Reuters blog archive
The drums of war are beating in the Middle East. Proponents of a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities have intensified their campaign in recent weeks, arguing the military option is the only way to ensure the country does not build a nuclear weapon.
But the obstacles to conducting a successful strike remain immense, making it a last, improbable resort. It is such a bad option that it is no option at all.
That said, by raising the spectre of a destabilising military strike, Israel's government and hardliners in the west have successfully pushed western governments into taking a much tougher line on economic sanctions than seemed possible a year ago. And this may be their real tactical objective.
An aerial strike has been talked about openly for some time. Israel's then-Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz caused a storm last summer by noting in an interview with the mass circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper "If Iran continues with its programme for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The [current] sanctions are ineffective...Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable." A spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert subsequently said that "all options must remain on the table".
from Global News Journal:
Sunday's federal election threw Germany's Greens into a state of disarray -- should they celebrate their best result ever or mourn the fact they failed to prevent a centre-right coalition and languished in fifth place?
from India Insight:
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
A single paragraph in General Stanley McChrystal's leaked assessment of the war in Afghanistan has generated much interest, particularly in Pakistan.
"Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment," it says. "In addition the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian. While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani counter-measures in Afghanistan or India."
President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain have deliberately raised the stakes in the confrontation over Iran's nuclear programme by dramatising the disclosure that it is building a second uranium enrichment plant. Their shoulder-to-shoulder statements of resolve, less than a week before Iran opens talks with six major powers in Geneva, raised more questions than they answer.
It turns out that the United States has known for a long time (how long?) that Iran had been building the still incomplete plant near Qom. Did it share that intelligence with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, and if not, why not? Why did it wait until now, in the middle of a G20 summit in Pittsburgh, to make the announcement -- after Iran had notified the International Atomic Energy Authority of the plant's existence on Monday, after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had delivered a defiant speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday and after the Security Council had adopted a unanimous resolution calling for an end to the spread of nuclear weapons on Thursday?
from AxisMundi Jerusalem:
It seems last week’s focus, settlement expansion, has given way to this week’s prime focus: Might Israel attack Iran?
Last week the Arab media found Israel's refusal to cease settlement expansion unsurprising and affirmative of what they said was Israel's unwillingness to pursue a peace settlement with the Palestinians. An op-ed in Al Ahram Weekly, an English-language newspaper in Egypt, questioned the Arabs' ability to challenge Israel: “Will they have the courage to shift the focus back from the Israeli-instigated 'Iranian threat' to the clear and present Israeli danger to the region?"