First in Pakistan
The Clinton part of the team has managed through skillful diplomacy to alienate parts of this country's population with her comments on the inability of the Pakistani Government to find and kill Obama, and her refusal to commit the US to asistance in resolving the Border crises that have plagued their history for years. As the Wall Street Journal will report in its Monday editions, Obama had indicated in his campaign that he wanted to assist in the settlement of those issues, but has apprently changed his mind -- at least at this particular time.
The LA Times published similar reports, saying, "Every time Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to win over Pakistanis during her three-day charm offensive last week, they fired back a polite but firm message:
We don't really trust your country.
No matter how hard Clinton tried to reassure audiences in Lahore and Islamabad with talk of providing economic aid where it's needed most, Pakistanis seized on her visit as the perfect moment to lash out at a U.S. government they perceive as arrogant, domineering and insensitive to their plight." That says a lot about the current status of the Obama Administration in the Muslim World.
In Pakistan, the International News was even more blunt, indicating that her visit will only increase the crisis brewing in that country. The writer, Tahir Hasan Khan, presents a balanced view on the conflicting issues that need resolution in that country, and which will not be helped by the Clinton visit.
Meanwhile in Israel
The Jerusalem Post is reporting today (11/1) that the Palestinian Authority considers Clinton's words in Israel as a major breakdown for the potential for negotiations. As the JP reported, "Palestinian Authority officials on Sunday warned that Washington's failure to force
"One official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that the "mask has fallen off the face" of US President Barack Obama. The US, he said, has once again demonstrated that it's not an "honest broker" in Middle East because of its "bias" in favor of Israel." That comment--the US as no longer being an honest broker in the region is probably the most telling argument in favor of the administration sutting their mouth if they are not going to really attempt peace in the region.
This article is a must read for understanding the underlying issues involved in settlement negotiations.
Then its Morocco
Clinton met with several foriegn ministers in Morocco over the past weekend for a meeting to discuss democracy in the region and ways to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. came to Marrakech for the sixth Forum for the Future, which joins civil society groups and the private sector with foreign ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations and the Middle East to talk about democracy and resolving conflict in the region. The Israeli/Palestinian crisis is high on the agenda.
During the meetings, she addressed the issue of settlements built by the Israeli Government and what she called the 'unprecedented' agreement of the Israeli PM to stop settlements in the future. She supported his postion in that matter. Unfortunately, only a week before Obama was still calling for complete cessation of building in occupied territories and Jerusalem in order to start the talks. After Netanyahu complained, the postion of the US apparently changed. Discussion of the meeting was included in today's dispatches from Voice of America, and reported broadly in the internatioinal press. read the complete report at VOA
Regretably, the one major player needed in these discussion is Hamas. Clinton and Obama still hold to the ridiculous proposition that Abbas of Fatah speaks for the Palestinians, which is wholly untrue and a fantasy. Until they get to the point of returning to the table with all parties, they have no real chance of settlement. of course, that fits neatly into the plans the Israeli Government has for the area.
Bottom line here--- no improvement in position by any of the parties--everybody assumes that the US is speaking out of both sides of its mouth--Obama and Clinton are either out of synch or trying to create a position for themsevles they can't have. Net gains (or even near misses) - ZERO