Philip Weiss reports in Mondoweiss that the woman who was expected to be Hillary Clinton’s Defense Secretary said that her worry was that Donald Trump would not consider Israel’s interests in forging a deal with Russia over Syria.
Weiss writes: “Michele Flournoy spoke at an Israeli security conference earlier this week. After Philip Gordon, a former aide to President Obama on the Middle East, expressed the concern that Trump would align with Russia on Syria ‘without getting anything for it’ in terms of constraining Iran in the Middle East, Flournoy said:
Yeah. And this is where I think you have to worry for Israel and Israel’s interests, which is that you could end up with a situation in Syria, where he says OK, we’re going to get some kind of ceasefire and peace deal in exchange for some kind of general commitment of Russia to fight ISIS, which they’ve never really done, and Israel’s interests aren’t even considered in the process. That’s my worry.
“Flournoy was widely-thought to be Hillary Clinton’s “Defense Secretary in waiting.” Last year she advocated for a far more aggressive U.S. intervention in Syria against Bashar al-Assad and ISIS, which she styled as “limited military coercion,” including enforcing a “no-bombing” zone in areas controlled by rebels. She is the CEO of the Center for a New American Security, a liberal-interventionist thinktank.
Her comments underline the fact that during the campaign Clinton was more attuned to Israel’s interests than Donald Trump.
Weiss reports: “David Ignatius, the Washington Post columnist, affirmed Flournoy’s view, saying a grand bargain with Russia could be ‘dangerous to Israel’”
Amir Oren reported in Ha’aretz in December that the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) would unveil its report, “A Security System for the Two State Solution.” Flournoy is the CEO and cofounder of the CNAS.
A coordinator of the teams contributing to the study – an American despite his Israeli-sounding name – is Ilan Goldenberg, who was on Secretary of State John Kerry’s team in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and during Kerry’s mission in the Middle East. Goldenberg could be Flournoy’s Quandt.
The team of experts includes people … from the Kirya defense headquarters in Tel Aviv to the Pentagon. At the event launching the report will be retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, who worked for Kerry on a security plan for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, as well as reserve generals in the Israel Defense Forces, Amnon Reshef and Gadi Shamni.
Reshef’s participation in Flournoy’s event reflects a relationship between the Center for a New American Security’s report and the “security first” plan of Commanders for Israel’s Security, a movement Reshef helps lead. The commanders’ plan will be presented this month separately.
The commanders’ plan also deals with the interim situation until an agreement is reached, and is something of a surrender to the settlers, 80 percent of whom will be left where they are now, will be allowed to expand there and will of course be protected. But the plan’s essential starting point recognizes the necessity of an Israeli security, diplomatic and economic initiative.
Oren writes: “Most importantly, the center’s report presents a sober, expert approach that sees to Israel’s security.”