Setting the Record Straight
- Confronting the Iranian Nuclear Challenge
- Setting the Record Straight | Jul 22, 2011
"Sanctions aren’t slowing Iran’s nuclear progress."- Washington Post editorial, July 22, 2011.
"[Sanctions] are constraining Iran’s procurement of items related to prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile activity and thus slowing development of these programs."- Report of UN special panel of experts, May 2011.
- Bin Laden’s Dead End
- Setting the Record Straight | Jun 10, 2011
- "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." -- President Barack Obama, May 19, 2011.
- Al Qaeda
- Setting the Record Straight | May 16, 2011
- "As of early 2010, we assessed that al-Qaeda was at its weakest point since 2001. The successful assault on bin Laden's compound is a strong blow and important milestone on the way to al Qaeda's strategic defeat. But al Qaeda suffers additional fundamental challenges: The Arab Spring narrative presents al-Qaeda with a potent ideological challenge. For its entire existence, al-Qaeda's message has been that violence is the only path forward. It has never had an affirmative program - it could not have been further removed from and relevant to those who came to Tahrir Square in January." Tom Donilon, National Security Adviser to the President, remarks to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's annual dinner, May 12, 2011.
- Determined to Reach a Common Objective
- Setting the Record Straight | Oct 13, 2010
- “We knew at the outset that the task would be difficult. We acknowledged that publicly and privately. We knew this would be a road with many bumps— and there have been many bumps—and that continues to this day. But we are not deterred. We are, to the contrary, determined more than ever to proceed to realize the common objective, which we all share, of a Middle East that is at peace with security and prosperity for the people of Israel, for Palestinians, and for all the people in the region. We will continue our efforts in that regard, undeterred and undaunted by the difficulties, the complexities or the bumps in the road.”—George Mitchell, special envoy for Middle East peace, remarks with Prime Minister Netanyahu, September 29, 2010
- Changing Iran’s Calculations
- Setting the Record Straight | Oct 5, 2010
“President Obama says Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons is 'unacceptable,' but he appears resigned to the eventuality that the Islamic Republic will build a bomb.”
—Michael Rubin, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, “How Nukes Will Transform Iran,” August 15, 2010
- “If the U.S., the UN, the EU, and other sanctions against Iran are properly enforced, Iran will essentially be unable to purchase vital parts for their refineries other than through the black market, as some of the equipment is available only through Western firms. We have seen numerous reports that Iran is beginning to feel the squeeze.”
—Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee, remarks, “Iran: Addressing the Nuclear Threat,” Center of Strategic and International Studies, September 21, 2010
- Despite Challenges, Peace is Possible
- Setting the Record Straight | Sep 28, 2010
“The real danger between these two star-crossed inhabitants of the same Holy Land is not failure to negotiate; it’s the failure of the negotiations. Flashpoints in the Holy Land tend to burst after they sit down at the negotiating table, give their speeches, fail to agree, and watch the process collapse.”
—Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations, “Hillary’s Dangerous Mideast Leap,” The Daily Beast, September 15, 2010
- “Let us direct our courage, our thinking, and our decisions at those historic decisions that lie ahead. Now, there are many skeptics. One thing there’s no shortage of, Mr. President, are skeptics. This is something that you’re so familiar with, that all of us in a position of leadership are familiar with. There are many skeptics. I suppose there are many reasons for skepticism. But I have no doubt that peace is possible.”
—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, remarks at the White House, September 1, 2010
- Close But Frank Relationship
- Setting the Record Straight | Sep 21, 2010
“In fact, a stronger AKP may be a threat to U.S policy toward Iran, Israel, the Palestinians, Lebanon, and Syria. Turkey’s opposition to the transfer of U.S. troops to Northern Iraq in the spring of 2003, its current support of Iran despite the UNSC sanctions, its launch of a flotilla to boost Hamas in Gaza, and its increasingly vituperative anti-Israeli policy are signs that cannot be ignored.”
—Ariel Cohen, senior research fellow, The Heritage Foundation, “Turkey’s Referendum: A Looming Challenge to U.S. Interests?,” WebMemo #3016, September 17, 2010
- “On Iran, we were clear publicly and privately with the Turkish government. We had exactly the same view on the desired outcome which was to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. We had significantly common views on how to get there including getting 1200 kilograms of uranium, LEU, out of Iran and holding it potentially in Turkey which is a scenario we supported. Then we had some differences on exactly the criteria that would have to be met for this to be useful. We were clear with the Turkish government about that. Then when the Turkish government and the Brazilian government reached the Tehran Declaration we didn’t think it met those criteria and they did. We were frank with them and they were frank with us in just the way—that’s all governments can do.
“Similarly on the other issues you mentioned, Hamas and the flotilla, we’ve had our differences. We’ve been clear about them in public and in private, but I can tell you that there’s not a government in Europe with which we have more ongoing and open dialogue than with the government of Turkey. Secretary Clinton speaks regularly with Foreign Minister Davutoglu. President Obama, I think regularly is probably the right word for his engagements with Prime Minister Erdogan.”
—Phillip H. Gordon, assistant secretary of state, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, "2010 Transatlantic Trends Report," remarks at the German Marshall Fund, September 15, 2010
- Government Reforms Instill Confidence
- Setting the Record Straight | Sep 14, 2010
“So if you look at fiscal operations, you look at security cooperation, yes, institutions are being built. The economy is in a sense reviving or I would say recovering. It is recovering based on two things, number one the security cooperation makes possible a degree of movement in the West Bank that allows for the reemergence of economic activity, and second ... the tremendous influx of international assistance. The economy is reviving, not because of brilliant economic management or because of institution building but simply recovery from some of the fiscal and economic problems caused by the intifada years.”
—Nathan Brown, nonresident senior associate, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, event, "Divided Palestine-A Barrier to Peace," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, July 21, 2010
- “In 2009 the macroeconomic situation continued to improve in the West Bank, but in Gaza conditions remain difficult due to the blockade. In the West Bank, three key factors contributed to continued strong growth performance. First, private sector confidence has been bolstered by the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s track record in institution-building and reforms in particular in the security, public finance, and governance areas. Second,
these reforms have been supported by generous donor budgetary aid, equivalent to about 22 percent of GDP in 2009. Third, some restrictions on movement and access have been relaxed, especially on movement of goods and people between major urban centers in the West Bank.”
—International Monetary Fund, “Macroeconomic and Fiscal Framework for the West Bank and Gaza: Fifth Review of Progress,” April 13, 2010
- Eye Still on the Ball
- Setting the Record Straight | Aug 10, 2010
“Adverse developments in Iraq will be (and will look to be) increasingly a function of the Obama Team taking their eye off of the ball and rushing to declare mission accomplished. Yes, in such a scenario the Iraqis should bear most of the blame, but the part that is due to U.S. action or inaction will be Obama's responsibility. And it will matter. Iraq is at the center of a region that every president since Jimmy Carter has identified as vital to our national security. Iraq is next door to, and the playground for mischief from, the most thorny national security challenge the United States faces: a nuclear-weapons-seeking Iranian regime. These inconvenient facts mean that if the Iraqi situation demands more focused and costly U.S. attention, it will likely get it. At that point, what sort of domestic coalition will be available for President Obama's Iraq policy?”
—Peter Feaver, director, Triangle Institute for Security Studies; former director for defense policy and arms control, National Security Council, “Obama’s Iraq Speech: Another Missed Opportunity,” Foreign Policy, August 3, 2010
- “Iraq is a strategically important place in the Middle East, just by its geographic location, by its population, by the influence it's had in the Middle East for a long time. So neighboring countries from around the Middle East have an interest inside of Iraq.
“But I will tell you that I think Iraqis themselves are nationalistic in nature, and that's why it's important. A strong Iraq will defend itself against interference from outside countries, and I think as we build a strong Iraq and as we continue to build a strong security mechanism and as we continue to help them economically and diplomatically, that will make it less likely of others from the outside being able to interfere.
“Now, for the vacuum as we see today, again, I remind everyone is that we still have a significant presence here, and we are not going to—we will not allow undue maligned influence on the Iraqi government as they attempt to form their government. What we're trying to do is provide them the space and time for them to do that, and we will continue to do that post 1 September. We'll still have a significant civilian presence, and again, we'll still have 50,000 troops on the ground here to ensure that this government can be formed by the Iraqis. And that all the other nations respect their sovereignty as they go about forming their government.”
—General Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, interview, “This Week” with Christiane Amanpour, August 8, 2010
- Alliance Based on Shared Interests
- Setting the Record Straight | Aug 3, 2010
“Prime Minister Erdogan, and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have changed Turkey fundamentally. They do not simply seek good relations with their Arab neighbors and Iran. Instead, they favor the most radical elements in regional struggles, hence their embrace of Syria over Lebanon and of Hamas over Fatah, and their endorsement Iran’s nuclear program. ...
“For too long, American diplomats and officials in both the Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations have been in denial: They have embraced Turkey as they wished it to be rather than calibrate policy to the reality of what Turkey has become. This is neither realism nor the basis of sound foreign policy.”
—Michael Rubin, senior fellow, American Enterprise Institute, hearing, “Turkey’s New Foreign Policy Direction: Implications for U.S.-Turkish Relations,” House Foreign Affairs Committee, July 28, 2010.
- “We hear a lot these days about Turkey’s so-called drift from the West, drift from democracy, drift from secularism. But that’s not surprising because there are multiple agendas at play in the world today. Some raise fears about the so-called Islamist influence, they speak of losing Turkey, as if Turkey were about to spawn a new caliphate and destroy the Christian West. How absurd. The fact is that the United States and Turkey have cultivated a long-term, solid relationship that has been critical in support of American national interests, as well as Turkey’s. ...
“Absent Turkey, Iran would be a hegemon in a region where the United States has vital national interests. The alliance will persist because it’s in our interests and it’s also in Turkey’s interests. Of course, there are changes ongoing in Turkey, and in its relationship with its neighbors. ...
“The simple fact is that the alliance between America and Turkey has served our national interests for over 60 years, and let’s not delude ourselves: we need Turkey and Turkey needs us.”
—Congressman Bill Delahunt (D-MA), hearing, “Turkey’s New Foreign Policy Direction: Implications for U.S.-Turkish Relations,” House Foreign Affairs Committee, July 28, 2010.