Romney attacks Obama on Mideast

2012-10-01 09:36

Washington - US Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney attacked President Barack Obama's Middle East policy late on Sunday, stepping up the pressure after a wave of anti-US protests in the Islamic world.

In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Romney said of recent "disturbing" developments in the Middle East that the United States "seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them.

"We're not moving them in a direction that protects our people or our allies. And that's dangerous," Romney added.

"If the Middle East descends into chaos, if Iran moves toward nuclear breakout, or if Israel's security is compromised, America could be pulled into the maelstrom."

Attacking Obama's Middle East policy, he wrote: "We needed a strategy for success, but the president offered none. And now he seeks to downplay the significance of the calamities of the past few weeks."

'Strategy is needed'

An amateur US film posted on the internet that insults the Prophet Muhammad provoked a wave of anti-American protests in several Muslim countries last month, and dozens of people were killed in the ensuing violence.

A related attack on the US consulate in Benghazi killed four Americans, including the US ambassador, on 11 September.

Romney said Obama had also dismissed Israel's concerns about Iran's nuclear programme as mere "noise" that he preferred to "block out". He accused him of having declined to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The White House has repeatedly denied this charge.

"In this period of uncertainty, we need to apply a coherent strategy of supporting our partners in the Middle East - that is, both governments and individuals who share our values," Romney wrote.

  • ari.potah - 2012-10-01 10:26

    Here's some context behind the claims that Iran will imminently possess a nuclear weapon. 1984: US Senator Alan Cranston claims Iran is seven years away from making a weapon. 1992: Binyamin Netanyahu says Iran is 3 to 5 years from being able to produce a nuclear weapon - and that the threat had to be "uprooted by an international front headed by the US." 1992: Shimon Peres tells French TV that Iran was set to have nuclear warheads by 1999. 1992: Joseph Alpher, a former official of Israel's Mossad spy agency, says "Iran has to be identified as Enemy No. 1." 1995: The New York Times says "Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than previously thought" 1997: The Christian Science Monitor reports that experts now say "Iran is unlikely to acquire nuclear weapons for eight or 10 years." 2007: President Bush warns that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to "World War III." 2007: A month later, an unclassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran is released, which judges with "high confidence" that Iran had given up its nuclear weapons effort in fall 2003. June 2008: US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton predicts that Israel will attack Iran before January 2009, taking advantage of a window before the next US president came to office. May 2009: US Senate Foreign Relations Committee reports states: "There is no sign that Iran's leaders have ordered up a bomb."

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