The President's Middle East Trip and the Presidential Campaign
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President Bush has moved on from Israel to Saudi Arabia amid rumors that he's considering attacks against military encampments inside Iran. What about oil and peace with the Palestinians? Is he just saying goodbye to old friends? Also, Barack Obama fires back over the President's 'appeasement' remark, and Rob Malley of the International Crisis Group on why he talks with Hamas.
US President George W. Bush (L) laughs during a meeting with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud (R) at an arrival ceremony at Riyadh's King Khaled International Airport. Photo:Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Obama Fires Back over 'Appeasement' Remark ()
Barack Obama came out swinging today in the aftermath of President Bush's address yesterday to the Israeli Knesset. Bush said those who would talk with terrorists were engaged in "appeasement" like that of the Nazis during World War II. In South Dakota, Obama called that an "appalling attack" on him, and he said John McCain picked up on it with Internet bloggers. Obama told a South Dakota town meeting he just had to get that off his chest. Mark Halperin is senior political analyst and editor at large with Time magazine.
President Bush's Middle East Trip ()
The President's trip to the Middle East was billed as fairly routine, a speech celebrating Israel's 60th anniversary and talks with Arab leaders on oil and peace talks with the Palestinians. His "appeasement" speech has focused more attention than expected. One Washington rumor explains yesterday's "appeasement" denunciation as preparation for attacks on military encampments inside Iran. Barack Obama today called the President's insinuation "appalling," adding that he has not advocated talks with Hamas in Gaza, but that John McCain has. Meantime, the President has left Israel for Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where he'll meet with several Middle East allies. We hear what Obama had to say and get several views of what the President has in mind.
- Trita Parsi: former Middle East Specialist, Johns Hopkins University, @tparsi
- Sam Gardiner: Retired Colonel, US Air Force
- Richard Murphy: former US Ambassador, Saudi Arabia and Syria
- Patrick Clawson: Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Robert Malley and the International Crisis Group ()
A former diplomat who helped President Clinton negotiate with Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority, he's now a member of the International Crisis Group and is open about ongoing conversations with Hamas and others identified by the State Department as "terrorists." Robert Malley has been targeted by some who question Barack Obama's support for Israel. The Obama campaign has defended him as someone who, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice in the past, but has no formal role nor will not play any role in the future. Who is Malley? What is the International Crisis Group? Why talk with violent groups committed to the destruction of Israel?
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