Monday, December 2, 2013

White House: 'Pro-Israeli lobbying groups on Capitol Hill are gradually dialing back their initial vociferous opposition to the US-Iran deal'

'While President Obama’s domestic political standing remains embattled over healthcare, once again on foreign policy he is enjoying something of a charmed life. Some of this derives from apparent missteps by US competitors. Intelligence Community analysts who have assessed China’s delineation of a new Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea have concluded that China now appears to have overplayed its hand and is softening its initial position in the face of a firm US reaction...  A more positive source of satisfaction for Obama arises from the first step agreement with Iran. While this has plenty of outright critics – most notably Prime Minister Netanyahu whom Obama has sought to placate – Administration spokesmen have to a large extent blunted this criticism by pointing out the real concerns made by Tehran and the limited scope of the sanctions relief granted. Senior officials realize that the hard bargaining that will be necessary to reach an end state agreement lies ahead and that there is absolutely no guarantee of success. However, they believe they have made a good start, including on some of the most contentious parts of Iran’s nuclear program like the Arak reactor. They are also encouraged that pro-Israeli lobbying groups on Capitol Hill are gradually dialing back their initial vociferous opposition to the deal. The feeling inside the White House and State Department is that they have a chance at an historic realignment with Iran if the second stage agreement can be achieved. By contrast, with regard to Afghanistan, US officials are voicing near 100% frustration with President Karzai over his refusal to sign the Bilateral Security Arrangement needed to underpin the proposed continued US military presence in the country post 2014 and an uninterrupted flow of international aid. The US will be very reluctant to walk away from Afghanistan, but that possibility is growing larger.'

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