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Monday, May 20, 2024

CSMS Magazine Staff Writers

CSMS Magazine Staff WritersA super star like no other, Barack Obama flew to the Middle East on Monday with a first stop in AmmanJordan, where he met and discussed the Palestinian issue with king Abballah. Early Tuesday, he flew to Israel to meet with officials there. Obama’s visit to Israel is aimed at achieving two crucial outcomes: boosting his foreign policy credentials and convincing Jewish voters in the US that he is their man ahead of the November election. But his first task was to insure Israeli politicians that, if elected, he will uphold the United States’ long term commitment to Israel. “The way you know where somebody’s going is where they have been. And I’ve been with Israel for many, many years now,” he reaffirmed Israeli officials.In his public remarks, Obama brushed aside questions of whether he would condone an Israeli attack to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Refusing to answer directly, he stated that he was “confident that in several private meetings I had not left Israeli politicians with the impression that, if elected president, I would be pressuring them to accept any kinds of concessions that would put their security at stake.”The rock star presidential contender has secured more than a half-dozen meetings, including a stop at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, a helicopter tour of the country and a visit to a house hit by Hamas rockets into his only full day in Israel during his trip to the Middle East and Europe.Of course as all US politicians have done in the past—to insure “fairness” in the United States diplomacy in regard to the Middle East—a visit to the deprived Palestinian territories had to part of the historic itinerary. So, Obama had to circumvent Israeli checkpoints to ride intoRamallah, the site of the Palestinian government on the West Bank, where he assured Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of his support for a two-state resolution. Later, in a session with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Obama confirmed that his talks with Abbas gave him the impression that “there’s a strong sense of progress being made” toward peace.This was the Illinois senator’s first official trip overseas since he has become a rock star presidential candidate. However, not everyone welcome Obama’s visit, there. Gaza Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum did not seem to be pleased as Obama’s visited to Sderot, and Israeli village near the Gaza border. “Hamas considers the remarks of the Democratic candidate today to be part of the American policy of bias towards Israel and giving legitimacy to Israeli crimes against our people. His remarks today give cover for the occupation’s nonstop crimes against our people,” Barhoum told journalists.While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict occupied center-stage, during the Obama visit, it was the Iranian nuclear ambition that occupies the minds of Israelis. So the Iranian issue and the threat that could pose to Israel never left Obama where ever he went on Wednesday. He fell to give direct and emphatic responses to reassure Israeli citizens. “Iranians need to understand that whether it’s the Bush administration or an Obama administration, that this is a paramount concern to the United States,” he said surrounded by journalists.He went on to say that he would used both “big sticks and carrots” to stop Iran from achieving its goal. “What I have also said, though, is that I will take no options off the table in dealing with this potential Iranian threat. And understand part of my reasoning here. A nuclear Iranwould be a game-changing situation, not just in the Middle East but around the world. Whatever remains of our nuclear nonproliferation framework, I think, would begin to disintegrate. You would have countries in the Middle East who would see the potential need to also obtain nuclear weapons.”            Obama arrived early this morning in Berlin, where he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as climate and energy issues atGermany’s chancellery. According to news reports, their meeting featured “very open” and wide-ranging talks, Merkel spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said in a statement issued after the hour-long session. Obama and Merkel also stressed the “great significance of close and friendly German-American relations,” he said.Other important topics in world affairs were also discussed. Among them were the crisis inPakistan, the Middle East peace process, the trans-Atlantic economic partnership, the global economy and “the need for cooperation on the international level and in international organizations to solve important global questions, according to the German Foreign Ministry. The Illinois senator is scheduled to deliver an evening speech in front of the Tiergarten’s 226-foot high Victory Column before a crowd predicted to be in the tens of thousands.Attempting to put aside commentaries comparing Obama’s speech to famous speeches that Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan made in Berlin during the Cold War, he was blunt. “They were presidents, I am a citizen,” he said, “but obviously Berlin is representative of the extraordinary success of the post-World War II effort to bring the continent together and bring the West together and then later to bring the East and the West together. And so I think it is a natural place to talk about.”According to the Associated Press, a “column of black BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars ferried Obama from the Tegel Airport to the chancellery, which sits across from the city’s famed glass-domed Reichstag.”From Berlin, Obama will fly to Paris and later London, where he expects to draw thousands. He will be back in the States on Saturday as John McCain struggles to stay in the spotlight.Also see Obama’s candidacy and the bittersweet feeling within the African American leadership When will race seize to be the cornerstone of American politic? Hillary Clinton’s Paranoia and the Democrats Dilemma Hillary Clinton wants to clinch the nomination at all costIs Barack Obama unstoppable after his stunning victory in Iowa last week?   The Obama campaign plunges deeper into the defensive after the Nevada lost last Saturday

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