Forceful Measures Needed Now To Avoid An Attack On Iran

The United States and its allies and Israel in particular are in a dire race against time as Iran moves closer and closer to acquiring nuclear weapons. While many peaceful and punitive measures to extinguish Tehran's nuclear ambitions have been taken by the international community, they have fallen far short of stemming Iran's nuclear weapons program. The only way that Iran can be deterred from acquiring nuclear weapons is if it faces the most crippling sanctions and should that fail, Iran must be fully convinced that the US and/or Israel will attack its nuclear facilities. That is, after exhausting all other options, if the United States wants to avoid a military attack on Iran – with all of its unintended consequences – it must visibly and unambiguously be preparing for such an attack.

Unfortunately, Iran and much of the world remain unconvinced that the United States is able or even willing to institute those sanctions necessary to end Iran's burgeoning nuclear program and do not believe at this point that a strike against Iran by the US is a credible possibility. What can then be done to stop Iran's nuclear program and avoid the military option (which is the most desirable outcome)? There are six options already taken but which have not yet proven to be effective, yet each can be substantially improved upon. To that end, the United States and the international community must establish the following: a) a time-frame during which non-military options are exhausted but will not give Iran sufficient time to reach "the point of no return"; and b) by exercising all options simultaneously with fortitude atypical to the machinations of foreign policy to convince Iran of the potential of a credible attack by the United States and/or Israel.

December 19, 2011 Read more

The Arab Spring: Could Turn Into A Long And Cruel Winter

Due to a host of common denominators in the Arab world including the lack of traditional liberalism, the tribes' power, the elites' control of business, the hold on power by ethnic minorities, the military that cling to power, and the religious divide and Islamic extremism, the Arab Spring could sadly turn into a long and cruel winter. These factors are making the transformation into a more reformist governance, slow, filled with hurdles and punctuated with intense bloodshed. At the same time, each Arab country differs characteristically from one another on other dimensions including: history and culture, demographic composition, the role of the military, resources, and geostrategic situations. This combination of commonality and uniqueness has had, and will continue to have, significant impacts on how the uprising in each Arab country evolves and what kind of political order might eventually emerge.

December 12, 2011 Read more

The Kurdish Conflict: The Real Challenge To Turkey’s Democracy

In the wake of the Arab Spring and Prime Minister Erdogan's championing of political reforms throughout the Arab world, it has now become more urgent than ever before to find an equitable solution to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. Short of finding an immediate resolution to this debilitating struggle will not only severely compromise Turkey's suggested model of successfully combining Islam and democracy, but it will additionally bankrupt its moral standing as it willfully continues to discriminate against 15 million Kurds who represent one-fifth of its population.

The latest cycle of violence between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish military in October meant the failure of a historical attempt to put an end to this three decade-long conflict. It began when the PKK took up arms against the Turkish government in 1984 demanding the secession of Turkey's southeast region. Turkey's successive governments chose throughout much of this period to ignore the existence of the Kurds as a separate ethnicity, banned their language and culture, and inadvertently degraded their standard of living, making them one of the country's poorest populations.

December 5, 2011 Read more

Keystone Influence: Syria’s Arab Spring And The Race For Regional Hegemony

The Arab Spring is changing the political and strategic map of the Middle East as we know it in ways that will persist for decades to come. Notwithstanding the domestic developments in each country, the Arab Spring is uprooting long-standing authoritarian regimes, antagonists and protagonists to the West alike, and is creating a vacuum that regional powers will quickly attempt to fill. Each of the regional powers in the Middle East – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, and Israel – are poised to exploit the uprising to their advantage. New regional alliances could emerge, as could a new "cold war" and the potential of violence between the competing powers. What is certain now, however, is that the Syrian upheaval thrusts Turkey and Iran into a collision course because they have opposing geostrategic interests that neither of them can afford to ignore.

November 28, 2011 Read more

Assad’s Demise, Iranian Shadows

Unlike any other Arab country, Syria holds the key to several conflicts in the Middle East. The future of the Iran-led "resistance block" (along with Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas), stabilization in Iraq, the conflict with Israel, as well as Turkey's "new eastern policy" all depend on what will happen in Syria in the wake of the ongoing uprising. Now, after eight months of protests, with thousands of people killed, tens of thousands arrested and no end in sight, what can be done to stop the carnage and inhibit, if not end, Iran's direct intervention to keep Assad in power and extricate Tehran from Damascus through a regime change? A general look at the scene suggests six major elements that characterize the current situation in Syria which make it unlikely for Syria's President Assad to stay in power.

November 22, 2011 Read more

The Irony Of Netanyahu’s “Success Story”

It is ironic how those loyal to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have created a narrative of a success story of Netanyahu's achievements where failure is clearly rampant. They point to the solidity of the governing coalition, the halting of the Gaza flotillas, the failure of the Palestinian UN gambit, the release of Gilad Shalit, the expansion of settlements and the standing ovation from Congress, all while defiantly opposing any of the peacemaking moves proposed by President Obama.

For Netanyahu's supporters this is success when in fact the precise opposite is true. Israel is more isolated in the international community than ever before, its relations with allies have been frayed, it faces unprecedented threats from Iran and its proxies, and an uncertain regional security environment has emerged in full force. Meanwhile inequality and soaring costs of living throughout the country have brought masses to the streets. To be sure, for the safety and security of Israel and its future as a democratic State, Netanyahu's record is disastrous. His achievements are nothing short of utter defeat for Israel as a country and the Israelis as a people, making the nation appears increasingly like a pariah state.

November 14, 2011 Read more

The Arab Spring: A New Era In A Transforming Globe

The Arab uprising must be seen as an integral part of a world in transformation. The technological and informational revolutions that have spurred (and continue to spur) globalization and interconnectedness between cultures make it impossible for tyrants to rule for the entirety of their lifetimes while mercilessly subjugating their peoples to lives of servitude with no prospect of ever tasting the true meaning of freedom.

November 8, 2011 Read more

The Arab Spring: Political Reforms Must Be Accompanied by Economic Developments

Whereas political reforms are needed and necessary, no Arab country is ready for rapid and comprehensive democratic reforms without an orderly and purposeful transitional period that would be accompanied (if not preceded) by economic development programs. Indeed, instead of producing the desired outcome of a free and vibrant new social and political order, rapid political reforms without economic development could usher in a period of continued instability. Potentially, this would pave the way for the re-emergence of totalitarian regimes that will assume power under the pretext of maintaining order and stability. 

November 1, 2011 Read more

Israel And Hamas: In the Wake of the Prisoners Exchange

The prisoner swap in which Hamas released Israeli captive Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons suggests that Israel and Hamas recognize each other's unmitigated reality and prerogatives. The deal was unquestionably motivated by mutually beneficial political calculations made on both sides, including a desire to overshadow President Abbas' efforts to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state, to which Hamas and Israel object. 

October 25, 2011 Read more
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