Team Obama OK With UK's Hezbollah Outreach
The Obama administration is “comfortable” with the British government’s attempts to engage Hizbullah, a senior British diplomat asserts.
Bill Rammell, Britain’s minister of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs, said in a brief interview late last week that despite protests to the contrary, the new US administration doesn’t object to the fledgling contacts with the “political win” of the Lebanon-based Shi’ite Muslim group, which also has a heavily armed militia.
Britain likens the attempt to engage Hizbullah, launched quietly this year, to London’s outreach to political leaders of the Irish Republican Army earlier — a move that helped quell the Northern Ireland conflict.
“We have a different approach on this issue at the moment with the United States,” he said. “But it’s not an issue of disagreement in intentions. The feedback we had on Lebanon is that the Americans are comfortable with us doing things differently than they are at the moment.”
Here is the transcript:
U.S. Must Stop Middle East Violence
The escalating Middle East violence and the continued bombing of Lebanon and Gaza is threatening regional stability. Though appeals have gone out from the religious community for the United States and other world leaders to intervene diplomatically, as of Wednesday when the TUCC bulletin is published, the U.S. refuses to call for a cease-fire. Instead, the U.S. is increasing arms shipments to Israel and Congress has passed resolutions declaring unconditional support for Israel’s devastating military campaigns.
Hezbollah’s opportunistic raid that captured Israeli soldiers and rocket attacks on Israel have been nearly universally condemned. However, the excessive force with which Israel is responding goes far beyond defense against Hezbollah and promises to destroy most of what has been rebuilt in Lebanon since its civil war 15 years ago. The disproportionate attack on Lebanon may backfire, strengthening Hezbollah, increasing sectarian strife, and weakening Lebanon’s democracy and security.
As Israeli troops drive further into southern Lebanon and the bombings continue, the U.S. State Department needs to shift direction radically and President Bush should call for an immediate cease-fire to stop the growing loss of civilian lives in Lebanon. In 14 days thus far, over 400 Lebanese and 54 Israelis have been killed. The critical humanitarian needs worsen every day.
It is urgent that Trinity members, visitors and videostream “members” contact their members of Congress and President Bush and ask them to work proactively, especially with the Israeli government, to restrain the use of military force and to reach a negotiated cease-fire in Lebanon and Gaza. Weakening Lebanon and threatening regional stability are against U.S. interests. Only U.S. cooperation in renewing comprehensive negotiations will bring a fair peace and lasting security to Israel and the region.
Pastor Jeremiah A Wright, Jr
Do you suppose the Obama’s missed this church bulletin, too?