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SOS Hillary Clinton Interviewed in Bahrain *updated*

December 4, 2010

This is an interview in Arabic- the questions are in Arabic but the answers from Secretary Clinton are obviously in English, so you can still gleam some information. She says that she will be formally announcing something about Mideast peace negotiations next week. Interesting.

She seems tense in this interview but it sounds like the questions were a bit more searching than the US media asks, at least with respect to US policies in the region, which could be why. Also, the WikiLeaks docudump made for a tough week for her.

Update: Here’s the transcript:

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, first, thank you for your time. I don’t want to ask you about WikiLeaks. You’ve already answered so many questions. I’m going to stick to the peace process; a Palestinian official has said yesterday that American administration has informed the Palestinian Authority about its failure to secure a new settlement phase. Why you have failed, and what will be the next step?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Michel, we are not prepared to make any announcement about what we’re doing and what our next steps are until early next week. We’re going to have some additional consultations with both the Israelis and the Palestinians. But there are a number of ways that we’re going to move forward. So I’m not confirming or denying what any spokesman said, but I am reaffirming our commitment to find a way forward.

QUESTION: But have you failed or not.

SECRETARY CLINTON: We’re not ready to say that.

QUESTION: You’ve talked with the Israeli prime minister about a proposal or offer for deadline. We didn’t hear anything (inaudible) offer. Is the offer still there or not?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have had intensive consultations, and, of course, I’m not going to disclose details of it, because those were part of the negotiations. But I think we’ve made progress, but it really depends upon the parties deciding that they’re willing to make the tough compromises on the key issues. And as I say, I will be making a very formal set of remarks about that next week, and I’m not prepared to get into details now. But we have been talking with both parties very substantively, and I think that the United States can play a role to help each make decisions about very difficult matters that then can be presented to the other side.

QUESTION: On Iran, Iran has blamed the CIA, MI-6, and the Mossad for the assassination of Iranian scientist in Tehran. What can you say about that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have nothing to say. I know nothing about that. I don’t know what Iran is referring to, and I wish that the discussions which begin in Geneva on Monday will be fruitful ones, because everyone wants to find a way to work with Iran, and the door is open.

QUESTION: We go to Iraq. Are you satisfied from the political compromise that political blocs have achieved in the last months or last month?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am. I think that after some very hard and long bargaining, an inclusive government has been put into place, and now I want to see that government start to work and deliver results for the Iraqi people.

QUESTION: Mm-hmm. On Egypt, to what extent you are worried about the elections and the protests after the elections and some parties pulled out from the second —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’ve expressed our concerns continuously and frequently to the Egyptian Government and to the public. And we regret that the elections have been rejected by many participants inside Egypt, and we hope that there will be a better process going forward.

QUESTION: On Lebanon, Madam Secretary, are you aware of the Syrian/Saudi efforts to contain the security situation after the indictment that international tribunal will be issued soon, maybe this month. Are you aware about this effort?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We are aware. We, of course, appreciate efforts to try to keep Lebanon calm, but we think it’s important for the special tribunal to do its work. We think it’s important for the indictments, if there are any, to be made public, and that it’s important for anyone accused of this terrible act of criminal violence to be brought to justice. So we have said we will support the tribunal. We have specifically told the prime minister and the president that they need to stand for the rule of law and accountability and justice, and that those who might be affected need to also follow a peaceful course. They are perfectly free to demonstrate, but not to take up weapons to try to influence or affect the Government of Lebanon.

QUESTION: Finally on Syria, how can you describe the relations between the U.S. and Syria after two years of engagement?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We’ve had some candid, productive discussions at several levels, including my own with my counterpart, that it’s not only our Administration but leading members of Congress and other Americans who have reached out to the highest levels of the Syrian Government. We want to have a constructive relationship with Syria. We want to see Syria clearly end any support for terrorism or destabilizing Lebanon or in any way supplying arms to Hezbollah. So I think there has been some greater understanding, but we still have a lot of work to do.

QUESTION: Finally, what are your wishes for the next year and what are your goals?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, obviously we’re going to keep working on the broad range of responsibilities that the United States faces and that the State Department has to follow through on. We will be working probably, Michel, on Middle East Peace, on North Korea, on Iran, on the hot spots. But I also hope to continue to really deepen relations with a lot of the emerging powers from India, and China, Turkey, Brazil, South Africa. Because the United States bears a special responsibility because of our global reach to be engaged with every part of the world on the transnational problems, from climate change to human trafficking to terrorism. And we will continue to do so.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Good to talk to you.

QUESTION: Good talking to you, too.


QUESTION: I appreciate your time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: See you back in Washington.

QUESTION: Thanks so much.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. SirJohn permalink
    December 4, 2010 9:28 am

    Given that we’ve given Israel the store so to speak her announcement is probably based on more Israeli bribes. Can you imagine what she’s offered that we don’t know about? What gives the US the right to commit huge amounts of US funds and security guarantees going forward forever, in the name of the US taxpayer but we’re not allowed to know about it unless it leaks out? I guess all that matters is the Zionist Lobby is happy.

    Until she and her boss are willing to stand up to the Israelis and tell them the US is not the one that has to make concessions, this process is a joke. As long as the anti-assimilation Zionist Dennis Ross is in charge of formulating Israel’s incentives this is going nowhere. Have you noticed that Senator George Mitchell is no longer in the news? You know why? That asshole Netanyahu won’t work with Mitchell- he prefers to work through his fellow Israeli citizen and and Lobby shill Dennis Ross, who is usually based out of Jerusalem.

    The two state solution is dead. The US killed it a long time ago so that it could appease the lobby. It’s time to stop pretending otherwise.

    • December 4, 2010 2:13 pm

      Sir John- When I heard way back when that Dennis Ross was going to be a key figure not only in our Iran policy but also Mideast negotiations I thought “oh no, here we go again” and I agree that Senator Mitchell seems to have been pushed out of the way, perhaps at Bibi’s request.

      That said, I’m not entirely comfortable with sweeping generalizations about what you call the “Zionist Lobby”- that would seem to be a pejorative or another way of saying “Jewish Lobby” which sort of feeds into some antiSemtic tropes and conspiracies. I’m not saying you are antisemitic- I don’t throw around that term lightly and I don’t know you- but I think when we talk about the Israel Lobby perhaps we should just call it that- the Israel Lobby- knowing that it includes not only Jewish people but also many non-Jewish people. I won’t deny the Israel Lobby’s influence- I think it tends to be a bit too influential in fact, much like the pharmaceutical lobby and the banking lobby is. Also, while I’m certainly not an expert on Zionism as a political/cultural/religious philosophy I have noticed that the term means different things to different people.

      I’m just saying.

      As for the two state solution, I think the final nail in the coffin was the referendum law that was recently passed in Israel and which the U.S. has been rather quiet about. But, who knows.

      Also, and this comment is for anyone out there not just Sir John- has anyone noticed the deafening silence regarding Hamas’ comments last week? It received a tiny bit of coverage but nothing meaningful. Not a single question int he State Dept. DPB’s that I saw. Pretty incredible.

      • Thain permalink
        December 4, 2010 3:00 pm

        You raise good points about the use of the word Zionist- I sometimes use that word too and maybe I shouldn’t. But the fact is, some people support a very racist version of Zionism and Dennis Ross is the worst person to be playing such a role in the middle east. Sir John is right- he’s a shill for the Israel lobby. Here’s a bit about Ross from Wikipedia:

        “n the mid-1980s Ross co-founded with Martin Indyk the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-sponsored Washington Institute for Near East Policy (“WINEP”).[5] His first WINEP paper called for appointment of a “non-Arabist Special Middle East envoy” who would “not feel guilty about our relationship with Israel.”

        According to Aaron David Miller, a member of the Ross-led US negotiating team in 1999-2000, under Ross they frequently acted as “Israel’s lawyer”, and their policy of “no surprises” (meaning all US proposals were first reviewed by Israel), led to a lack of negotiating flexibility and independence. Ross writes in The Missing Peace that “Aaron was always arguing for a just and fair proposal… that the Palestinians were entitled to 100 percent of the territory. Swaps should thus be equal… on the basis that every other Arab negotiating partner had gotten 100 percent. Why should the Palestinians be different? I disagreed.”

        In 2008, Time reported that a former colleague of Ross, former ambassador Daniel Kurtzer published a think-tank monograph containing anonymous complaints from Arab and American negotiators saying Ross was seen as biased towards Israel and not “an honest broker.”

        Ross wrote Obama’s AIPAC speech and he’s a member of the “Jerusalem will never be divided” crowd.

        Ross also worked with Israel on this latest ridiculous gift basket- he sat down with Israel and actually worked it out. A bunch of mideast experts have said that the package has “Ross’ fingerprints all over it.”

        He founded the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute which opposes assimilation by marriage between Jews and non-Jews.

        I think he’s the worst kind of Zionist, but I will stop using the term here from now on.

  2. SirJohn permalink
    December 4, 2010 9:30 am

    Obama says Israeli fire fires is the US’ top priority? Yeah, whatever. If Israel can’t fight its own fires without help how are they going to wage war against Iran? Oh yeah, they’re not, we are. Israel can only exist as a welfare state of the US.

    Keep in mind bibi is the guy who has been spitting in Obama’s eye for the last two years but as soon as Bibi needs help, the US answers the call. Tell me again about this special relationship?

  3. December 4, 2010 2:51 pm

    I just saw this and thought it was interesting. The PA is considering dissolving- I don’t think it will. But the article mentions in passing that Abu Mazen (Abbas) sent Palestinian Civil Defense forces to help Israel fight the forest fires.

    In other news, Israel is possibly planning to attack Syria. What is interesting is that the Obama admin. had wanted to try for rapprochement to try to curb Syria’s negative influence but the GOP and Israel really sank that option, refusing to allow the State Dept. to send an Ambassador to Syria. In other words, they sabotaged a diplomatic solution. Basically, there are some in this country and in Israel who think war is the only answer- to EVERYTHING.

    Of course, just as with Iran, the Iraq War created a more powerful Syria. It is enraging that the MSM media ignores these sorts of things- there is no doubt at all that the Iraq War has made the US and Israel less safe, increased the power of Iran and Syria exponentially and been a great source of terrorist recruiting. And yet there is no accountability for any of this. The Iraq War supporters just hum along knowing that the MSM will never connect the dots and inform the American people. Those of us who opposed the war from the get-go were mocked, called un-American and portrayed as some sort of modern hippies. Here’s the thing- we were right on all counts.

  4. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    December 4, 2010 3:42 pm

    QUESTION: On Iran, Iran has blamed the CIA, MI-6, and the Mossad for the assassination of Iranian scientist in Tehran. What can you say about that?

    SECRETARY CLINTON: I have nothing to say. I know nothing about that. I don’t know what Iran is referring to.

    Hm. Not exactly a denial, is it?

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