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Must Read, February 2, 2012

by Shmuel Rosner

February 2, 2012 | 2:37 am

(Photo; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel)

A dragon dance in the Negev

Writing for the Asia Times, veteran Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar examines China’s growing role in all parts of the Middle East, from the Gulf states to Iran to Israel.

“The great beauty is that all three Middle Eastern camps - Iran, the GCC and Israel - equally want the best of relationships with China and are manifestly vying with each other for the dragon’s prime time. This is going to pose an unsolvable riddle for other outside powers aspiring for influence in the region, be it the West or Turkey and Russia.”

A Third Option for Iran

Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, believes that neither accepting a nuclear Iran nor launching a military strike is a viable option.

“I would be comfortable with putting forward a negotiating position at the same time we press ahead with increased economic sanctions, even as we prepare for military contingencies. We ought to move in every direction at the same time. We could also pursue other methods to frustrate the Iranian programs, say with computer viruses. “


Many Jewish GOP Donors Still on Sidelines

Allison Hoffman of Tablet takes a look at how prominent Jewish Republicans are spending their money in the GOP battle for the presidential nomination.

“Among Romney’s new supporters are hedge fund manager Paul Isaac, one of the 30 biggest individual donors to the Republican Party; Cheryl Halpern, a former backer of Gov. Rick Perry; and Hudson Institute board member Nina Rosenwald.”

The Christian right, alive and powerful

Peter Montgomery of AlterNet gives five good reasons why no one should write this highly political and highly religious group off just yet.

”…the increasing number of secular-minded Americans does not prevent the well-organized forces of the Religious Right from continuing to impact public policy, especially in areas of the country where they are strongest. This political and cultural movement will not be sinking beneath the horizon anytime soon.”


Hamas on the move, seeks Palestinian ascendancy

Nidal al-Mughrabi and Douglas Hamilton of Reuters look at the changing face of Hamas -Israel’s long-standing enemy and close ally of Iran – and what appears to be shaping up to be an internal leadership battle.

“This week, the two top men in the 25-year-old organization dedicated to crushing the Jewish state and establishing Palestine “from the (Jordan) river to the sea” headed off in distinctly different directions for high-level talks, and they began to look intriguingly like rivals.”

 

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