- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer understands the real reason behind the U.S. delay in approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, as President Obama invents excuses to appease environmentalists who oppose the project.

“There’s a fight between Republicans and Democrats right now on the economic agenda,” Mr. Doer told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. this week.

He also disputed Mr. Obama’s claim that the pipeline from the Canadian province of Alberta to oil refineries in Houston would create no more than 2,000 jobs, instead of the 20,000 predicted in a State Department review.

“I think, at the end of the day, we’ll go with the State Department report,” he said in an interview with the CBC’s Rosemary Barton.

The State Department also found no significant environmental impact from the project, despite claims of carbon pollution from environmentalists.

Mr. Doer, who has been extolling the benefits of the project since he arrived in Washington nearly four years ago, noted that the pipeline would provide the U.S. about 830,000 barrels of oil per day and allow it to stop importing fuel from the anti-American government in Venezuela.

“The pipeline is proposed to displace oil from Venezuela, which I know most Americans would support,” Mr. Doer said.

Depending on market conditions, Venezuela is often the fifth-largest foreign source of U.S. oil imports, but Canada remains the top foreign source of U.S. energy.

WISECRACKS IN HEBREW

Daniel B. Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, has an impressive background as a serious-minded national security aide to President Obama and a longtime congressional staffer, mostly on foreign affairs.

But who knew he could take a joke?

Mr. Shapiro bantered with Israeli comedians on the weekend political satire TV show “State of the Union.”

Show host Lior Schlein quipped about the tense relations between Mr. Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or “Bibi.”

Panelist Einav Galili noted that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks require communication from all sides, including the U.S.

“So tell us, how exactly do you plan to convince Obama to answer the phone when Bibi calls?” Ms. Galili said, according to a review of the show in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Ms. Galili prodded further, asking Mr. Shapiro about his comments that U.S.-Israeli relations have “never been warmer.”

“Are you sure you aren’t just referring to the fact that they are burning our flags side-by-side in Cairo demonstrations?” she said.

Mr. Shapiro, in a deadpan response, said: “Do you guys think there’s some kind of problem between Bibi and Obama? I never noticed.”

The comedians pounced.

“You sound like a kid with two divorced parents,” said panelist Alfi Guri.

Ms. Galili added: “Yes, yes. Like one of those modern-era families with three fathers and two mothers.”

“And I love them all,” Mr. Shapiro replied.

NO ROGUE AGENT

The Iranian-American convicted of plotting to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. was acting on orders from the “highest levels” of the Iranian government, according to the retired head of U.S. Central Command.

“It was not a rogue agent off on his own,” retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis told the Aspen Security Forum over the weekend.

Mansour Arbabsiar last month was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his plot to kill Ambassador Adel Al-Jubier in a Washington restaurant in 2011.

Gen. Mattis faulted the Obama administration for failing to hold Iran responsible for the conspiracy: “I don’t know why the attempt on Adel wasn’t dealt with more strongly.”

Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at jmorrison@washingtontimes.com or @EmbassyRow.