The Daily Talking Points

News and views relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for November 4, 2010.

  • National Review Online: Foundation for Defense of Democracies president Clifford May suggests that should Palestinian Authority president Abbas declare Palestine a state and request UN recognition, Obama might not oppose this declaration of statehood because he “believes in a ‘two-state solution.’” May notes such a move would be met with opposition from Arab countries, because many of them “define victory as Israel’s destruction.” Besides, writes May, establishment of Palestinian state would escalate the conflict between Hamas and Fatah. The international community will be uncomfortable backing Hamas, “a terrorist organization openly and unequivocally committed to Israel’s extermination, and guided by the jihadi rules of Iran.” If Hamas gains control of the West bank, it will be obligated to “’resist’ Israel’s existence” and, when Israel responds militarily, “Will Syria and Iran come to Hamas’s aid?.” This dire scenario, concludes May, is reason for Obama to make absolutely clear “that he does not want Abbas to bypass negotiations and head down a road leading to a minefield.”
  • Newsweek: Dan Ephron writes that while “the composition of Congress does not necessarily determine Washington’s approach to the Middle East,” Israeli leadership may believe that the Republican-led House may be “more amenable to the idea of considering military options in case sanctions don’t work.” Ephron predicts that the White House will set foreign policy on Iran but Ahmadinejad will offer more resistance to Washington’s efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program, perceiving that Obama is now a weaker president.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.