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Sundown: Has Obama Lost Mideast Cred?

Plus the real problem with Palin, and more

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President Obama today.(Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)

Feel like an extra-long round-up for the weekend? Me too.

• The Palestine Papers keep on giving: In 2009, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told U.S. envoy George Mitchell that President Obama lost “credibility … throughout the region,” adding, “people in the Middle East are not taking Barack Obama seriously. They feared Bush, despite everything.” [JPost]

• The Qatari emir told Sen. Kerry about a year ago that now is the time for the United States to engage Syria, and that Hamas will accept a deal along the 1967 borders, though won’t say so publicly. This one’s WikiLeaks. [WikiLeaks]

• Her intentions aside, Anthony Grafton condemns Sarah Palin’s invocation of the term “blood libel” for the damage it does to history and to the memories of countless Jews who suffered because of it. [TNR]

• A new entry in the “who sucked more, Hitler or Stalin?” debate from Bloodlands author Timothy Snyder. Turns out that Stalin was more motivated by ethnicity than was thought … but that Hitler really did kill significantly more innocents. [NYRB]

• Tablet Magazine contributor Nicholas Noe argues that U.S. policy toward Lebanon since the 2005 Cedar Revolution was a colossal failure, only helping Hezbollah, and that the one way to head off a really bad confrontation with Israel would be to push Israel to make peace with Syria. [NYT]

• Gal Beckerman remembers the late Samuel T. Cohen, the little-known inventor of the neutron bomb whose memoir was called F*** You: Mr. President. [Forward]

• David Nesenoff, the journalist who asked the question that prompted Helen Thomas’s infamous response, has been appointed editor and publisher of Long Island’s The Jewish Star. [The Jewish Star]

• Hélène Grimaud is a courageous, amazing, and beautiful French pianist. So naturally she has to be Jewish, right? Wikipedia, take it away: “She is descended from Sephardi Jews from Corsica on her mother’s side and from Berber Jews on her father’s side.” God, French Jews are great. [NYT]

• Weekend reading: Two articles by the late Daniel Bell. [Dissent]

• The legendary Eric Hobsbawn tackles the strange tale of the Jews of San Nicandro, ably handled in Tablet Magazine by books critic Adam Kirsch. [LRB]

• Futurist-novelist William Gibson finds Stuxnet’s roots in the world of digital vandalism. [NYT]

30 Rock makes a joke about Tablet Magazine’s official Canadian Football League head coach, the tastefully named Marc Trestman (h/t Kaplan’s Korner):

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This vid was very funny.

How’s this for a game-changer. Sources in Egypt and West: US secretly backed protest is the headline in Debka, an Israel on-line intelligence journal. The article reports that Persistent claims were heard Saturday, Jan. 29 in various Egyptian and informed western circles that the popular uprising against president Hosni Mubarak, still going strong on its fifth day, was secretly prepared three years ago in Washington during the Bush administration.
The London Daily Telegraph headlined a story Saturday, apparently confirming confidential US documents released by WikiLeaks, which claimed that since 2008, the American government had secretly backed leading figures behind the uprising for “regime change.”

If so, does this not qualify as yet another confirmation that the US diplomatic corps is rather “strategy-challenged”? The report describes the Bush Administration having brought to the US a “pro-democracy student leader” for training, then returned him to Egypt where, apparently, he acted as catalyst for revolt. Except Bush apparently retained no control over the loose canon, and so the revolt broke out at the best time for the “revolutionaries,” but the worst time for the region and America’s position in the region. Egypt followed Tunisia and is inspiring a chain reaction throughout America’s Defense Umbrella, Jordan, Yemen and reports as well that the Saudis are also seeing disturbances.

So, keeping count, Bush overthrew Iraq: score one for Iran; Lebanon fell to Hezbollah: another for Iran; Hamas to Iran; Turkey seeing the writing on the wall re US losing it, independent and leaning towards Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah.

If Egypt falls the most likely inheritor, as with the Iranian revolution, will be the Islamists, in this case the Moslem Brotherhood. And if Egypt falls, is Saudia next? So the oil and the Canal and the Straits go to the Islamists.

Was Obama in the loop? Has he the understanding (not yet demonstrated) to make a difference? And Whither Israel?

Obama reneged on many promises during the campaign before becoming president

Hey there have you by chance pondered to create concerning Nintendo or PSP

I’ve said that least 1002151 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean


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Sundown: Has Obama Lost Mideast Cred?

Plus the real problem with Palin, and more

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