The Day Dreamers Show Topic: USA Policy Towards Israel & Palestine

The Aijaz Qureshi Show (43 min.): Dr. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as coordinator of the program in Middle Eastern Studies. Recognized as one the country’s leading scholars of U.S. Middle East policy and of strategic nonviolent action, Professor Zunes serves as a senior policy analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies, an associate editor of Peace Review, and a contributing editor of Tikkun, from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Under Trump, US Contempt for International Law Intensifies

Truthout June 5, 2018:
What is Gaza’s hope for the future after the fallout over the US embassy move and the Iran deal exit?
In this interview, University of San Francisco Professor Stephen Zunes — a widely recognized scholar of US and Middle East policies and the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism — offers his take on the crisis in Gaza, how the national press has covered the issue in recent weeks and how the foreign policy has taken a turn for the worst under Trump.

Pompeo’s Iran Speech a Prelude to War?

The Progressive, May 23, 2018 The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech this past Monday targeting Iran may have created a new benchmark for hypocritical, arrogant, and entitled demands by the United States on foreign governments. It included gross misstatements regarding the seven-nation Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program, which Trump Administration unilaterally abrogated earlier this month. More critically, it promised to impose “the strongest sanctions in history” against Iran… [Full Link]

Trump’s Dangerous Abrogation of the Iran Deal

The Progressive, May 9, 2018
The Trump Administration’s decision to pull the United States out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the United States—strikes a dangerous blow against arms control and international security and even more firmly establishes the United States as a rogue nation. [Full Link]

Why the United States Can’t Lead on Syria’s Chemical Weapons Atrocities

The Progressive April 11, 2018:
Reasonable people can disagree about how the international community should respond to the latest apparent atrocity by the Syrian government involving chemical weapons. The repeated use of these horrific and illegal weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s repressive regime deserves a strong international response. Unfortunately, given its history of politicizing the issue, the United States is in no position to lead.
    Reasonable people can disagree about how the international community should respond to the latest apparent atrocity by the Syrian government involving chemical weapons. The repeated use of these horrific and illegal weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s repressive regime deserves a strong international response.
    Unfortunately, given its history of politicizing the issue, the United States is in no position to lead.
    The controversy over Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles is not new. Both the Bush Administration and Congress, in the 2003 Syria Accountability Act, raised concerns over Syria’s refusal to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention. Syria’s failure to end its chemical weapons program prompted a large bipartisan majority to impose strict sanctions on that country.
    Syria argued that it was not the only country in the region that failed to sign the convention, nor even the first country to develop chemical weapons. Indeed, neither Israel nor Egypt, the world’s two largest recipients of U.S. military aid, is a party to the convention.
    Neither Congress nor any U.S. presidential administration of either party has ever called on Israel or Egypt to disarm their chemical weapons arsenals, much less threatened sanctions over failure to do so.

Mike Pompeo: Trump Is Handing the State Department Over from Exxon Mobil to the Tea Party

In These Times March 14, 2024:
President Trump abruptly fired Rex Tillerson and announced CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his choice to become the next Secretary of State. This decision serves as another disturbing development in the increasingly dangerous foreign policy turn taken by the current administration.
    Pompeo will only reinforce Trump’s most dangerous, reckless and militaristic instincts.
No tears should be shed over the departure of Tillerson, who oversaw the decimation of some of the more responsible agencies of the State Department and the downgrading of its capacity and resources. Tillerson cared little for diplomacy and his close relationships with the leaders of Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other oil-producing autocracies appeared to be little more than a continuation of his agenda as CEO of Exxon Mobil to promote the global production and consumption of fossil fuels.
    Still, when it came to the administration’s foreign policy, Tillerson reportedly helped to keep some of Trump’s most dangerous impulses in check and demonstrated at least some respect for protocol and international cooperation. Pompeo, by contrast, is a right-wing ideologue who will only reinforce Trump’s most dangerous, reckless and militaristic instincts.

Trump’s Middle East Policy: The Ironies of Hawkishness

Al Jazeera Report March 8, 2024:
Donald Trump ran for president declaring that he would take a more cautious and less-interventionist approach to the Middle East, take a more even-handed approach to Israel and Palestine, and avoid being tied down in endless wars. As an outsider with few ties to the foreign policy establishment, some hoped he might bring a more pragmatic and enlightened approach to U.S. policy in the region. However, once in office, Trump has pursued reckless and militaristic policies, deepening U.S. military involvement, backing the Israeli colonization and annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories, deepening ties to Arab autocrats, and threatening war with Iran. His appointees have tended to be those who are guided more by ideological prejudices than knowledge of the Middle East, resulting in growing concerns not only by traditional progressive critics of U.S. foreign policy, but by many in the security and intelligence establishment as well. The extreme nature of these policies, however, may be providing an opportunity for a serious re-evaluation of U.S. Middle East policy as a whole, which may make possible positive changes in U.S. policy in the longer run. The dangers from Trump administration policies in the meantime, however, are quite serious, and risk provoking even more violence and instability. [source]

With ISIS In Retreat Why is the Syria War Expanding?

Rising Up with Sonali, February 14, 2018
FEATURING DR. STEPHEN ZUNES – Despite the fact that the Islamic State forces have retreated, the complicated war in Syria appears to be expanding rather than wrapping up. The United States is under fire this week for an attack in Eastern Syria that in first reportedly killed about 100 Syrian national soldiers loyal to President Bashar Al Assad. Now it has emerged that several, possibly dozens, of Russian fighters are among the dead.
The Syrian Air Force reportedly shot down an Israeli fighter jet in recent days, saying it was responding to an Israeli incursion. The clash came after Israel reportedly shot down an Iranian drone coming from Syrian air space. According to Syrian sources, Israel has also tried to raid Syrian military bases.
Turkey has continued its targeting of Kurdish communities in Northern Syria’s newly liberated areas as well.  Instead of the Syrian war winding down, there seems to be an escalation involving an ever-growing number of countries.

Both Parties Pushed Trump Toward Reckless Action on Jerusalem

[Full Article] As published in The Progressive, Huffington Post,
Common Dreams and Transcend Media Service
    President Trump announced Wednesday the United States will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the U.S. embassy would be moved to that multi-ethnic and multi-faith city. No other government in the world formally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or has its embassy there, instead basing their diplomatic offices in Tel Aviv… the decision further reduces the chances of Israeli-Palestinian peace, raises serious questions in relation to international law, and risks a violent and destabilizing reaction targeting U.S. interests globally.
    In the 1947 United Nations partition plan, Palestine was to have been divided between a Jewish and Arab state, with Jerusalem and surrounding areas designated as an international territory under U.N. administration. Instead—as a result of the first Arab-Israeli War—by 1949 Israel had annexed the western part of the area and Jordan the eastern part, but the international community refused to acknowledge either claim. Following the Israeli conquests of 1967, Israel annexed Palestinian-populated East Jerusalem and surrounding lands as well…

Why Democrats Don’t Want to Talk about Flynn’s First Meeting with the Russians

The Progressive and The Huffington Post December 5, 2017:
The guilty plea by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for lying to FBI investigators centers around two meetings with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. One of those meetings—a December 29, 2016, gathering to discuss new sanctions by the Obama Administration over Russian interference in the presidential election—has received much attention.
[Key points are rendered in the 5-minutevideo below.]

Trump’s Support for Punishing Qatar Is Misguided

The Progressive & Huffington Post June 16, 2017
   The decision by the Saudis and allied dictatorships to sever ties with Qatar and impose draconian sanctions on the tiny nation has precipitated a major regional crisis, and President Trump’s support for this provocative move has made matters even worse.
   The Saudis accuse Qatar, a longstanding U.S. ally, of supporting terrorists and other Islamist extremists. But the blowback actually has more to do with the small but wealthy kingdom’s insistence on maintaining foreign-policy independence from regional hegemon Saudi Arabia.
   Qatar had been part of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, a military alliance and common market, and the fact that three other members—Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain—have all severed economic and military ties is significant…

Trump’s Dangerous and Cynical Attack on Syria

The Progressive & Huffington Post April 7, 2017
   Let’s not pretend that Thursday night’s U.S. missile strike on Syria’s Al Shayrat air base has anything to do with concern for the civilian victims of the regime’s apparent April 3 chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun. The unilateral military action was ordered by the same President whose proposed budget would make major cuts to programs that have provided relief to Syrian refugees fleeing the violence of the regime and has tried to bar any of the refugees from entering the United States…

In Trump’s America, who’s protesting and why?

Washington Post April 24, 2017
   For March 2017, we tallied 585 protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and rallies in the United States, with at least one in every state and the District. Our conservative guess is that 79,389 to 89,585 people showed up at these political gatherings, although it is likely that there were far more participants.
   Because mainstream media often neglect to report nonviolent actions — especially small ones — it is probable that we did not record every event that occurred. This is particularly true of the “A Day Without a Woman” strikes on March 8. It’s virtually impossible to record an accurate tally of participants for strikes, in part because many people deliberately conceal their motivations for skipping out on work or school when they participate. Nevertheless, we think our tally gives us a useful pool of information to better understand political mobilization in the United States (For our counting methods, please see our first post in the series.)

Trump’s Far-Right Israel Stance Creates an Opening for the Left

But congressional Democrats won’t act without a push.
In These Times & The Huffington Post February 17, 2017
It was a surreal scene: On February 15, President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Washington, D.C. and spoke of their “shared values” which have “advanced the cause of human freedom, dignity and peace,” while at the same time retreating from the longstanding call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Panel discussion on Trump’s foreign policy agenda

[This audio recording is no longer available.]
The president says the world is in trouble, and the US is going to straighten it out. The EU says the new administration is putting into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy. There are at least question marks over relations with China, Iran and other Muslim-majority countries, Russia, Japan, Mexico, and now Australia. There is the prospect of better relations with Russia, Israel and the UK. Trump meanwhile says that virtually every country in the world is taking advantage of the US. What does this all mean in practice? Will the US realign its place in the world, and is that a good thing? Is there a ‘grand strategy’?