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Obama unveils his national security team

Text by Amara MAKHOUL

Latest update : 2008-12-01

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has officially nominated members of his national security team, including former political rival Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Defence Secretary Robert Gates will remain as Pentagon chief.

US President-elect Barack Obama rolled out his national security team on Monday with two nominations focusing all the attention. Obama chose to keep Robert Gates as defense secretary, and name his former foe, Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state.

After eight years of Bush presidency, Hillary Clinton will face tough challenges abroad. She will especially have to work to polish the image of the United States even as her country battles two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here is a reminder of her past positions on US foreign policy :

A timetable for troop withdrawal in Iraq

During her campaign, Clinton said ending the war in Iraq was one of her priorities. The New York senator has nevertheless always refused to apologize for her decision to vote for an American intervention in Iraq in 2002.   

« Well, I intend to try to take nearly all of [the troops] out within a year, but obviously it's going to take a lot of planning,” she told in February 2008.

More troops in Afghanistan

Hillary Clinton called to deploy more troops in Afghanistan. She also suggested sending a US emissary to help Afghanistan and Pakistan in their fight against Al-Qaida and against the Taliban, especially in the border tribal zones.

« Obliterate Iran »

In April 2008, the US candidate for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, had issued a stark warning against Iran and threatened to obliterate the country if it used its nuclear bomb against Israel .

Since, Hillary Clinton toned down her comments and said she wanted to invite Iran and Syria to the negotiation table over the future of Iraq.

Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Hillary Clinton was one of the first to back the creation of a Palestinian state in 1998, though her husband’s team had not yet officially come out in favour of this option.

She is nevertheless perceived as a strong Israeli ally. She backed the construction of a wall in the West Bank to protect Israeli civilians. “The top priority of any government is to ensure the safety and security of its citizens, and that is why I have been a strong supporter of Israel's right to build a security barrier to keep terrorists out,” she said in 2005.

Date created : 2008-12-01