Israeli Expert: Assad May Be Preparing to Take Chemical Weapons with Him in a Retreat from Damascus - Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel)
Israeli experts noted Thursday that the movement of Syria's chemical weapons could well be defensive.
Assad might be seeking to keep the nerve agents out of the hands of rebels, who are said to be battling near one of his chemical weapons sites, and to ready them for transportation in the event that the president and his clan are forced to flee Damascus.
"I see the developments as a card he's holding against a slaughter at the hands of the Sunnis," said Ely Karmon, a senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the IDC Herzliya.
See also Why Assad Won't Use His Chemical Weapons - Charles P. Blair (Foreign Policy)
It remains doubtful that Damascus is at the point where the use of chemical weapons against rebels makes tactical or strategic sense.
Designed for use in large-scale, state-to-state warfare, Syria's chemical weapons are particularly unsuited for the urban fights that have characterized the civil war.
Close-quarters combat renders chemical weapons not only ineffective but counterproductive; with sarin or VX, a simple wind shift could turn the deadly agent against the Syrian military.
The greater threat remains terrorist acquisition of chemical weapons if the military loses control over relevant sites and facilities.
The good news is that few terrorist groups would actually be able to use any materials they acquired.
Nerve agents require precision and perennial care. Absent the scientific expertise to maintain and replenish various precursors, many of the agents' purity rates will degrade.
Depending on how the particular precursor or agent is stored, its shelf-life could diminish rapidly.
The writer is senior fellow on state and non-state threats at the Federation of American Scientists.
North Korea to Launch Missile for Iran? - Gordon G. Chang
For more than a decade, Pyongyang and Tehran have run a joint missile development program. Iranian observers were present in the North for all four of its long-range missile tests, those in 1998, 2006, 2009, and this April.
American intelligence sources indicate Iran tested a North Korean missile for Pyongyang and the North almost certainly provides missile flight-test data to Iran.
Iran's Shahab-3 is based on the North Korean Nodong missile and more advanced Iranian missiles, the Shahab-5 and Shahab-6, appear to be variants of North Korea' long-range Taepodong models.
Iran has been financing the North Korean program either by purchasing the North's missiles or by sharing development costs and receiving missiles in return.
Japan's Kyodo News on Sunday reported that Iran started stationing personnel in North Korea in October at a military facility close to the Chinese border.
The Iranians are involved in missile and nuclear programs, according to a Western diplomatic source.
A Demilitarized Palestinian State? - Amitai Etzioni (Ynet News)
By far the most detailed case for a demilitarized Palestinian state is made in the document Israel's Critical Security Needs for a Viable Peace, with an introduction by Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon and extensive presentations by several highly influential Israeli generals.
According to the document, the Israeli precept of demilitarization includes:
1) The absence of any kind of Palestinian army or security force beyond what is needed for internal policing and security.
2) The Palestinian state would be prohibited from forming military alliances with other nations or conducting joint military exercises.
3) Any sort of military infrastructure would be banned.
4) Palestinian airspace would be controlled by Israel.
5) Israel would control the electromagnetic spectrum.
6) The Israeli navy would have control of the sea and would have the ability to detain boats to prevent hostile activity and smuggling.
The writer is Professor of International Relations at George Washington University.
See the complete study Israel's Critical Security Requirements for
Defensible Borders (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Hamas Spokesman: Ties with Iran, Hizbullah Intact - Jana El Hassan (Daily Star-Lebanon)
Differences over Syria have not affected ties with Hizbullah and Iran, Osama Hamdan, a Hamas politburo member, said Wednesday in Beirut, but he admitted some Iranian aid had been cut after Hamas severed ties with its former host in Damascus.
Media reports say Iran withdrew $300 million in financial aid to Gaza.
See also Hizbullah: Ties with Hamas Strong Despite Syria Differences (Daily Star-Lebanon)
King of Jordan Visits West Bank to Congratulate Abbas - Noah Browning (Reuters)
King Abdullah of Jordan visited Palestinian leaders in the West Bank on Thursday, congratulating them on a successful UN status upgrade.
The king made the short trip by helicopter. There was no public fanfare and no official announcement. The king flew back to Amman after lunch in Ramallah.
Terror Attacks in Israel Up in November, Linked to Gaza Operation (Israel Security Agency)
In response to Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza on November 14-21, there were 122 terror attacks in the West Bank in November (98 occurred during the operation), compared to 39 in October.
In Jerusalem there were 44 attacks (27 during the operation), compared to 31 in October.
During November 2012, 1,734 rockets and 83 mortar shells were launched towards Israel, (in 633 attacks), compared to 116 rockets and 55 mortar shells, in October (in 92 attacks).
Sudan Nabs Israeli "Spy" Vulture - Roi Kais (Ynet News)
Sudanese media reported Thursday that authorities had captured a vulture carrying Israeli spy gear.
The suspect bird was found to be tagged with an Israeli GPS chip and a leg band labeled "Israel Nature Service" and "Hebrew University, Jerusalem."
Khartoum's media claimed that the device was capable of taking photos and sending them back to Israel, but Israel's National Parks Service said both the band and the GPS chip were standard migration trackers.
Israeli Life Expectancy Tops 80 Years - Ofer Aderet (Ha'aretz)
Average life expectancy in Israel reached 80.8 years in 2005-2009, two years longer than it was in 1998-2002, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday.
Israeli-Made Software to Be Put on Cash Registers Worldwide - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
NCR, which makes checkout systems for retail, automated teller machines, and cash dispensers, has bought Israel-based Retalix, a provider of retail software and services, in a deal valued at about $650 million.
According to industry analysts, NCR will now be able to offer
Retalix's advanced retail point-of-sale systems around the world.
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- Syrian Defector: Assad Regime Tested Chemical Weapons Six Weeks Ago in the Presence of Iranian Experts - Caroline Akoum
Captain Abdul-Salam Abdul-Razzaq, a Syrian army defector who was part of the al-Assad military's "Chemical Weapons Department," said "the regime has already used this kind of weapon, albeit in a limited manner, namely in Baba Amr last year. The regime also threatened to use chemical weapons in al-Zabadani, distributing gas masks and radiation suits to its troops." He also revealed that "tests were being conducted on such weapons nearly 6 weeks ago in al-Muslimiya district in eastern Aleppo in the presence of Iranian experts."
Abdul-Razzaq said the chemical weapons are under the direct supervision of experts from Iran, Russia and North Korea. There was a recent decision to relocate the weapons after America's CIA had uncovered their previous locations.
- Iran Crude Exports Hit Lowest Level Since Sanctions - Osamu Tsukimori
Iran's crude exports are set to drop by about a quarter in December to the lowest level since sanctions were applied this year, shipping sources said. Oil shipments by Iran have more than halved in 2012.
Sources in China said Iran may be struggling to find enough tankers to ship the crude as more and more are being used to store unsold oil.
Most of the crude is scheduled for China, India, Japan and South Korea. (Reuters)
See also U.S.: New Iran Sanctions to "Lock Up" Oil Earnings - Roberta Rampton
Starting Feb. 6, U.S. law will prevent Iran from repatriating earnings it gets from its shrinking oil export trade, a powerful sanction that will "lock up" a substantial amount of Tehran's funds, said David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury Department. If banks transfer Iran's oil earnings beyond their borders, they will risk losing access to the U.S. banking system, Cohen explained.
"Iran's oil revenues will largely be shackled within a given country and only useable to purchase goods from that country," he said.
- Pressure Grows on Morsi to Stem Powers as Tanks Surround Egypt's Presidential Palace - Jeffrey Fleishman
With tanks guarding his palace and officials defecting from his government, besieged Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday refused to cancel a Dec. 15 vote on a draft constitution written by an Islamist-dominated assembly that has ignited two weeks of political unrest. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood is expected to turn out enough voters to pass the referendum.
Yet pressure around the president was growing. Six senior advisors and three other officials have resigned from his government. The country's leading Islamic institution, Al Azhar University, called on him to stem his powers. Islamists who wrote the proposed constitution included an article that requires lawmakers to consult Al Azhar on matters pertaining to Islamic law.
With barricades, barbed wire and military vehicles surrounding it, the presidential palace on Thursday looked similar to the way it did during last year's uprising. The military said it would protect the palace, but "the armed forces, and at the forefront of them the Republican Guard, will not be used as a tool to oppress the demonstrators," said Gen. Mohamed Zaki. (Los Angeles Times)
- Muslim Brotherhood Inherits U.S. War Gear - Rowan Scarborough
Even as President Mohamed Morsi has decreed near-absolute power for himself and his supporters and opponents battle outside his palace, more U.S. battle tanks and jet fighters are on their way to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government.
Analysts say Egypt's military buildup presents risks for Washington - and Israel - with the growing influence of the Brotherhood.
Egypt is due another 200 M1A1 Abrams battle tanks, bringing Egypt's inventory to 1,200. Egypt's 4,000 tanks make it the world's seventh-largest tank army. Also in the pipeline is a squadron of 20 F-16 Falcons that would increase Egypt's fleet to 240. The Pentagon has supplied more than 30 Apache attack helicopters. It also transfers to Egypt excess military gear valued at hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Frank Gaffney, a senior defense policymaker in the Reagan administration who now runs the Center for Security Policy, said, "There are two things that are troubling. One is the sheer quantity of the weapons that these enemies of the United States have inherited, let alone those they will be getting if we continue to make arms sales with them. The second is the quality of these weapons." (Washington Times)
- The Case of the Disappearing PLO Mission Amendment - Alana Goodman
An amendment which would have shuttered the PLO mission in D.C. was dropped from the defense authorization bill that passed the Senate earlier this week because of a technicality in Senate procedure, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham's office, which sponsored it.
"The amendment was not eligible for a vote because it was not technically germane to the legislation," said Graham spokesperson Kevin Bishop.
More than 400 amendments were filed on the defense authorization bill and debated for days. More than half were dropped, either because they were considered technically non-germane or overly contentious (the Obama administration threatened to veto the bill if the amendment was included), as senators sought to rush the bill out the door (approving it by unanimous consent) in order to focus on the fiscal cliff debate.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu to Merkel: No Change in Israeli Policy on Building in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Suburbs
Following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:
"We have been following the same policy for close to 45 years - that is, all Israeli governments have built in the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem and in what are called the settlement blocs, which are really suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv....So that's not a new policy...and there hasn't been a change."
The E1 area "is a small corridor between one of these suburbs east of Jerusalem - about 40,000 people live there. It's about two miles from Jerusalem. Successive governments from Yitzhak Rabin on down to my predecessor, Mr. Olmert, have also said that this will be incorporated in a final peace treaty....The Palestinians themselves, as revealed in leaked documents, understand that these blocs...are going to be part of Israel in a final political settlement of peace. So I have not changed the policy." (Israel Prime Minister's Office)
- If All Else Fails, U.S. Will Hit Iran in 2013, Say Former Top Advisers to Obama and Bush - Haviv Rettig Gur
If the standoff over the Iranian nuclear program is not resolved diplomatically, it will be resolved militarily by the end of 2013, two top U.S. foreign policy officials told the Times of Israel on Thursday.
"I think there's the stomach in this administration, and this president, that if diplomacy fails - to use force," said Dennis Ross, until November 2011 President Obama's top advisor and planner on Iran in the National Security Council.
James Jeffrey, a former deputy national security advisor and, for the past two years, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, agreed.
"I think [Obama's] first choice will be a negotiated settlement. Failing that, I think that we're going to strike."
"One way or the other, these guys are either going to stop their program or, before we're halfway through 2013, they're going to have enough [enriched nuclear materiel] to go critical in a few weeks." "If we don't get a negotiated settlement, and these guys are actually on the threshold [of weaponization capability], as Obama said during the campaign, then the president is going to take military action." (Times of Israel)
- Heightened Israel-PA Tensions in West Bank after UN Vote? - Itamar Fleishman
A Palestinian officer on Thursday assaulted an IDF soldier on patrol in Hebron's market area following clashes that erupted after the soldiers tried to arrest a man connected to the Palestinian police. There were no injuries.
An initial investigation by the IDF found that six soldiers were patrolling the H1 area, which runs parallel to the Palestinian-controlled Area A.
The soldiers, headed by the company commander, ran into Palestinian officers who demanded that they not pass through that specific route. The soldiers refused and the situation deteriorated as pushes and shoves were exchanged, with a soldier getting punched in the face.
Immediately after the event senior IDF officers contacted their Palestinian counterparts and made clear that the incident is unacceptable.
Nonetheless, the impression was that the event was not a planned attack. (Ynet News)
- Israeli Ambassador Visits Her Ethiopian Hometown - Itamar Eichner
Belaynesh Zevadia left her village in Ethiopia when she was 13 years old in order to immigrate to Israel. Nearly three decades later she has returned as the official Israeli envoy. Visiting her home village and the school she used to attend, "I told the kids I attended their school and they were shocked."
The ambassador arrived with a group of Israeli eye doctors who work with Eye from Zion that provides medical humanitarian aid. The doctors set up two clinics where they are to undertake an eye surgery "marathon," aiming to restore the eyesight of some 1,000 Ethiopians, including some who have been blind for many years.
- What the UN Brought: Palestinians Now Headed toward Confrontation with Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders say they still have many rockets to use against Israel in the future.
As one Hamas official put it, "In the next war with Israel, Israelis will be forced to flee not only their homes, but the whole country."
Fatah is also preparing for a possible confrontation with Israel, both on the ground and in the international arena.
Building new housing units in the Jerusalem suburbs is being viewed by the Fatah leadership as a "war crime" and "act of aggression" on the UN-recognized State of Palestine. The celebrations in Gaza and the West Bank over the past two weeks are the result of the Palestinians' belief that they have defeated Israel twice - during Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza and at the UN. They were celebrating the fact that for the first time millions of Israelis were living within the range of their rockets and missiles.
There was no mention of the peace process or coexistence with Israel. The belligerent and defiant tone of Fatah officials sent the message that the Palestinians are now headed toward confrontation with Israel - not peace.
- Collaboration in Gaza Leads to Grisly Fate - Jodi Rudoren
When Fadel Shalouf's family went to pick up his body at the morgue the day after he was executed on a busy Gaza street corner, they found his hands still cuffed behind his back. During last month's battle with Israel, Hamas brutally and publicly put an end to Shalouf, 24, and six other suspected collaborators.
The very definition of collaboration has expanded in recent years. Some in Hamas and more militant groups consider the Palestinian Authority to be aiding the enemy when it coordinates security services in the West Bank with Israel. Since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, members of the rival Fatah faction who live there have almost universally been under suspicion.
Shalouf had been abducted on Jan. 10, 2008. His father, Mussalam Shalouf, 57, said he was summoned by the internal security service nine days later, and found Fadel with broken fingers and burns from melted hoses having been dripped onto his skin, complaining that he had been hung from the ceiling by his ankles during interrogations.
Since Fadel's imprisonment, family members said, neighbors have refused to meet their eyes. His younger brother, Bader, was arrested a year later on similar charges, but has not yet been tried. Mussalam Shalouf said that after Bader is released or executed, the family will leave Gaza, perhaps seeking asylum in Sweden. "It's like we are in a shed of cows, waiting their turn for slaughtering," he said.
(New York Times)
- Operation Pillar of Defense:
An Initial Strategic and Military Assessment - Eitan Shamir
Israel's achievements in Operation Pillar of Defense
include its ability to surprise Hamas, kill its military leader, and destroy most
of its strategic assets. The performance of the Iron Dome anti-missile system
and Israel's civilian defense also proved impressive. An important gain for
Israel is a reduced fear of repercussions in the aftermath of an attack on Iran.
The operation in Gaza also proved Israel's determination to act forcefully in
the post-"Arab Spring" environment. However, the next
round is only a matter of time. The writer is a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior
research associate at the BESA Center.
(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
See also Israel's Dilemma in Gaza - Shmuel Sandler
Jerusalem sees an Egyptian association with Gaza as the
least of all evils. By taking limited responsibility over Gaza's affairs, Egypt
provides an address with whom to negotiate.
The writer is a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior
research associate at the BESA Center.
(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
- What Exactly Is Palestine? - Hugh Naylor
"Now we have a state," Mahmoud Abbas declared Sunday in Ramallah.
But it is far from clear how the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, Gaza and the desired capital, East Jerusalem, make up a viable state. Fatah runs the PA in the West Bank and its Islamist rival, Hamas, controls Gaza. Israel has formally annexed East Jerusalem. Nor is Palestine a formal UN member but, rather, an observer whose delegation must still sit behind member states in the assembly hall. "It's a fake state," said Linah Alsaafin, a Ramallah-based blogger. (National-Abu Dhabi)
- Building in Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai
Green activists blocked construction in western Jerusalem, while the U.S. blocked construction in the east. The result has been catastrophic: Only 1,700 housing units are being built annually in Jerusalem, while the demand for housing is at 4,500 per year. The city's Jewish residents had no place to live, so they left.
Meanwhile, the construction of the separation fence in northern Jerusalem prompted an influx of tens of thousands of Palestinians into Jerusalem. Contrary to European propaganda, Jerusalem's Arabs want to continue living under Israeli rule. Anyone who talks to them directly, and not to their leaders, will hear them say as much.
If we really want to win this battle, we have to build in Jerusalem, in the east and in the west, tens of thousands of housing units and workplaces.
See also Demography, Geopolitics, and the Future of Israel's Capital: Jerusalem's Proposed Master Plan - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
See also Protecting the Contiguity of Israel: The E-1 Area and the Link Between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim - Nadav Shragai (ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
See also Now Passing E1 - Don't Blink - Rachael Risby-Raz (Times of Israel)
- The Iron Dome Military Revolution - Michael Oren
From drawing board to deployment in 2011, Israel completed the Iron Dome in three years. The first two batteries - developed and financed entirely by Israel - took down dozens of Hamas rockets, making Iron Dome the first antimissile system ever to succeed in combat. The generous support of President Obama and the U.S. Congress enabled the construction of four additional batteries. Ultimately, 10 to 13 batteries will be needed to defend the entire country.
Israeli engineers combined cutting-edge tracking radar with electro-optic sensors, mounting them on highly mobile, all-weather air-defense systems. (As part of our vast alliance with the U.S., we have offered to share this pioneering technology.)
By neutralizing most rockets headed for populated areas, the Iron Dome gives decision makers invaluable time to find diplomatic solutions. By denying the terrorists a decisive offensive advantage, Iron Dome will save lives and prevent wars.
During Israel's recent Operation Pillar of Defense, the terrorists fired 1,500 rockets, some aimed at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Iron Dome downed nearly 85% of those headed toward populated areas.
Combined with Israel's world-class civil-defense system, Iron Dome thwarted the terrorists' aim to wreak intolerable damage.
The writer is Israel's ambassador to the U.S.
(Wall Street Journal)
- The Rise of the Salafis in Lebanon:
A New Sunni-Shiite Battlefield - Jacques Neriah
In Syria, the Sunni majority is trying to gain back power from the Alawite minority that has ruled Syria since the late 1960s.
The direct involvement of the Lebanese Shiite Hizbullah militia on the side of the Syrian regime against the Sunni rebels has ignited a sense of solidarity among the Sunni community in Lebanon that has translated into their active involvement in the fighting in Syria. The Sunni community in Lebanon is assisting the rebels by sending weapons and fighters and by providing a safe haven in Lebanese territory.
In the wake of former prime minister Saad Hariri's self-appointed exile to Paris, the absence of moderate political leadership to act as a counterweight to the Shiite movement has provided an opening for Salafi leaders such as Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir.
Assir's confrontational rhetoric and his loud hostility toward Hizbullah is new for Lebanon. Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Friends with Benefits:
Why the U.S.-Israeli Alliance Is Good for America - Michael Eisenstadt and David Pollock
The U.S.-Israeli alliance is a two-way partnership whose economic, military, and political benefits to the U.S. have been substantial.
Israel remains a counterweight against radical forces in the Middle East, including political Islam and violent extremism. It has also prevented the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region by thwarting Iraq and Syria's nuclear programs.
The two countries share intelligence on terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and Middle Eastern politics. Israel's military experiences have shaped the U.S. approach to counterterrorism and homeland security. The two governments work together to develop sophisticated military technology, such as the David's Sling counter-rocket and Arrow missile defense systems.
Israel's military research and development complex has pioneered many cutting-edge technologies that are transforming the face of modern war, including cyberweapons, unmanned vehicles (such as land robots and aerial drones), sensors and electronic warfare systems, and advanced defenses for military vehicles.
Israeli high-tech firms often turn to U.S. companies as partners for joint production and marketing opportunities in the U.S., creating tens of thousands of American jobs. And although Israelis make up just 3% of the population of the Middle East, in 2011 Israel was the destination of 25% of all U.S. exports to the region, having eclipsed Saudi Arabia as the top market there for American products. The authors are fellows at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Affairs)
- U.S. Shouldn't Hand Cuba an Alan Gross-for-Spies Deal - Editorial
Alan Gross this week began his fourth year in a Cuban military prison.
Gross, now 63, was arrested on Dec. 3, 2009, after he delivered satellite telephones to members of Cuba's tiny Jewish community. He had been hired to provide the equipment by the U.S. Agency for International Development; the aim was to help Cuban Jews connect to the Internet. In 2011, Gross was convicted of crimes against the state and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Cuban president Raul Castro has repeatedly turned down proposals to release him.
The Castro government says it wants to repair relations with the U.S., win the lifting of what remains of the U.S. trade embargo and attract investment from American companies. So why keep Gross in prison? The answer is that Cuba wants to swap its prisoner for five Cuban spies who were arrested in Florida in 1998.
There is no equivalence between Gross and the five prisoners.
President Obama should consider new steps to punish the Castro regime for the continued imprisonment of Gross, and the administration should do more to raise his case in international forums.
Better relations between Cuba and the U.S. must be conditioned on real steps toward democratization by Havana. But until Gross is released, they ought to get worse.
- Christian Support of Israel - Editorial
Just two months ago, Jewish leaders were shocked by a letter signed by 15 leaders of mainstream Christian churches calling on Congress to reconsider aid provided to Israel because of alleged human rights violations.
That is why it is so refreshing to read the "Jerusalem Declaration" released this week by representatives of mainline Protestant churches calling themselves the Protestant Consultation on Israel and the Middle East (PCIME).
Representatives of Methodist, Anglican and Lutheran churches, among others, rightly noted that "the forces that refuse to tolerate the existence of a Jewish state are fiercely intolerant of other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East." The document cited Coptic Christians in Egypt and Assyrian Christians in Iraq as examples of religious minorities that are regularly persecuted at the hands of "aggressive Islamist movements." In contrast, Christian citizens of Israel "enjoy equal rights of citizenship and a good standard of living despite occasional frictions." (Jerusalem Post)
The Coming World Disorder - Charles Hill (Wall Street Journal)
The ideology of Islamism has been on the rise for generations and now aims to expropriate the Arab Spring. The ambitions of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and Sunni fanaticism are transmogrifying into a major religious war.
- Israel faces a threat from Iran, as today's international structures for the maintenance of international security have failed to halt Iran's drive, propelled by religious ideology, to possess nuclear weapons. Israel, bereft of its traditional sense of American support, is making ready to act against Iran's menace to its existence. President Obama's priority must [be to] repair relations with Israel by visiting the Jewish state and convincing its leaders that the U.S. understands Israel's uniquely dangerous position.
- America, perceived as eager to shed the burdens of world order in order to be "fundamentally transformed" through European-style social commitments, talks of engagement even when Iran's "diplomacy" is a form of protracted warfare. The enemies of world order translate the American election results into the lexicon of abdication, telling themselves that their time has come: there is a world to be gained.
- Only America's return to world leadership can halt this deterioration. "Sequestration" will relegate the U.S. to a second-rate power and must be reversed to enable American strength and diplomacy to be employed in tandem.
Prof. Charles Hill, a career foreign service officer, is the Diplomat-in-Residence and a lecturer in International Studies at Yale University.
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