to the demands for consistent change — with change that’s consistent with the principles that I’ve outlined today. That’s true in Yemen, where President Saleh needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power. And that’s true today in Bahrain. Bahrain is a longstanding partner, and we are committed to its security. We recognize that Iran has tried to take advantage of the turmoil there, and that the Bahraini government has a legitimate interest in the rule of law. Nevertheless, we have insisted both publicly and privately that mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens, and we will — and such steps will not make legitimate calls for reform go away. The only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail. (Applause.) The government must create the conditions for dialogue, and the opposition must participate to forge a just future for all Bahrainis. Indeed, one of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides need not lead to conflict. In Iraq, we see the promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy. The Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence in favor of a democratic process, even as they’ve taken full responsibility for their own security. Of course, like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. And as they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner. So in the months ahead, America must use all our influence to encourage reform in the region. Even as we acknowledge that each country is different, we need to speak honestly about the principles that we believe in, with friend and foe alike. Our message is simple: If you take the risks that reform entails, you will have the full support of the United States. We must also build on our efforts to broaden our engagement beyond elites, so that we reach the people who will shape the future -– particularly young people. We will continue to make good on the commitments that I made in Cairo -– to build networks of entrepreneurs and expand exchanges in education, to foster cooperation in science and technology, and combat disease. Across the region, we intend to provide assistance to civil society, including those that may not be officially sanctioned, and who speak uncomfortable truths. And we will use the technology to connect with -– and listen to –- the voices of the people. For the fact is, real reform does not come at the ballot box alone. Through our efforts we must support those basic rights to speak your mind and access information. We will support open access to the Internet, and the right of journalists to be heard -– whether it’s a big news organization or a lone blogger. In the 21st century, information is power, the truth cannot be hidden, and the legitimacy of governments will ultimately depend on active and informed citizens. Such open discourse is important even if what is said does not square with our worldview. Let me be clear, America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard, even if we disagree with them. And sometimes we profoundly disagree with them. We look forward to working with all who embrace genuine and inclusive democracy. What we will oppose is an attempt by any group to restrict the rights of others, and to hold power through coercion and not consent. Because democracy depends not only on elections, but also strong and accountable institutions, and the respect for the rights of minorities. Such tolerance is particularly important when it comes to religion. In Tahrir Square, we heard Egyptians from all walks of life chant, “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” America will work to see that this spirit prevails -– that all faiths are respected, and that bridges are built among them. In a region that was the birthplace of three world religions, intolerance can lead only to suffering and stagnation. And for this season of change to succeed, Coptic Christians must have the right to worship freely in Cairo, just as Shia must never have their mosques destroyed in Bahrain. What is true for religious minorities is also true when it comes to the rights of women. History shows that countries are more prosperous and more peaceful when women are empowered. And that’s why we will continue to insist that universal rights apply to women as well as men -– by focusing assistance on child and maternal health; by helping women to teach, or start a business; by standing up for the right of women to have their voices heard, and to run for office. The region will never reach its full potential when more than half of its population is prevented from achieving their full potential. (Applause.) Now, even as we promote political reform, even as we promote human rights in the region, our efforts can’t stop there. So the second way that we must support positive change in the region is through our efforts to advance economic development for nations that are transitioning to democracy. After all, politics alone has not put protesters into the streets. The tipping point for so many people is the more constant concern of putting food on the table and providing for a family. Too many people in the region wake up with few expectations other than making it through the day, perhaps hoping that their luck will change. Throughout the region, many young people have a solid education, but closed economies leave them unable to find a job. Entrepreneurs are brimming with ideas, but corruption leaves them unable to profit from those ideas. The greatest untapped resource in the Middle East and North Africa is the talent of its people. In the recent protests, we see that talent on display, as people harness technology to move the world. It’s no coincidence that one of the leaders of Tahrir Square was an executive for Google. That energy now needs to be channeled, in country after country, so that economic growth can solidify the accomplishments of the street. For just as democratic revolutions can be triggered by a lack of individual opportunity, successful democratic transitions depend upon an expansion of growth and broad-based prosperity. So, drawing from what we’ve learned around the world, we think it’s important to focus on trade, not just aid; on investment, not just assistance. The goal must be a model in which protectionism gives way to openness, the reigns of commerce pass from the few to the many, and the economy generates jobs for the young. America’s support for democracy will therefore be based on ensuring financial stability, promoting reform, and integrating competitive markets with each other and the global economy. And we’re going to start with Tunisia and Egypt. First, we’ve asked the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to present a plan at next week’s G8 summit for what needs to be done to stabilize and modernize the economies of Tunisia and Egypt. Together, we must help them recover from the disruptions of their democratic upheaval, and support the governments that will be elected later this year. And we are urging other countries to help Egypt and Tunisia meet its near-term financial needs. Second, we do not want a democratic Egypt to be saddled by the debts of its past. So we will relieve a democratic Egypt of up to $1 billion in debt, and work with our Egyptian partners to invest these resources to foster growth and entrepreneurship. We will help Egypt regain access to markets by guaranteeing $1 billion in borrowing that is needed to finance infrastructure and job creation. And we will help newly democratic governments recover assets that were stolen. Third, we’re working with Congress to create Enterprise Funds to invest in Tunisia and Egypt. And these will be modeled on funds that supported the transitions in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. OPIC will soon launch a $2 billion facility to support private investment across the region. And we will work with the allies to refocus the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development so that it provides the same support for democratic transitions and economic modernization in the Middle East and North Africa as it has in Europe. Fourth, the United States will launch a comprehensive Trade and Investment Partnership Initiative in the Middle East and North Africa. If you take out oil exports, this entire region of over 400 million people exports roughly the same amount as Switzerland. So we will work with the EU to facilitate more trade within the region, build on existing agreements to promote integration with U.S. and European markets, and open the door for those countries who adopt high standards of reform and trade liberalization to construct a regional trade arrangement. And just as EU membership served as an incentive for reform in Europe, so should the vision of a modern and prosperous economy create a powerful force for reform in the Middle East and North Africa. Prosperity also requires tearing down walls that stand in the way of progress -– the corruption of elites who steal from their people; the red tape that stops an idea from becoming a business; the patronage that distributes wealth based on tribe or sect. We will help governments meet international obligations, and invest efforts at anti-corruption — by working with parliamentarians who are developing reforms, and activists who use technology to increase transparency and hold government accountable. Politics and human rights; economic reform. Let me conclude by talking about another cornerstone of our approach to the region, and that relates to the pursuit of peace. For decades, the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region. For Israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could be blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own. Moreover, this conflict has come with a larger cost to the Middle East, as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security and prosperity and empowerment to ordinary people. For over two years, my administration has worked with the parties and the international community to end this conflict, building on decades of work by previous administrations. Yet expectations have gone unmet. Israeli settlement activity continues. Palestinians have walked away from talks. The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on and on and on, and sees nothing but stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward now. I disagree. At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever. That’s certainly true for the two parties involved. For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist. As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums. But precisely because of our friendship, it’s important that we tell the truth: The status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace. The fact is, a growing number of Palestinians live west of the Jordan River. Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself. A region undergoing profound change will lead to populism in which millions of people -– not just one or two leaders — must believe peace is possible. The international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation. Now, ultimately, it is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them — not by the United States; not by anybody else. But endless delay won’t make the problem go away. What America and the international community can do is to state frankly what everyone knows — a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace. So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state. As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself -– by itself -– against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism, to stop the infiltration of weapons, and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. And the duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated. These principles provide a foundation for negotiations. Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I’m aware that these steps alone will not resolve the conflict, because two wrenching and emotional issues will remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians. Now, let me say this: Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel: How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist? And in the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. Meanwhile, the United States, our Quartet partners, and the Arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse. I recognize how hard this will be. Suspicion and hostility has been passed on for generations, and at times it has hardened. But I’m convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past. We see that spirit in the Israeli father whose son was killed by Hamas, who helped start an organization that brought together Israelis and Palestinians who had lost loved ones. That father said, “I gradually realized that the only hope for progress was to recognize the face of the conflict.” We see it in the actions of a Palestinian who lost three daughters to Israeli shells in Gaza. “I have the right to feel angry,” he said. “So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate. Let us hope,” he said, “for tomorrow.” That is the choice that must be made -– not simply in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but across the entire region -– a choice between hate and hope; between the shackles of the past and the promise of the future. It’s a choice that must be made by leaders and by the people, and it’s a choice that will define the future of a region that served as the cradle of civilization and a crucible of strife. For all the challenges that lie ahead, we see many reasons to be hopeful. In Egypt, we see it in the efforts of young people who led protests. In Syria, we see it in the courage of those who brave bullets while chanting, “peaceful, peaceful.” In Benghazi, a city threatened with destruction, we see it in the courthouse square where people gather to celebrate the freedoms that they had never known. Across the region, those rights that we take for granted are being claimed with joy by those who are prying lose the grip of an iron fist. For the American people, the scenes of upheaval in the region may be unsettling, but the forces driving it are not unfamiliar. Our own nation was founded through a rebellion against an empire. Our people fought a painful Civil War that extended freedom and dignity to those who were enslaved. And I would not be standing here today unless past generations turned to the moral force of nonviolence as a way to perfect our union –- organizing, marching, protesting peacefully together to make real those words that declared our nation: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Those words must guide our response to the change that is transforming the Middle East and North Africa -– words which tell us that repression will fail, and that tyrants will fall, and that every man and woman is endowed with certain inalienable rights. It will not be easy. There’s no straight line to progress, and hardship always accompanies a season of hope. But the United States of America was founded on the belief that people should govern themselves. And now we cannot hesitate to stand squarely on the side of those who are reaching for their rights, knowing that their success will bring about a world that is more peaceful, more stable, and more just. Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.) Thank you.
1:01 p.m. Update:The live video stream of President Barack Obama’s speech on the Middle East has just concluded. (The the complete text of Mr. Obama’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, was released as Mr. Obama spoke.) Readers can follow an interview with one of Mr. Obama’s speechwriters in the Twitter module to the right of this post.
Original Post:The White House recruited two journalists who are active on Twitter, Andy Carvin of NPR and Marc Lynch of Foreign Policy, to sort through reaction to the speech on the social network, in real time. Readers can follow their feeds in the Twitter widget in the right column of this blog. The Twitter stream here on The Lede will also include interesting comments we spot before, during and after the speech.
Immediately following the president’s speech, Mr. Carvin and Mr. Lynch will be joined online by Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, who was spotted working on Mr. Obama’s speech in a Washington Starbucks on Friday night.
The journalists will ask Mr. Rhodes about the speech and pose several questions submitted to them by other users of Twitter, where the White House asked bloggers to comment on the speech using the hashtag #MEspeech.
The White House is also streaming video and gathering reaction on Facebook.
Why is deep packet inspection technology such a thriving business in the Middle East and Asia?
The connection has timed out. You are not connected to the Internet. Server not found.
We’ve all experienced one of these dread messages at some point in our digital lives, courtesy of the inner workings of our Web browser. Most of the time they appear because of a problem with the networking hardware and associated software that stands between us and the websites we want to access.
In other cases they may be the result of a deliberate act perpetrated by an Internet service provider – often at the request of a repressive regime intent on blocking the free flow of information.
It happens in China every day, where typing the words ‘Tiananmen Square’ into a search engine will produce either a blank page or a heavily filtered list of results. Beyond these automated content filtering restrictions, there have been reports of Chinese Web users suddenly being unable to access YouTube whenever a video that the government has deemed as seditious is becoming too popular.
Similar experiences have been reported in Iran and in many of the countries in the Middle East that have been pressing for democratic change since the beginning of this year. One key technology that many suspect is being used to carry out such online censorship is deep-packet inspection (DPI).
How it works
The concept behind DPI is simple. Internet traffic consists of a multitude of IP (internet protocol) packets that are exchanged between two computers – a server and an end user. Before packets reach their destination to be reassembled, they must traverse a series of routers and switches that determine the best path for them, based on the information contained in each packet header.
DPI equipment mimics the ‘reading’ function of routers and switches, and can also look into each packet’s payload, which holds the data being exchanged.
Privacy advocates – particularly in North America and Europe – have been vocal about the fact that installing DPI hardware and software may give Internet service providers the ability to monitor all email, Web-based and audiovisual content going through their networks.
Shira Levine, directing analyst for next-generation operational support systems and policy at Infonetics Research, remembers how Virgin Media in the UK was heavily criticised last year after it said it would trial DPI technology to detect copyright infringement among its file-sharing customers.
‘Even that application,’ says Levine, ‘which you certainly couldn’t argue would be a violation of privacy as copyright protection is a legal mandate, created a lot of uproar. There’s been a significant perception in [Western] markets linking DPI with a ‘Big Brother’ technology. I think that’s really limiting operator investment in those countries.’
Privacy concerns are just one of the factors limiting DPI take-up in the Western hemisphere. Another is the net-neutrality debate. When the first DPI systems started to be marketed in the early 2000s, operators used them to perform network traffic optimisation. But since this involved making a number of assumptions about the value of certain types of packets and prioritising traffic accordingly, net-neutrality supporters (and, in some countries, communications regulators) asked for limits on their use.
That’s the end of the matter, then – the DPI industry has no future, right? Well, from a global market worth less than $250m in 2009, sales of standalone DPI gear (which currently account for more than 90 per cent of the market) will surge to $1.5bn by 2014, according to Infonetics.
‘There’s a lot of growth potential in some of the emerging markets,’ says Levine, such as the Middle East and Asia.
So, with Western demand for DPI inhibited, is it the more authoritarian states in the East that are buying the technology to control what residents are able to view on the internet?
Well, it’s one thing to say that governments which censor online content are probably using DPI tools to do so. It’s another to assert that this is driving the strong growth in demand. ‘I don’t see that being a huge driver at the moment,’ says Levine. ‘I’m not ruling it out going forward, though.’
From cyber security to targeted services
So what is driving demand? E&T put that question to Procera Networks, one of the top three suppliers of standalone DPI products, together with Sandvine and Allot.
‘If I look specifically at the Middle East, they’re pretty far along when it comes to service packaging, which is probably why we’re seeing a more rapid increase in that market than in many others,’ says Jon Linden, Procera’s vice president of global marketing.
Levine agrees, and explains what service packaging involves: ‘There’s less of a concern about privacy in those markets. So a lot of operators are looking at combining DPI with their policy and charging-control system to create value-added services – really being able to identify what the subscriber is doing and then turning that [data] into marketing and loyalty opportunities.
‘It’s about understanding and addressing the needs of the subscribers,’ says Dan Joe Barry, vice president of marketing at Napatech, which claims to have developed the most advanced programmable network adapters for traffic analysis and application offloading for wireless broadband operators.
‘There’ll be a period when you’ll have to monitor how they are using their services to build up an idea of what these guys like, what their needs are, how they use their service,’ Barry says. ‘Then, a dialogue can be established where you could say: ‘Look, I know that you use Facebook a lot – would you like a service where Facebook is prioritised so you can get a really good service for that [on your mobile]?”
Another emerging DPI application that Middle Eastern and Asian operators are keen on is lawful interception and cyber-security. ‘There is a need for anti-terrorism and other public security agencies to be able to go in and see what’s going on in the networks,’ says Barry.
‘Consumers have the idea that whatever I send is going to be encapsulated and nobody will be able to see what I’m sending. Well, that’s not going to be the case. And we don’t want it to be the case,’ he says, ‘because we want to be able to protect the network.’
Levine adds that some countries have specific government mandates that require communications providers to be able to filter or block traffic: ‘In some parts of Asia, for example, Skype traffic is blocked. So, quite often, it’s government mandates that are driving DPI investments.’
Scale, scale and scale
Whether it is for network security, traffic shaping or value-added service creation, many of the applications for DPI rely on combining fast microelectronics systems capable of processing the vast amounts of traffic that wireline and wireless networks are currently experiencing with software smart enough to make sense of the captured packets by comparing them with sophisticated data banks.
Only then can the network generate automated responses. It is what Procera calls ‘intelligent policy enforcement’.
‘We’ve been working with service provider deployments since 2001, and capacity is always a big question,’ says Linden.
Indeed, if a broadband operator is going to authorise a piece of equipment to sit in the packet path, it will face numerous questions about the product’s ability to operate transparently, without compromising network performance.
In the case of Procera, its DPI product will introduce a worst-case latency of 0.1ms, which Linden claims is a very impressive performance. But he admits: ‘We have to scale, and scale and scale to accommodate that [operators] are constantly building up their networks.’
Napatech’s Barry says his company’s DPI network adaptors, which can run at 10Gbit/s, don’t interfere at all with network performance, as the connection they are inspecting will typically be tapped: ‘It’s essentially a tap on the connection that’s providing us with a copy of everything that’s going past.’
Asked whether an ISP operating in a country where there’s government pressure to censor Internet traffic could use DPI to that end, Barry replies: ‘Of course you could. But you’ve always had that possibility anyway. I mean, you could tap telephone calls’ this is not a technology breakthrough. It’s been possible for a long time to do these sorts of things. You could have that fear, but it’s a question of trust. Do you trust that your carrier is interested in providing you with a better service?’
Mobile carriers warm up to DPI
The deep-packet-inspection market for communication service providers (there are parallel markets for the enterprise and government sectors) may be growing most noticeably in the Middle East and Asia, but it is also gaining some traction in other countries.
Analyst Shira Levine from Infonetics Research says the technology is increasingly being used by wireless carriers in North America and Western Europe. ‘Operators are less likely to want to talk about it – that’s the critical difference,’ she notes. ‘And, honestly, they’re using it for more basic traffic-management applications, not necessarily for some of the cooler applications such as value-added services.’
Part of that secretive attitude towards DPI may have started to change during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this February. Just before the event, DPI equipment vendor Procera Networks managed to get one of its European mobile operator customers to endorse its equipment.
Commenting on its experience using a 30Gbit/s intelligent policy enforcement appliance from Procera, Jörgen Askeroth, the chief technology officer of 3 Scandinavia, praised the product performance before adding that it was ‘business-critical to us by ensuring a positive customer experience and integration with billing’.