Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama's Top NSA And CIA Picks: Harsh On Israel, Sympathetic To Iran And Hezbollah

frome Mere Rhetoric:

Well that was totally unpredictable wasn't it?

General James L. Jones is widely rumored to be Obama's preferred candidate to be White House National Security Adviser... Jones prepared a report on Israel's policies in the territories... The World Tribune said it "blasted Israel's role" for "hampering the movement of PA forces, blocking plans for weapons shipments and technology to the Palestinians and resisting coordination." ... Obama said this about Jones: "Let me tell you who I associate with... If I'm interested in figuring out my foreign policy, I associate myself with my running mate, Joe Biden or with Dick Lugar...or General Jim Jones, the former supreme allied commander of NATO."

Totally, totally unpredictable:

John Brennan... is rumored to be Obama's pick to head the CIA. Brennan published a long article on Iran in July 2008... "... U.S. national security would be best served if Washington publicly acknowledged and explored the roots of this shift in Iranian state support for terrorist activities ... the new U.S. administration must be willing to exercise strategic patience....It would not be foolhardy, however, for the United States to tolerate, and even to encourage, greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon's political system.

The US should exercise "strategic patience" with Iran - who as of today has four navy bases in the Gulf, is building up its conventional arsenal, and is at most two years away from a nuke - plus support Hezbollah's takeover of the Lebanese government. All because Iran is becoming more moderate. This is definitely a guy with his finger on the pulse of geopolitical dynamics.

Now a little background on Jones's current posting: he was sent to the Middle Eats last year at Rice's behest to pressure Israel into making concessions. Israel has made some of those concessions even though State's trusted Palestinian moderates are still threatening to launch wars. Not enough for Jones: he's currently at work creating a paper trail that blames Israel for Middle East violence and outlines a vision of a Palestinian state:

US Middle East security coordinator James L. Jones, long expected to produce a document spelling out Israel's security needs after the creation of a Palestinian state, will not in the end present the Bush administration with a large-scale report... "There is not going to be any Jones report that lays out the whole strategic vision of what a post-agreement reality would look like," one US official said. "There is not going to be one consolidated report." Rather than codifying America's conception of Israel's security needs into one document that would then be a guidepost for US Middle East policy, Jones is instead relaying his impressions to ... Rice through memos and briefings, diplomatic sources said... Diplomatic sources said that Jones's role, never clearly defined, had evolved over the year, and that he had gone from concentrating on looking at regional security issues after a Palestinian state was established, to helping prepare the ground for a Palestinian state.

An anti-Israel State Department bait and switch: how original. I like the nice touch of having him produce a pile of findings, precedents, and opinions rather than just a single inaccurate report that might be shelved like the politicized NIE about Iranian nuclearization. A neat little example of how the drip drip drip erosion of Israel's security requirements plays out in practice.

That willfully inaccurate NIE report, incidentally? Supported by Brennan as proof of Iranian moderation. Obviously.

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