Friday, April 20, 2018
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President Petraeus?

By Clayton Swisher

It's not clear what miracles Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel can work for General Petraeus now that he's the top officer in Kabul.

Based on these emails Petraeus apparently authored, subsequently leaked to blogger Philip Weiss, it seems the former Central Commander thought a private dinner with Weisel and a Holocaust Museum stint might boost his pro-Israel bonafides ("some of my best friends are Jewish!").

Lucky for Petraeus that Weisel could fit him in.

President Obama summoned him for a private lunch at the White House not too long ago (Weisel wasn't down with US objections to Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem).

For his part, I'm hardly surprised to see Petraeus behaving this way. Oval Office ambitions are by now quite expected, and the General's inside-the-Beltway ticket-punching has been legendary. Except for that spell of candour during his senate testimony in March.

Yes, Petraeus deigned to state the obvious to the Armed Services Committee - not exactly a group known for accepting criticism of America's super-duper ally - by telling them that Israel's ongoing occupation posed a threat to US national security interests in the Central Command's area of operations.

Brilliant articles on the subject followed by military historian Mark Perry, especially on CENTCOM's ongoing concern about the Arab-Israeli regional spillover. Media Matters watchdog MJ Rosenberg also flagged the Petraeus testimony, defending him for making a solid national security argument.

The background noise it created must have caused alarm. So it seems Petraeus turned to Council on Foreign Relations scholar and pro-Israel hit man Max Boot to fight back. Now that's asymetrical warfare!

(Or the kind of political insurgency that wins you a 99-0 senate confirmation!).

Clayton Swisher, based in Doha, covers stories across the Middle East and further afield.

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