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from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

Managing the message

bibi1

Gone were the track suit, the back-slapping and the wise-cracking, all part of Ehud Olmert's casual demeanor when he used to fly to the United States for White House talks and stand in the back of a chartered El Al plane, fielding questions from the travelling press.

His successor as Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, managed the media very differently this week during his first visit to the White House since taking office on March 31.

It began with a meet-and-greet on the flight to Washington and an admonishment from Netanyahu's spokesmen that the prime minister would not be answering any questions. "Bibi", in a dark business suit, and his wife Sara walked down the aisle and shook hands with each and every reporter. Testing the "no-question" rule drew a "no comment" along with a firm handshake.

With Netanyahu at odds with U.S. President Barack Obama over Palestinian statehood, a cornerstone of Washington's Middle East policy,  shifting the media focus to common ground appeared to be part of a game plan for message management. For Netanyahu, that meant getting the point across back home that, in his words, he and Obama saw "eye-to-eye" on the need to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

from The Great Debate UK:

Breaking the deadlock on nuclear disarmament

John Duncan - John Duncan is the United Kingdom Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament. He comments regularly via Twitter and on his own Blog. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Nuclear disarmament has been rather knocked out of the foreign affairs headlines over recent weeks by more immediate concerns over potential pandemics, the Indian election and the endgame of the long running conflict in Sri Lanka. But last week while the world’s media were looking elsewhere the international arms control and disarmament community took a remarkable step to break what has been called the “Decade of Deadlock”.

from The Great Debate:

Iran sanctions and wishful thinking

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate
-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

So what's so difficult in getting Iran to drop its nuclear program? All it needs is a great American leader who uses sanctions to break the Iranian economy so badly that popular discontent sweeps away the leadership. It is replaced without a shot being fired.

from The Great Debate UK:

Iran sanctions and wishful thinking

[CROSSPOST blog: 44 post: 3360]

Original Post Text:
Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate
-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

So what's so difficult in getting Iran to drop its nuclear program? All it needs is a great American leader who uses sanctions to break the Iranian economy so badly that popular discontent sweeps away the leadership. It is replaced without a shot being fired.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Nuclear South Asia: Iran fires a shot at India

Iran looks like it will come out swinging at a global conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) opening in New York on Monday, and in the process take a swipe at Israel as well as India.

And that is a bit of a shift, for India and Iran have ties going back into history, but which have in recent years come under pressure and play in the tangled relationship between India and Pakistan.

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

Want peace? Blunt Iran, Netanyahu aide says

As Benjamin Netanyahu's top pick for national security adviser, Uzi Arad will be key to crafting the foreign and defence policies of the incoming Israeli government.

Arad is a retired official of the Mossad intelligence agency who served under the hawkish Netanyahu during his first term as prime minister in 1996-1999. That period saw Israel pursuing U.S.-sponsored interim peace negotiations with the Palestinians, as well as tentative rapprochement with Syria.

from Global News Journal:

Politics and paranoia complicate IAEA’S work on Iran, Syria

The U.N. nuclear non-proliferation watchdog assiduously guards its impartiality as it monitors and investigates disputed activity in Iran and Syria, with suspicious Western powers impatient for the inspectors to draw conclusions.

So the International Atomic Energy Agency typically puts what have become keenly anticipated, quarterly reports on Iran and Syria through many painstaking drafts before they see the light of day, to help ensure that not a single word can be misunderstood, misinterpreted or turned to political advantage.

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

Israeli rhetoric on Iran can lack consistency

Veiled threats require calibration. Too explicit, and they risk spilling over into uncontrolled confrontation. Too elliptical, and their impact might be lost entirely.

When it comes to Israel's regular hints that it could attack Iranian nuclear facilities to prevent them producing a bomb, there's another liability: boredom and incredulity at all the repetition.

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

A covert challenge to Iran’s nuclear ambitions?

iran

Israeli officials aren't talking, but Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper is quoting intelligence experts and an unnamed former CIA agent as saying that Israel is waging a covert war of sabotage inside Iran in an effort to delay its suspected attempts to build a nuclear weapon.

An intelligence source in the Middle East has told Reuters the Israeli campaign includes sending letter bombs or anthrax-tainted mail to scientists involved in Iran's nuclear programme and sabotaging related infrastructure. European countries and the United States are also part of the cloak-and-dagger war, the source said.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India-U.S: advancing a transformed relationship

In the space of a decade, the United States and India have travelled far in a relationship clouded by the  Cold War when they were on opposite sides.

From U.S sanctions on India for its nuclear tests in 1998 to a civilian nuclear energy deal that opens access to international nuclear technology and finance, while allowing New Delhi to retain its nuclear weapons programme is a stunning reversal of policy and one that decisively transforms ties.

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