Friday, November 30, 2007


Syriana By: Michael Young The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) Foreign capitals are increasingly engaging Syrian President Bashar Assad, whether on Lebanon's future or on regional peace talks, as Syria's inclusion in yesterday's Annapolis conference shows. If this engagement is done clumsily -- as it has been so far -- we will soon be reading the Cedar Revolution's obituary
Jerusalem Post Analysis: How important is it for Syria to be at Annapolis? By SHLOMO BROMAt first, it seemed that the United States was not really interested in Syrian participation.
CEPS Bringing Syria into the Middle East peace process
'Launch Israel-Syria talks'
The Price America Will Pay for Condi's Syrian Photo-Op - Bret Stephens
Boston Globe Editorial A separate peace with Syria
Jerusalem Post Analysis: Does Syria want peace? By ELY KARMON Syria, not Iran, has provided the most important support for Hizbullah's terrorism.

FT Lebanon fails to resolve presidential deadlock Lebanon’s divided politicians have agreed to delay presidential elections beyond a midnight deadline, amid fears that the crisis could overshadow the Annapolis peace conference.
Hezbollah's latest recruitment drive Lebanon deadlock draws thousands to the militant group.
Syria's role at US talks may help Lebanon Syria's controversial presence at Tuesday's Middle East peace talks in Annapolis may boost stability in Lebanon, which is deadlocked over electing a new president
CFR Bazzi: Lebanon’s Presidential Politics—No Violence, More Haggling
UPI Analysis: Lebanon's un-independence By CLAUDE SALHANI The deadline set by the Lebanese Constitution for the country's Parliament to elect a new president expired at midnight Friday. No consensus was reached and the departing president, Emile Lahoud, handed the task of insuring Lebanon's security to the army. He called it a "temporary measure." But in Lebanon, temporary measures have a bad habit of being more than temporary.
Score This Round for March 14 By: Michael Young The Daily StarLebanon is looking into the abyss; it is in the throes of a political crisis that everyone has announced might bring on catastrophe. March 14 is on its final feet, wracked by division. If you think all this is true then here's a less apocalyptic account of what has just happened on the presidency.
WINEP Lebanon's Presidential Crisis
Lebanese rivals turn to army chief Politicians from the ruling anti-Syrian March 14 bloc reverse their position on General Suleiman, army chief, making him the frontrunner for Lebanon’s vacant presidency
Lebanon Enters a New Crisis
As term of current president nears end, factions seem unlikely to reach consensus on replacement
Lebanon president deadline looms Lebanon's political crisis looks set to deepen unless MPs can reach a last-minute deal on a new president.
Cobban Saudi-Syrian deal gives Lebanon a President?
Lebanon Fails to Elect New President Capital Peaceful As Army Deploys
Lebanese President calls out army and quits Emile Lahoud has charged the army with maintaining security in the country after Parliament failed to elect his successor
Lebanese army handed power Country plunged into uncertainty as former president Emile Lahoud declares state of emergency
BBC Lebanon faces power vacuum Lebanon is in limbo as the president leaves office and rival factions argue over who now takes control.
State of emergency declared in Lebanon Country braced for violence as pro-Syrian president declares a state of emergency and hands power to the army.
Lebanon in crisis as Lahoud leaves army in charge
Robert Fisk: Darkness falls on the Middle East
Beirut voices Views on the difficulty of selecting a new Lebanese president Political crisis deepens in Lebanon
President leaves office without successor

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Al Hayat Is Syria Really So Unique? Jana Hybaskova - Syria is different. Syria is unique. As such it quite clearly can not be a normal, equal member of the international community, of community of states in the Middle East. Syria is so different that it can pursue its relations with its neighborhood differently than normal states. It reserves for itself the right to interfere, to collaborate openly with terrorists. With its fragile perception of uniqueness it painted itself into the corner: “there is no peace without Syria
Gareth Porter Israel's Syrian Air Strike Was Aimed at Iran
Warning Shot for Iran, Via Syria By: Gareth Porter Asia TimesThe September Israeli air attack on a supposed nuclear facility in Syria -- said by US officials to have been developed with assistance from North Korea -- was all along intended as a warning to Iran
Oren This time, the IDF favors Syria Events in the Israeli-Syrian theater in recent months have obligated the IDF, and especially Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, to reconsider the relationships among the permanent and variable elements of the equation
Jerusalem Post Analysis: Syria becomes the Annapolis prize By HERB KEINON Damascus supports Hamas, which is ideologically opposed to the stated goal of the conference
IHT Bring Syria into the talks
By YOSSI ALPHER Assad may resemble a Mafia chief, but, unlike Abbas, he can deliver.
Iran's secret Syrian plan
Aviation Week U.S. Electronic Surveillance Monitored Israeli Attack On Syria The U.S. provided Israel with information about Syrian air defenses before Israel attacked a suspected nuclear site in Syria, Aviation Week & Space Technology is reporting in its Nov. 26 edition
US to let Syria put Golan on agenda
Security establishment backs summit, but warns against implementing deals until PA is in full control.
Olmert and Barak hint at desire to renew negotiations with Syria
Ba'Th Party Official Says Attempts to Isolate Syria Failed
Bolton: Syrian 'Nuclear Facility' Built by North Korea, Financed by Iran

A Powder Keg in Lebanon By: Milton Viorst Los Angeles TimesWhile the eyes of the world are focused on the fading prospects of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the upcoming meeting in Annapolis, Md., an electoral deadlock in Lebanon grinds inexorably to a climax
Election a tinderbox for Lebanon Failure to choose a presidential candidate this week could result in the formation of rival governments. Also at stake: regional leverage for Syria, Iran, and the US.
Lebanon Still in Political Deadlock By: Borzou Daragahi Los Angeles TimesLebanon this week faces its worst political crisis since its 15-year civil war, with leaders unable to come up with a compromise selection for president after the current one's term expires Saturday
Daily Star Editorial The hidden message of Lebanon's latest political crisis
Lebanon's current crisis may or may not be the one that causes the country to disintegrate. Either way, it has clearly demonstrated the necessity of drastic change in the way the country is governed - and in the process of selecting those who would govern it.
DEBKAfile Exclusive: Iran and Syria veto all six candidates for Lebanese president to provoke escalation in Beirut and scuttle Washington’s Middle East conference
Mistaking Unity for Democracy in Lebanon By: Rayyan al-Shawaf The Daily Star With Lebanon supposed to face a historic presidential election in the coming days, it isn't surprising what most Lebanese are talking about. If the profound obstacles to the election are overcome, the country may yet have a new head of state soon who enjoys domestic and international legitimacy.
Lebanon pushes presidential election to brink Lebanon’s squabbling politicians have pushed the election of a new president back to the last day of the current incumbent’s term on Friday, increasing worries that political tensions could spill over into violence.
Hizbollah flexes muscles as crisis deepens Presidential election in Lebanon delayed amid sharp divisions between the government and the Hizbollah-led opposition
Democracy's Last Stand in Lebanon By: Trudy Rubin Miami HeraldRemember when Lebanon's "Cedar Revolution" was the poster child of President Bush's campaign to democratize the Middle East? Flash forward to November 2007. The bulk of the once-hopeful parliamentarians who won in 2005 are hunkered down in the Phoenicia Hotel near the Beirut seaside, protected by Interior Ministry security guards. Blankets cover the windows to protect against snipers. Tanks guard nearby intersections
Trying to Save Lebanon, Again Lebanon is President Bush’s last viable project for expanding democracy in the Middle East. We fear if something isn’t done quickly, that too will unravel
Editorial Spark in Lebanon A conflict over the presidency could explode a political stalemate
Syria Is Accused of Blocking a Deal on a New Lebanon President
Divided Lebanon braced for violenceOpposition groups threaten civil disobedience after failure to agree candidate to replace outgoing president
Syria's Al-Asad, French President Discuss Lebanon Over Phone
UN chief in Lebanon election plea The UN head urges Lebanese MPs to elect a president on time to avoid reaching "the brink of the abyss".

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Turkey: Between the Iranian-Syrian Axis, Israel, and the West by Aydan Kodaloglu

Friday, November 16, 2007


Mystery still surrounds Israel’s Syria attack For more than two months, Bush has bitten his lip when asked about a September 6 Israeli strike on a mysterious Syrian site, angering some Republican supporters
In Annapolis, Damascus Is More Important Than RamallahYossi Alpher
OSC: Russia Seeks Political, Economic Dividends from Syria Ties
Russia to Israel: Syria will take part in regional meet Russia says Syria wants 'greater flexibility' from Israel; Moscow seeks to host post-Annapolis conference
Exclusive: US, Israel refuse to talk to UN about Syria strike
The Economist Iraq and Syria The plight of the refugees Syria is finding it hard to cope with the flood of refugees from Iraq
US, Israel refuse UN Syria probe
Turkey - Syria Trade to Reach $5 Billion in 5 Years, Insha’allah: Hamshou Hit

Who's listening? Lebanese campaigners seek an end to the political impasse Oh, That Hezbollah File What was Nada Nadim Prouty looking for on an FBI computer?
Bonnie Goldstein
Best city in the Middle East?
Faisal al Yafai: Holidays are increasingly turning into guilt trips. So you had better tell everyone how much you love Beirut. Or else

Palestinian Security Paradox
By David Ignatius, Palestinians can't meet their security obligations if the U.S. and Israel won't help them
Minister: PA must accept Israel as a Jewish state
Editorial: For equality's sake, Arabs should be 'Israelized'
Seth Anziska: Is the two-state solution still a viable option?
Amira Hass: For some Gazans, Hamas is now object of hatred
Hamas Cracks Down on Fatah in Gaza By: Rushdi abu Alouf and Ken Ellingwood Los Angeles TimesFatah leaders said a wave of arrests in Gaza targeted activists, including ranking party figures who had organized the rally marking the third anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death. The gathering erupted in gunfire, leaving seven people dead and dozens injured.

Washington Post Iraqis Wasting An Opportunity, U.S. Officers Say With Attacks Ebbing, Government Is Urged to Reach Out to Opponents
The Islamist tide in Iraq Have Iraq's Sunnis turned decisively away from Islamism? Will the Shiites follow the same path in time
McClatchy Embattled Baghdad shows signs of hope Taking advantage of a dramatic drop in car bombings and sectarian murders, Baghdad residents are once again venturing out to local markets and restaurants after dark in many parts of the city. They're celebrating weddings and birthdays in public places and eating grilled carp on the Tigris River late into the night.

Benn Get used to the Iranian bomb Instead of whining, it is better for you to talk to us about security arrangements in the era of Iranian nuclear power, say the Americans.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


“Syria: Options and Implications for Lebanon and the Region,” by Emile El-Hokayem
Daily Star Syria and the illusion of pursuing peace in Annapolis By Mohammad Habash
“Syria and the Peace Process” by Landis
Dichter: Syria is only neighbor that prevents smuggling
Claims that Syria bombing was nothing but political spin oddly one-sided, Yigal Walt says
David Lesch Testimony on Syria-Lebanon before the Senate
Sunday Times Israel on alert for Syria airstrike The defensive missile shield around Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor was placed on red alert 30 times last week
IDF believes in Assad Ynetnews –
Jerusalem Post 'US told Syria that Golan return will be on summit's agenda' Yadlin: Move meant to lure Damascus into attending Annapolis conference; warns that failure of peace parley will strengthen Hamas's power
Feature: Marines target smugglers CAMP RIPPER, Iraq, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- As insurgent and terrorist violence in western Anbar province continues to fall, a small band of U.S. Marines at Al Asad Air Base are increasingly drawing their beads on bands of oil smugglers who nip across the border to Syria to sell purloined oil or who hawk refined fuel from Syria on the Iraqi black market.
Syrian Economy Minister Meets Turkish Officials
Students of Arabic Learn at a Syrian Crossroads

The Threat of al-Qaeda and its Allies in Lebanon BESA
The Dilemma of Democracy in Lebanon By: Bilal Y. Saab, Elie D. Al-Chaer The Daily Star In the history of U.S.-Lebanese relations, no American president has pledged to support Lebanese democracy more than George W. Bush. No American president has invited Lebanese officials to the White House more than he has. Why? Because there is no question in President Bush's mind that Lebanon can serve as a great example.
Lebanon delays presidential vote
Lebanon's presidential election is postponed for a third time, the speaker of parliament, Nabih Berri, announces.
Political endgame Grief and fear abound as Lebanon awaits the presidential election
Stability struggle Lebanon's sense of doom as presidential deadline nears Nasrallah: IDF border drills show Israel gearing up for new war Hezbollah chief: 50,000 IDF troops took part in border exercises; says group ready to change face of region.
Hizballah's Penetration of the FBI, CIA
C.I.A. Officer Admits Guilt in Seeking Hezbollah Files
Lebanon Defers Presidential Vote For a Third Time
Al-Arabiya TV Interviews Lebanon's Junblatt on Presidential Election

ANALYSIS: Hamas losing grip on Gaza, Fatah gaining support
MI Chief: Hamas may try to derail peace summit Maj. Gen. Yadlin says both failure and success of meet could bring about 'risk of strengthening extremists.'
Gideon Levy: Only recognition of Hamas strength will prevent Gaza invasion
Making a two-state solution happen
UK paper: Dimona defenses on high alert
Yedioth Ahronoth 'Iran bypassing US sanctions' IDF Intelligence Chief Maj-Gen Amos Yadlin briefs cabinet on Iran, pre-Annapolis Palestinian efforts, Hamas actions in Gaza. Yadlin says US sanctions against Iran ineffective due to Tehran's reliance on euro, yen
BBC Israeli police swoop in PM probe
Israeli police raid 20 locations in connection with a corruption probe into PM Ehud Olmert.
Fatah loyalists held by Hamas after rally Hamas forces arrest dozens of Fatah loyalists in Gaza
Netanyahu on Annapolis: Israel is giving everything and receiving nothing
At memorial for Arafat, Palestinians hope to rebuild unity

BBC Challenges ahead Iraq makes progress, but how much depends on the US presence?
As Iraq Improves, Coverage Dries Up - Ralph Peters, New York Post
Christian Science Monitor
The Sunni in Iraq's Shiite leadership In interview, Tariq al-Hashemi urges greater focus on reconciliation.
Asia Times In Iraq, the silence of the lambs The separation of religious groups in the face of sectarian cleansing by militias and death squads has brought a semblance of relative calm to Baghdad. Contradicting claims that the US military "surge" has reduced sectarian attacks, one resident says that "All that has happened is a dramatic change in the demographic map of Iraq." Still, the violence continues, though at a slower rate: five to 10 tortured bodies are found in the garbage dumps and streets of Baghdad every day. - Ali al-Fadhily
It's getting hard to find bad guys Violence in Iraq has dropped precipitously. With al-Qaeda declared dead, former Sunni resistance fighters wearing American-supplied uniforms, and the Mahdi Army lying low, killings are way down. A critical window of opportunity has opened for the United States to withdraw and for Iraq to hold itself together and rebuild. Yet Washington is showing every intention of staying put in Iraq for decades to come. - Robert Dreyfuss
Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle An Order of Battle (OOB) is a standard military terminology for the description of a military organization. It presents which units exist, how are they organized (command structure, subordinate/superior relationships, equipment) and their responsibilities (geographic area, operation capabilities).
Fighting Whom in Iraq?by Robert Dreyfuss and Tom Engelhardt

Ayatollah urged to rein in president Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is coming under pressure to rein in Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the president, over the radical stance he has taken on the country’s nuclear programme
Stratfor geopolitical diary Geopolitical Diary: A US-Iranian Trade?What To Do About Iran? The Economist If America and “old Europe” are now getting along better in public, not all is sweetness behind the scenes, particularly over what to do about Iran
The Times Ahmadinejad enriched by bickering The coming days will show if he gets his wish: an escalation of the nuclear row with the West Bronwen Maddox
Iran’s Ballistic Missile Programs: An Overview (PDF; 66 KB) Source: Congressional Research Service
Financial Times US strike on Iran ‘not being prepared’ The Pentagon is not preparing a pre-emptive attack on Iran in spite of an increase in bellicose rhetoric from Washington, according to senior officers.
IDF Intelligence: Iran Able to Bypass U.S. Sanctions - Roni Sofer (Ynet News)
Analysis: Iran strike may be too much for US
WINEP How Europe Can Pressure Iran

Barry Rubin The Middle East's Nuclear Dark Age

Friday, November 09, 2007


Al Hayat Lebanon: Regarding the Syrian Intervention? Abdallah Iskandar - Syria does not see in its position toward the Lebanese presidential election intervention. It is closely connected with the security of the regime, and therefore it becomes a kind of natural right
Israel's Security Chief Says Syria "Mentally Prepared for Peace Process"
New Satellite Surveillance System Was Key Israeli Tool In Syria Raid ABC News
Washington holds the key to Israel-Syria progress
DEBKAfile Exclusive: The Golan Heights at issue between Israel and Syria is tagged onto the Annapolis peace conference agenda - over Israel’s head
Israel's Strike on Syria Still Raising Questions
Syria repeats demand to put Golan on peace summit agenda
Jerusalem Post: US Air Force struck Syrian nuclear site — The September 6 raid over Syria was carried out by the US Air Force, the Al-Jazeera Web site reported Friday. The Web site quoted Israeli and Arab sources as saying that two strategic US jets armed with tactical nuclear weapons carried out an attack on a nuclear site under construction.
All Still Quiet on the Syria Bombing By Jackson Diehl
Ata Atun İnevitable Turkey-Iran-Syria-Russia alliance
Syria to Let U.S. In to Screen Iraqis Seeking Resettlement
Kurdish Roj TV Shows Pro-Ocalan Demonstration By Kurds in Syria
Syrian President Receives Letter From Putin on Regional Issues, Ties
Turkish President: Israel, Syria Missed Many Chances for Peace

FT COMMENT: To avert disaster in Lebanon, rivals must co-operate Presidential compromise key, says Roula Khalaf
WINEP Presidential Elections in Lebanon: Consensus or Conflagration?
Lebanon: Why is the Presidential Election Becoming Crucial? : Amir Taheri
Report: Lebanese Army Fired on Israeli Military Jets Over Country's South
Hizbullah undertakes massive exercise Lebanese paper: Maneuvers supervised personally by Nasrallah; include use of rocket arsenal.
DEBKAfile: Hizballah commando units slip back into South Lebanon – with upgraded missiles, new Iran-built military highway network. No Israeli response
'US troops might become Iran's hostages' Top Lebanese Shi'ite cleric, formerly a Hizbullah leader, warns US against attacking Islamic republic.
Lebanon's militias rearm Weeks ahead of presidential elections, black market weapons sales are soaring as factions prepare for street battles.

The Economist Iraqi Kurdistan Iraq's Kurdish leader in a bind What can Masoud Barzani, the Iraqi Kurds' leader, actually do?
Iran Becomes the Trade-Off for Northern Iraq
Iraqi Kurdistan Premier Holds News Conference on Turkish-US Talks, PKK Issue
In Focus: America, Ankara and the Kurds Al-Ahram Weekly
Yet another invasion of Iraq?Al-Ahram Weekly
Who wants another Israel?Al-Ahram Weekly
Turkey's Leadership: Between a Rock and a Hard Place Moscow News
Asharq Alawsat A Day with the PKK By Hiwa Aziz
Provision to Turkey of US Intelligence on PKK Highlights Policy Shift Global Terrorism AnalysisNewsweek Saving Face How the Bush-Erdogan meeting produced a solution that allows Turkey to step back from the brink of an invasion of northern Iraq.
And Now, Turkey Forward –
Turks united in pursuit of rebelsChicago Tribune
Kurdish Rebel Commanders Under Increasing Scrutiny As Turkey Seeks Their Arrest
Asia Times Turkish decision weighs heavy on US On paper, the advantages of President George W Bush siding with the Kurds in northern Iraq in the crisis with Turkey are far outweighed by the US throwing its support behind Turkey. Ankara, with its tanks already warmed up, may make the decision for Bush. - Sami Moubayed
NYT Turkish-Bred Prosperity Makes War Less Likely in Iraqi Kurdistan
Turkish President: Decision Made on Kurdish Rebels
Turkey retains military option after US pledges support against PKK
Turkish Troops Poised on Iraq Border
Iraqi PKK-Linked Party Head Disappears - Paper
Iraqi Kurd Press Roundup on Turkey-PKK Crisis 6 Nov 07
Asia Times Bush's Turkey shootThe astute Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, knew before he set foot in Washington that a sound bite would be about all President George W Bush would have to offer on the explosive Turkey vs Kurdistan Workers' Party crisis. Now Erdogan will wait - for just a little while - and if nothing moves, Turkey will strike northern Iraq, hard, without consulting Washington
EurasiaNet Turkey is Winning the Battle, but Can It Win the War?BY NICHOLAS BIRCH Slenderly built, his face wrinkled from years of sun and a diet of locally-grown tobacco, Irfan Gur doesn’t look like the sort of person who would give the Turkish state a headache. The photos on his wall tell a different story
The Times Leader Mandatory Restraint Skilled diplomacy has created an opportunity to tackle the PKK
Washington Institute Turkey's Day by Dennis Ross
NYT Bush Pledges to Help Turkey on Intelligence
Everybody's Kurdish Problem
FT Bush to step up Turkish military links
Businessweek Will War Worries Hit Turkey's Economy?
Q&A on Mounting Tensions between Turkey and the Kurds
MEMRI Nov 06 IA# 401 - Turkey-U.S. Relations At a Critical Juncture
Washington Times Kurdish teens drawn to rebels' ranks (By Nicholas Birch)
Turkish Army Resists Push for Diplomacy
Kurdish Rebels Fear Crackdown in Northern Iraq
BBC US 'to help Turkey combat rebels' US President George W Bush promises Turkey's prime minister extra help in tackling Kurdish rebels in Iraq
Strategic allies Has the US done enough to calm Turkish fears? Border politics The choreographed release of rebel-held Turkish troops
Boston Globe For Turkey, the war is real (By James Carroll)
Guardian If Iraq hadn't happened?
Tim Watkin: Turning points of history throw up intriguing alternatives. How would the world and the US be different if there had been no invasion in 2003?
Time North Iraq Road Trip: Leaving Kurdistan

Foreign Policy How Bush Saved Iran’s Neocons
The Iranian Challenge By: Trita Parsi The Nation The ill-informed foreign policy debate on Iran contributes to a paradigm of enmity between the United States and Iran, which limits the foreign policy options of future US administrations to various forms of confrontation while excluding more constructive approaches.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


The Israeli “Nuclear Reactor Strike” and Syrian Weapons of Mass Destruction Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies Full Paper (PDF; 563 KB)
William Arkin What's In Those Syria Satellite Shots?
Syrian Sources To Gulf Papers: Change In Syrian Gov't Imminent
Photos Show Cleansing of Suspect Syrian Site
Suspected Location of Syria's Reactor Cleared Building Allegedly Bombed by Israel Gone
Syria 'air strike site removed'
Satellite images show Syria removed a large building from the presumed site of an Israeli air raid, a US institute says
Analysts: Syria cleared site hit by IAF, apparently to hide evidence Team of American experts say satellite images show speedy clean-up, raising suspicions about nature of site
DEBKAfile Reports: Iranian-Syrian nuclear issues heat up amid growing mistrust of IAEA director in Washington, Paris and Jerusalem
DEBKAfile Exclusive: Nuclear watchdog chief Mohammed ElBaradei asks Washington and Israel for satellite images of nuclear activity in Syria
Israel apologizes to Turkey over Syria air strike
Syria to Mediate Between Iraq, Turkey
Syrian Authorities Reportedly Release Two Kurds
Syria and Hamas to Hold Alternative Conference
Syrian Intelligence Linked to Al-Qaeda-Affiliated Fatah al-Islam Terrorist Group - Benny Avni (New York Sun)
ISIS full report

Iran's Hezbollah Card Stratfor
Israel: Hezbollah has tripled its land-to-sea missile arsenal
Israel Says Hezbollah Can Hit Tel Aviv...

Pandora’s Box: Iraqi Federalism, Separatism,’Hard’ Partitioning, and US PolicySource: Center for Strategic & International Studies Full Report (PDF; 1.7 MB)
Plans for Iraq’s Future: Federalism, Separatism, and Partition Source: Council on Foreign Relations
Asia Times Oil: The sovereignty showdown in IraqThe political half of the Bush administration's gamble in Iraq has already been lost, but it has proven adamantly unwilling to accept the loss of the economic half, the oil half, without a desperate fight. The showdown now is between muscle-flexing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose fragmenting country wants to reclaim sovereignty over its oil resources, and American military and diplomatic might. - Jack Miles

Washington Post Strike on Iran Would Roil Oil Markets, Experts Say Price Hits Record Close; U.S. Tightens Sanctions
Editorial A Boost for Diplomacy Tough sanctions against Iran are the alternative to military action.
Ha’aretz Editorial Sanctions or force Those who prevent economic pressure on Iran are making the use of military force against it more likely.
Financial Times Bush heads for a dreadful miscalculation over Iran The US president is not alone in framing a simple choice between Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and war. It is a false choice. Aside from Tehran’s certain retaliation, the likely consequence of any American attack is war and a nuclear-armed Iran, writes Philip Stephens
NRO VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Ahmadinejad — love him or hate him. “Who’s Afraid of an Iranian Bomb?

The Political Economy of Reform in Egypt: Understanding the Role of InstitutionsSource: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Full Paper (PDF; 202 KB)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Washington Post Syrian Site Resembles Reactor Independent experts say images may be suspected nuclear facility that was bombed by Israel in Sept
Christian Science Monitor In raid's wake, Syria turns defensive
If war breaks out The next war with Syria, if there is one, will be different from every other war we have known.
DEBKAfile Exclusive: Damascus states willingness for early talks with Washington on Golan and “other issues,” denies Israeli attack targeted a Syrian nuclear reactor
American Conservative Phantoms Over Syriaby Philip Giraldi
Report: Syria was preparing itself for air force strike
WTR: A Syrian nuclear plan has a kind of logic
US claims photos show Syrian nuclear reactor
Syria in September 2007, Iran in December 2008? - Ralph Peters, NY Pos
Pyongyang cements ties with Syria The speaker of North Korea’s parliament has concluded high-level talks in Damascus just weeks after allegations of nuclear co-operation between the two countries emerged
Stuck in Iraq's labyrinth James Denselow While the west refuses to engage with the worsening humanitarian crisis of Iraq's refugees in Syria, their options are narrowing by the day.

A Nation Of Mideast Hostages By David Ignatius,
BEIRUT -- Here's a Lebanese group snapshot, taken in the land where politics is an extreme sport:
Lebanon president choice stalledParliament says it wants to give more time to pro- and anti-Syrian factions to agree on a consensus candidate.
Lebanon delays presidential election Lebanon has delayed its presidential election by nearly three weeks to allow more time for rival pro- and anti-Syrian groups to agree on a compromise candidate.
UN: Hezbollah has increased military strength since 2006 war
U.N. Report Suggests Syrian Role in Arming of Hezbollah, Other Groups

PINR "Intelligence Brief: Israel's Current Strategy in the Gaza Strip" Full text of report
Violence in Gaza if talks collapseFailure at Annapolis undermines Palestinian moderates, say analysts

New York Times THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Remember Iraq I continue to believe that everyone has us where they want us in Iraq: we’re holding up the floor for Iraqi politicians to do their endless tribal dance
From Mother Jones, a special issue on The Moral Dilemma of Leaving Iraq: Interviews with more than 50 experts, from General Petraeus' advisers to antiwar activists.
Fixing Iraq, without us: The key to the crisis in Iraq may lie Northern Ireland and South Africa.
Stagecraft, not statecraft Dennis Ross diagnoses Bush's failure in Iraq.

Washington Post U.S. to Set New Iran Sanctions In unprecedented move, administration to declare a foreign military branch a sponsor of terrorism
Who’s the boss in Iran? The tea-leaves of an Iranian resignation
ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT BRIEFING My way President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tightens his grip on Iran
Asia Times Ahmadinejad, Iran's Putin? Russian President Vladimir Putin caused some "tremors" during his recent visit to Iran. At the same time, he provided the Islamic Republic with an example of a political power structure that has clearly benefited Russia and aspects of which could be replicated in Iran. Changes in Iran's nuclear negotiating team could be a step in the direction of more power flowing to the executive branch headed by the president. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Iran divided by nuclear policy struggle
Regime falls into public infighting after 183 MPs voice their support for the former national security chief as nuclear negotiator
IHT Actually, Iran is not so tough By MARTIN VAN CREVELD / TMS Iran is weak, but this doesn't mean the U.S. or Israel should now go ahead and attack.
Asia Times Sanctions on Iran a prelude to conflict?At the heart of the strategy of the United States and its allies to pressure Iran over its nuclear program is the application of a third, stronger round of sanctions. Yet sanctions significantly increase the likelihood of militarized conflict rather than preventing it. - Prerna Mankad
IAEA: Iran Needs 3-8 Years to Produce Bomb

Brookings Upgrading Authoritarianism in the Arab World
October 2007, Steven Heydemann, Saban Center Analysis Paper
Steven Heydemann says the “after twenty years, Arab regimes have become profi­cient at containing and disarming democracy pro­motion—if not exploiting it for their own purposes.” Read More
Washington Institute Pushback or Progress? Arab Regimes Respond to Democracy's Challenge
Daily Star America's policy in the Middle East ignores basic facts
CAP Ten Questions for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the Middle East

Monday, October 22, 2007


The Economist Syria A mystery unsolved
ABCNews EXCLUSIVE: The Case for Israel's Strike on Syria
RawStory Exclusive: Cheney hand seen in leaked Syria stories
Ha’aretz - Report: Israeli mole took pictures of Syrian facility ABC: U.S. urged Israel against strike; Washington Post: Syria dismantling site, possibly to hide evidence
Wall Street Journal What Happened in Syria? Congress deserves our best intelligence on alleged nuclear proliferation. By PETER HOEKSTRA and ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN
Way to Syrian conversion
Report: Israeli mole took pictures of Syrian facility ABC: U.S. urged Israel against strike; Washington Post: Syria dismantling site, possibly to hide evidence
Jerusalem Post Report: Israel had mole inside Syrian facility prior to strikeUS official tells ABC: CIA helped Israel pinpoint coordinates for strike, White House discouraged attack because 'there was no proof.'
The nuclear watchdog is checking US spy satellite images of Syrian site hit by Israeli warplanes on Sept. 6 for signs of secret nuclear activity
Yedioth 'Syrian site photos examined' Diplomatic sources say UN experts scrutinizing satellite photos of site attacked by Israel in September; no conclusive results yet. Earlier, Washington Post reported Syria eliminating evidence at site of attack
Why is Syria taking so many strategic and political risks?
Was Israel behind the July explosion at the Syrian military base outside Aleppo?
ArmsControlWonk Syrian "Copy" of Yongbyon? [1]
Turkish-Syrian ties get a fillip Gulf News
Syrians Disassembling Ruins at Site Bombed by Israel, Officials Say
Exclusive: Cheney hand seen in leaked Syria stories
NYT Iraq President Assails Syria’s Support for Turkish Cross-Border Threat
Syria Denies Assad Backing for Turkish Action in Iraq

Washington Institute The Struggle for Freedom and Democracy in Lebanon
Report: Lebanon Druze head to ask Barak to help topple Assad
Hizbullah: US could turn Lebanon into 2nd Iraq
Pentagon: U.S. to build 'strategic partnership' with Lebanese army According to blueprint of alleged treaty, U.S. would provide Lebanon with equipment, build bases in county
Hezbollah slams U.S. call for 'partnership' with Lebanon army
Don’t Sell Out Lebanon’s Hopes By Amir TaheriRobert Fisk: Secret armies pose sinister new threat to Lebanon
Babacan stresses dialogue as key to solving Lebanese crisis
Daily Star There's a better - and cheaper - way that Washington can help Lebanon

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Report: Syria confirms target of IAF attack was nuclear facility Army Radio: Syrian UN delegate told disarmament panel that September 6 raid targeted nuclear plant
DEBKAfile: US sources dwarf peril of Syrian nuclear target bombed by Israel last month. They aim to clear way for resumed Washington-Syrian dialogue
Syria: We never said nuclear facility was target of IAF strike
Rights group hits at Syrian repression Human Rights Watch accuses the country’s security forces of routinely harassing activists and calls on authorities to stop repressing human rights organisations

Lebanon's Government By Murder - David Schenker, Los Angeles Times
ANALYSIS: Hezbollah chief sets his sights on 'the big deal' One may conclude that Nasrallah has received a solid Israeli commitment that prisoners will be released
Oren Nasrallah's victory If, like in the case of revolutions, wars should be judged only after time has past, then the prisoner exchange deal in the works between Israel and Hezbollah suggests that Nasrallah won the Second Lebanon War.
Iran Deeply Involved in 2006 Lebanon-Israel War (MEMRI)
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah says major exchange deal with Israel is in the works
Israeli-Hizbullah swap sparks speculation about further exchanges
DEBKAfile reports: Tehran is choreographing all swap deals with Israel after Nasrallah’s authority wanes in Hizballah

Political Dynamics Shifted During 2006 Israel-Hezbollah Conflict
Yedioth Ahronoth 'Israel cannot be destroyed' Former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy believes Iran was the big loser in Second Lebanon war
How Israel Thinks Forward
Former Mossad chief downplays Iranian threat
Palestinians pessimistic on peace talks As a series of high-profile international visitors, including Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair, traipse through the Holy Land, Palestinians are looking on with a mixture of indifference and despair

Before We Bomb Iran by Jonathan Alter
Asia Times Caspian summit a triumph for Tehran This week's summit of the Caspian littoral states in Tehran has opened up new breathing space for Iranian diplomacy from the Caspian to the Arab world and brought Iran to the verge of a new strategic relationship with Russia. Simultaneously, the US's coercive diplomacy in the region has been frustrated. Washington will be particularly incensed by Moscow's siding with Tehran on its nuclear program. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Christian Science Monitor Russia, Iran harden against West
NYT Putin Is Said to Offer Idea on Standoff Over Iran
Washington Post Divisions in Europe May Thwart U.S. Objectives on Iran
By Robin Wright

IHT The U.S. has run out of tricks By RAMI G. KHOURI
Most people in the Mideast no longer fear America's power

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Syria's Role in the Region: Media, Peacemaker or AggressorTCF A 30-page US paper examining Syria's role in the Middle East
PINR "Israel's Strike on Syria Reduces Chances for Peace Deal" October 11 2007 Full text of report
News Analysis: Pre-emptive Caution: The Case of Syria
New York Times An Israeli Strike on Syria Kindles Debate in the U.S. At issue is whether intelligence presented by Israel showing nuclear ties between Syria and North Korea was conclusive enough to justify military action
Slate Understanding the Israeli Attack on Syria We now know a little about what happened, but it'll be a long time before we know what it means. Shmuel Rosner
New York Times Analysts Find Israel Struck a Nuclear Project Inside Syria A site attacked last month by Israel was a partly constructed nuclear reactor, according to Israeli and American intelligence
Israel's strike against Syria...and Iran. Josh Muravchik, LAT
Israel Silent on Reports of Bombing Within Syria
Israeli air strike was aimed at Syrian reactor · Nuclear plant in early stages of construction · Concern in US over pre-emptive assault
Middle East Times Commentary: Changing course with Syria
Israel strike 'targeted Syrian reactor'
Israel's mysterious air strike in the Syrian desert last month was aimed as destroying a partially-constructed nuclear reactor, according to reports in the US.
DEBKAfile Exclusive: The US plans new military presence in Lebanon including big air installation close by Syrian border
Scowcroft, Brzezinski, Hamilton, Kassebaum Baker, Hills & Others Call for Syria and Hamas to Be Engaged in Israel-Palestine Effort
WTR: Cheney, Rice, debating the attack on Syria
Analysis: Iran, Syria in gas dealUnited Press International
Ha’aretz - Report: Several North Korean scientists hurt in IAF strike in Syria
Turkey wants Syria to play role for peace

Hizbollah and the Lebanese Crisis, International Crisis Group
Daily Star If Hizbullah and Israel can make a deal, why can't Lebanon's Christians?
NYT Book Faults Israeli Air War in Lebanon - Steven Erlanger Divining Victory: Airpower in the 2006 Israel-Hizbullah War by William M. Arkin, to be published this month, concludes that by bombing too many targets of questionable importance for its aims, and not explaining why it bombed what it did, Israel lost the war for public opinion

Monday, October 08, 2007


Why Syria's Air Defenses Failed to Detect Israelis - David A. Fulghum (Aviation Week)
DEBKAfile Exclusive: Three groups of experts - Russian, Iranian and Syrian – still at sea over why Syria’s two early warning stations failed to protect its skies or identify Israeli air force raiders on Sept. 6.
Sunday Times RIce opposed Israel's Syria strike
Report: US Hesitance Delayed IAF Syria Strike
Syria's Strategic Weapons ProgramsThe September 6 Israeli airstrike against Syrian weapons facilities raises broader questions about the status of Syria's strategic weapons programs, which would likely play a crucial role in any future confrontation with Israel.
ABC News says U.S. asked Israel to postpone strike on Syria
Syria paper urges return of Golan 'by any means'
'Syria Won't Hesitate to Start a War With Israel to Regain Golan'
Syria Is Said to Be Strengthening Ties to Opponents of Iraq’s Government
Analysts Warn Syria Risks Wrath of al-Qaeda With Ties to Iraq's Ex-Ba'athists
Ha’aretz Turkey FM, in J'lem: Israel must explain IAF strike Turkey's Ali Babacan tells Peres in Jerusalem visit he wants explanation of September air strike on Syria
Turkey assures Syria on Israeli strike
JTA Turkey's foreign minister visited Israel to diffuse regional tension over last month's air strike against Syria.
JTW News - Syria recognizes Turkish Cyprus State passports as traveling documents

As Lebanon Goes . . . : The Case for Fixing Beirut First Jackson Diehl, Lebanon has long been described as a theater where the larger tensions and conflicts of the Middle East are played out in miniature, and in the past three years its drama has seemed particularly representative.
The Nasrallah roadmap
Nicholas Noe Instead of trying to wipe out Hizbullah militarily, we should be exploring more peaceful solutions for Lebanon.
Hizbullah Regains Strength in Lebanon
Lebanon: Fatah Al-Islam Reportedly Tried to Ally With Future Movement - Paper
Nasrallah blames Israel for killings in Lebanon
Christian Split in Lebanon Raises Specter of Civil War
Syria Plans Disruption In Lebanon, Hariri Says
Nasrallah: Invade Palestine Hizbullah leader says 'occupation of Palestine' is one of the Arab nation's greatest tragedies, laments lack of Arab support for Palestinian intifada, blames Israel for assassinations of Lebanese anti-Syrian politicians

Political, Military, and Economic Dynamics in Iraq: A Graphic Overview Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies Full Document (PDF; 3.2 MB)

Washington Post 'A Way Out' for Iran By David Ignatius The United States must avoid a situation in which its only options are to accept a nuclear Iran or go to war.
Bush’s gift of victory to Iran’s hardmen With its every move in Iraq, the US strengthens Iran's hardmen

Friday, October 05, 2007


Daily Star Syria might sell a lot to make peace with Israel By Volker Perthes
Syria's leadership / Who's in charge?
Middle east Times Commentary: Why no one really wants a Syria regime changeClaude Salhani
US 'must break Iran and Syria regimes' America should seize every opportunity - including war - to force regime change in Syria and Iran, a former senior White House advisor has urged.
New York Times MEMO FROM DAMASCUS; Syria, Seeking Investors, Turns Cautiously to Iran
BBCThe Assad version Syrian leader adds a few pieces to the Mid-East jigsaw puzzle
Corner Syria at the Annapolis Conference By: Michael Young The Daily StarBashar Assad, never a man to accept conditions, is nevertheless imposing some of his own on the United States. In an interview with the BBC earlier this week, the Syrian president said he would only attend a conference on Middle East peace scheduled for November in Annapolis, Maryland, if the issue of the Golan Heights were discussed.
Arab - Speak Arabic The Baath slogan "Syria as the focus of Arabism" has been painted by Assad with Muslim colors. Will this bolster his weakened legitimacy? Time will tell.
Yedioth 'Israel blinded Syria's radar' After IAF strike on Syria confirmed, question remains – how did non-stealth jets evade detection? US aerospace pros tell Aviation Week that Israel used new US-developed technology that can invade and manipulate enemy sensors
‘Israel operation failed’
Syrian parliament member: IAF raid on Syria failed, Israel must change policy, talk peace
Jews come first Vast majority of Israelis wants democratic Israel with Jewish priorities, Uri Ariel says
Syria Agrees With Iran on Gas Import Through Turkey
Syria Preparing for Guerrilla War on Israeli Soil
Michael Young Talks Sense about Syria
CRS "Syria: U.S. Relations and Bilateral Issues," updated September 19, 2007.
Syria Sets Conditions for Role in Peace Talks
BBC Assad sets conference conditions Syria's leader says he will not attend a US-sponsored peace conference unless his concerns are addressed.
Syria still weighs retaliation for Israeli raid Officials in Damascus say that another strike would be met with a Hizbullah-style counterattack.
Report: Iran worried over Syrian air defense failure in IAF strike Aviation Week reports IAF used electronic device to jam radars during strike on Syrian target last month
Ha’aretz Yossi Melman: "Records on North Korean ship docked in Syria were altered."
Israeli airstrike hit military site, Syria confirms Syria's president claims the target hit by an Israeli airstrike last month was a military building under construction.
IDF lifts censorship restrictions on air strike in Syria
DEBKAfile Exclusive: Israel lifts military censorship on Sept. 6 Israeli air force attack Tuesday, 24 hours after Assad’s partial admission
Israel says it bombed Syria, but why remains a mystery
Report: Israeli Jets Foiled Russian Radar in Syria - Uzi Mahnaimi
BBC Israel admits air strike on Syria Israel confirms for the first time that it carried out a strike on a Syrian military site almost a month ago.
Report: Russia sent technicians to Syria
Syrian FM accuses 'US sources' of fabricating news about target of mysterious Israeli attack
Officials in Syrian site deny IAF attack Arab research center says it's astonished by the "lies and fabrications," invites press to visit.
Officials in Syrian site deny IAF attack Arab research center says it's astonished by the "lies and fabrications," invites press to visit.
Syria denies report of military activity at Dir al-Zur farm Syria says site allegedly hit by IAF used for agricultural research only, denies September raid took place
Al Awsat The Syrian Tragedy and the Lebanese Comedy : Hussein Shobokshi
“How to Bring Liberty to Syria,” by Ford Prefect
DEBKAfile Exclusive: Iranian delegation visits Ankara with a warning and bid for information on Israeli air force’s Sept. 6 attack in Syria
Syria calls refugee burden overwhelming (By John Zarocostas)
'Iraq Will Not Be Base to Attack Iran or Syria'

Daily Star In Lebanon, 2007 looks like 1974: Do you know where your sons are?
A Father’s Shadow Clouds His Son’s Rise in Lebanon
Hizbullah's spiritual leader slams vote to label Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terror organization
Lebanon A Middle Eastern microcosm

Washington Post Federalism, Not Partition Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Leslie H. Gelb The reality of the choice we face in Iraq: a managed transition to federalism or actual partition through civil war.
Al Awsat Who Wants to Carve-Up Iraq and Why : Amir Taheri
Financial Times Iran ready to work with US and stabilise Iraq Iran is ready to help the US stabilise Iraq if Washington were to present a timetable for withdrawing its troops from the country, Tehran’s top security official has told the Financial Times
Hersh on CNN: Bush will hit Iran, saying they are protecting US troops in Iraq
New York Times U.S. Tries to Allay Anger Over Iraq Partition Plan

Sanctions Won't Stop Tehran By: Selig S. Harrison The Washington Post Suppose that the Bush administration abandons its campaign for economic sanctions, tones down talk of war and opens direct negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program. Suppose also that it drops its insistence on the suspension of uranium enrichment as a precondition for dialogue.
New Yorker Shifting Targets The Administration’s plan for Iran. by Seymour M. Hersh
Los Angeles Times Deal with Iran aims to stem arms flow to militia Gen. Petraeus says Tehran's pledge to Iraq may have led to dip in attacks associated with Shiite militants.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Washington Times Defiance in Damascus (By Nir Boms)
A TINY, disputed parcel of land called Shebaa Farms, located where Israel, Syria, and Lebanon converge, has long been used as a pretext for armed confrontation. But Israel may now have a chance to remove this sliver of real estate as a source of conflict. This is an opportunity that should not be missed.
Why Did Israel Attack Syria? By Jonathan Cook
Syria Joins the Axis of Evil By JOHN R. BOLTON
Newsweek: Whispers of War: A secret raid, nuclear ambitions and the next crisis: how far will Israel go to keep Iran from getting the bomb? By Dan Ephron and Mark Hosenball.
What is Being Concocted for Syria?
Syria Comment Syria Unlikely to go to Attend Peace Conference
Forward Congress Throws Covert Israeli Attack on Syria Out Into the Open
IAF dispatches jets in response to Syrian helicopter activity
'We'll help Syria in war'
Senior Hizbullah, PFLP members vow to stand by Damascus if Israel launches an offensive
Syrian Foreign Minister denies meeting Israeli counterpart

The Economist Lebanon Who's for president?
Lebanon stalemate Political deadlock recalls country's violent polling history
France and the Syrian Responses
Randa Takieddine - Is it acceptable for Lebanon’s MPs to live in hiding because they are exposed to assassination? Will the diplomacy of murder continue to challenge the free world which wants Lebanon independent and sovereign despite all the pressure and advice?
Danger still stalks the Hariri tribunalChibli Mallat Friday, September 28, 2007
Unless the new president of Lebanon is fully committed to the mixed Lebanese-international tribunal to punish those involved in the assassination of the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, creation of the tribunal will be further delayed, if not effectively stopped. The experience of United Nations-established tribunals, all five of them, underlines a simple fact:

Washington Institute Rice's Obstacles on the Road to an Israeli-Palestinian Breakthrough - David Makovsky
Israel's limited options in Gaza
BBC Israeli strike hits 'rocket crew'
An Israeli air strike in Gaza kills two Palestinian militants, bringing the death toll in the territory to at least 11.

New light cast on Bush’s Iraq plans A leaked transcript of talks between President George W. Bush and José Maria Aznar, former Spanish prime minister, has cast fresh light on the diplomatic wrangling that preceded the Iraq war
Reidar Visser The US Senate Votes to Partition Iraq. Softly

Take Tehran next Al-Ahram Weekly
The Wrong Way to Pressure Iran Karim Sadjadpour Labeling Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization would be a serious mistake

Thursday, September 27, 2007


A Diplomatic Road to Damascus: The Benefits of U.S. Engagement with Syria Independent Institute
What Israel Really Gained by Bombing Syria
By Dennis Ross
Sometimes in international relations it is good to preserve mystery. The irony is that often when an action has been taken but not admitted, everyone seems to know anyway. That certainly seems to be...
Syria's Strategic Weapons Programs Michael Eisenstadt
The September 6 Israeli airstrike against Syrian weapons facilities raises broader questions about the status of Syria's strategic weapons programs, which would likely play a crucial role in any future confrontation with Israel.
Losing Traction against Syria The September 6 Israeli bombing of a presumed North Korean-supplied nuclear weapons facility in Syria highlights the ongoing policy challenge posed by Damascus.
Did N. Korea Give Syria Nuclear Aid? By: Donald Kirk The Christian Science MonitorThe US faces a dilemma going into the next round of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons: how firmly to press North Korea for details of proliferation of its nuclear technology to foreign clients. Ahead of the Thursday meeting in Beijing, the issue has assumed critical importance with revelations of an Israeli raid early this month on a Syrian base where North Koreans were suspected of imparting not only know-how but also materiel needed for Syria to develop nuclear warheads.
The Islamic Brotherhood Had Always Been Banned in Syria under Hafez El AssadA Reconciliation in Damascus? By Samir Al-Taqi US Intel: Israeli Air Strike on Syria Did Not Hit Nuclear Facility
Arabs Want Syria to Take Part in Peace Talks but in "Separate Room" - Paper
"Syrian Nuclear Science Bibliography: Open Literature Citations," September 2007
Israel, Syria and the Glaring SecretStratfor By George Friedman
Syria willing to transfer disputed Shaba Farms to UN custody
Nuclear Ring May Have Aided SyriaBy Douglas Frantz, LA Times Staff Writer

Asia Times All power to the weak in Lebanon If the first round of Lebanon's presidential elections - postponed on Tuesday - is anything to go by, the country is in for a long haul in finding a replacement for Emile Lahoud. Powerful factions backed by powerful countries, notably Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United States, have strong likes and dislikes. A weak, malleable compromise choice looks the only way out. - Sami Moubayed
A majority that refuses to act like one Michael Young The two-month period to elect a new president has begun, and not surprisingly it started with a deal. On Tuesday, Parliament was called into session to find a successor to Emile Lahoud. Instead, the speaker, Nabih Berri, bought an extra month to haggle over a consensus candidate. That may be what many Lebanese want, but the result will not be stability.
Berri, Hariri lead new push toward consensus
US House votes to 'strongly back' Siniora Cabinet
Time Will Hizballah Attack UN Troops?
The Assassination of Antoine Ghanem and the Decisive Moment
Walid Shoucair - The assassination of Ghanem aims at preventing a change in a key Lebanese post. It is reminiscent of that of martyred Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005. His murder was similarly aimed at preventing a shift in another key political institution.
U.S. Fears Hizbullah Attacks in Lebanon Middle East Newsline

Jerusalem Post Nine Palestinians reported dead as Gaza violence intensifies
BBC 'Eight die' in Israeli Gaza raids
At least eight Palestinians are killed in two separate Israeli raids in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials say.
The Rise of Islamists in the Near East: The EU, the US and Hamas (PDF; 228 KB)Source: Center for Security Studies
'Israel struck nuclear or missile site'Bolton says he "definitely hears" that N. Korea was involved with target of alleged IAF action.Israel and the Palestinians: Domestic Developments and Prospects for Talks
Washington Post Senate Endorses Plan to Divide Iraq: Action Shows Rare Bipartisan Consensus
U.S. Needs ‘Long-Term Presence’ in Iraq, Gates Says
Los Angeles Times Senate endorses policy to create a Balkans-style Iraq
Foreign Policy Seven Questions: Is the Surge Working in Iraq?
A Separate Peace By Leon HadarIraq will move forward when America leaves it behind.
Open Fire By Paul W. SchroederAmericans still don’t understand that the Iraq War didn’t go wrong. The war was wrong.
Asia Times The Iraq oil grab that went awry US officials have consistently dismissed the notion that the Iraq war was all about oil as too simple-minded for serious debate. Now former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan has waded in, writing that "the Iraq war is largely about oil". The dreams of black gold have spawned a story of greed, mismanagement and incompetence of spectacular proportions. - Dilip Hiro

How to Build U.S.-Iran Relations By: Abbas Maleki and Kaveh L. Afrasiabi The Boston GlobeThe ongoing saga between Iran and the United States, more than a quarter of a century old, has all the marking of a potentially serious, even catastrophic, chapter in international relations.
Wall Street Journal Bush and Iran Tehran has been told it will pay a price for killing Americans, but it never has
UPI Analysis: EU to support Iran sanctions? The United States and France are pushing for EU sanctions against Iran if those fail to be agreed upon at the United Nations, but it remains unclear how many other powers in Europe would support such a plan.
Who's Afraid of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? By: Jesse Walker Reason When Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University yesterday, he did not emerge with the "propaganda victory" that neocon pundit Bill Kristol assured us he would receive.
The World Can Live With a Nuclear Iran Martin van Creveld
Heritage Foundation Iran: Time for Sanctions of the Willing
New York Times Washington Sees an Opportunity on Iran
Senate Urges Bush to Declare Iran Guard a Terrorist Group