With Canadian PM visiting Israel, Palestinian leader heads to Moscow. Abbas wants Russia to play “bigger role” in epicenter.

Abbas heads to Moscow.

Abbas heads to Moscow.

With Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper being feted by the Netanyahu team, taking his 200+ person delegation all over Israel, getting standing ovations in the Knesset, and showing deep affection for the Jewish and Israeli people, the Palestinian leaders are turning to Moscow, urging the Russians to play a “bigger role” in the Middle East in the months ahead.

Harper met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday. In Ramallah, Harper announced $ 66 million in new foreign aid to the Palestinians. But Abbas seems little interested in lingering in the neighborhood while the most pro-Israel leader on the planet gets the red carpet treatment in the Holy Land. Abbas is, therefore, heading to the Kremlin for four days of high-level meetings with rising Czar Vladimir Putin and other top Russian officials.

“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Russian political and religious leaders during a four-day visit to Russia this week, the RIA Novosti news service reported Tuesday, quoting a senior Palestinian official,” reports Haaretz.

“Abbas, who arrives in Moscow on Wednesday, is expected to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, to discuss bilateral relations and the United States-mediated talks between the Palestinians and Israel,” the Israeli daily notes.

“Abbas’s visit takes place at the time when our talks with Israel are deadlocked,” said Nabil Shaath, Fatah’s Commissioner of International Relations.

“Russia has played a huge role in reaching agreement with Iran and we are also seeing progress [in talks] on Syria. This brings us hope that the visit [of Abbas] will ensure progress in settling the Palestinian-Israeli issue,” Shaath said.

“In an interview with the Voice of Russia radio,” Haaretz reports, “Shhath said that Russia had shown ‘that it can do much, including in the Middle East as in the case of the Iranian nuclear program and the search for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. We believe that Russia can play a still bigger role in tackling other international problems….We hope that Russia will be able to continue to play an important role in the Palestinian issue.”

Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

CNN: During Bin Laden Attack, Obama Abandoned Situation Room to Play Hours of Cards With Reggie Love

While the famous photo op depicts President Obama hunkered down in the Situation Room while SEAL Team 6 pulled off its dazzling assault on Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound, the reality was far more galling.

Via CNN, we discover that a bored President Obama and his “body man” Reggie Love were deeply engaged in hours of card-playing during the attack.

A famous photo shows President Barack Obama hunkered down in the Situation Room in May 2011 with his national security team as U.S. Navy SEALS carried out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

But his former body man Reggie Love said in an interview posted online Wednesday that Obama also played cards to distract himself during the day-long ordeal

…In the July 18 interview, which took place during a lunch hosted by UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, Love talked about life with the president, including the historic moment more than two years ago when bin Laden was killed.

Describing it as a “very long day,” Love said most people were in the Situation Room but Obama came to the private dining room to play cards with Love, White House photographer Pete Souza and staffer Marvin Nicholson.

[President Obama] was like, ‘I’m not, I’m not going to be down there, I can’t watch this entire thing’,” Love said. “We must have played 15 hands-15 games of Spades.”

The revealing video appears to have been sufficiently damning that it has since been removed by the user who uploaded it.

Which begs the question: since the media still what the president was doing for eight hours while the Benghazi attack raged, perhaps we could ask Reggie Love.

And: what the hell is a “body man”?

Hat tips: Weasel Zippers and Wanda.

Doug Ross @ Journal