Israel has withdrawn its pledge to US President Barack Obama not to strike Iran’s nuclear sites before the November presidential election after he rejected its minimal demands for nuclear negotiations with Iran. This is reported exclusively by DEBKAfile’s Washington sources.
In public, Israeli ministers still talk as though they believe in results from the Six-Power talks with Iran, which Thursday May 24 limped into their second day in Baghdad with the parties still miles apart. But the presidential veto has essentially cast Israel outside the loop of influence on the outcome of diplomacy.When Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon on May 17 he was told that Obama had rejected Israel’s toned-down demands for Iran to at least to halt high-grade uranium enrichment, export its stocks of material enriched higher than 3.5 percent grade and shut down production at the Fordo nuclear plant near Qom. For six months, the Obama administration tried to sweeten the bitter pill of this rejection by bumping up security aid. The latest appropriation covered another $70 million for manufacturing more Iron Dome short-range missile interceptors.After talking to Panetta, Barak turned to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon in the hope of winning their support for softening Obama’s ruling. Clinton replied she was not involved in the negotiations with Iran and Donilon, that a personal decision by the president was not open to change.A week of consultations followed the defense minister’s return home, during which it was decided to tear up Israel’s pledge to refrain from attacking Iran during the US presidential campaign. Wednesday, May 23, the day the Baghdad talks began, Barak signaled Washington to this effect.
It was conveyed in a little-noticed early morning radio interview with the defense minister. To make sure his words reached the proper address without misunderstandings, the defense minister’s office issued a verbatim English translation from the Hebrew:
"There is no need to tell us what to do, and we have no reason to panic. Israel is very, very strong, but we do know that the Iranians are accomplished chess players and will try to achieve nuclear capabilities. Our position has not changed. The world must stop Iran from becoming nuclear. All options remain on the table."
As the Baghdad talks went around in circles, Israel’s military option was put back firmly on the table and on the US-Iranian chessboard.
Iran accused world powers on Thursday of creating "a difficult atmosphere" that hindered talks on its atomic energy program, signalling a snag in diplomacy to defuse fears of a covert Iranian bid to develop nuclear bombs.The nub of the dispute was not immediately clear as the high-stakes talks went into a second day in the Iraqi capital Baghdad....an Iranian delegate poured cold water on suggestions that progress towards an outline deal, seen as crucial to heading off the danger of a new Middle East war, was being made.
Officials said while there were no breakthroughs, enough evidence of "common ground" emerged to keep talking on Thursday.
The US official said the dialogue revealed a "fair amount of disagreement".
"But still we have to come to closure about what are the next appropriate steps."
Western human rights activists and religious liberty advocates say no matter the result of this week’s election in Egypt, the Christians will lose.Two of the leading candidates for president in the vote today and tomorrow are Islamic radicals: the Muslim Brotherhood-backed and California-educated Mohammed Morsi, and Abdel-Moneim Abul Fotouh, 61, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader who believes the 9/11 attacks were a U.S.-hatched conspiracy.American Enterprise Institute Middle East analyst Michael Rubincontends that regardless of the outcome, the persecution of Christians that has increased since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in the “Arab Spring” revolution last year will only get worse.‘”The results will be bad, really bad,” Rubin said. “The Muslim Brotherhood has shed its mask, and so too has Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh.”“If an Islamist is elected, Islamists will have complete control over both the legislature and the executive branch, which would be disastrous for the Christian community and all religious minorities in Egypt.”
After nearly 1,000 protesters in the country have died, Egyptians are now poised to elect their next president — and it will be the most important election in about 5,000 years as the decision will ultimately shape Egypt and the middle east for years to come....the first contender, who is a radical Islamist and member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He also happens to hate Israel who will seek to increase the use of Sharia Law in the country.Contender number “two,” Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, is also a radical Islamist, formerly with the Muslim Brotherhood who has openly called Israel “the enemy.”
EU leaders have tasked council chief Herman Van Rompuy with drafting a plan on deepening the eurozone's economic union, potentially via an inter-governmental treaty.After more than five hours of talks on the need to strengthen growth policies while sticking to the already strengthened deficit rules, EU leaders on Wednesday night (23 May) agreed to come back to these issues at a formal summit on 28 June."Our discussion also demonstrated that we need to take the economic and monetary union to a new stage. There was a general consensus that we need to strengthen the economic union to make it commensurate with the monetary union," Van Rompuy said during a press conference at the end of the meeting.Van Rompuy said any new legal changes would try and stick to the current EU treaties, but "other hypotheses" such as a new inter-governmental agreement were also on the table.