February 23, 2012 | 5:56 am
The world must respond positively to apparent signs that Hamas is moderating its position, writes Michael Bröning for Project Syndicate.
For the West, using the opportunity to influence Hamas’s future course requires modifying the failed policy of all-encompassing rejection. As in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, Islamist moderates in the Palestinian territories need to be engaged as a legitimate political force. Leaders such as Mashal, who has expressed a readiness to forsake alliances with Syria and Iran and to accept a two-state solution with Israel, should be bolstered rather than boycotted. That means supporting the ongoing effort to form an interim Palestinian government of technocrats, as stipulated in the Qatar agreement.
Writing in Foreign Policy, David Makovsky says the Iranian nuclear crisis means Obama and Netanyahu must move past their strained relationship.
Israeli considerations of a strike are rooted not in their ethos of self-reliance, but in the fear that the United States will ultimately fail to strike, even if sanctions fail. Israeli officials’ fears are compounded by their knowledge that the American people are fatigued by conflict, and by the suspicions of some that the United States has not entirely ruled out a strategy of containment, U.S. protestations to the contrary.
John Hudson of The Atlantic presents a comprehensive round-up of theories and speculation on how Israel would carry out its threatened attack in Iran.
One of the main targets, and most difficult, is the underground plant near the city of Qom. On Monday, the BBC reported that Iran is poised to expand its nuclear site in Qom, installing thousands of new centrifuges at the plant. According to The Times, the underground site is going to call for American-made GBU-28 5,000-pound bunker buster bombs to destroy the facilities.
The United States must take a strong stand against the arrests of 16 of its nationals by Egyptian authorities, argues Stephen McInerney in Foreign Affairs.
In both private conversations and public statements, Pentagon and State Department officials who have recently visited Egypt and discussed the crisis describe the generals as initially incredulous that such a minor issue (in their view) could actually threaten the aid package. U.S. officials attest that they have been successful since in conveying how potentially explosive the issue could be, but it is unclear how much that has changed anyone’s thinking in Cairo.
The Economist holds a live debate on military intervention in Syria, with Ed Husain of the Council on Foreign Relations and Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Doha Center.
The immediate priority is to stop the loss of life on both sides in the conflict in Syria. The best guarantee of that is to allow Russian, French and British diplomats to work together to broker a ceasefire with immediate effect.
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