Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Foreign Policy Wrap-Up - Saudi Arabia, Israel in the News

The Yanquis, it seems, are leaving Canada's federal government in the foreign policy dust.

First up, Saudi Arabia - or what Steffie Dion and Slick would call our "good ally."  In the course of debate over a new Senate bill that would allow the victims of the 9/11 (mainly Saudi) terrorist attacks to sue the Saudi monarchy, House members of both parties got together to castigate the Saudis for stoking extremism. That, in case you're wondering, is code for ISIS and al Qaeda.

“The Saudis and the Saudi royal family have been right up to their eyeballs in terrorist activity,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), the chairman of a House subcommittee on terrorism, noted that “Wahhabi followers are more easily recruited by terrorist groups.”

Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman of California accused Riyadh of funding religious leaders who “preach violent murder against those who they disagree with.”

During the hearing, Rohrabacher asked the four Saudi expert witnesses — who included former 9/11 commissioner Tim Roemer — to raise their hands if they believed the Saudi Royal family did not know of the 9/11 plot ahead of time. Two experts, Karen Elliot House of the Belfer Center and Daniel Byman of Georgetown University, raised their hands, while Roemer and Simon Henderson of the Washington Institute kept their hands down. Later, Roemer said the question was too complex to deal with in an up-or-down fashion, but Rohrabacher rejected that view. “The Saudis have been financing terrorism now for 20 years at least,” Rohrabacher said.

Meanwhile, as Israeli slips into the arms of fascism, its newest Democratic BFF, Hillary "what's in it for me?" Clinton was handed a bit of a setback today. The Dems know they've got a huge problem with Bernie Sanders who, unlike Hillary, consistently outpolls Donald Trump as the peoples' choice for president.

Hillary, for a lot of good reasons, is not well liked. Her negatives far outweigh her positives among American voters. Bernie is the opposite. The Dems know that if they throw the nomination to Hillary - and they will - they'll be vulnerable not only to Trump but, potentially, to Bernie supporters also who threaten to boycott the polls on election day.

Operation Placate Bernie is underway. The Democratic organization is trying to play nice with Sanders, inviting him in to help draft party policy. Sanders foreign policy advisor, Jim Zogby, says that would mean a tougher approach to Israel including calling Israel's half-century occupation of the Palestinian territory a - gasp - "occupation." Remember, this is coming from the strongest Jewish presidential candidate in American history.

We'll just have to wait for Bernie's shopping list to unfold but, chances are, it won't be Hillary-friendly.

To Zogby and other Sanders supporters, the independent Vermonter’s 20 states won in the Democratic nominating contest have given his message a mandate. In conceding appointments on the drafting committee, the DNC has acknowledged Sanders’s clout among the party electorate. And Sanders’s picks, sure to clash with those selected by Democratic leaders and the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and likely nominee, are his most powerful statement yet that he intends to fight for the party’s future beyond the convention in Philadelphia.

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