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Obama: Mid East conflict costs US "blood and treasure"

WASHINGTON — It was just a phrase at the end of President Obama’s news conference on Tuesday, but it was a stark reminder of a far-reaching shift in how the United States views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and how aggressively it might push for a peace agreement.

When Mr. Obama declared that resolving the long-running Middle East dispute was a “vital national security interest of the United States,” he was highlighting a change that has resulted from a lengthy debate among his top officials over how best to balance support for Israel against other American interests.

This shift, described by administration officials who did not want to be quoted by name when discussing internal discussions, is driving the White House’s urgency to help broker a Middle East peace deal. It increases the likelihood that Mr. Obama, frustrated by the inability of the Israelis and the Palestinians to come to terms, will offer his own proposed parameters for an eventual Palestinian state.

Mr. Obama said conflicts like the one in the Middle East ended up “costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure” — drawing an explicit link between the Israeli-Palestinian strife and the safety of American soldiers as they battle Islamic extremism and terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Mr. Obama’s words reverberated through diplomatic circles in large part because they echoed those of Gen. David H. Petraeus, the military commander overseeing America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In recent Congressional testimony, the general said that the lack of progress in the Middle East created a hostile environment for the United States. He has denied reports that he was suggesting that soldiers were being put in harm’s way by American support for Israel (The New York Times).

US President Obama is now echoing what Centcom commander General David H. Petraeus stated a number of months ago that a lack of progress in Middle East peace talks produced a negative effect for US interests in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.  In fact, Mr. Obama went so far as to say that ending the Middle East peace stalemate was a “vital national security interest of the United States". 

According to Debkafile's US sources, this amounts to nothing more than a move toward the US turning their back on Israel.  Will the US force Israel to fall in line with the desires of the  international community?  No, at least not on this side of the rapture.  It is believed that Obama is close to unveiling his own version of the Middle East peace plan that will closely resemble former US President Bill Clinton's plan.  

As I stated in my last commentary, Israel has never been excited about the creation of a Palestinian state, but it's far and away more desirable than the alternative...a one state solution.  When it's all said and done, Israel will give into world pressure (mainly US pressure) and allow a Palestinian state to be created.  Whether it will be due to Obama's yet to be revealed peace proposal only time will tell.  And let's not forget about the Iranian threat.  Most US experts have revised their estimate to within a year (2011) as to when they believe Iran will have a nuclear weapon.

If President Obama does present a plan, it is believed he will do so within the next four months.

After another major earthquake ripped through China on Tuesday, killing at least 600.  News reports are once again flooding the media outlets trying to explain away this sudden global surge.  After all, this is the fourth major quake in as many months.  However, experts say, according to yearly averages, we are on par for what is considered a normal year.  Of course, they are looking at the total number of earthquakes to date only and not in terms of sheer destruction.  "The quakes are striking more populated areas, which has led to more damage, more deaths, and, as a consequence, far more news coverage. It might seem like we're getting a lot more earthquakes, but they're actually just causing more damage due to where they are striking ("

Frankly, I'm not concerned with earthquakes that strike outside of population centers, which cause no damage or death.  I look for this surge in natural disasters to continue and even increase with devastating results as we head toward 2011.

Are you ready to meet the Lord?  If not, your time is running out!

Terry Malone

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                                                                                                             Updated April 15, 2010 

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