April 18, 2012 | 4:34 am
If phrased correctly, an agreement on a halt in Iran’s uranium enrichment could be on the cards, writes David Ignatius in the Washington Post.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu played his expected role in this choreography, criticizing the negotiators for agreeing to another round of talks on May 23 in Baghdad without getting concessions in return. “My initial impression is that Iran has been given a freebie,” Netanyahu said. “It has got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation, any inhibition.” A perfect rebuff — just scornful enough to keep the Iranians (and the Americans, too) worried that the Israelis might launch a military attack this summer if no real progress is made in the talks.
Writing in Commentary Magazine, Lazar Berman and Uri Sadot draw parallels between the US-Israel crises of 1975 and today, and look at how Obama and Netanyahu can move forward to a stronger relationship.
But as the Israelis learned in 1975, crises can be opportunities. Both countries came out of the 1975 spat with a valuable strategic accomplishment. The Memorandum of Understanding bound America to support Israel’s redline positions before the United Nations and the Palestinians. The shared underlying interest in keeping the Soviets out of Egypt led to the ultimate agreements between Israel and Egypt and drew America and Israel closer together.
Russia is apparently resigned to military action against Iran’s nuclear program, but is divided on how to respond to such an eventuality, writes Zvi Magen of the Institute for National Security Studies.
Generally speaking, one may discern two camps in this debate: the camp supporting a war, spouting anti-Western slogans, and calling for violent action to advance Russian regional and global interests while exploiting the situation to solve ancillary geopolitical issues both in the Caucasus and the Middle East…On the other hand, there are academic and public figures vehemently opposed to these drums of war. Discerning elements that are interested in seeing a war erupt in Iran that involves Russia, this camp warns of the destructive ramifications of this scenario and calls for more modest Russian international aspirations, with Russia taking a firm stand within the international community and acting in concert with the other nations to contain Iran’s nuclear program.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood may be embracing democratic institutions at the moment, write Hillel Fradkin and Lewis Libby for Real Clear Religion, but the ultimate goal still remains an Islamic state.
In particular, political parties as a whole were of alien Western origin and a mode of political conflict. They thus enjoyed no particular sanctity. Indeed, as modes of political conflict, Western-style parties violate the unity and harmony which is the goal of Muslim politics. If they were useful in the present circumstances, fine; if not, they could and would be dispensed with.
Foreign intervention and sensationalist reporting have only made things worse in a country already suffering under an increasingly brutal regime crackdown, argues James Harkin in Foreign Policy.
As the situation has ground toward a temporary stalemate, everyone in the opposition now realizes that NATO has neither the mettle nor the resources for another Libya. That kind of organized military intervention is simply not going to happen. But the next phase of diplomacy is in danger of making matters substantially worse. The remaining carrots offered to Bashar Al-Assad’s regime are now being matched by thinly veiled sticks whereby the international community promises to turn a blind eye to Saudi and Qatari efforts to back the military opposition with force of arms.
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