[DEBATE] : Obama to Palestinians: Drop Dead (I'll help)
critical.montages at gmail.com
Thu Jun 5 00:42:45 BST 2008
On Wed, Jun 4, 2008 at 4:15 PM, <mfleshman at aol.com> wrote:
> So much for "change" His Jerusalem comment was too much even for the Abu
> Remarks at AIPAC Policy Conference
> Senator Barack Obama
> June 4, 2008
> As Prepared for Delivery
Obama mentioned in his AIPAC speech:
Iran 29 times
Palestinians 11 times
Iraq 10 times
Syria 5 times
Lebanon 3 times
Hamas 4 times
McCain mentioned in his AIPAC speech:
Iran 31 times
Iraq 13 times
Hezbollah 8 times
Lebanon 5 times
Palestinians 4 times
Hamas 4 times
Syria 1 time
Both candidates' speeches are about Iran, as it, not the Palestinian
people, is AIPAC's number one issue.
Both Obama and McCain are united on maintaining Israel's "qualitative"
(i.e. nuclear) military advantage:
Obama: "That [an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security] starts
with ensuring Israel's qualitative military advantage."
McCain: "I am committed to making certain Israel maintains its
qualitative military edge."
Both are certain that Iran presents a threat to the entire "region,"
not just to Israel:
Obama: "The Iranian regime supports violent extremists and challenges
us across the region."
McCain: "It [Iran] remains the world's chief sponsor of terrorism and
threatens to destabilize the entire Middle East, from Basra to
Where Obama and McCain differ:
McCain insists that "It [Iran] has trained, financed, and equipped
extremists in Iraq who have killed American soldiers fighting to bring
freedom to that country," a theme missing in Obama's speech.
McCain backed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment "calling for the designation
of the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization responsible for
killing American troops in Iraq," for which Obama didn't vote.
McCain says that he can't "unconditionally" meet with the Iranian
leadership because that "would harm Iranian moderates and dissidents,
as the radicals and hardliners strengthen their position and suddenly
acquire the appearance of respectability." Obama doesn't mention the
moderates and dissidents of Iran or how their position may be affected
by US diplomacy.
Obama sponsored a bill that "would encourage states and the private
sector to divest from companies that do business in Iran," the bill
that McCain has refused to sign onto,* as Obama points out. McCain
says, "We should privatize the sanctions against Iran by launching a
worldwide divestment campaign," on the model of the divestment
campaign against Apartheid South Africa.
Obama would "pursue other unilateral sanctions that target Iranian
banks and assets." and ask Europe, Japan, and the Gulf states to take
measures ranging "from cutting off loan guarantees and expanding
financial sanctions, to banning the export of refined petroleum to
Iran, to boycotting firms associated with the Iranian Revolutionary
Guard." McCain favors imposing "financial sanctions on the Central
Bank of Iran," preventing "business dealings with Iran's Revolutionary
Guard Corps," and "applying sanctions to restrict Iran's ability to
import refined petroleum products."
I guess there isn't much Iran's power elite can do beyond what they
have already been doing except maybe speeding up building refineries**
and cutting gasoline subsidies further.
McCain's Divestment Dance
Among John McCain's proposals in his speech to AIPAC today was a
"wordwide divestment campaign" against Iran. The idea has picked up
steam in the past couple of years, with state governments from
California to Maryland to McCain's own state of Arizona passing
divestment bills. But those bills mostly deal with investment through
pension funds, which alone isn't going to crush Iran. The campaign is
really about international pressure, since U.S. companies are already
banned from doing business in Iran. (President Carter froze Iranian
assets during the hostage crisis in 1979. President Clinton issued an
executive order in 1995 banning trade with and investment in Iran.)
But the small amount that the United States can do—calling attention
to foreign companies that do invest in Iran and pressuring them to
stop—was proposed by Obama back in 2007. And as the Obama camp was
quick to point out, McCain did not sign on. Obama's bill, co-authored
with Sam Brownback, would create a list of businesses that invest more
than $20 million in Iran's energy sector, to help investors know which
companies they may want to divest from. Thirty-three senators signed
on as co-sponsors, including John Kerry, Trent Lott, Ted Kennedy, Mel
Martinez, and Joe Lieberman—but not McCain. His campaign didn't
respond to e-mails asking why.
The bill is currently held up in the committee on banking, housing,
and urban affairs. The committee's ranking Republican member, Sen.
Richard Shelby, claimed to have some procedural beef with the bill—he
says any bill dealing with a monetary issue must pass through it. But
some people think he's holding it as a favor to the Bush
administration, which doesn't want to alienate anti-divestment allies
at the moment.
McCain may have been smart to stay away. When he and Obama agree on
something, like anti-torture laws and immigration reform, McCain likes
to be out in front. Signing onto Obama's divestment bill would make it
look like he's playing second fiddle. Then there's the risk of
alienating the current administration. McCain has walked a fine line
between courting Bush (see last week's photo op) and distancing
himself (see Katrina, global warming). On Iran, where the two have
all-but-identical positions, he'd probably prefer to toe the party
Update 5:03 p.m.: Worth noting is the timing of McCain's call to
divest. Last week, TPM reported that campaign manager Rick Davis once
worked for a Ukrainian billionaire with ties to Iran. And today,
Huffington Post revealed chief strategist Charlie Black once lobbied
for a Chinese oil conglomerate linked to Iran back in 2005.
Published Monday, June 02, 2008 4:42 PM by Christopher Beam
Iran building 7 refineries to hike capacity-agency
Saturday May 31 2008
TEHRAN, May 31 (Reuters) - Iran is constructing seven refineries in an
effort to boost its crude and gas refining capacity by more than 1.5
million barrels per day (bpd), a senior oil official was quoted as
saying on Saturday.
"The construction of seven refineries has started with the investment
of 15 billion euros ($23.22 billion)," Mehr news agency quoted
Aminollah Eskandari, a director of the National Iranian Oil Refining
and Distribution Company (NIORDC) as saying.
"About 1.56 million barrels will be added to the country's capacity to
refine crude oil and gas derivatives," he added.
Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil producer but lacks sufficient
refining capacity and imports large amounts of gasoline which it then
sells at a heavily subsidised price.
Tehran, in 2006 started on a multi-billion dollar, five-year programme
to expand and upgrade its domestic refining capacity to 3.3 million
bpd from the current 1.65 million bpd.
Eskandari said all seven refineries would be on stream by 2012.
Iranian officials say gasoline imports have declined sharply since
rationing was launched last year. Importing gasoline is a sensitive
issue when Iran is facing Western pressure over its disputed nuclear
But analysts have already dismissed Iran's plan to bolster its
refining capacity, saying rising costs and lack of state funding for
these projects will likely see the target date completion be pushed
(Writing by Zahra Hosseinian; editing by Christopher Johnson)
Obama's AIPAC speech:
McCain's AIPAC speech:
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