The Great Debate

How close is Iran to nuclear weapons?

By Yousaf Butt
February 22, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed last week that new second-generation centrifuges, which Iran plans to start up at its Natanz uranium enrichment facility, could cut by a third the time needed to create a nuclear bomb – underlining his deadline of this summer to take military action against Iran.

from David Rohde:

Make allies, not kill lists

By David Rohde
January 31, 2013

Viewers of Thursday’s  confirmation hearing of Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel can be forgiven for thinking they were watching a years-old C-SPAN rerun. The importance of America’s intercontinental ballistic missiles dominated initial questioning. Then the war in Iraq was debated. In the end, the issue that most concerned senators from both parties was Hagel’s loyalty to Israel.

The limits of U.S. influence in Israel

By Shibley Telhami
January 22, 2013

A victory in Tuesday’s Israeli elections by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Yisrael Beiteinu alliance and the ascent of even more extreme parties are indications of Israelis’ continued move to the right.

Will this be the year that Israel goes to war with Iran?

By Daniel Serwer
January 3, 2013

Israel did not bomb Iran last year. Why should it happen this year?

Because it did not happen last year. The Iranians are proceeding apace with their nuclear program. The Americans are determined to stop them. Sanctions are biting, but the diplomatic process produced nothing visible in 2012. Knowledgeable observers believe there is no “zone of possible agreement.” Both the United States and Iran may believe that they have viable alternatives to a negotiated agreement.

A two-state Middle East solution hangs in the balance as Obama waits

December 7, 2012

President Barack Obama may have believed he had at least until his inauguration next month to renew efforts to forge a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but events since he won re-election have put fresh demands on the president.

Obama faces only hard choices in Mideast

By Aaron David Miller
December 6, 2012

The conventional wisdom in Washington these days is that a newly empowered president, freed from the political constraints of reelection, will have more discretion, drive and determination to take on the Middle East’s most intractable problems.

Mideast’s WMD ‘red line’ gauntlet

By Bennett Ramberg
December 3, 2012

“Red lines” are all the rage this year. Even as the swirl of Middle East headlines focus on Gaza and Egyptian politics, the region remains under two “red lines.” If Iran and Syria, respectively, cross the nuclear and chemical weapons thresholds, it would generate a strong, if undefined, Israeli and American response.

A battleground for weapons of the future

By David Axe
November 30, 2012

More than a week after a U.S.-Egyptian brokered ceasefire brought a fragile peace to Gaza, military analysts are busily assessing the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Their goal: Apply lessons from the eight-day battle to weaponry still in development.

Mideast’s dynamic opportunity for peace

By Robin Wright
November 21, 2012

The Arab world may be in turmoil, but its leaders actually need an enduring peace—now in Gaza and long-term with Israel—because regimes across the region are vulnerable as never before.

Romney’s big chance with Jewish voters

By Keith Koffler
October 22, 2012

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at the Monday foreign policy debate, should play to the Jewish TV audience like he was the star of a Borscht Belt revue.