UPDATE: President Obama met on Monday with Arab-American leaders to discuss his upcoming trip to Israel. Last week, he met with Jewish-American leaders on the same subject. Is he laying the groundwork for big new policy changes, or just trying to “re-set” relations?
With tensions mounting in the Middle East, President Obama is heading to Israel soon — March 20-22 — for his first state visit to the epicenter. He will also visit Jordan and meet with Palestinian leaders.
Prime Minister Netanyahu appears set to finalize his new government in the next few days. Top three items on the President’s agenda to discuss with the Israeli leadership:
- How to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons given that diplomacy, sanctions and covert ops aren’t working sufficiently
- How to handle the implosion of Syria and the risk of chemical and biological weapons being used, or captured by rogue elements
- How best to move forward with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process
In that context, Fox News Channel anchor Shannon Bream interviewed me yesterday to discuss the growing nuclear connection between Iran and North Korea, the changing Obama administration tone on the Iran threat, and how these will factor into the President’s trip to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman.
“Bestselling author Joel Rosenberg is out with a brand new book, Damascus Countdown, that looks at some of the frightening possibilities,” said Bream. “Congratulations on the new book, it is truly one of those page-turners, cannot-put-it-down kind of books, as I think all of your books are. Now you write fiction and non-fiction books. This happens to be fiction, but so close to reality, and a lot of the work that you do is based on current events.” At the close, she said, “Joel Rosenberg, fantastic new book. All the best with it. But people, don’t start there. Get the first one [The Twelfth Imam] and work your way through it. It’s really great.”
Here are the questions we discussed during the interview:
- “How serious is the threat of a nuclear attack on the United States from North Korea, with that country threatening to turn Washington into a ‘sea of flame’? The U.N. has slapped new sanctions on North Korea again, but is that enough?
- “How real is the connection between Iran and North Korea?”
- “There is united concern across the international community about both of these different nations [Iran and North Korea] having this technology. Again we hear another round of sanctions and more disapproval….Does that work with either of these nations?”
- “So with the language — the shift in tone that we’ve heard [from the Obama administration] about the window closing — and from Netanyahu about the ‘red line,’ what happens when we get to the red line, or to the window closing? What’s next?”
Here’s the video of the full interview. It runs about 4 minutes (and is preceded by a brief ad).
Key stories to track on the President’s upcoming trip to Israel, and the Iran-NK connections:
- Army of 10,000 Israeli police preparing for Obama visit (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel prepares for Obama with no-fly zones and snipers at junctions (Times of Israel)
- Analysis: Obama carries 3 goals on trip to Israel (AP)
- Israel prepares for Obama visit (Israel Hayom)
- President Obama to visit Israel in March. Re-set in relations coming, or more White House pressure? (Rosenberg blog)
- Iran-North Korea pact draws concern (WSJ)
- Follow Joel on Twitter — @joelcrosenberg
- Order Damascus Countdown – now available nationwide in hardcover, ebook and audio formats
- Order the paperback of The Tehran Initiative
- Order the paperback of The Twelfth Imam
- Come to Israel with Joel and The Joshua Fund this summer for a tour and the 2013 Epicenter Conference
- Learn more about The Joshua Fund, and make a tax deductible contribution