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Must Read, January 19, 2012

by Shmuel Rosner

January 19, 2012 | 1:54 am

A worker at the fuel manufacturing plant at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility, Iran (Photo: Reuters)

John Bolton: On Iran, sanctions are not the answer

The hawkish former envoy to the UN writes in USA Today that the only way to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions is by attacking its facilities.

“The most likely outcome is stark: The world’s central banker of terrorism will very soon become a nuclear weapons state. The only other option is to take pre-emptive military action to break Iran’s program, and the odds of doing so successfully are deteriorating daily, as it hardens and deeply buries new facilities.”

Military action against Iran? Don’t miscalculate

In its editorial USA Today answers Bolton with the argument that military action would be counterproductive, saying that the sanctions imposed on Tehran are “finally biting.”

”…sanctions remain the last best hope for a satisfactory solution. Even against the odds, they’re a better option than letting the pot boil over, hastening a conflict that reasonable people would prefer to avoid.”

Most Syrians back President Assad, but you’d never know from western media

Jonathan Steele writes in the Guardian that the international media has misled its readers about the level of Syrian support for keeping the embattled president, which is backed by a new, and widely ignored, poll .

“Some 55% of Syrians want Assad to stay, motivated by fear of civil war – a spectre that is not theoretical as it is for those who live outside Syria’s borders. What is less good news for the Assad regime is that the poll also found that half the Syrians who accept him staying in power believe he must usher in free elections in the near future.”


Women of the Arab Spring give voice to their hopes and aspirations

In a piece for The National of Abu Dhabi, Rachel Shabi and Laura Collins, meet five women who have played a part in the uprisings of their respective countries, and discover that for them, there is no going back in terms of women’s rights.

“Women at the forefront of the struggles that started in Tunisia and fast carried over into Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria have spoken of the protests as reawakening a sense of equality that had long been buried under layers of corruption, repression and social conservatism.”

Lebanon, by the Numbers


Blogging in the New York Times, Elias Muhanna seeks a solution to Lebanon’s sectarian political system, and finds that there is no easy solution.

“The imposition of religious representativeness in politics is a scourge. In the best of circumstances, it is vulnerable to the demagoguery of religious leaders; in the worst, it breeds civil violence and paralyzes the government. But others fear that a more open system would not provide the guarantees of power-sharing among religious minorities that the current model entails.”

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