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Entries in Dennis Ross (16)


Israel-Palestine Live Coverage (2 November): Is Iran Still an "Existential Threat"?

1730 GMT: Following Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas's remarks aired by Israelis Channel 2 on Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called Abbas's words as "extremely dangerous". 

Abbas had stated that he would consider Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem as Palestine and the rest as Israel. When asked whether he would go to his birthplace - Safed, now a town in northern Israel - Abbas said he would go but wouldn't want to live there. This, automatically brings Abbas's standing on the issue of refugees into question. 


1540 GMT: After Bahrain signed an agreement with UN Relief and Works Agency to build three reconstruction projects worth of $5.4 million, a $25 million sports city project in Gaza City will be launched soon by Qatar, says Palestinian Minister of Sports, Youth, and Culture Mohammed Al-Madhoun.

1400 GMT: Defense official Amos Gilad criticized Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi: "Out of the desire for democracy, an appalling dictatorship has emerged inEgypt. There is no dialogue between Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Israel's political echelon and there won't be. He won't talk to us." Gilad also warned that the peace treaty with Egypt must be preserved "at any cost".

1220 GMT: Israeli military censure lifted a ban on the publication of an interview made with Nahum Lev, the commander of the operation that ended up killing Abu Jihad, co-founder of Palestine Liberation Organisation, in Tunis in 1988.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Insurgents Attack in the North

Syrian demonstrators in Aleppo burn a picture of President Assad on Friday

See also Friday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Feuding About a Plane --- Meanwhile, 200+ Die

2027 GMT: Palestine. Doctors have said that at least one person has been killed and three others, including a child, have been wounded in two Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

The Israeli military said two men, one killed and one critically wounded, were "terror operatives of the Hashora Council of the Mujahideen, a Gaza-based Global Jihad affiliate".

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Iran Feature: Can Tehran and the West Close the Nuclear "Trust Gap"? (Wheeler/Nedal)

The flaw at the heart of Western policy has been its failure to recognise the extent to which its use of threats as a means of leveraging concessions from Iran has served to increase Iranian mistrust. This, in turn, has strengthened the hand of those members of the Iranian leadership who argue that the only means of safeguarding the country’s security lies in the maintenance of a latent nuclear weapons capability.

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The Latest from Iran (23 May): Nuclear Talks in Baghdad

The European Union's Catherine Ashton meets Iran's Saeed Jalili at today's nuclear talks in Baghdad

See also Iran Snap Analysis: How the Nuclear Talks Developed Today
See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Standing Against Homophobia, Defending Students, and More
Iran Analysis: A Guide to Watching Today's Nuclear Talks
The Latest from Iran (22 May): Tehran Plays Up Hope for Nuclear Talks

2050 GMT: Nuclear Watch. After a bilateral meeting between the EU's Catherine Ashton and Iran's Saeed Jalili of almost two hours, discussions have ended in Baghdad for today.

2010 GMT: Nuclear Prediction Comes True. EA this morning:

Iranian media features the line of politicians and clerics that any discussion must begin with a "Western" offer to ease sanctions. That is the requirement for the talks to move to consideration of limits and monitoring of Tehran's enrichment.

Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor this evening:

"The response from the Iranian side is: 'What you are asking for is ... not what we agreed to in Istanbul,'" an Iranian diplomat close to the talks [said[, referring to the demands of six world powers that include Iran capping uranium enrichment and scrapping a deeply buried facility.

Steps were meant to be “reciprocal, simultaneous, and ... balanced” in their value to each side, says the Iranian diplomat. Instead, Iran was told there would be “consideration” of easing sanctions “later,” after Iran made concessions.

EA this morning:

Behind the public pose, there has to be a significant assurance by the Americans and Europeans over sanctions, on the basis that Iran will not demand self-sufficiency in enriching uranium to 20%.

Peterson this evening:

"This is what we were afraid of," says the Iranian diplomat. "No one is going to accept these things this way. [Giving up] the 20 percent and shutting down Fordow [enrichment plant], in return for nothing? Nothing?"

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US, Middle East, & Iran Feature: RIP, Dennis Ross

Benjamin Netanyahu & Dennis RossBluntly summarised, Ross's approach was to bully a perceived adversary into negotiations. Israel would only face meaningful talks once the Palestinian Authority had accepted a series of demands; the "international community" would only move to agreement with Iran once Tehran had made the substantial concessions.

It was an approach guaranteed to fail, and it did. Mitchell persisted but finally gave up. There is no foreseeable prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which explains why the Palestinians made their move in September for recognition by the United Nations. The window for a resolution with Iran on the nuclear issue closed in November 2009 --- to be fair to Ross, more because of internal politics in Tehran than his politics within the Obama Administration --- and it has never re-opened. With that closure, Ross' vision --- sanctions, more sanctions, and the threat of even tougher action to force Iran to its knees has triumphed over the following two years.

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Israel-Palestine Feature: Trip by US Envoys Backfires, Palestinians Proceed to UN with Statehood Bid (DPA)

US Envoys David Hale & Dennis RossA last-ditch U.S. attempt to sway the Palestinian Authority away from its planned statehood bid at the United Nations and toward resumed negotiations with Israel achieved only in convincing the Palestinians that recognition in the UN was their only possibility, a PA official said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters in Ramallah, Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said that a plan
delivered at the last minute by U.S. envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross did not meet several Palestinian demands, thus convincing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the U.S. was not serious in trying to negotiate peace.

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Middle East Analysis: Dennis Ross & the Battle Within the Obama Administration

Israeli PM Netanyahu and Dennis RossIn February 2009, we headlined, "Treading Softly on Iran: Dennis Ross Sneaks into the Administration". Our analysis at the time:

He has been brought [into the Administration] with a remit so broad that it threatens to be vague. Now he is not focused on Iran but overlapping with both [Afghanistan-Pakistan envoy Richard] Holbrooke and [Israel-Palestine envoy George] Mitchell. There may be some State Department master-plan setting out how Ross, a forceful personality, will work with those two envoys --- equally forceful personalities --- and how he and his staff will in turn work with permanent State Department desks overseeing the Middle Eastern, Persian Gulf, and Southwest Asian regions.

More than two years later, Holbrooke is dead and Mitchell has resigned in frustration. But Ross is still very much present in the National Security Council. And the operative term is not "work with" other personalities and other departments but "work against".

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Syria, Libya, Palestine (and Beyond) LiveBlog: While Obama Speaks....

2100 GMT: Claimed video of a demonstration in Homs tonight, "The people want to topple the regime":

2040 GMT: A day after balking at an agreement to transfer power, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said --- through a spokesman --- that he will sign the arrangement.

Spokesman Ahmed al-Sufi said Saleh will accept Sunday during the celebration of Yemen National Day at the Presidential Palace in Sanaa. Al-Sufi said Abdul-Latif al-Zayyani, the head of the Gulf Co-operation Council, would return to Yemen for the event.

The GCC, which brokered the agreement, said in a statement that its foreign ministers would meet in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Sunday and al-Zayyani would attend.

The Yemeni opposition dismissed Saleh’s promise to sign.

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Middle East: Obama Plans a Speech, But Little Prospect of Substance (Landler/Cooper)

Mr. Obama had considered laying out American parameters for a peace deal [between Israel and Palestine], several officials said — a move that [Secretary of State] Clinton favored, but one that would have put him at odds with his national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, and his top Middle East adviser, Dennis Ross.

But the unity accord between Hamas and Fatah, the party of President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, effectively killed the plans to try to push through an American proposal, one administration official said. “It’s hard to imagine how we do that when Hamas hasn’t agreed” to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to forswear violence against Israel, the official said.

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Israel-Palestine Snapshot: Obama Administration Wonders, "What to Do, What to Do?" (Cooper)

A Republican invitation for Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address Congress next month is highlighting the tensions between President Obama and Mr. Netanyahu and has kicked off a bizarre diplomatic race over who will be the first to lay out a new proposal to reopen the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

For three months, White House officials have been debating whether the time has come for Mr. Obama to make a major address on the region’s turmoil, including the upheaval in the Arab world, and whether he should use the occasion to propose a new plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

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