Syria after Assad
Writing in Project Syndicate, Ronald Lauder warns of the pitfalls that could lie ahead once Bashar Assad is removed from power.
To avoid the political chaos and regional escalation witnessed in other Arab countries recently, it is critical that any new Syrian government ends the country’s role as a gateway for Iranian incursion into the Near East. Clearly, Israel would simply not be able to remain on the fence if chaos in a neighboring country threatened to become a permanent menace to its security.
Netanyahu is not bluffing when he talks of an Israeli strike on Iran, writes Jeffrey Goldberg in Bloomberg.
From the perspective of the two men who matter most in the Israeli decision-making process—Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak —American promises are somewhat immaterial. Because it is imprinted on the Israeli DNA that Jews, post-Holocaust, shouldn’t rely on the kindness of non-Jews to bail them out of trouble. In other words, no matter how strong Obama’s rhetoric, Israel’s leaders will not subcontract out their defense to the U.S. or any other party.
Israel would do well to take notice of the shift in emphasis among the Republican candidates away from the war on terror, write Oded Eran and Owen Alterman for the Institute on National Security Studies.
For the past decade, Israel’s outreach efforts in the United States have relied on forging a connection in the campaign against terrorism. Israel’s leaders have become accustomed to declare, in the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu in his address before Congress in 2011, “We stand together to fight terrorism.” With at least part of the US electorate that connection worked, as terrorism was at the forefront of public concerns and how to approach the terrorism issue was at the forefront of the public debate. Especially in the years after 9/11, much of the US public supported a hawkish response to radical Islam; in that context, Israel was right to sell itself as a logical partner in that fight. With the changing public mood in the US, however, the anti-terrorism mantras may have become jaded and worn.
On the eve of the first Arab League in Iraq for more than two decades, Bernhard Zand of Der Speigel takes a critical look at the state of the country after the American withdrawal.
In the three months since he has been solely in charge of the country, Maliki has made it clearer than in the five preceding years just how much attention he pays to Shiite Iran. Just one day after the last US soldier stepped across the border into Kuwait, Maliki had a warrant issued for the arrest of Sunni Vice President Tariq Al-Hashimi, who only barely managed to escape to the autonomous Kurdistan region, where he remains to this day. Since then, the embittered Sunnis haven’t been the only ones to criticize Maliki for increasingly forming alliances with Tehran.
Islam’s defining moment with democracy
Tunisia and Egypt can learn from Turkey’s example of a Muslim democratic state, writes the editorial board of the Christian Science Monitor.
In fact, Turkey, once the seat of the Islamic Ottoman caliphate, has praised the virtues of democratic secular rule to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. It has also scolded Iraq’s Shiite-led government for not easing tensions with minority Sunnis. And it has told Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon to raise their voices against the violence in Syria or else “remove the word ‘Islam’ from their names.”