Feltman’s diplomatic career:
-1991 to 1993, Feltman served as a special assistant to Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, . . .coordinating U.S. assistance to Eastern and Central Europe. studies Arabic at University of Jordan
-1995, begins three-year tour at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, covering economic issues in the Gaza Strip
-1998-2000, chief of the political and economic section at the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia
-2000-2001 – special assistant on peace process issues to Ambassador Martin Indyk at Embassy in Tel Aviv
-August 2001 – December 2003 – U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, first, as deputy and then as acting principal.
-January to April 2004 – volunteered to serve at the Coalition Provisional Authority office in Irbil, Iraq
-July 2004 – January 2008 – United States Ambassador to Lebanon
Feltman’s tenure in Lebanon was marked with controversy from the time he arrived until his his departure — when his convoy was bombed, killing several– and beyond. He was accused of partisan interference in Lebanon’s affairs. During his tenure, Rafik Hariri was assassinated on Feb 14, 2005, triggering a mass protest a week later that US embassy in Lebanon officials suggested be called the “Cedar Revolution” rather than an intifada. The revolution persisted for about a month,
http www dot nowlebanon com/Sub.aspx?ID=169&MID=26&PID=25&FParentID=23&FFParentID=3
until “February 28, 2005 [when] the government of Prime Minister Omar Karami collapsed under pressure brought on by the Cedar Revolution protests. The month-long campaign culminated in a massive turnout of over one million on March 14 in response to the pro-Syrian rally of March 8. The March 14 demonstration – the largest ever held in Lebanon – persuaded Syria to announce that it would withdraw the remaining 14,000 troops out of Lebanon.”
On April 26 2005, Syrian troops who had been in Lebanon since 1976, bid “So long” to their Lebanese billet. http www dot nytimes dot com/2005/04/26/world/africa/26iht-web.0426syria dot html
On July 12, 2006, Israel began a ground invasion of Lebanon; the next day, Israel imposed a naval blockade on Lebanon which it maintained until Sept 8, 2006. Israel’s military assault on Lebanon was ended with a UN-brokered cease fire on Aug 14, 2006.
During that assault, leaked cables revealed that
“[Lebanese parliament] speaker Nabih Berri suggested the conflict was an opportunity to deal a serious blow to the Iranian- and Syrian-backed group. “Berri condemned the ferocity of Israel’s military response but admitted that a successful Israeli campaign against Hezbollah would be an excellent way to destroy Hezbollah’s military aspirations and discredit their political ambitions;” read the cable, filed by former US ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman.” http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/09/05/leaked-cable-lebanon-speaker-pleased-with-2006-israel-raids/
Feltman concurred with then-secretary of state Condi Rice in celebrating the “birth pangs of the new Middle East.” :http www dot informationclearinghouse dot info/article14146 dot htm
-For the first three weeks of 2008 (the closing weeks of Bush administration), Feltman served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Office of Near Eastern Affairs
Occupying his down-time, on Feb 1, 2008 Feltman testified before the U S State Department Commission on International Religious Freedom, sitting to discuss impairments of religious liberties in Iran. http www dot uscirf dot gov/countries /2092.html?task=view
Of particular interest to me were two of Feltman’s responses to questions from the panel. First, Feltman stated in his prepared remarks that
“Jews in Iran frequently face official discrimination. Anti-Semitic government statements, conferences, media programming, books, and other publications – blurring the lines between Judaism and Zionism – are commonplace and fosters a hostile atmosphere for Jews. Two synagogues in the country were attacked,”
Then, Committee member Preeta Bansall addressed this question to Feltman:
You mentioned Iran’s role in terms of, I think you called it a leading state sponsor of terrorism around the world including Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, and Israel. And I wondered, has the State Department or the United States government engaged in any analyses of educational materials that are taught within Iran. This is a problem, obviously, in terms of Saudi Arabia. You mentioned anti-Semitism and some of the other problems within Iran.
To your knowledge, has the State Department looked at any of the educational curricula both within Iran and maybe insofar as it might be sending some of that outside?”
To which Feltman responded: “Madame Vice Chairman, I will admit that I’m not right now, today, aware of the answer to the question. I will note that we do have – that we do not have great statistics on things like anti-Semitism in Iran.”
In other words, Feltman’s earlier testimony that Jews in Iran face discrimination and that antisemitism is “commonplace” was, apparently, based on something other than solid information.
Feltman continued, addressing Bonsal’s query about what Iranians teach their children:
“I expect the textbook curricula would be along the same category in part because it’s very difficult for us, for the scholars and the NGOs in Iran, to report back to us. There are certain dangers. So we have less visibility on some of the issues inside Iran than we would like and that we have in some of the other countries. But I will look into the question of textbooks.“
This last statement is, in my view, extremely important, for reasons that I will elaborate below the remainder of the Feltman chronology (or in a follow-up comment).
-December 2008 – named Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Bureau by Obama administration
-February 2009, State Department envoy to Syria along with White House aide Daniel Shapiro. http www dot washingtonpost dot com/politics/jeffrey-d-feltman/gIQAFKuy9O_topic.html
-Jan 4 2011 Tunisian flower seller Mahmoud Bouzazi self-immolation sets off street protests in Tunisia; Hillary Clinton sends Jeffrey Feltman to manage affairs.
-Jan 25 2011 “Key diplomat says U.S. approves of Tunisia [‘Jasmine revolution’];
Jeffrey Feltman, assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, says Washington has offered Tunisia ‘whatever support is appropriate and requested’ in conducting a nationwide election.
http articles dot latimes dot com/2011/jan/25/world/la-fg-tunisia-envoy-20110126
-Jan 25 2011 Protests erupt in Egypt’s Tahrir Square; young Egyptians wary of Clinton, Feltman involvement. http mrzine dot monthlyreview dot org/2011/jahjah260111 dot html
-Feb 22 2011 “Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi are waging a bloody operation to keep him in power, with residents reporting gunfire in parts of the capital Tripoli and other cities, while other citizens, including the country’s former ambassador to India, are saying that warplanes were used to “bomb” protesters.” http www dot aljazeera dot com/news/africa/2011/02/201122261251456133 dot html
– Mar 15 2011 “Hundreds of Syrians have staged a rare protest in the capital, Damascus, calling for democratic reforms and the release of all political prisoners.
Six protesters were reportedly detained by the security forces, a witness told the BBC Arabic Service.
The AP news agency said government supporters later broke up the rally by punching and attacking the protesters.
A Facebook group, The Syrian revolution against [President] Bashar al-Assad 2011, is said to have called the march.” http www dot bbc dot co dot uk/news/world-middle-east-12749674
-May 23 2011 Feltman travels to Benghazi, Libya to meet with Transitional National Council (TNC)
http iipdigital dot usembassy dot gov/st/english/texttrans/2011/05/20110523105956su0.7835003 dot html#axzz24gOu4oeM
-Oct 20 2011 Qaddafi killed. http www dot bbc dot co dot uk/news/world-africa-15389550
-Oct 20 2011 Hillary Clinton reacts to Qaddafi’s death http cbsnews dot com/8301-503544_162-20123348-503544/clinton-on-qaddafi-we-came-we-saw-he-died/
“May 22 2012: the US government has sponsored and cultivated (directly and indirectly through the Hariri camp in Lebanon under the umbrella of March 14 movement–dubbed “pro-Western” in the Western press) Sunni Salafite groups, including those with a Jihadi bent. In their eagerness to prop up rivals and opponents to Hizbullah, the US has midwifed the rise of various Salafite groups in the country. Some, of course, are parts of Al-Qa`idah. Of course, this won’t be the first time the US has done such a thing”
(recall that in a panel discussion three months earlier, Ephraim Sneh quite confidently told moderator Aaron David Miller that “the conflict in Syria will spill over into Lebanon.” However did he know? :http www dot c-spanvideo dot org/program/IsraelIra)