Newscast Media DUBLIN, Ireland—US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi Thursday as world leaders desperately seek an end to the conflict in Syria.
Amid fears the 21-month conflict which has already claimed some 40,000 lives may take a gruesome new turn, the three diplomats were to hold crisis talks on the sidelines of an international meeting in Dublin.
“Secretary Clinton has accepted an invitation by UN special envoy Brahimi for a trilateral meeting on Syria this afternoon with Mr Brahimi and Russian FM Lavrov,” a senior State Department official said.
US officials hope there may be a new willingness by Moscow, a staunch ally in Damascus, to probe ways to bring more pressure to bear on Assad to step down. The United States has been calling for some time for Russia to use its leverage with Assad to try to open the way towards a political transition. Moscow has been a staunch ally of Assad and has vetoed UN Security Council resolutions aiming to sanction the regime.
But it did initially sign onto a peace plan crafted by Brahimi’s predecessor, Kofi Annan, until it wavered in the face of imposing punitive UN action if Syria refused to implement the accord.
Clinton and Lavrov met first on Thursday morning for bilateral talks in which a US senior official said they both agreed to “listen to what the special envoy has to say.”
“They both have a lot of respect of his mission and want to be supportive of it,” the State Department official said.
Washington has so far provided humanitarian, non-lethal aid to the rebels, but refused to arm the opposition amid fears of pouring weapons into an already volatile region, where anti-US militant groups are springing up.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Monday on a trip focused on resolving sharp differences over the conflict. Last month, Erdogan said Russia held the key to the Syrian conflict, and that if Moscow took a “positive” stance in the Security Council it could push another key Damascus ally Iran to review its policies.
Source: Radio Netherlands
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The chance that Susan Rice will become the next U.S. Secretary of State is high, but the decision will be counterproductive in regard to U.S. foreign relations in the Middle East. Why Barack Obama would choose someone like Rice is baffling for reasons I will elucidate in this article. Of all the choices that the Democrats have for the position Sen. John Kerry is perhaps the most
suitable person for such an undertaking, given the strained US-Arab relations in the Middle East.
Susan Rice is unsuitable for the position, not because she is unqualified, but because of the cultural dynamics in the geopolitical region (Middle East), that the U.S. is attempting to stabilize. This might sound like a harsh reality to Americans, but the cultural reason in the Middle East that works against Susan Rice if she gets the position, is because she is a woman.
My Arab friends who read my articles on a regular basis will agree with me on this one. This is simply part of a religious and cultural belief in that particular region. In Islam, women are viewed differently than men. Islamic law even forbids men to shake hands with non-related women, that’s why Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi will not shake hands with Hillary Clinton—at least not in public.
Obama is fully aware of the Islamic Sharia teaching that says: “It’s not permissible for a man to touch the face or hand of a non-mahram woman (non-relative woman), and it is not permissible for him to put his hand on hers without a barrier.” —Muhammad ibn Ahmad (‘Ulaysh)
In fact, when Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William was congratulating athletes upon winning medals at the Olympics, male athletes from Islamic countries that abide by strict Islamic law refused to shake her hand. A spokesperson from St. James Palace then issued the following statement: “Many male athletes from Islamic countries do not shake hands in public with women they are not related for cultural and religious reasons…” as reported by the New York Daily News.
Not all Muslims though observe that law. For instance, Erdogon of Turkey, Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi, King Abdullah of Jordan, Bashar Assad of Syria, Muhamood Abbas of Palestine, and a few more, aren’t as regimented and have been photographed shaking hands publicly with women they are not related to, and are considered to be moderate Muslims.
If the U.S. were trying to create stability in regions like Europe, Asia, South America or sub-Saharan Africa, Susan Rice’s secretaryship would suffice. However, the war is in a region tainted with radical Islamist elements, most of whom are on the State Department’s list of terrorists. For this reason, a man would be more suitable to negotiate the “laying down of arms” and peace treaties within such a geopolitical
region, and John Kerry has the experience and dynamism to do just that. Rice seems to be cold and very calculating, while John Kerry is warm, engaging an likable. Below is a raw video I recorded that captures Kerry’s dynamism.
In this brief raw unedited video, I captured John Kerry interacting with the crowd as he exudes
warmth, a dynamic personality and a sense of awareness of his surroundings.
—Raw video by Joseph Earnest
If Barack Obama is serious about creating meaningful and lasting change in the Middle East he should pick someone like John Kerry or even Johnny Carson who did an excellent job in sub-Saharan Africa. He picked Hillary Clinton in part, to continue the pattern set by Bill Clinton who chose Madeline Albright in 1997, followed by George W. Bush who chose Condoleeza Rice, then in his first term Obama chose Hillary Clinton.
Sun Tzu, one of the world’s greatest war tacticians said: “A true warrior is supposed to behave like the snake of Mt. ChUng…If you strike it on the head, the tail will attack you. If you strike it on its tail, the head will attack you…and if you strike it in the middle, both head and tail will attack you.” Sun Tzu The Art of War (page 54).
Isn’t it time to change our tactics in the Middle East and have a man-to-man talk with radical Islamist elements that are creating instability?