Lieberman: West sending 'bad message'on Iran stance

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman criticized western powers for not showing more backbone in their response to the Iranian crackdown.

In an interview in Time , Leberman eschewed "political correctness" to lambaste the west for their timidity on Iran as well as taking the Obama administration to task for their views on the settlement issue:

His boss, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had reportedly asked him to muzzle his hawkish views for fear of riling the Obama Administration. But in his first major interview, which he gave to TIME, the burly Foreign Minister, who says he shrugs off "political correctness," came out swinging. He lambasted the West for not giving more support to Iranian reformists. "This really fanatic extremist regime is still in power, and the young people who are ready to fight and die for change are not getting any real support from the West," he said. "The fact that this regime continues to be an acceptable partner for dialogue is really a bad message. It shows the bad guys are winners."

Lieberman also criticized the Obama Administration for demanding that Israel halt construction in Jewish settlements inside the Palestinian territories, saying it is a "mistake." He added, "We are trying to formulate some understanding with the U.S. We don't speak [with the Americans] of building new settlements. We don't speak of expansion. We try to build only within existing construction lines." In quiet but forceful tones, Lieberman said, "We cannot suffocate our own people. You know, babies are born. People get married. We cannot stop life. People want to build a synagogue or a kindergarten."

Lieberman was too much the diplomat to say that for the Obama administration, it wasn't so much about the settlements as it is proving to the Arabs that they have a "balanced" outlook toward the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Of course, this "balance" is pretty much a one way street as the Obama administration is putting enormous pressure on Israel to agree to all kinds of concessions while saying little about the continuing refusal of the Palestinians to give an inch on issues of concern to the Jewish state.

Lieberman also dismissed the Obama administration's belief in "linkage" with other issues in the Middle East, saying "With 9/11 and terrorist acts in London, Madrid, Bali, in Russia, I can't see any linkage with the Israeli-Palestinian problem."

Lieberman did not sound hopeful that things were going to improve anytime soon in the Israeli's relationship with the US.