Pawas Manandhar,

Correspondent (North America)


WASHINGTON D.C — In an extensive question and answer session with media giant Haim Saban, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, has reaffirmed his belief in “preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon” and reasserted his commitment to Israel’s security. The session was held in Washington in the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum in early December, with Saban running questions about the Middle East as well as future plans on Israel’s security should any peace deal be concluded between Iran and the US regarding nuclear weapons.

As Saban questioned about how this peace agreement would be different from ones that were made with Pakistan and North Korea, Obama replied, “We don’t know yet. This is hard because the technology of the nuclear cycle, you can get off the internet. The knowledge of creating a nuclear weapon is already out there.”

The US Special envoy on security, John Allen, and the US Secretary of State, John Kelly, have been working on a two-state Middle East peace treaty and have briefed Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the situation and have reassured the Prime Minister of the US’s stance on Israel’s protection. Along with the reassurance of security from the US, Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated that Israel “must be able to defend itself, by itself, with our own forces.”

Obama was quoted as saying, “he (Allen) has arrived at the conclusions that it is possible to create a two-state solution that preserves Israel’s core security needs” while also making a clear distinction between his envoy’s conclusions and the decisions made by the Prime Minister stating “ultimately he’s (Allen) is not the decision maker here, Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli military and intelligence folks have to make that determination.”

In recent reports from Washington, the Obama administration has been granted $284 million by the US House of Representatives and Senate budget committees in response to the Obama administration’s request to fund a US-Israel defense alliance. The budget includes funding for David’s Sling and Iron Dome Missile defense system and Arrow long-range anti-missile systems. On Wednesday, the House of Representative passed a bill – initiated by Brad Schneider and Rep. Doug Collins – that increases the US’s commitment to provide Israel a military edge in the region.

Image Courtesy: By Pete Souza, The Obama-Biden Transition Project [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons