UN Nuclear Agency Forms Special Iran Team to Probe Tehran's Atomic Secrets (AP-Washington Post)
The International Atomic Energy Agency is forming a special Iran team, drawing together sleuths in weapons technology, intelligence analysis, radiation and other fields of expertise as it seeks to add muscle to a probe of suspicions that Tehran worked secretly on atomic arms, diplomats tell AP.
The move reflects the priority the UN nuclear agency is attaching to Iran amid fears that it is moving closer to the ability to make nuclear weapons.
Russia Says It Has Syrian Guarantees on Chemical Weapons (AP-Washington Post)
Russia is working closely with the Syrian government to ensure that its arsenal of chemical weapons remains under firm control and has won promises that the weapons of mass destruction will not be used or moved, Moscow's point man on Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, told AP on Thursday.
He said Russia is in full agreement with the Americans on the need to prevent Assad's government from using the weapons or allowing them to slip out from under its control.
Hizbullah Drill Prepares to Occupy the Galilee (Jerusalem Post)
Over 10,000 Hizbullah fighters participated in a military exercise last week in southern Lebanon that included "preparations to conquer the Upper Galilee," the Lebanese newspaper Al-Joumhouria reported Thursday.
"This is happening in full coordination with Iran," said Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya's Institute for Counter-Terrorism.
"In his last two speeches, [Hizbullah chief Hassan] Nasrallah indicated that he would join an Iranian counter-strike if Israel struck Iran's nuclear program."
According to the report, some 2,000 Hizbullah fighters will continue training in Iran.
See also Hizbullah Discusses Its Operational Plan for War with Israel - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira (ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Alawites in Syria and Alevis in Turkey: Crucial Differences - Stephen Schwartz (Gatestone Institute)
In Syria, Assad's state, military, and irregular militias draw significantly on a variant of Shia Islam known as Alawites. Of Syria's population of 22 million, at least two million are Alawites, some 12% of the country's inhabitants.
In Turkey, another Shia sect, the Alevis, comprise a quarter of the Turkish census, or 20 million out of 80 million.
Superficially the Alawites and the Alevis may seem closely related. Alawite and Alevi both mean "devoted to Ali," the son-in-law and cousin of Prophet Muhammad. Shiism is defined essentially by reverence for Ali.
Alawites speak Arabic; Turkish Alevis speak Turkish. But most significant is the political difference between them.
Although both Alevis and Alawites are opposed to Islamist ideological governance, Alawites support a brutal dictatorship, while Turkish and Kurdish Alevis defend electoral democracy.
Fatah Soccer Tournament
Named after Terrorists - Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch)
Fatah held a football tournament for youth in Nablus named after three terrorists who murdered Rabbi Meir Chai, a 45-year-old father of 7, in a drive-by shooting in 2009, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported Aug. 19.
All three terrorists were killed in a shootout with Israeli soldiers two days after the murder.
"A closing ceremony was held...that began with a moment of silence and a recitation of [the Koran's] Surat Al-Fatihah, in memory of the heroic Martyrs," the report said.
Iran Fails to Learn Lessons from Past - Ahmed Al-Jarallah (Arab Times-Kuwait)
There is a saying in Arabic that "Every malady has a cure except stupidity." The cap fits the regime in Tehran because it is obvious the regime of the mullahs have not learned from past mistakes, especially when it comes to dealing with neighbors.
Iran's representative at OPEC has uttered the same words which Saddam Hussein used to justify his invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
Although the then Iraqi aggressor accused only Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates of "saturating" the oil market, this time Iran's representative Mohammed Ali Khatibi added to the list the name of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He accuses the three Gulf States of flooding the international market with oil.
Building Boom in Gaza (Economist-UK)
"Saudi City," a public housing estate replete with garages, tiled bathrooms and dishwashers that cost its Saudi sponsors $120 million, was built on land that Israel evacuated in 2005.
Gaza is also experiencing a private construction boom, consisting of around 550 tower blocks.
Turkey is investing large sums too, including $40 million for a teaching hospital for Hamas' Islamic University, which has obligingly added Turkish to its curriculum.
Arab Media: "Israel Making Threats over Compensation for Jewish Refugees" - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
The Arab media is up in arms over a plan spearheaded by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon to hold a summit on the property rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries at the UN in September.
Several Egyptian newspapers have written that following July 1971, Jewish property devolved to state ownership under law. The press estimated the property to be worth 1 billion Egyptian Lira.
Palestinian Government Debt Hurts Private Sector - Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh (AP)
Palestinian drug importer Ghassan Mustaklem says he can't afford to work with the West Bank's Palestinian government anymore, which now owes him $12 million in unpaid bills.
This has resulted in a shortage of key drugs in Palestinian hospitals.
The cash crunch, mainly due to a sharp drop in foreign aid since 2011, is threatening to set off a chain reaction of business failures, layoffs and economic downturn.
The PA has been struggling to pay salaries for 150,000 civil servants and security personnel which devour half the government's $4 billion budget.
The Hebron Massacre, August 24, 1929 - Lenny Ben-David (Israel Daily Picture)
Photos from the U.S. Library of Congress Archives
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- Iran Said to Have Expanded Uranium Enrichment Capability - Ken Dilanian
The International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to report next week that Iran has significantly expanded its uranium enrichment capability at its Fordow facility. The move could shorten the time Tehran would need to build a nuclear weapon.
The Fordow facility, tucked into the mountains near Qom, was secretly built deep underground to withstand an air attack. Disclosure of increased enrichment capacity at Fordow is likely to heighten concern in Israel, whose leaders have publicly worried that Iran is approaching a "zone of immunity" in which its nuclear program could not be significantly derailed by an Israeli attack.
At its current pace, by next year Iran may be able produce enough fuel for a bomb within two months, said David Albright, who follows Iran's nuclear program closely for the Institute for Science and International Security. Fairly soon after that, as Iran continues to add to its centrifuge capacity, the time will be reduced to one month.
(Los Angeles Times)
See also Signs Suggest Iran Is Speeding Up Work on Nuclear Program - David E. Sanger
International nuclear inspectors will soon report that Iran has installed hundreds of new centrifuges in recent months and may also be speeding up production of nuclear fuel.
(New York Times)
See also below Observations - The Cordesman Criteria: How to Prevent War with Iran - Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post)
- Gruesome Killings Mark Escalation of Violence in Syrian Capital - Liz Sly
Scores of mutilated, bloodied bodies have been found dumped on the streets and on waste ground on the outskirts of Damascus in recent days, apparently the victims of a surge of extrajudicial killings by Syrian security forces. Activists say the Damascus killings reflect a new government strategy to deter support for the opposition Free Syrian Army by punishing and intimidating civilians living in areas under rebel control.
Most of the victims are men, many bearing torture marks, and all appear to have died either from bullet wounds to the head or by having their throats cut.
In Jdeidat Artouz, 83 bodies have been found strewn around town since government forces retook the area this month, according to an activist.
In the nearby suburb of Qatana, about 60 bodies were found last week at a garbage dump, the victims' hands bound behind their backs.
According to the Center for the Documentation of Violations in Syria, 730 civilians have been killed in Damascus this month and 529 in Aleppo.
See also Assad's Aleppo Backers Abandon Him - Tucker Reals and Khaled Wassef
Sources inside Aleppo tell CBS News that many of the business leaders, scholars and other prominent figures in Syria's largest city, who have backed President Bashar Assad and his family for decades, no longer see a future under his rule.
At least 48 of Aleppo's elite, calling themselves the "Front of Aleppo Islamic Scholars" (FAIS), have hand-picked a provisional city council to take over Aleppo when Assad loses his grip on the country. (CBS News)
See also Syria: A Long War Lies Ahead - Editorial
In the battle for Aleppo, the regime holds the west of the city, and 4,000 Free Syrian Army fighters the east.
The rebels openly acknowledge that their presence is contested by much of the city's population. The fighters are not seen here as liberators, but as harbingers of terrible suffering to come. Aleppines blame the FSA for military operations in their city, rather than Damascus for its brutal response, and the rebels are by their own admission not getting the support in the city that they got in the countryside. (Guardian-UK)
See also Iran's Defense Minister: We Will Activate Iran-Syria Defense Agreement upon Syria's Request (MEMRI)
See also Paris Backs Syria No-Fly Zone as Fighting Grows - Bassem Mroue
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Report: Israel, Egypt Reach Understandings on Sinai - Roi Kais
Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stressed Cairo's commitment to the 1979 peace treaty in a telephone call with his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, the London-based al-Hayat reported Friday. Senior Egyptian officials said al-Sisi had reassured Barak about the Sinai operation and confirmed that Cairo and Jerusalem had reached understandings on the matter.
See also Morsi Trying to Erode Peace Treaty - Ron Ben-Yishai
The deployment of a small number of tanks in the demilitarized zone in northern Sinai over the past few days does not threaten Israel in any way. Israel last year authorized the deployment of Egyptian armored vehicles in the region to curb smuggling and fight terror organizations operating there.
The number of Egyptian tanks, armored vehicles and choppers that have entered Sinai to combat terror does not exceed the terms of the peace treaty.
But what really concerns Israel's policy-makers is Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's efforts to downgrade security-related cooperation with Israel in an apparent attempt to effectively annul the peace agreement between the countries. The fact that tanks were deployed without coordinating the move with Israel is indicative of the new Egyptian government's policy of forcing Israel to tolerate unilateral measures.
- Muslim Brotherhood Taking Total Control of Egypt - Zvi Mazel
While the world persists in looking for signs of pragmatism in the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi is quietly taking over all the power bases in the country. Having gotten rid of the army old guard, he replaced them with his own men - officers belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood or known sympathizers. Then he replaced 50 editors working for the government's extensive press empire - including Al-Ahram, Al-Akhbar, and Al-Gomhuria.
Morsi is now busy appointing new governors to the 27 regions of the country. At the same time upper echelons in government ministries and economic and cultural organizations are methodically being replaced.
Brothers and Salafis make up an absolute majority in the Constituent Assembly, which is putting the final touch to a constitution where all laws have to conform to Sharia [religious law] and special committees will supervise the media and forbid any criticism of Islam and of the Prophet.
For many observers, the deployment of army units in Sinai is more about proclaiming Egyptian sovereignty in the face of Israel than actually fighting Islamic terrorism.
The writer is a former ambassador to Egypt. (Jerusalem Post)
- All the Ayatollah's Men - Ray Takeyh
More than thirty years after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power, the Islamic Republic remains an outlier in international relations. Other non-Western, revolutionary regimes eventually eschewed a rigidly ideological foreign policy. China's present-day foreign policy isn't structured according to Mao's thought, nor is Ho Chi Minh the guiding light behind Vietnam's efforts to integrate into the Asian community. But Iran's leadership clings to policies derived largely from Khomeini's ideological vision.
Khomeini's internationalism had to have an antagonist, a foil against which to define itself. And a caricatured concept of the West became the central pillar of his Islamist imagination. The Western powers were rapacious imperialists determined to exploit Iran's wealth for their own aggrandizement and seeking to subjugate Muslims.
Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. By June 1982, Iran essentially had evicted Iraq from its territory, and the question emerged whether to continue the war by going into Iraq. The decision was made to attack Iraq, and Khomeini resolutely dismissed various offers of cease-fire and generous reparations.
By 1988, Iran was exhausted and weary from having waged an eight-year war without any measurable international support. Continuation of the war threatened the revolution. In 1988, shortly after the cease-fire with Iraq, Khomeini ordered the execution of thousands of political prisoners then languishing in Iran's jails, which were carried out in less than a month.
A narrow segment of the conservative clerical elite, commanding key institutions of the state, has fashioned a foreign policy designed to maintain the ideological character of the regime. And that remains a key ingredient in determining how the Islamic Republic thinks of itself and its role in the Middle East.
The writer is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
- Iran Isolated? Tell It to the UN - Jonathan S. Tobin
No one in Washington really believes that the P5+1 talks will ever be successfully revived and the methods by which the Iranians are getting around the loosely enforced sanctions are making a joke out of Clinton's boast that her efforts would be "crippling." Far from being isolated, the Iranians are still enjoying the support of much of the world, something that will be made all too clear next week when the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement convenes its annual meeting in Tehran.
If UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon goes to the meeting too, it will put a fork in the notion that the Iranians have much to worry about.
This meeting will occur only a week after Iran held its annual Israel hate fest where the country's governmental, religious and military leaders vied with each other for the honor of saying the most extreme things about the Jewish state and their ideas about wiping it off the map. But whether Ban goes or not, the non-aligned circus will just be one more piece of evidence that further reliance on diplomacy with Iran is futile.
- Israel's Iran Dilemma - Alan Elsner
What does it mean to be faced by an existential threat?
It means you, your family, your community, your city, your country and your nation could cease to exist at any moment based on the decision of another actor, over whom you have no control.
Add to this the fact that this other actor tells you at every opportunity that he aims, nay lusts, to destroy you and you begin to understand the predicament facing Israel today.
For much of the world, the Holocaust has now faded into history. But for Israelis, it is still all too real. Many Israelis have or had parents and grandparents who survived - and many other relatives who did not.
What makes it worse is the sight of world leaders cozying up to Ahmadinejad. Dozens are expected to attend a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran next week. The message they are sending through their attendance is that threatening genocide against Israel is not serious enough for them to stay away.
The writer is executive director of The Israel Project.
- Syria: Why Al-Qaeda Is Winning - Ed Husain
Our collective excitement at the possibility that the Assad regime will be destroyed, and the Iranian ayatollahs weakened in the process, is blurring our vision and preventing us from seeing the rise of al-Qaeda in Syria. In March of this year, jihadis mounted seven attacks against Assad. By June, they had led 66 "operations," over half in Damascus.
In the event of Assad's falling, a new government in Syria will be indebted to these fighters and al-Qaeda will probably gain de facto control of parts of Syria to serve as a new strategic base for jihadis in the Middle East. To the rebel forces of the Free Syrian Army, the al-Qaeda fighters are welcome Arab and Muslim volunteers.
Not since the days of the Afghan jihad against the Soviets has global jihadism found this rare combination of native Sunni Muslim hospitality, a powerful cause, available cash, eager Arab support, Western acquiescence, and the constant arrival of young Muslims to fight under its banner to create an Islamist government. Whether Assad stays or goes, jihadism now has a strong foothold in Syria. The writer is senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
See also Report: More Foreign Fighters Join Rebels in Syria
More foreign fighters claiming allegiance to al-Qaeda have reportedly joined rebels in war-torn Aleppo. According to Zeina Khodr of Al Jazeera, "Arab fighters from Saudi Arabia and Egypt who didn't want to be filmed" were operating in the city. Earlier this month, NBC News correspondent Richard Engel witnessed al-Qaeda units crossing from Turkey into Syria.
- Saudi-Iran Struggle Likely to Get Worse - Felix Imonti
When the Arab Spring reached Syria, appeals from tribal leaders there to kinsmen in the Gulf States for assistance could not be ignored.
At least 3 million people out of Syria's 23 million have links with the Gulf States.
The Saudis and their Qatar and UAE allies have pledged $100 million to pay the fighters, and many of the officers of the Free Syrian Army are from tribes connected to the Gulf.
Here, the U.S. is not a welcomed partner, except as a supplier of arms. Saudi Arabia sees the role of the U.S. limited to being a wall of steel to protect the oil wealth of the kingdom and the Gulf States from Iranian aggression. (CNBC)
- Religious and Ethnic Strife on the Rise in Syria - Eden Naby and Jamsheed K. Choksy
The emergent violence against religious minorities in Syria is becoming yet another instance of how Middle Eastern countries that replace dictators still fail their citizens.
Syria's population of 22.5 million is made up of a diverse citizenry: 70% to 74% Sunnis; 13% Alawites and other Shiites, including Ismailis; 10% Christians such as Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox and Church of the East (i.e., Assyrians), Armenian Apostolic, Eastern rite Catholics, including Chaldeans and Melkites; and 3% Druze. By ethnicity, Syrian society is 90% Arab, with the remaining 10% made up of Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians and others.
Although the Syrian civil war has claimed casualties from all groups, those subject to displacement and persecution are, increasingly, members of minority groups.
Domestic and foreign Sunni militants and local clerics even use the loudspeakers of mosques to order Druze, Christians and Shiites to leave the area or face danger and possibly death at the hands of their former co-denizens. The U.S. and EU should make their political and fiscal assistance to the rebel groups conditional on respect for human rights and religious freedom.
Eden Naby has taught at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University. Jamsheed K. Choksy is a professor of Central Eurasian, Islamic and international studies at Indiana University.
(Los Angeles Times)
- Don't Fear All Islamists, Fear Salafis - Robin Wright
Salafis are ultraconservative Sunni Muslims vying to define the new order according to seventh-century religious traditions rather than earthly realities. A new Salafi Crescent, radiating from the Persian Gulf sheikdoms into the Levant and North Africa, is one of the most underappreciated and disturbing byproducts of the Arab revolts. In varying degrees, these populist puritans are moving into the political space once occupied by jihadi militants, who are now less in vogue.
In Egypt, Salafis in January won 25% of the seats in parliament. Salafis are a growing influence in Syria's rebellion. And they have parties or factions in Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Libya, Yemen and among Palestinians. A common denominator among disparate Salafi groups is inspiration and support from Wahhabis, a puritanical strain of Sunni Islam from Saudi Arabia. The Salafis' goals are the most anti-Western of any Islamist parties.
Washington still embraces authoritarian Gulf monarchies like Saudi Arabia. Foreign policy should be nuanced, whether because of oil needs or to counter threats from Iran. But there is something dreadfully wrong with tying America's future position in the region to the birthplace and bastion of Salafism and its warped vision of a new order. The writer is a fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
(New York Times)
- Israeli Mayor Responds to EU Blacklist - Haim Bibas
Residents of the Modi'in Maccabim-Re'ut municipality, the thriving Israeli city of 80,000 of which I am mayor, discovered last week that several neighborhoods, due to their proximity to the West Bank, had been added to a list of areas excluded from the EU-Israel free trade agreement. In effect, the EU no longer considers these homes and indeed sections of our city to be part of the State of Israel. Adding parts of Modi'in to the EU's free trade "blacklist" exposes the dangers of making decisions from afar, divorced from the reality on the ground.
Even in Israel's dynamic democracy, which encompasses a vast spectrum of opinions, the status of Modi'in has never been in question. Nor has it ever been placed on the agenda by the Palestinians. Modi'in is plainly not an area under dispute. And yet, the EU saw fit to judge differently from afar.
The EU confirmed that only three parts of Modi'in had been included on the list of areas from which manufactured products would not be allowed custom-free entry into Europe. Yet, each of these areas is purely residential, situated far from our city's industrial zone. In other words, the inclusion of Modi'in in the EU's guidelines is in practice utterly superfluous to any trade agreement. The writer is mayor of the City of Modi'in Maccabim-Re'ut.
- The War Against the Jews - Efraim Karsh
The sustained anti-Israel delegitimization campaign is a corollary of the millenarian obsession with the Jews in the Christian and the Muslim worlds. Since Israel is the world's only Jewish state, and since Zionism is the Jewish people's national liberation movement, anti-Zionism means denial of the Jewish right to national self-determination. Such a discriminatory denial of this basic right to only one nation (and one of the few that can trace their corporate identity and territorial attachment to antiquity) while allowing it to all other groups and communities, however new and tenuous their claim to nationhood, is pure and unadulterated anti-Jewish racism, or anti-Semitism as it is commonly known.
The founding fathers of Zionism failed to consider that the prejudice and obsession that had hitherto been reserved for Jewish individuals and communities would be transferred to the Jewish state. If prior to Israel's establishment Jews had been despised because of their helplessness, they are now reviled because of their newly discovered physical and political empowerment.
The writer is research professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King's College London and principal researcher of the Middle East Forum.
- Balloons and Kazoos in Hand, Israeli Clowns Accompany Surgeons into Operating Rooms
Over the last few years, Israeli clowns have been popping into hospital operating rooms and intensive care units with balloons and kazoos in hand, teaming up with doctors to develop laughter therapies they say help with disorders ranging from pain to infertility. Elsewhere, clowns visit pediatric wards to cheer up young patients, but in most places the clowning ends where the medicine begins.
"We see medical clowns as an integral part of the health care team," said Dr. Arthur Eidelman, recently retired chief of pediatrics at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and chair of the scientific committee of Dream Doctors,
Israel's hospital clowning guild. A clown is present at about one out of five of the hospital's full anesthesia surgeries for children. A study found that a clown's presence in pre-op reduces the amount of anesthesia administered and speeds up a patient's recovery time.
An Israeli study published last year in a leading reproductive science journal suggested that a woman's chances of getting pregnant after in-vitro fertilization rose from 20% to 36% if a clown was brought in to entertain and relax her immediately after the obstetrician implanted a fertilized egg.
Another study found that if there was a clown in the room, children with urinary tract infections didn't need sedation to keep still during an imaging scan.
One Israeli university offers a full-time degree program for medical clowning.
In an Israeli examination room, a clown sat down next to a wailing child with a needle in his arm. The clown inflated a white medical latex glove into a makeshift balloon animal. The boy's shrieks turned into giggles.
- Israeli Archaeologist Digs Up Past at Infamous Sobibor Death Camp
After learning that two of his uncles were murdered in the infamous Sobibor death camp, Israeli archaeologist Yoram Haimi embarked on a landmark excavation project that is shining new light on the workings of one of the most notorious Nazi killing machines, including pinpointing the location of the gas chambers where hundreds of thousands were killed.
Unlike other camps that had at least a facade of being prison or labor camps, Sobibor and the neighboring camps Belzec and Treblinka were designed specifically for exterminating Jews. Victims were transported there in cattle cars and gassed to death almost immediately. But after an October 1943 uprising, the Nazis shut it down and leveled it to the ground, replanting over it to cover their tracks. Because there were so few survivors - only 64 were known - there has never been an authentic layout of the camp, where the Nazis murdered 250,000 Jews in 18 months.
Over five years of excavations, Haimi has been able to remap the camp and has unearthed thousands of items, helping to identify some of Sobibor's formerly nameless victims. Once his work in Sobibor is done, Haimi hopes to move on to research at Treblinka and other destroyed death camps.
The Cordesman Criteria:
How to Prevent War with Iran - Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post)
- Either Israel is engaged in the most elaborate ruse since the Trojan horse or it is on the cusp of a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
- What's alarming is not just Iran's increasing store of enriched uranium or the growing sophistication of its rocketry. It's also the increasingly menacing annihilationist threats emanating from Iran's leaders. Israel's existence is "an insult to all humanity," says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Explains the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Israel is "a true cancer tumor on this region that should be cut off."
- Everyone wants to avoid military action, surely the Israelis above all. They can expect a massive counterattack from Iran, 50,000 rockets launched from Lebanon, Islamic Jihad firing from Gaza, and worldwide terror against Jewish and Israeli targets, as happened last month in Bulgaria. Yet Israel will not sit idly by in the face of the most virulent genocidal threats since Nazi Germany.
- Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, argues, "There are times when the best way to prevent war is to clearly communicate that it is possible." Today, the threat of a U.S. attack is not taken seriously.
- The U.S. establish clear red lines - real limits on negotiations - to convince Iran that the only alternative to a deal is preemptive strikes.
- Make it clear to Iran that it has no successful options. Either its program must be abandoned in a negotiated deal on generous terms from the West or its facilities will be physically destroyed.
- Give Iran a face-saving way out.
- Some have suggested the step of requesting congressional authorization for the use of force if Iran does not negotiate denuclearization.
First, that's the right way to do it. No serious military action should be taken without congressional approval. Second, Iran might actually respond to a threat backed by a strong bipartisan majority of the American people - thus avoiding both war and the other nightmare scenario, a nuclear Iran.
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