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Iran War Weekly - October 29, 2012


By Frank Brodhead - Posted on 12 November 2012

Iran War Weekly

October 29, 2012

[Delayed post]

 

Hello All – My hurricane-battered neighborhood lost power last Monday as this newsletter was nearing completion, and electricity and phone line have just been restored.  Here, then, is the way the Iran war looked last Monday.  Some things may be out of date, but my guess is that most are not.  I will get a new edition out asap, as I reconnect with the world.

 

Calling your attention to things I think are of enduring interest, the article just below, co-authored by former chief UN weapons inspector Rolf Ekeus and warning against going to war against Iran, got a lot of attention from establishment academics and commentators.  The United Kingdom’s refusal to allow the United States to use British bases in a non-UN-sanctioned attack on Iran – based on the illegality of such an attack – is an important shift in British policy (see Iraq war, etc.).  Another interesting article raises questions about the legality of “cyber” attacks.  Here the United States is caught in a crossfire of its own making, seeing cyber attacks as useful against Iran, but wanting to label such attacks “acts of war” if used against the United States.

 

Another article of enduring interest is the lengthy summary and critique of the US-led economic war against Iran that was recently published in a Tehran newsletter, IranReview.  It can be usefully compared to the recent publication from the (US) Congressional Research Service that was linked in the September 16th IWW and can be read at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS20871.pdf.  Also of interest is the article by Peter Jenkins, former British envoy to the IAEA, in which he compares US policy towards Iran’s nuclear program with its policy toward nuclear North Korea, and raises questions about why the differences between the two approaches are so great.

 

When I was putting this newsletter together, there was a lot of news and speculation about political divisions within Iran as a result of that country’s economic crisis.  Though Iran’s presidential election will not take place until next June, it is useful to recall that Iran’s nuclear policy, like the policy of the United States towards Iran, is influenced by domestic politics as well as “national interest.”

 

Finally, a week ago the war in Syria was engulfing not only Turkey and Lebanon, but was impacting Iraq as well, and I’ve linked several good/useful articles that summarize developments in the region. For current news about Syria I highly recommend War in Context (www.warincontext.org), Syria Comment (www.joshualandis.com) and Aljazeera’s “Inside Syria” (http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidesyria/).

 

Once again, I appreciate the help that many of you have given in distributing the Iran War Weekly and/or linking it on websites.  Previous “issues” of the IWW can be read at http://warisacrime.org/blog/46383.  If you would like to receive the IWW mailings, please send me an email at fbrodhead@aol.com.

 

Best wishes,

Frank Brodhead

Concerned Families of Westchester (NY)

 

OVERVIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES

Don't Go Baghdad on Tehran: How to Avoid Repeating the Iraq Debacle

By Rolf Ekéus and Målfrid Braut-Hegghamme, Foreign Affairs [October 18, 2012]

[FB – Unfortunately only the summary of this article is available on-line to those who do not have a subscription.  Foreign Affairs is the Establishment publication of the US foreign policy Establishment.  Ekeus was the director of the UNSCOM inspections in Iraq from 1991 to 1997.]

---- The Iraq War might seem a thing of the past. But nearly ten years after combat began, the United States and its allies are using policies to address the Iranian nuclear challenge that are eerily similar to those it pursued in the run-up to Operation Enduring Freedom. Just as they did with Saddam Hussein, concerned governments have implemented economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and low-level violence to weaken the Iranian regime and prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, with the long-term objective of regime change. In Iraq, and seemingly now in Iran, diplomacy and inspections became a means to an end: building up a casus belli. The strategy failed miserably in Iraq a decade ago. It probably will in Iran, too. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/138201/rolf-ekeus-and-malfrid-braut-hegghammer/dont-go-baghdad-on-tehran#

 

50th Anniversary of Cuban Missile Crisis Offers Lessons for Iran

By Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service [October 22, 2012]

---- The fact that Israel, which has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran’s nuclear sites unilaterally, actually has the assets to act on those threats makes the situation today more complicated than that faced by Kennedy. “Due to the secrecy surrounding the resolution of the Cuban missile crisis, the lesson that became ingrained in U.S. foreign policy-making was the importance of a show of force to make your opponent back down,” Kornbluh told IPS. “But the real lesson is one of commitment to diplomacy, negotiation, and compromise, and that was made possible by Kennedy’s determination to avoid a preemptive strike, which he knew would open a Pandora’s Box in a nuclear age.”

http://original.antiwar.com/lobe/2012/10/22/50th-anniversary-of-cuban-missile-crisis-offers-lessons-for-iran/

 

NEGOTIATIONS ABOUT IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM

Waiting on Iran Nuclear Talks

An interview with Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, from the Council on Foreign Affairs [October 26, 2012]

---- The drawn-out talks between Iran and the P5 +1 nations (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) over Iran's nuclear program are expected by a number of experts to resume after the U.S. presidential elections. Daryl G. Kimball, a veteran arms control expert, says Iran could be more flexible in the next set of discussions "given how hard and sharply these current sanctions are biting right now." But he stresses that Iran must be willing to start off by agreeing to suspend 20 percent uranium enrichment work – which brings it close to weapons grade -- at its underground Fordow facility in exchange for nuclear fuel provided to a research facility. http://www.cfr.org/iran/waiting-iran-nuclear-talks/p29361#cid=soc-twitter-at-interview-waiting_on_iran_nuclear_talks-102612

 

West Seeks Even More Demands for Next Iran Talks

By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [October 23, 2012]

---- The White House has once again denied reports that they have agreed to negotiate with Iran regarding that nation’s civilian nuclear program, but the continued denials come as Western diplomats say there will almost certainly be a new round of talks after the US election. But Western officials seem so certain that some sort of post-election talks are going to take place that they are already discussing amongst themselves exactly what to demand, with officials seemingly looking at demanding even more than in previous times. As it has been for the last 30 years, officials seem determined to keep Iran nominally “on the brink of war” while continuing to push negotiations designed to fail and give officials a chance to gain political points from railing against the “threat.” http://news.antiwar.com/2012/10/23/west-seeks-even-more-demands-for-next-iran-talks/

 

Iran Considers Tougher Line After Combative US Approach

By John Glaser, Antiwar.com [October 24, 2012]

---- Iran “is weighing a more confrontational strategy” that would “boost levels of uranium enrichment unless the West makes clear concessions to ease sanctions,” according to the Associated Press. Mansour Haghighatpour, deputy head of Iran’s influential National Security Committee in parliament, told the Associated Press that the decision to take a more defiant stance came only after the US and its allies have imposed harsh economic sanctions while refusing to make concessions in any viable negotiated settlement. http://news.antiwar.com/2012/10/24/iran-considers-tougher-line-after-combative-us-approach/

 

Also useful Associated Press “Iran: Nuclear line hardens as sanctions hit home,” [October 24, 2012] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-nuclear-line-hardens-as-sanctions-hit-home-8225225.html?printService=print; and David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, “Iran Said to Nearly Finish Nuclear Enrichment Plant,” New York Times [October 25, 2012] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/26/world/middleeast/iran-said-to-complete-nuclear-enrichment-plant.html?ref=world

 

MILITARY MANEUVERING

US military chief in Israel to oversee countries’ largest ever joint maneuvers

By the Associated Press [October 28, 2012]

---- The American military chief is in Israel to observe the largest armed forces drill between the two countries. He plans to oversee elements of Austere Challenge 2012, an air defense drill that includes more than 3,500 Americans and 1,000 Israelis. They are practicing their ability to work together against a range of threats facing Israel. The joint exercise tests multiple Israeli and American air defense systems against incoming missiles and rockets from places as far away as Iran. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/us-military-chief-in-israel-to-oversee-countries-largest-ever-joint-maneuvers/2012/10/28/e85b77c4-2134-11e2-92f8-7f9c4daf276a_print.html

 

Hypothetical War

How to Bomb Iran

By Philip Giraldi, The American Conservative [October 25, 2012]

---- On balance, all of the above suggests that the frequently repeated threat by the Israeli leadership to attack Iran is not a serious plan to take out Iran’s nuclear sites. It is more likely a long running disinformation operation to somehow convince the United States to do the job or a deliberate conditioning of the Israeli and US publics to be supportive if some incident can be arranged to trigger an armed conflict. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-to-bomb-iran/

 

Oil, Geo-Political Experts Say Attacking Iran Poses Huge Risks

By Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service [October 20, 2012]

---- As a bastion of foreign-policy realism, the Center for the National Interest (CNI), formerly the Nixon Center, is known around Washington for hosting very lively discussions among experts, and Friday’s session, entitled “War With Iran: Economic and Military Considerations”, was particularly engaging, and virtually unanimous — and almost unanimously scary — in its conclusions. http://www.lobelog.com/oil-geo-political-experts-say-attacking-iran-poses-huge-risks/

 

Would “Preventive” War be Legal?

Britain rejects US request to use UK bases in nuclear standoff with Iran

Nick Hopkins, The Guardian [UK] [October 25, 2012]

---- Britain has rebuffed US pleas to use military bases in the UK to support the build-up of forces in the Gulf, citing secret legal advice which states that any pre-emptive strike on Iran could be in breach of international law. The Guardian has been told that US diplomats have also lobbied for the use of British bases in Cyprus, and for permission to fly from US bases on Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, both of which are British territories. The US approaches are part of contingency planning over the nuclear standoff with Tehran, but British ministers have so far reacted coolly. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/25/uk-reject-us-request-bases-iran?CMP=twt_gu

 

Also useful – Max Fisher,”Report: British attorney general thinks strike on Iran could be illegal,”  Washington Post [October 25, 2012] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/10/25/the-u-k-thinks-a-strike-on-iran-would-be-illegal-denies-u-s-access-to-its-bases/; and Carlo Munoz, “Possible military action against Iran in line with US law, says DOD,” The Hill [October 26, 2012] http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/264303-possible-military-against-iran-in-line-with-us-law-says-dod-

 

Cyberwar

When is a cyberattack an act of war?

By Ellen Nakashima, WashingtonPost [October 26, 2012]

---- On the night of Oct. 11, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stood inside the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, housed in a former aircraft carrier moored at a New York City pier, and let an audience of business executives in on one of the most important conversations inside the U.S. government. He warned of a “cyber Pearl Harbor.” But what does an act of war look like in cyberspace? And perhaps more important, what does the U.S. government do when cyberattacks fall short of that — assuming it can identify the perpetrators in the first place? http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/when-is-a-cyberattack-an-act-of-war/2012/10/26/02226232-1eb8-11e2-9746-908f727990d8_print.html

 

Also useful – R. Scott Kemp, “Cyberweapons: Bold steps in a digital darkness?” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists [June 7, 2012] http://www.thebulletin.org/print/web-edition/op-eds/cyberweapons-bold-steps-digital-darkness

 

SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN

Economic Sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran: A Review

By Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, IranReview [Teheran] [September 20, 2012]

[FB - Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini is Iran's Ambassador to Italy and a former Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman.]

---- The analysis of international sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran in all political, economic and human rights fields, and comparison of the contents of those sanctions with general or even specific documents and rules of international law will clearly prove that Western sanctions have ignored or violated a great number of legal principles and rules of international law. This will seem especially more true when selective and unfair treatment of Iran as well as the double standards used by some Western countries to the application and implementation of sanctions is taken into consideration. The violation of international law by Iran sanctions is so severe that it has damaged sovereignty of a member state of the United Nations and the rights of its people. More importantly, continuation of sanctions constitutes a threat to future prospect of international community. http://www.iranreview.org/content/Iran_Spectrum/Quality-of-Economic-Sanctions-against-the-Islamic-Republic-of-Iran-A-Review.htm

 

The unfolding human catastrophe in Iran

By Muhammad Sahimi and Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi, Aljazeera [October 2012]

---- their debate about foreign policy last Monday, President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney both agreed that the crippling unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and its allies must continue, until the Islamic Republic recalibrates its nuclear ambitions. Apart from the vague and shifting red lines which continue to afflict the thick fog of Western national security rhetoric vis-a-vis Iran, not a single word was uttered by either men about the plight and suffering of the Iranian people who have had no role in the decisions made by the Islamic Republic's leaders. But, the fact is that the sanctions, exacerbated by government incompetence, have the potential to give rise to a major human catastrophe. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/10/20121023101710641121.html

 

Iran looks to Silk Road ties in time of sanctions

By The Associated Press [October 24, 2012]

---- In back-to-back Asian summits this month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made sure to carve out special time to look east. For months, Iran's oil sales to energy-hungry nations such as China and India have been the focus of intense Western efforts to reduce the flow as part of pressure over Iran's disputed nuclear program. Yet lesser -  but not insignificant - economic pathways for Iran also run along the ancient Silk Road connecting China and the Middle East. http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/iran-looks-to-silk-road-ties-in-time-of-sanctions-1.472024

 

Also useful – Jason Rezaian, “Iran aims to defy sanctions through domestic production,” Washington Post [October 28, 2012] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-aims-to-defy-sanctions-through-domestic-production-8229552.html; Timothy Gardner and Roberta Rampton, “World's spare oil capacity grows as Iran sanctions bite,” Reuters [October 25, 2012] http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/25/us-usa-oil-iran-idUSBRE89O1MC20121025; and Rick Gladstone, “Iran’s Warning to Oil Market Fails to Send Prices Higher,” New York Times [October 23, 2012] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/world/middleeast/iran-threatens-to-cut-oil-supply-market-shrugs.html?ref=world

 

US POLICIES AND PERSPECTIVES

A Tale of Two Threats

Peter Jenkins October 22nd, 2012

---- It’s not easy for a European observer of US politics to understand why the US Congress seems so much more concerned by Iran’s nuclear activities than by those of North Korea (the DPRK). Congressional pressure on the White House to put a stop to Iranian activities seems never-ending and Congressional majorities for anti-Iranian resolutions are staggering. In comparison, when did Congress last pass a resolution requiring the administration to take action against the DPRK? On the face of it, this makes little sense. To a European, North Korea looks to be a greater and more actual threat to US interests than Iran. http://www.lobelog.com/a-tale-of-two-threats/

 

Finally an Opportunity for a Real Campaign Conversation on Iran

By Farideh Farhi, LobeLog [October 22, 2012]

---- The reality is that the current sanctions regime does not constitute a stable situation. First, the instability (and instability is different from regime change as we are sadly learning in Syria) it might beget is a constant force for policy re-evaluation on all sides (other members of the P5+1 included). Second, maintaining sanctions require vigilance while egging on the sanctioned regime to become more risk-taking in trying to get around them. This is a formula for war and it will happen if a real effort at compromise is not made. Inflexibility will beget inflexibility. http://www.lobelog.com/finally-an-opportunity-for-a-real-campaign-conversation-on-iran/

 

The Presidential Election

Top Ten Republican Myths about Obama and Iran

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment [October 22, 2012]

http://www.juancole.com/2012/10/top-ten-republican-myths-about-obama-and-iran.html

 

What the Obama-Romney Foreign Policy Consensus Means for U.S. Interests

By Hillary Mann Leverett, The Race for Iran [October 24, 2012]

---- The Obama-Romney debate revealed much about the strategic and moral bankruptcy of America’s approach to the Middle East.  On Syria, attachment to the delusion that the United States can arm, fund and train fighters to undermine the Assad government—and that some of those same fighters won’t turn weapons they have been given against U.S. and Western interests—remains strong in both the Democratic and Republican camps.  This delusion is grounded, in large part, in an assessment that overthrowing the Assad government—Iran’s “only Arab ally”—will undermine Iran’s regional position and perhaps even spark the Islamic Republic’s overthrow.  But, as Hillary notes, “Iran’s ‘only Arab ally’ today is not Syria.  Did [Romney] ever hear of Iraq?  Iraq is today Iran’s closest ally in the Arab world.  That’s a huge country.  Iran can also get anywhere it wants through Suez, because now it has Egypt.  So, for the first time in 30 years, Iranian military ships can go through Suez.”  http://www.raceforiran.com/what-the-obama-romney-foreign-policy-consensus-means-for-u-s-interests-hillary-mann-leverett-on-al-jazeera

 

IRANIAN POLICIES AND PERSPECTIVES

Why Khamenei Will Compromise

By:Meir Javedanfar, Al-Monitor [October 25, 2012]

---- The economic challenges posed by the current sanctions are by far the biggest foreign-induced challenge that Khamenei has faced since assuming the role in 1989. Should the current sanctions and isolation regime imposed by the West against Iran continue in their current format, in my opinion it is highly likely that Khamenei will be forced to make a new set of compromises at the nuclear talks. This could happen within two to three years, at most.  http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2012/al-monitor/khamenei-compromise.html#ixzz2AhKcMFzS

 

Khamenei Likely to Hold Onto Weakened Ahmadinejad

By Yasaman Baji, Inter Press Service [October 25, 2012]

---- Amid growing and increasingly harsh criticism of his handling of the economy, talk of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s removal has regained momentum in Iran in recent weeks. But, according to most observers, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is unlikely to back any move to shorten Ahmadinejad’s term, which runs out in mid-2013, for fear that impeaching him will only wreak greater havoc on a political environment that is already highly polarised and contentious. Over 100 members of the parliament, or Majlis, have signed on to a demand that the president be summoned to answer questions about the recent drastic devaluation of the currency. Runaway inflation, combined with rising unemployment, has rattled many MPs concerned with the devaluation’s impact both on the price of key imports and the cost of operating factories and agricultural enterprises. http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/10/iran-khamenei-likely-to-hold-onto-weakened-ahmadinejad/

 

Also useful – Thomas Erdbrink, “Iran’s Political Infighting Erupts in Full View,” New YorkTimes [October 22, 2012] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/23/world/middleeast/dispute-between-ahmadinejad-and-rivals-in-iran-takes-bitter-turn.html?ref=world; Geneive Abdo, “Iran's nuclear resistance,” Foreign Policy [October 25, 2012] http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/10/25/irans_nuclear_resistance; and  (Video) “Mapping Iran's factionalized media,” from Aljazeera [October 27, 2012] http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2012/10/2012102762852214968.html

 

Rights Report on Iran Highlights Executions, Political Prisoners

By Omid Memarian, Inter Press Service [October 25 2012]

---- More than a year into his mandate, Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, told the Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly this week that the rights situation in Iran remains critical, especially as it pertains to human rights defenders, journalists, and religious and ethnic minorities. According to Shaheed, more than 40 Iranian journalists are in prison, along with human rights defenders like Abdolfattah Soltani, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, and Mohammad Seifzadeh. Altogether,Shaheed’s report estimates that some 32 lawyers have been prosecuted since 2009, and that at least nine defence attorneys are currently imprisoned. http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/10/rights-report-on-iran-highlights-executions-political-prisoners/

 

Iran currency traders face pressures, operate underground

By Najmeh Bozorgmehr, The Financial Times [October 26, 2012]

---- The move by the authorities curbed market fluctuations and has helped the central bank limit the foreign exchange market to about two dozen currency exchange shops in Tehran. These operate under central bank license and sell only limited amounts of hard currencies at rates just below the black market. The risks associated with transactions to overseas recipients — whether businessmen or relatives — have also increased sharply, he says, because many currency dealers outside the country who are linked to Tehran dealers have gone bankrupt due to rial fluctuations. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iran-currency-traders-face-pressures-operate-underground/2012/10/26/ff16708e-1f7e-11e2-ba31-3083ca97c314_story.html

 

Also useful – Rick Gladstone, “IranReports Arresting 50 on Money Trading Violations,” New York Times [October 24, 2012] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/world/middleeast/iran-makes-arrests-in-violations-of-money-trading.html?ref=world

 

ISRAELAND IRAN

An Interview with Former Israeli Spymaster: “We Need To Talk to Iran”

By Laura Rozen, Al-Monitor [October 21, 2012]

---- Efraim Halevy served as chief of the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, under three Israeli prime ministers and led the secret negotiations with Jordan’s King Hussein that made way for Israel’s historic 1994 peace treaty with that country. Other assignments in a four-decade government career include serving as Mossad station chief in Washington in the 1970s under then-Israeli ambassador to the United States Yitzhak Rabin, for whom, as prime minister, Halevy served as Mossad chief until Rabin's 1995 assassination. … “Halevy most especially emphasized the need for dialogue with Iran, and to try to understand the Iranians — a position rarely heard from top Israeli officials, even those who have expressed opposition to unilateral Israeli military action on Iran. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2012/al-monitor/israelsecurityiran.html

 

Israeli Officials Asked to Be Silent on Issue of U.S.-Iran Talks

By Jodi Rudoren, New York Times [October 25, 2012]

---- Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent an e-mail on Monday to its embassies and consulates around the world, sharing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration that he had no knowledge about the possibility of bilateral talks between the United States and Iran, and advising others not to speak publicly about the issue. … Weeks after Mr. Netanyahu struggled to repair a rift with the Obama administration about public comments on the Iranian nuclear threat, the prime minister and his aides were trying to head off any political problems over a report in The New York Times on Sunday saying that Washington and Tehran had agreed in principle to have direct talks after the American presidential election. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/26/world/middleeast/israel-asked-to-be-silent-on-us-iran-talks.html?ref=world

 

CIVIL WAR/INTERVENTION IN SYRIA

Is Syria's regime spreading turbulence as a survival tactic?

By Simon Tisdall, The Guardian [UK] [October 22, 2012]

---- The assassination of the Lebanese intelligence chief, General Wissam al-Hassan, has stoked fears that the Syrian regime, with its back to the wall, is deliberately trying to "internationalise" the civil war as a means of ensuring its survival. President Bashar al-Assad is effectively raising the price that hostile neighbouring countries and the major powers must pay for his overthrow, by actively fuelling the region-wide conflagration that UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says could be sparked by unchecked violence inside Syria. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/22/syria-spread-conflict-lebanon-survival

 

(Video) CrossTalk: Assad State of Affairs

From RussiaToday [October 19, 2012]

---- To what degree are outside powers fueling the Syrian civil war? Are there any chances left for a negotiated settlement? Or will the entire region fall victim to this conflict? Is partitioning of Syria the way out? And what happens if/when Assad goes? CrossTalking with Flynt Leverett, Naim Salem and Meir Javedanfar. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZsD4OvLy5I

 

Also useful – Wayne White, “NATO’s Arms to Syria Conundrum,” LobeLog [October 26, 2012] http://www.lobelog.com/natos-arms-to-syria-conundrum/

 

Syria and Turkey

Turkey Reassesses Its Ties To Syria’s Opposition

By Youssef al-Sharif, Al-Monitor [October 25, 2012]

---- Two months ago, political and media quarters in Turkey seemed optimistic about a possible change in Washington's position on the Syrian crisis after the United States presidential election. They expected that Washington would start working on settling the issue, either by mobilizing the Friends of Syria group and exhorting them to create a safe zone in northern Syria, or by arming the opposition and providing it with financial, military and intelligence support in order to bring down the regime. However, this optimism faded away and was replaced by tension and the exchange of missiles across the border with Syria. This optimism was also affected by the positions of the Syrian opposition, which is splintered both politically and militarily. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2012/10/turkey-reasseses-its-friendship-with-syrias-opposition.html?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=4956#ixzz2AQ7Z48sv

 

Syria and Lebanon

Lebanon’s troubles don’t include civil war

By Rami G. Khouri, The Daily Star [October 24, 2012]

---- Following events in Lebanon from the United States, as I have done during the past week, leaves one with the impression that most media in the U.S. are eager to see a resumption of the devastating and wasteful civil war that ravaged Lebanon for 15 years until 1990. Virtually every story on Lebanon is framed in the lens of the possible return to sectarian civil strife as a result of the spillover of the Syrian conflict. The reality seems rather different to me, despite the many weaknesses and dysfunctional aspects of Lebanese governance. The international press corps and many in the political classes should wise up and see the country as something more than a bomb waiting to explode repeatedly.Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2012/Oct-24/192516-lebanons-troubles-dont-include-civil-war.ashx#ixzz2APtn84a8

 

(Video) Lebanon: Spiraling out of control?

From Aljazeera [October 22, 2012] – 25 minutes http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2012/10/201210228380688792.html

 

Also useful– David D. Kirkpatrick and Neil MacFarquhar, “Lebanon and Jordan Move Quickly to Contain Syria-Related Violence,” New York Times [October 22, 2012] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/23/world/middleeast/lebanon-and-jordan-act-on-syria-related-violence.html?ref=world

 

Syria and Iraq

The Spillover from the Syrian civil war will be much greater in Iraq than Lebanon.
By Joshua Landis, Syria Comment, Oct 28, 2012

----Many Western journalists are based in Lebanon, few in Iraq. This explains why relatively small events in Lebanon get dramatic reporting and much larger increases of violence in Iraq, are largely overlooked or elicit little concern. Already in response to the growing civil war in Syria, Iraqi violence has spiked and al-Qaida is resurgent there. Some days as many as 100 Iraqi Shiites are killed by al-Qaida bombings in Iraq. The threat of spillover in Lebanon is minor compared to Iraq because the sects in Lebanon all acknowledge that none can rule the country without the others. http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=16577

 

Iraqi Sects Join Battle in Syria on Both Sides

By Yasir Ghazi and Tim Arango, New York Times [October 27, 2012]

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/world/middleeast/influx-of-iraqi-shiites-to-syria-widens-wars-scope.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

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