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Biden to pro-Israel lobby: Obama not bluffing about military force against Iran

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Vice-president tells Aipac that military option remains on the table for Obama to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon

Barack Obama‘s threats to use military force to prevent Iran securing a nuclear weapon are more than idle bluffs, vice-president Joe Biden told the biggest pro-Israeli lobbying group Aipac on Monday.

Biden said that while the US preferred a diplomatic solution to the standoff with Iran, a military option remained on the table.

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“The president of the United States cannot, and does not, bluff. President Barack Obama is not bluffing,” Biden told the audience in Washington.

Israel is seeking assurances of support from the US, should it decide to launch air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

There has been scepticism about Obama’s commitment to a military option against Iran, given the administration’s general unwillingness to be drawn into new conflicts after the experience of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Some observers feel that Obama’s threat is aimed purely at putting pressure on Iran to resolve the standoff diplomatically and not embark on another conflict.

Pro-Israel supporters of the military option, speaking at Aipac’s annual conference, attempted to counter Obama’s reticence by insisting the military option would only require an overnight air strike, rather than a prolonged conflict.

In contrast with the run-up to the Iraq war, the US is determined to show that it is pursuing all alternatives to conflict. Biden said that if the US had to take military action, it was critical that the world knew it had tried everything in its power to prevent such an eventuality.

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Obama, in an interview last year, insisted he was not bluffing. But his public pronouncements contrasted with behind-the-scenes US pressure on Israel to hold back from an air strike, particularly in the White House election year. The White House views Iran as the top foreign policy priority of Obama’s second term.

The US and other governments held inconclusive talks with Iran recently, and further talks are planned. The new US secretary of state John Kerry, at a press conference in Saudi Arabia on Monday, said there was a “finite” time for conclusion of the talks.

Iran denies it is pursuing a nuclear weapon, and insists it only wants nuclear power to meet domestic energy needs.

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Biden was speaking before a trip planned by Obama to Jerusalem later this month, provided an Israeli government is in place by then. Iran, not Palestine, is the key issue for Israel at present, though Biden stressed that the White House remained committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Obama is viewed with suspicion by many Israelis who see him as too sympathetic to the Palestinians, but Biden’s credentials as a staunch supporter of Israel have seldom been challenged. Biden insisted that he and Obama were deeply committed to the security of Israel.

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“It is in our naked self-interest, beyond the moral impertive,” Biden said.

The vice-president said the US works hard to ensure Israel retains a qualitative edge in military hardware, even at a time of recession.

Aipac members are planning a mass lobby of Congress on Wednesday and, among other issues, will be seeking to establish whether US aid to Israel will suffer from the $85bn in budget cuts ordered by Obama on Friday.

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© 2013 Guardian News and Media


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Singer and songwriter pens ballad about ‘bunker boy Donald Trump’

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Singer/songwriter Courtney Jaye, whose album "Love and Forgiveness" was named as one of the Top 50 Albums of 2013 by American Songwriter, has penned an epic ballot dedicated to President Donald Trump.

It was reported Sunday that Trump was rushed to the White House bunker on Friday evening as a few hundred protesters surrounded the building. As the weekend progressed, more and more protesters have come to stand in opposition to police violence and a White House they feel isn't doing enough to stop it.

Trump has tried to claim that he was really just "inspecting" the bunker, but it went down like a lead balloon.

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Three right-wing ‘boogaloo’ militants arrested on terrorism charges in Las Vegas: report

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On Wednesday, federal prosecutors announced that three far-right militants with ties to the "boogaloo" movement have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in Las Vegas, according to The Seattle Times.

"Federal prosecutors say the three white men with U.S. military experience are accused of conspiring to carry out a plan that began in April in conjunction with protests to reopen businesses closed because of the coronavirus and later sought to capitalize on protests over the death of a Minneapolis man in police custody," reported Michelle Price and Scott Sonner.

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‘Showing off with these complete sentences’: Internet rejoices as ‘Real President’ Obama speaks – ‘I miss him’

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Former President Barack Obama delivered forward-looking, encouraging remarks in response to the police killing of George Floyd and the ongoing nationwide protests, and the Internet rejoiced. President Obama's comments, part of a town hall organized by his My Brother's Keeper Alliance, were focused for his younger audience, and were short and seemingly off-the-cuff, yet inspired a nation thirsting for caring, intelligence, and leadership.

Take a look.

I Love President Barack Obama.

That’s the tweet.#ObamaTownHall pic.twitter.com/0yevRYTqSe

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