July 17, 2012

Running Roughshod Over Allies

The United States has allowed the exclusion of Israel from a US-sponsored counterterrorism forum - the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) - for the second time in two months, i.e., on July 9-10, 2012 in Madrid, Spain and on June 7-8, 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey. 

You can read about the reasons (i.e., excuses) here, here and below, but the following are a few bottom line facts :

♦ The GCTF is an Obama administration initiativeIt was launched last fall as a “signature initiative” in what the administration calls its “smart power approach to counterterrorism.”

♦ The GCTF comprises 29 countries, with the U.S. and Turkey serving as co-chairs.

♦ 11 of the 29 GCTF members are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an Islamist umbrella organization, and they include Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

♦ When asked about Israel’s exclusion from the forum – especially given the fact “there are few countries in the world that have suffered more from terrorism than Israel, and few governments that have more experience combating this threat than that of Israel” (according to a letter last month from Senators Mark Kirk and Joe Lieberman to Hillary Clinton) – a State Department spokesman offered the usual State Dept (don’t-know-nothin’-about-nothin’) “happy to look into it” mumbo-jumbo.

What to take from all of this?

◊ The Obama admin continues to pander to Turkey’s Islamist prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (as it also did by excluding Israel from a recent NATO conference in Chicago).

◊ Holding a counterterrorism forum that excludes Israel, but includes 11 members of the OIC is Orwellian. As Orwellian as, say, having Iran involved in drawing up a global Arms Trade Treaty, or Wahhabi Central (aka Saudi Arabia) sit on the UN’s Human Rights Commission. But wait, Iran is involved in drawing up a global arms treaty and Wahhabi Central is sitting on the UN’s Human Rights Commission, although that's par for the course for the Orwellian institution known as the United Nations.

◊ As far as the U.S. is concerned this is but one more example of an administration so lacking in foreign policy experience, understanding and gravitas, that someone oughta remind them of Abraham Lincoln’s famous words, i.e., “A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have.”

As for the bottom line: Next time you hear someone touting the Obama administration's national security/foreign policy successes (as opposed to its domestic policy failures) rest assured that person has very little, if any, knowledge or understanding about foreign policy or national security.

[BTW, Bret Stephens’ marvelous piece in today’s WSJ, i.e., “The Hillary Myth,” hits it right on the nail.]

Jerusalem Post  |  July 16, 2012

'Israel Being Excluded From Counterterrorism Parley' 

By Benjamin Weinthal

US excludes Israel from counterterrorism mtg.jpg
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum in Istanbul, Turkey on June 7. Photo credit: Xinhua / Courtesy:

Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and dean of the human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center, charged the US-sponsored Global Counterterrorism Forum of deliberately excluding Israel from a second meeting of the group that took place in Spain last week.

In a strongly worded letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Hier wrote that "when there was criticism following your announcement of the creation of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, which excluded Israel, I accepted the administration's assurances that a way would be found to involve Israel. But after reading the Victims of Terrorism comments from the undersecretary of civilian security democracy and human rights, I'm prepared to believe that Israel is being left out intentionally."

Maria Otero, the undersecretary referred to in Hier's letter, delivered a speech entitled "Victims of Terrorism" on July 9 in Madrid at the Global Counterterrorism Forum and failed to mention Israel as a country that has experienced terrorism.

"Last September at the official launch of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, I had the privilege to introduce the premier of a film 'Hear their Voices,' which tells the stories of eleven survivors of terrorist attacks from Pakistan, Jordan, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Turkey, Indonesia, India, Spain, Columbia [sic] and the United States," she said.

"The film, which was produced by the Global Survivors Network, is a powerful plea for audiences around the world, especially those sympathetic to the grievances expressed by extremists, to recognize the human cost of terrorism and I am delighted that our Spanish hosts are planning on showing this film here later this afternoon."

In June, the Global Counterterrorism Forum's first formal meeting in Istanbul excluded Israel and invited countries with a history of sponsoring radical Islamic ideology.

A telling example was the presence of Saudi Arabia at the meeting. The kingdom's government embraces and spreads the radical Wahhabist ideology to which many terrorists adhere.

The lack of Israel's presence at the Istanbul event raised eyebrows, largely because Israel has a long track record of combating terrorism.

Critics chalked up the absence of Israel to the opposition of Turkey and its influence on the Obama administration.

Rabbi Marvin Hier wrote, "I am well aware that Turkey, one of the L of the forum is in opposition to an Israeli presence, but with all due respect to Turkey or any other country, the forum was created by the United States and Israel is amongst the United States' most reliable and trusted allies."

Hier continued by saying that "having a global counterterrorism forum and not including Israel, is like having a global technology conference and excluding the United States of America. There is no one with more experience at combatting terrorism or educating civilians about it than the State of Israel. I think the time has come for the United States to make it very clear why Israel continues to be excluded."

Asked by AP reporter Matthew Lee last week at a State Department briefing "why [Otero] doesn't mention Israel or Israelis in her comments talking about victims of terrorism," Patrick Ventrell, a State Department spokesman, seemed to stumble for an answer before replying, "I don't have the details of the undersecretary's speech."

The reporter pointed out to Ventrell that Maria Otero's speech is on the State Department website.

In an extensive Washington Free Beacon news outlet report titled "Israel's Plight Ignored" on the Obama administration's refusal to include Israel in the forum, the Beacon quoted Josh Block, a Democratic strategist and former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), saying, "When the administration promised to include Israel in the counterterrorism forum that the United States founded – after Jerusalem's inexplicable exclusion from the initial meeting a month ago – one would think they would be true to their word."

"Clearly someone failed here. How Israel could be excluded from another meeting of an anti-terror forum that we chair is beyond comprehension, especially one that focuses on victims of terrorism," he added.

Block noted that, as Israel's exclusion comes "at a time when Romney is challenging the administration's record on US-Israel relations, this error stands out."

Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) also wrote to Clinton in June expressing disappointment of "the absence of our ally, Israel, from the Global Counterterrorism Forum, which you attended in Istanbul last week."

Original article here.


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Posted by eblanch from Clarksburg, NJ on
How sad that a nation, that has been surrounded by its enemies for decades, that has gallantly fought off attempted invasions and has assisted in teaching allies in law enforcement and military forces anti-terrorism tactics, to be ignored by, of all countries, the United States. As has been wisely stated, if Israel is to be omitted from a counterterrorism forum, then who is left to truly explain how to manage this threat to a nation’s population. Nigeria? Saudi Arabia? Is there anyone with the courage at the State Department to tell its leadership that these countries promulgate terrorists, not counter them?
It would also be interesting to discover what was discussed in this forum, sponsored by a politically correct State Department and an ideolog President. Were methodologies openly discussed that are used by counterterrorism experts in the United States and Israel? And would anyone be surprised if they were based on Obama and Co. and the State Department’s actions of late?