The United States was accused this weekend of being hypocritical for supporting Israel’s right to have nuclear weapons while trying to force Iran to stop uranium enrichment. During a conference in the Gulf nation of Bahrain, the Bahraini Labor Minister Majeed al-Alawi questioned Defense Secretary Robert Gates about Israel.
bq. Majeed al-Alawi: “Secretary of Defense thank you very much for the excellent speech. I was wondering whether you think the Israeli nuclear weapon is a threat to regional security or not?”
Robert Gates: “No, I do not.”
The statement by Gates was greeted by laughter from a room filled with government officials from Middle Eastern countries. Gates said there are significant differences in terms of both the
history and the behavior of the Iranian and Israeli governments.
Robert Gates: “I think that Israel is not training terrorists to subvert its neighbors. It has not shipped weapons into a place like Iraq to kill thousands of innocent civilians covertly. It has not threatened to destroy any of its neighbors. It is not trying to destabilize the government of Lebanon.”
Hearing Held For AP Photographer Jailed by U.S. in Iraq
In other Iraq news, a criminal hearing was held on Sunday in Baghdad in the case of imprisoned Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, who has been held by the U.S. military without charge for nearly 20 months The hearing marked the first time that Hussein or his attorneys have seen any evidence in the case. No formal charges have been lodged yet against Hussein who was part of a team of AP photographers who won a Pulitzer Prize. Last week the Committee to Protect Journalists said Hussein is one of at least 127 journalists behind bars worldwide. China is currently jailing 29 journalists – more than any other country. The United States is jailing two journalists without charge – Bilal Hussein in Iraq and Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj, who has been held at Guantanamo Bay for the past five years.