Posts Tagged ‘Israel grossman attorney’

U.S. Clears Egypt For Some Military Assistance

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 23 2014

The Obama administration said Tuesday it has certified that Egypt is upholding its 35-year-old peace treaty with Israel and therefore qualifies for some military and counterterrorism assistance.

Secretary of State John Kerry informed Egypt’s foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, of the decision in a telephone call, crediting the Egyptian government with sustaining its strategic relationship with the United States and fulfilling its obligations to Israel, according to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

The decision clears the way for the release of Apache helicopters to Egypt, which the United States has held up since July when the Egyptian military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-led government.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel informed Egypt’s defense minister, Col. Gen. Sedki Sobhi, of President Barack Obama’s decision to deliver the Apaches in support of Egypt’s counterterrorism operations in the Sinai, the Pentagon said.

“The secretary noted that we believe these new helicopters will help the Egyptian government counter extremists who threaten U.S., Egyptian and Israeli security,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said in outlining Hagel’s call to his Egyptian counterpart. “This is one element of the president’s broader efforts to work with partners across the region to build their capacity to counter terrorist threats, and is the United States’ national security interest.”

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the chairwoman of the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing foreign aid, said in a statement late Tuesday that she was encouraged by the decision to deliver the helicopters, saying it was a critical time to support Egypt as it moves toward elections and deals with security challenges.

“As Egypt continues its transition toward a new democratic government, the United States must work with the government of Egypt and support the Egyptian people,” Granger said.

Beyond the Apaches, the move allows the U.S. also to release some of its annual $1.3 billion military assistance package to Egypt, specifically those parts dealing with security in the Sinai Peninsula and counterterrorism efforts.

Kerry was to meet Egypt’s intelligence chief in Washington on Wednesday.

The notification deals specifically with Egypt’s adherence to the Camp David Accords and not its progression toward democratic rule.

Psaki said Kerry “noted that he is not yet able to certify that Egypt is taking steps to support a democratic transition. He urged Egypt to follow through on its commitment to transition to democracy, including by conducting free, fair and transparent elections, and easing restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and the media.”

The administration notified Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid. Leahy has written legislative language restricting military aid to Egypt. He has argued that U.S. law is clear: When a military coup occurs, U.S. aid should be cut off.

The administration’s decision means aid is now flowing to the Egyptian military.

Sending a full certification to Congress for the resumption of Egypt aid would signal U.S. approval for Egypt’s path toward a return to democracy.

Once Kerry issues that certification, the U.S. can resume other military and civilian assistance programs.


Associated Press writer Donna Cassata contributed to this report.

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Security Situation In Eastern Ukraine Is Unpredictable

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 23 2014

In some of the towns where pro-Moscow militants have occupied government buildings, it is clear that someone is giving orders. In other places, a state of near chaos reigns.

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Putin’s Chess Moves In Ukraine: Brilliant Tactics, But Bad Strategy?

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 23 2014

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hide captionProtesters play chess in Independence Square in Kiev last winter. Some would say that Russian President Putin is playing geopolitical chess when it comes to Ukraine.

Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

Protesters play chess in Independence Square in Kiev last winter. Some would say that Russian President Putin is playing geopolitical chess when it comes to Ukraine.

Protesters play chess in Independence Square in Kiev last winter. Some would say that Russian President Putin is playing geopolitical chess when it comes to Ukraine.

Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

The game of chess is a national pastime in Russia. And you might say that Vladimir Putin is playing a high-stakes game of geopolitical chess when it comes to Ukraine.

Western leaders are plotting how to counter Putin’s latest moves with economic sanctions. So to get some insight into what might come next, we talked to an economist who knows Russia — who is also extremely good at chess.

Putin Playing From A Weak Position

Kenneth Rogoff is a world-renowned economist and professor at Harvard. He was also recognized as a chess prodigy when he was a teenager and became a chess grandmaster when he was 25.

Back in his chess-playing days — and later as an economist — Rogoff made friends across Russia and Ukraine — including Gary Kasparov, the former world chess champion who also ran against Vladimir Putin for president.

“Putin is playing from a very weak position,” says Rogoff of Putin’s game plan. “But he’s very good at it. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to win. A really strong chess player doesn’t need a good position to win.”

Putin’s position is weak because Russia’s economy is weak, Rogoff says: It’s too dependent on oil exports, which aren’t supporting a decent standard of living for most of the country. Corruption is rampant, and most industries are not competitive with the rest of the world.

Most Russians live in near poverty by U.S. or European standards.

Russia has a large military, but an actual war with the West is extremely unlikely.

“It’s going to be an economic war, [as] far as we’re willing to push it,” says Rogoff of this contest.

Putin’s Style Of Play — Good Tactics, Bad Strategy?

In chess, you also want to know your opponent’s style of play. So, what kind of player is Putin?

Chess players draw a distinction between strategy and tactics, Rogoff says.

Strategy is “where you’re really looking far down the road: If I take the Ukraine, what does that really do for me? Does that make me better off?” he explains.

Tactics, on the other hand, “are very short-term ways to gain pieces and positions,” he says. “He’s a master of the tactics. He sort of sees a few moves ahead and he’s very good at it. But what is the long term strategy? It’s really hard to see.”

So far Putin’s move to grab Crimea has helped and hurt him. It helped by making him more popular at home in the short-term, the former grand master says.

But longer term, taking Crimea is probably hurting, he says. Nervous investors are pulling tens of billions of dollars out of Russia. Russia now has to support Crimea, and it is a poor region. The West is imposing economic sanctions, and if they haven’t been tough so far, they may get tougher.

That leads Rogoff to think that Putin has not carved out a long-term strategy.

“I just don’t see it,” he says. “This definitely seems like they’re flailing out, looking to try to grab some pieces, grab some territory, without thinking what they’re going to do with it.”

Putin’s End Game: Russian Pride

So what is the ultimate goal behind his moves? Rogoff says, “I think there’s no question the end game for him, what he’s looking for, is pride.”

Rogoff thinks Putin is most interested in returning some greatness to Russia. He says, “I understand he has portraits of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great in his office and I suppose he would like to have [himself] thought of in those terms — of restoring greatness to Russia.”

If Putin’s weakness is the economy and his end-game is pride, Rogoff suggests the West should show Putin an opening, something bigger than a few pieces in Ukraine

“The best thing for us is if Russia starts doing well and feel that they’re benefiting from the world order,” he says.

So what moves should the West make to push Russia in that direction? Rogoff says world leaders are still trying to figure that out.

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8-Day Asia Trip Critical To Obama’s Regional Strategy

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 22 2014

A key part of that strategy is the Trans Pacific Partnership — a free trade agreement among 12 Asian-Pacific nations. The trade pact would influence geopolitics and the reshape global trade.

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Slaviansk Strengthens Resolve To Fight Kiev Government

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 22 2014

Many in the Eastern Ukraine town have close links with Russia. They say they weren’t consulted about Ukraine moving closer to the EU, and they won’t stand for the West dictating their future.

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Egyptians Fear Power Outages Could Fuel More Unrest

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 22 2014

The oil and natural gas that Egypt depends on for power generation is heavily subsidized. But the state doesn’t want to raise prices and anger a population already frustrated by political uncertainty.

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Gunmen Wound Pakistani TV Anchor In Weekend Shooting

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 21 2014

Hamid Mir, one of Pakistan’s most famous journalists, was shot and wounded by gunmen as he was driving down a busy street in Karachi. It’s the second such attack this month on a journalist.

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Obama Trip To Focus On Relations With Asia

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 21 2014

President Obama is about to leave on a week’s visit to 4 Asian countries. It’s the latest effort to refocus U.S. foreign policy on Asia. Like earlier efforts, it’s struggling to ward off distractions.

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Afghanistan Is Another Dangerous Place For Journalists

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 21 2014

It was particularly difficult to report from Afghanistan during the recent presidential election because members of the Taliban were trying to disrupt the voting. They were also targeting Westerners.

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The Players In The Battle For India’s Soul

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Apr 20 2014

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


Once again, you’re listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I’m Arun Rath. It’s a common line used to describe India, the world’s most populace democracy. But you only get a sense of what that means during a national election. There are 814 million voters. So many people in so many places they can’t do it all at once. The election is held in nine stages over six weeks. Today they’re about half done.

NPR’s Julie McCarthy in New Delhi has been following these elections closely. She says voter turnout this year has been substantially higher than in the last national election in 2009.

JULIE MCCARTHY, BYLINE: The interest in this election is enormous. It’s been defined as a battle for the soul of India, the direction of the country, the revival of Asia’s third-largest economy. So it’s considered high stakes and no the least of which, by all those young new voters, a hundred million of them, who want jobs, who feel they have a stake in this election because it’s about their future.

RATH: So the two main parties at play in this battle for the soul of India. There’s the incumbents, the Indian National Congress Party. They’ve been in power now for 10 years. And the BJP, the opposing Bharatiya Janata Party, how are they running their campaigns against each other?

MCCARTHY: Well, the Congress Party, Arun, of Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, was really adrift at the start of this campaign as if they had ceded the ground to the opposition BJP. The fires of anti-incumbency were lapping around them but there was no response. After 10 years in power, allegations of mega billion dollar graft and corruption schemes, there doesn’t seem to be a vision presented.

By the time congress woke up and saw this juggernaut coming at them in the form of the BJP and Narendra Modi, it seemed late. Rahul Gandhi, who’s the heir apparent to this party, is a neophyte. And he’s battling against Narendra Modi who is one of the shrewdest most strategic brilliant PR men that India has produced in decades. And he’s hugely controversial as well. He’s declared himself a Hindu nationalist in a country where there are many religions and religious tension not far from the surface.

But that’s not really the controversy that people want to discuss here. He’s stirring the electorate with the promise of change and reviving the economy.

RATH: You know, talking about Narendra Modi, there are a lot of people in India who were surprised to see him poised to become the next prime minister because a lot of people say that he has blood on his hands for not having done enough to stop communal violence in his home state in Gujarat back in 2002. Is that just not an issue for him now?

MCCARTHY: I detect among the mainstream electorate no great devotion to that issue or a willingness to debate about it. They say, look, there’s been plenty of riots of a communal nature, I mean, religious in other places. You don’t see people going after the chief minister there.

For the most part, the ordinary Indian is unbothered by it, and there are members of the Muslim community who tell me, give them another chance. We need to spur the economy, and he’ll do it. That said, plenty of Muslims will also tell you they’re afraid of Modi coming to power. And the intellectuals also will fault the notion that this man is going to be elected, because they see him as a truly divisive figure.

RATH: Now, you’d mentioned Rahul Gandhi, the son of former Prime Minister Rajiv, great-grandson of Nehru. He’s risen in prominence but has he really caught fire with the people?

MCCARTHY: Well, you know, there was this hope that the torch would pass to a new generation, and that he would be the one to lead it. But they’re not following. He’s too green. He’s too inexperienced. And there is a young India out there, and they have very different attitudes from their parents about dynastic politics, which is what really he represents as part of the Gandhi family.

The young people are aspirational, and many would prefer a meritocracy, you know, which is something that Modi himself has brilliantly played up – the former tea server on the cusp of taking power.

RATH: NPR’s Julie McCarthy. Julie, thanks so much.

MCCARTHY: Thank you.


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