Sunday, April 29, 2007


Aluf Benn: There is no way for Israel to control Golan for free There is a new idea dominating public discourse: Israel will recognize Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights and hold the territory under a long-term lease agreement
UPI Interview: Khaddam warns on Damascus
Army 'put down' Syrian election protests
Syrian opposition got it wrongGulf News - By Amir Taheri
Jerusalem Post Analysis: Weak Assad could be a loose cannon By ANSHEL PFEFFER It would seem that Syria is in no condition to wage war with Israel.
Jerusalem Post Massive IDF drill prepares for Syrian attack on the Golan Hundreds of tanks, thousands of troops participate in war simulation; since last summer, intelligence says war with Syria closer than ever.
Al Hayat Siniora and the Syrian Gauge Hassan Haydar
Syria's Ba'ath Party Maintains Grip in Vote
SyriaComment New Roundup (25 April 2007)
Editorial No Results in Damascus Having finished hosting U.S. politicians, Syria's dictator has returned to jailing dissidents and sponsoring terrorism.
SyriaComment News Round Up (26 April 2007)
Al Hayat The Syrian Withdrawal and the 'Old Book' Walid Choucair - President Bashar al-Assad said to a Western envoy on February 13, 2005: 'You will see our tanks and machinery withdraw from Lebanon. but be reassured that we will remain there'.

BBC A new great gameThree regional powers battle for influence in Lebanon
Killings Illustrate Crisis in Lebanon Sunni Man, Boy Had Been Abducted; Politicians Call for Calm
Al Hayat The International Probe into the Assassinations in Lebanon Randa Takieddin
Lebanese forces tighten security in Beirut Lebanon’s security services set up checkpoints across Beirut amid fears of a new escalation in political and sectarian tensions after the bodies of two Sunni Muslims were found.
Two Openings March 14 Might Consider By: Michael Young The Daily Star It's never easy to discern movement in the midst of glacial stalemate, but the ice has definitely budged in the past 10 days in Lebanon. The Hariri tribunal is almost certain to be established, whether through Lebanese institutions or through the United Nations Security Council; and the heat is building up on the opposition to agree to a presidential election amid a widening consensus that Emile Lahoud, whatever else happens, will not remain in office beyond the end of his term.
A review of Hezbollah: A Short History (and more).

Olmert survives inquest into war in LebanonThe report said that Israeli PM exercised 'misguided and rash judgment' but stopped short of calling for his resignation
Hamas rocket barrage threatens shaky five-month truce with Israel Israel rules out large military response, as Hamas moderates work to preserve ceasefire.
Israel Harel: Gaza front worse than pre-war south Lebanon
Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs: Hamas's trigger By KHALED ABU TOAMEH The missile-and-threat campaign launched by Hamas this week was part of a stab at self-preservation.
Israeli, US intellectuals chart new rules of war
Abbas and Mashaal meet in EgyptFirst meeting since creation of coalition gov't; discuss cease-fire with Israel.
Amira Hass: Failure of Palestinians' Qassam publicity stunts
Olmert / Fight for survival
Justice Ministry: Criminal probe into PM 'inevitable'
Jerusalem Post Stopping HamasIt makes no sense to continue giving Hamas breathing room, now that its attacks have officially resumed.
The Region: Dead-end paths by BARRY RUBIN
PA Media Call for Suicide Attacks, Kidnappings of Israelis
Hamas: Misrule in Gaza By: Jonathan Schanzer New York Post Hamas, the terrorist group that Palestinians last year elected to govern their territories, is failing to govern at all.
Qassam fired despite truce
An Israeli Arab's troubles mirror woes of dual identity Politician Azmi Bishara, an increasingly vocal critic of Israel, has quit the Knesset amid reports he is under criminal investigation.

New York Times War Bill Passes House, Requiring an Iraq Pullout The narrow approval of the measure sets the stage for the first veto fight between President Bush and majority Democrats.
Editorial Ranting at Reality on Iraq The sooner President Bush and his allies drop the pretense that military victory is still possible in Iraq, the closer the nation will be to rescuing what can still be rescued from the debacle.
New York Times The White House Scales Back Talk of Iraq Progress The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, officials said.
Washington Post House Passes Iraq Pullout Timetable
One Choice in Iraq By Joe Lieberman Al-Qaeda's goal in Iraq isn't a seat at the table. It wants to blow up the table
New York Times War Bill Passes House, Requiring an Iraq Pullout The narrow approval of the measure sets the stage for the first veto fight between President Bush and majority Democrats.
Al Awsat Desperately Seeking Defeat in Iraq : Amir Taheri,,
Editorial Ranting at Reality on Iraq The sooner President Bush and his allies drop the pretense that military victory is still possible in Iraq, the closer the nation will be to rescuing what can still be rescued from the debacle.
Al hayat Westminster Notes (The Struggle For Baghdad) Sir Cyril Townsend - In a poll that covered all 18 provinces a few weeks ago 51% of Iraqis said that attacks on coalition forces were acceptable. 35% thought the coalition forces should leave now. Sadly the Government of Nouri al-Maliki shows no signs of being able to govern the country or to make the necessary concessions to the outnumbered Sunnis.
IHT Building a wall in Baghdad instead of policy in Iraq The wall around a Baghdad neighborhood is a symbol of the incoherence of the Bush administration's current policy toward ending ethnic violence in Iraq.
Basra splits between warring Shi'itesThe Shi'ite group led by Muqtada al-Sadr, who recently ordered his supporters to quit their posts in the cabinet, has lately turned against the governor of Basra because he belongs to a rival faction. But other Shi'ites have misgivings about Muqtada and his followers who are perceived as being too close to Iran
Iraq: Who's Winning, Harry? By: Amir Taheri New York PostBecause all wars have winners and losers, Reid, having identified America as the loser, is required to name the winner. This Reid cannot do. The reason is that, whichever way one looks at the situation, America and its Iraqi allies remain the only objective victors in this war.
Iraqi Divisions Stall Political Aims Officials see little or no progress in achieving three key benchmarks set by the Bush administration.
Gates Not Enthusiastic About Maliki
Christian Science Monitor
Missing player: a 'czar' to manage American efforts in the Iraq war The White House has envisioned a coordinator role for the multibillion-dollar, multiagency effort, but is having trouble finding a willing candidate
Shi'ite power struggle escalates Clashes between Shi'ite groups in the predominately Shi'ite city of Diwaniya illustrate an increase in the level of rivalry between Shi'ite militias in the main urban centers in southern Iraq. Primarily, Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army is fighting for the hearts and minds of the country's Shi'ites. Diwaniya is the powder keg.

Stratfor Geopolitical Diary: Iran's Current Conciliatory Mood Swing
Getting Iran to the TableCouncil on Foreign Relations,
FT Iran and EU hold ‘constructive’ nuclear talks Attempt to break months-long deadlock - Iran and the European Union held “constructive” talks over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme, but each side gave a cautious assessment of the progress made
Olmert: Iran nuclear issue can be resolved without weapons
CFR Bolurfrushan: Bank Pressures Hit Iranian Business Harder than Sanctions
Iran and EU hold ‘constructive’ nuclear talks Attempt to break months-long deadlock - Iran and the European Union held “constructive” talks over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme, but each side gave a cautious assessment of the progress made.
PINR "Afghanistan's Role in Iranian Foreign Policy" Full text of report
Iran: What Next? By: Azar Nafisi The New Republic If you take the long view of Iranian history and focus on the country's people rather than its rulers, a very different picture emerges: that of an Iranian order in crisis.
Daily Star Containing Iran the financial way By Michael Jacobson
Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari Heads To Iran

Egypt, Saudi Arabia Edge Away From Bush as Mideast Chill GrowsBloomberg
Prospect Why the Middle East Doesn’t Matter -The middle of nowhere edward luttwak Western analysts are forever bleating about the strategic importance of the middle east. But despite its oil, this backward region is less relevant than ever, and it would be better for everyone if the rest of the world learned to ignore it.
The Economist The United States in the Middle East Weakness—or a new realism? Why the Americans are having to adjust their policies in the region
Daily Star Constructive currents flow below Middle Eastern civil society By Rami G. Khouri
Germany: The Implications of the Greater Middle East - Michael SturmerGermany has become increasingly involved in power politics throughout the greater Middle East. It is engaged in the Quartet and its "road map" through the EU, and has been in the forefront of negotiations aimed at preventing a nuclear Iran. While the Schroeder government explicitly ruled out military action to prevent the latter, Ms. Merkel has said it is an unacceptable outcome and all options remain on the table. (Henry Jackson Society)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The Political Economy of Syria Under Bashar Al-Assad - Nimrod Raphaeli (MEMRI)
Al Hayat Can Syria and Israel Make Peace? Patrick Seale - Spurred on by Bill Clinton, Syria and Israel came very close to a peace agreement in 2000. But Ehud Barak, Israel's prime minister at the time, threw away the chance. He didn't think the Israeli public would swallow the prospect of Syrians swimming and fishing in the north-eastern corner of Lake Tiberias.
Apathy grows in Syria’s one-party poll Even Syria’s government-controlled Tishreen newspaper is reporting that it can see little enthusiasm for the forthcoming elections to the people’s assembly.
Baath Time in Syria The EconomistThe result of the Syrian parliamentary election, to be held on April 22nd, is not in doubt, as the constitution dictates that a front led by the Baath party must hold two-thirds of the 250 seats. The main interest in the exercise will be the size of the turnout and whether any critics of the regime of Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, manage to win some of the 83 seats reserved for independents.
UPI Analysis: Olmert tries to calm Syria
Defense Secretary Gates Cites Concerns About Syria, Iran
Olmert tells Gates at end of lightning visit: Israel has no plans to attack Syria
Ha’aretz Schiff Israel: Syria readying for war
The next war, Israel, Syria and Kurds
Yedioth Ahronoth New Golan Heights solution Campaign: MK Ayalon will return Golan to Syria in exchange for leasing agreement if elected PM
Newsweek Syria’s Suddenly Popular Man in Washington
Washington Times Syrian agrees to Rice meeting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said yesterday he would "gladly" meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at an upcoming Iraq conference, one of several steps Syria indicated it would take to soothe tensions in the Middle East.
Forward Syrian Dissidents See Prospects Killed by Bloodbath in Iraq (April 20) When Syrians head to the polls this week to elect a new parliament, Iraq will be on their minds — but not in the way that the Bush administration envisioned four years ago, when it held high hopes that toppling Saddam Hussein would set off a democratic domino effect that would unseat the region’s authoritarian rulers
Syria's 'guests'Iraqis spurn sectarianism after fleeing war in Baghdad
United States Calls Syrian Elections a Missed Opportunity
MEMRI Apr 20 IA# 345 - Criticism of the Upcoming Syrian Parliamentary Elections in the Official Syrian Press and Among the Syrian Opposition
SyriaComment Syrians at the Polls: To Vote - Yes or No
Weekly Standard Why Syrian Elections Matter . . . even though they aren't much of a horserace. by David Schenker
Elections Without Politics in Syria By: Omayma Abdel-Latif The Daily Star Apart from some posters and banners scattered across the streets of Damascus announcing parliamentary elections yesterday and today, there were few signs in Syria of the sort of election fever seen in some Arab countries recently.
DEBKAfile Exclusive: A large, high-ranking Syrian delegation of 40 generals on secret mission to Tehran In Syria, choice is for shoppers, not voters

Dore Gold of JCPA Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and the Global Jihad:A New Conflict Paradigm for the West
U.S. Prepared To Boost Reconstruction Aid for Lebanon
Will Congress Meet With Lebanese Parliamentarians Allied With Hezbollah?
Israel's Strategic Threat By: Neve Gordon The Nation During the past few months, political activists and members of the Palestinian intellectual elite within Israel, all of whom are Israeli citizens, have drafted four documents that articulate how they conceive the state's future. The underlying assumption of all of these documents is that as long as Israel is defined as a Jewish state, its laws will always fall short of basic democratic principles and, more particularly, the right of all its citizens to full equality.
Reviving the Quartet Volker Perthes Following the formation of a Palestinian unity government and the Arab League summit it is time for the Middle East Quartet to get into action.
Flexibility and Reciprocity Are Key to Israeli-Palestinian Peace By: Herbert C. Kelman The Daily StarAn early return to the Middle East negotiating table is not a favor to the Palestinians, but an urgent requirement for protecting the vital interests of both Palestinians and Israelis
To Hamas, for Independence DayThe Jews and the Palestinians are now in the 60th year of their War of Independence, and it is not going well for either side. For all their struggle, the Palestinians are now farther from achieving statehood than they have been in years. For all our independence, we have no idea, nor any consensus, on where our country ends and where the Arab world begins.
Jerusalem Post International Community Increases Aid to Palestinians as Hamas Prepares for War - Editorial
David Hornick Israel’s Next War.
The Strategic Challenge of Gaza - Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Iraq and the Kurds: Resolving the Kirkuk Crisis International Crisis Group
Washington Post Rice on The Right Tracks By David Ignatius, Isolation hasn't worked, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is now charting the pathways out.
Leading Democrat in Senate Tells Reporters, ‘This War Is Lost’
The Hobbesian Hell of Iraq by Larry C. Johnson
The Economist The occupation of Iraq It might have been otherwise
Christian Science Monitor Iraq falling behind on meeting 'benchmarks' The US buildup has not been matched by an equal uptick in Iraqi political action.
McClatchy Training Iraqi troops no longer driving force in U.S. policy By Nancy A. Youssef Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.
Financial Times COMMENT: America's dismal debate brings little hope of peace in Iraq Just as Bush refuses to admit the war is lost, so his opponents decline to contemplate what it means to admit defeat, says Philip Stephens.
Daily Star Cautious optimism after the fall of an illegitimate Iraqi order By Fouad Ajami
Our Enemy's Enemy By: Marc Lynch The American ProspectFar from vindicating the American escalation strategy in Iraq, recent tensions between insurgent factions and al-Qaeda bolster the case for withdrawal.
The 'Southern Azerbaijan' Problem By: Karl Rahder ISN Security Watch Azeris make up roughly 24 percent of Iran's population and Tehran is worried about just whose side they are on as rumors of US infiltration are taken seriously, complicating Azerbaijan's own foreign policy outlook.
Schiff The victory won't be American The growing Iranian influence in a Shi?ite-controlled Iraq could be detrimental to Israel, and the same holds true for a Shi'ite Iraqi pact with Hezbollah.
Dennis Ross Squeeze Play: Approach Tehran with Sticks, Not Carrots

FPIF Shi ite vs. Sunni?
Gates: U.S. to sell smart bombs to Saudi Arabia Israel argues presence of such weapons in Arab countries undermines its military edge in Mideast.
PINR "Intelligence Brief: U.S. Defense Secretary Pays Visit to Arab Allies" Full text of report

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Renewed Negotiations with Syria: Currently Not in Israel's InterestGiora Eiland
Jerusalem Post Syria: Accept Arab initiative or we'll resort to violence Syrian information minister warns Israel that if peace negotiations fail, Golan Heights will return to Syrian hands by "way of resistance."
"Syria, the United States, and the War on Terror in the Middle East"Open Democracy
SYRIA: Liberalisation looks to domestic private sector
MEMRI Apr 13 IA# 343 - The Political Economy of Syria Under Bashar Al-Assad
SyriaComment “Why Don’t Arab Dictators Declare Themselves Kings?” by Ehsani
“Hizballah and Syria: Outgrowing the Proxy Relationship,” by Emile El-Hokayem
Yedioth Syria warns Israel over Golan Syrian information minister says Damascus wants peaceful solution to disputed territory but will resort to violence if Israel rejects Arab League proposal; 'any nation living under occupation has the right to resist,' he says
A Twin Iranian-Syrian Escalation Hassan Haydar - Both Iran and Syria have come to realize that their wager on 'reaping the fruits' of the US predicament in Iraq was premature and unjustified. Both countries have also come to realize that the diplomatic visits to Damascus have not succeeded in easing neither in form, nor in content, the intensity of the international demands on Syria.
MEMRI Apr 13 IA# 343 - The Political Economy of Syria Under Bashar Al-Assad
Syrian Kurdish Writers Declare Solidarity with Barzani
Russia warns Israel to be wary of conflict with Syria
Israel-Syria peace could be achieve in 35 minutes, says Bill Clinton

Asia Times Hezbollah's big challenge In Iraq, the US pits its Shi'ite collaborators against "other" Shi'ites and assorted Sunnis. In Lebanon, the US places its Sunni clients in opposition to Shi'ites, with help from jihadis linked to al-Qaeda. Hezbollah's challenge is to prevent this from developing into a regional Sunni-Shi'ite war. - Pepe Escobar
Al Hayat Ayoon Wa Azan (To Avoid Connivance Between France And The US Against Them) Jihad el-Khazen - President Assad believes that Iran can play a positive role in Lebanon, as a solution in Lebanon is not feasible without the participation of Hezbollah, in a reference to the joint Saudi-Iranian mediation in Lebanon.
DEBKAfile Exclusive: Tehran arms Lebanese Hizballah militia with air defense missile wing as part of war build-up
Christian Science Monitor
Hariri trial a bellwether of Mideast clout The fight over the tribunal for the killers of the former Lebanese prime minister is pitting Western powers against Syria and its allies.
Israel lauds UN plan to probe Lebanon NSC votes to send team to investigate reports of weapons smuggling from Syria.
Welch insists Syrians or Iranians arming Hizbullah
Aluf Benn: Olmert had two failures during the Lebanon War
UN bid to break Lebanon deadlock The UN steps up efforts to break a deadlock over a tribunal for the suspected killers of the ex-Lebanese PM.
Hizbullah says UN role could create 'chaotic Lebanon'
PM mulling Arab League talks on Saudi peace plan Senior officials: Gov't support for talks growing, 'initial contacts' made on follow-up to Riyadh summit
How committed is the United States to defending Israel?
Jordan's king invites Israeli, Palestinian, U.S. activists to talks Knesset Speaker among those invited; U.S.: Israel, PA could begin talks on final status issues by summer
Have We Become Afraid of Peace? By: David Kimche The Jerusalem Post The too clever by half Olmert knows that he could easily have circumvented Resolution 194. He could have said that we, too, believe there has to be an agreed solution to the refugee problem, and on that presumption we are willing to enter into negotiations on the basis of the Arab peace initiative.
EU official: 'New momentum' in Middle East peace process PR head Ferrero-Waldner notes progress marked by Saudi plan, PA unity gov't and promise of renewed regular Abbas and Olmert meetings.
Go Behind the Facade of Peace By: Uri Dromi The Miami HeraldGo one step behind the facade of peace, and there lies the catch: The original Beirut Declaration rejects ''any proposals aimed at settling the refugees anywhere else than in their original homes.'' In other words, with the millions of Palestinian refugees flooding Israel, that would be the end of the Jewish state.
Legitimizing terror/ Moshe Elad
Canadian publishes Mossad memoirJewish Telegraphic Agency A Canadian gentile who married an Israeli woman and who claims to have been a Mossad agent has written a book about his experiences.
Son of the spy Jerusalem Post

Friday, April 13, 2007

Orta Doğu Değerlendirmeleri - ASAM

Türkiye'nin Kuzey Irak'a Müdahalesi ve Kerkük Tartışmaları
Kuzey Irak'tan Türkiye'ye Yönelik Kışkırtmalar Devam Ediyor


Restarting Israeli-Syrian Negotiations International Crisis Group
Forward Detente Is the Talk of Town In Damascus Syria Claims Mediation Role in West’s Standoffs With Hamas and Iran
Jerusalem Post Analysis: Don't underestimate Syria's military
The Truth About Syria By: Liz Cheney The Washington Post Anyone familiar with the past two years of Lebanese politics would never claim, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did in Damascus last week, that "the road to Damascus is a road to peace." Her assertion must have seemed especially naive to the people of Lebanon, where the list of the slain reads like a "Who's Who" of Syria's most vocal and effective opponents.
Asia Times Night bus from Baghdad In the mythology of US neo-cons, Syria is a sanctuary where jihadis rest and regroup before heading into Iraq on another bombing run. The reality is quite the opposite, as one can see at the Syria-Iraq border. The traffic is one-way - in the direction of Syria, where tens of thousands of ordinary Iraqis now live a precarious, but safe, life far from the hell of Baghdad. - Pepe Escobar
Syria Seeks Peace, Advocate Tells Israelis
Gutsy New House Speaker By: MJ Rosenberg The Jerusalem PostYou know what they say: no good deed goes unpunished. That is certainly the case with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her visit to Syria.
Forget Pelosi: What About Syria? By: Robert Malley Los Angeles TimesThe fuss about Pelosi's perfectly legitimate visit obscured a far more intriguing question: What should be done about Syria
The Smartest Observations on Pelosi and Syria - Malley and Lobe
Analysis: Syria is not a U.S. enemy
Pelosi's Syriana - Debra Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle
Yedioth Ahronoth Israeli-Syrian talks?
Syrian representative in former, informal dialogue comes to Israel for first public visit
Was it really Pelosi in Damascus?US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria has seemingly raised the ire of President George W Bush. Yet Bush needs a back channel to Damascus to help stabilize Lebanon and Palestine - and, more important, Iraq. Who better to do it than Pelosi, while saving Bush some face? That Damascus has to be engaged is evident by the role it played in securing the release of British sailors and marines from Iran. - Sami Moubayed

Hizbollah Stares Down UN By: Domonic Moran ISN Security WatchHizbollah condemns a UN sponsored court amid signs that Lebanon's political crisis is deepening.
Hizbullah gearing for conflict
Daily Star The battle over the Hariri court threatens to tear Lebanon apart
Al Hayat Lebanon Drifting Toward a New War Daoud Shirian - Nasrallah closed all the windows of opportunity, saying: ‘My way or the highway’, but he forgot that the majority sees no difference between the two options. The Party has subjected Lebanon to the interests of others.
Is the US backing a 'covert war' against Hizbullah in Lebanon? The militant Islamic group says Cheney plan is meant to undermine Iran's regional influence.
Drive for the International Tribunal Launched in the Security Council

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


USIP Briefing: Syria's Relations with Iraq
Interview: Bashar al-Assad By: Reese Erlich Mother Jones Syria has long been in Washington’s sites as a state sponsor of terrorism, a friend of Iran and an enemy of Israel. But the reality is more complicated. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cooperated with the United States in the months following 9/11. And the country arguably has an interest in seeing the war in Iraq resolved, in part because it is now home to more than half a million Iraqi refugees.
The Flap Over Pelosi's Syria Trip - W. LeoGrande & J. Lobe - Am. Prospect
Apr 09 SD# 1537 - Arab Media Reactions to Nancy Pelosi's Visit to Damascus

IHT Hezbollah and Al Qaeda BILAL Y. SAAB AND BRUCE O. RIEDEL - Lumping Al Qaeda and Hezbollah in the same basket will only do disservice to the global counterterrorism campaign.

Palestinian militants offer kidnapped Israeli soldier for prisoner swap Major disagreements remain over timetable, specifics of exchange, which could include high-profile captive Marwan Barghouti.
Shin Bet: Hamas planned T.A. Passover bombing Would-be bomber said to have entered Israel with 100 kilos of explosives for seder-night attack

New York Times Huge Protest in Iraq Demands U.S. Withdraw Tens of thousands of protesters loyal to Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr demanded an end to the American military presence in Iraq
Two Ways Out of Iraq - Fred Kaplan, Slate
Washington Post U.S. Troops Weary of Militia in Sadr City During a concerted effort to train Iraqi police force, American soldiers clash with Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's formidable Mahdi Army.
Daily Telegraph Sadr's waiting game Yesterday's anniversary of the fall of Baghdad was marked not by celebration but by a heightened security alert. After the bloodiest weekend for American forces since Washington launched its new security strategy came a show of force by the leader of the Mahdi army.
Iraqis calls for US to end its 'occupation' Shia Muslim protesters marched through the holy city of Najaf calling for US forces to quit Iraq four years to the day after they arrived and deposed Saddam Hussein.

FT Financial Times Iran has ‘industrial scale’ nuclear capacity
President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad said that Iran had become capable of enriching uranium on what he called an ‘industrial scale’, but gave no details to substantiate the claim.
Guardian Iran raises stakes with claim of nuclear leap Tehran claims to have enriched uranium on 'industrial scale'.

Monday, April 09, 2007


PINR "Intelligence Brief: Syria's Regional Position Strengthens" Full text of report
Editorial The Real Fumble in Damascus
The Bush administration has far more appetite for scoring political points than figuring out whether talking to Syria might help contain the bloodletting in Iraq or revive efforts to negotiate peace.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Syria finds the world suddenly visiting, with carrot and stick
Newsweek Syria: Businessman's Backdoor Peacemaking
The Pelosi Flap
By JOE KLEIN What is the real scandal here: that Pelosi spoke with Assad or that the Bush Administration won't?
Pelosi AbroadThe new speaker stumbles in Fred Barnes
Sudden love-in with Syria After being ostracised by the west and even by his Arab friends for the past two years, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is enjoying a sudden bout of popularity. Syria finds the world suddenly visiting, with carrot and stick
Heritage Speaker Pelosi's Unauthorized Diplomacy in Syria
Pelosi: Syria Trip Strengthened Ties...
What Pelosi Stands For Arab News,
Was it really Pelosi in Damascus? Pelosi's visit to Syria has seemingly raised the ire of Bush. Yet Bush needs a back channel to Damascus to help stabilize Lebanon and Palestine - and, more important, Iraq. Who better to do it than Pelosi, while saving Bush some face? That Damascus has to be engaged is evident by the role it played in securing the release of British sailors and marines from Iran. - Sami Moubayed
Time Springtime in Syria
By Andrew Lee Butters New money and new confidence are signs that U.S. attempts to isolate Syria are failing, and not just because Nancy Pelosi showed up in town earlier in the week. Turns out there are plenty of people who want to do business in Syria.
Al Hayat Pelosi's Visit to Damascus, a Chapter Within the Jewish Lobby Strategy Raghida Dergham - Nancy Pelosi's actions contradict and effectively block peace efforts exerted by the moderate Arab forces that gave Israel a clear and firm message indicating readiness for a collective and comprehensive peace with it in exchange for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict first.

In Beirut, a Crisis Settles Into a Routine
Nasrallah: Hezbollah will stay armed to offset Israel
'Cut Fatah ties to Hizbullah'

Washington Post Politics Collide With Iraq Realities Politicians appear headed toward endgame on war, but situation on ground is entirely different. Commanders Seek Longer-Term Focus
NYT Patterns of War Shift Amid U.S. Force Buildup There is little sign that the security push in Baghdad is accomplishing its main purpose: creating an island of stability for Iraqis.
Radical Shiite Cleric Calls on Iraqi Forces to Unite Against the U.S. Military
McClatchy Al-Sadr attempts to re-position himself as a leader of all Iraqis
Newsweek Inside Iraq’s Invisible Exodus
From Strategic Insights, a special issue on The Iraq Study Group Report: The way forward or backward?
Sunday Telegraph Five more years in Iraq, say chiefs Confidential report tells of operations in the Gulf until 2012.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq: Resurging or Splintering?

Guardian US offered military action to free 15
Al Awsat Ahmadinejad and the "Half-Pregnant" Khomeinists : Amir Taheri
Washington Times Detente with Tehran? By By Ilan Berman Perils of a 'grand bargain'
A difficult choice Ian Bremmer Tehran is not Pyongyang. In all likelihood the decision for the west is this: military action or a nuclear Iran
Stopping the Showdown With Iran By: Noam Chomsky The Nation The most effective barrier to a White House decision to launch a war is the kind of organized popular opposition that frightened the political-military leadership enough in 1968 that they were reluctant to send more troops to Vietnam -- fearing, we learned from the Pentagon Papers, that they might need them for civil-disorder control.
Iran takes the wind out of US sails Iran's unconditional release of the 15 British sailors and marines it had been holding for two weeks has shown the West that engaging Tehran with respect and as an equal is more likely to pay off than threats and confrontation. At the same time the episode has demonstrated Iran's ability to play a dangerous tit-for-tat game with its enemies. It just got a lot harder for the US to justify a military attack on the country. - Jim Lobe
Bar’el Who's the boss in Tehran?

Friday, April 06, 2007


Editorial Pratfall in Damascus Nancy Pelosi's foolish shuttle diplomacy
Al Hayat Nancy Pelosi in Damascus Daoud Shirian - Pelosi's visit to Damascus is an opportunity to polish the image of the Democrats. Damascus knows that Nancy is not a decision maker in US politics and that her visit is just a temporary anesthetic for a real crisis between the US and Damascus.
Israel vs. Bush & the Neoconservatives on Syria? ...By Juan Cole
Forward Olmert Aides Say Pelosi Botched Message to Assad
Pelosi says Israel open to Syrian talks
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she had relayed a message from Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad that Israel is ready for peace talks
Pelosi talks to Assad with no authorization by the U.S.
Pelosi Meets Syrian President Despite Objections From Bush House Speaker Calls Talks With Assad 'Very Productive'
Pelosi challenges Bush policy by visiting Syria· House speaker holds talks with President Assad· Peace message from Israeli PM relayed to Damascus
Syria: We helped in Iran-Britain dispute
Pelosi Stumbles in Syria - Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard
Analysis: Pelosi enters the fray of Middle East diplomacy
Wall Street Journal Democrats at War Prime Minister Pelosi and Secretary of State Lantos undermine U.S. foreign policy--and maybe their own party.
Analysis: Hopes dim for Syria talks
Boston Globe Pelosi's balancing act overseas
EVEN AS a matter of political self-interest, President Bush made himself look bad by carping about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit yesterday in Damascus with Syria's president, Bashar Assad.
Playing with fire By Thomas Sowell Until Nancy Pelosi came along, it was understood by all that we had only one president at a time and -- like him or not -- he alone had the constitutional authority to speak for this country to foreign nations, especially in wartime.
Nancy Pelosi's Syrian adventure
Syria tells Pelosi it's ready for peace talks...
Young & Landis Debate Pelosi Visit on Public Radio
Daily Star Human rights in Syria; Pelosi's silence By Nadim Houry
Diplo Show Turns Into Damascus A**-Kiss By: John Podhoretz New York PostThis week on the road to Damascus, riding on the Democratic donkey, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was struck blind by a prideful ambition - the ambition to conduct a foreign policy for the United States toward the terrorist nation of Syria separate from the one conducted by the president.
Daily Star Why Pelosi's visit to Damascus upset the neocons so much
Los Angeles Times EditorialThe speaker goes to Syria Bush's criticism of Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria is off-base. It's time someone from the U.S. broke the ice.
Pelosi’s Delegation Presses Syrian Leader on Militants
Syria, Israel may resume peace talks
Syria, Hizbullah, Iran prepare in case of war Defensive measures taken amid US-Iran tensions spur concern about accidental conflict
“What do we know about the Syrian Economy?” by Ehsani

French Constants in Lebanon Randa Takieddin - If the coming president is Sarkozy he has confirmed time and again that he will not bargain over the international tribunal or the independence or sovereignty of Lebanon.
“Lebanon’s Coming Crisis” by Firas Maksad
WORLD NEWS: UN closer to Beirut tribunal decision
When a Dilettante Takes on Hizbullah By: Michael Young The Daily StarWe can thank the US speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for having informed Syrian President Bashar Assad, from Beirut, that "the road to solving Lebanon's problems passes through Damascus." Now, of course, all we need to do is remind Pelosi that the spirit and letter of successive United Nations Security Council resolutions, as well as Saudi and Egyptian efforts in recent weeks, have been destined to ensure precisely the opposite: that Syria end its meddling in Lebanese affairs.

Washington Institute How Long Can the Palestinian Unity Government Last?
ConflictsForum Hamas as a revolutionary movement

Mission Accomplished By: Michael C. Boyer Foreign Policy Everyone in Washington seemed to agree that the Iraq Study Group’s ideas for fixing Iraq were duds. So, four months after many pundits and politicians accused Baker and Hamilton of failing to think big, why are the White House and Capitol Hill rushing to implement the very recommendations of the ISG that they once dismissed?
IHT It could be the anti-Iraq NICHOLAS DUNGAN
The changing Iranian situation is a test of resolve for the trans-Atlantic alliance.

Heritage Iran emboldened: Tehran seeks to dominate Middle East politics
NRO THE EDITORS: By committing an act of war, Iran has simultaneously made itself look peaceful and made the West look impotent. “Tehran’s Victory
Washington Post Editorial End of a Standoff Does Iran's seizure and release of British sailors demonstrate pragmatism -- or belligerence?
Financial Times Editorial Iran's calculated end to hostages drama
Newsweek Iran: Do Sailor Releases Signal a Nuke Thaw?
New York Times What We Can Learn From Britain About Iran
By VALI NASR and RAY TAKEYH Just as Iran will meet confrontation with confrontation, it will respond to what it perceives as flexibility with pragmatism.
Washington Post Tehran Likely to Pay Long-Term Price By Robin Wright
Leader A good ending to a bad business The real lesson to draw from Mr Ahmadinejad piece of political theatre is that quiet diplomacy does work and that it can work in the future.
Walid Phares Admedinijad's "Plan B" - The Circus Continues
Tony Karon There’s hostages, and there’s hostages
Admedinijad's "Plan B" - The Circus Continues
USS Nimitz Forced Iran’s Decision
Daily Telegraph We found a ladder for Iran to climb down There is a real opportunity with a change of Prime Minister to change perceptions and to improve our chances of helping to change Middle Eastern reality, writes former UK ambassador to Iran Richard Dalton.
They're free, but UK is humiliated
Relief at the freeing of the British sailors and Marines in Iran is tempered with dismay at the humiliation to which they and the country they serve have been subjected. It appears that the Royal Navy has a lot to answer for.
Iran's ploy buys time for nuclear weapons
Time Who Got the British Sailors Released?
Ha’aretz Oren Iran challenges Bush It is best for Iran to establish the context, the timing and the force of the clash with the West - a limited confrontation in the Gulf that could save it from a much bigger blow to its nuclear installations.
Independent Leading article: This may be a victory for old-fashioned diplomacy

Saudi conspiracy/ Shaul Rosenfeld
Wall Street Journal Saudi Balancing Act Besieged by Iran yet wary of the U.S., King Abdullah has one of the toughest jobs in the world. By KAREN ELLIOT HOUSE

Asia Times Condi's free ride in the Middle East US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has taken up "shuttle diplomacy'' in the Middle East with a new-found vigor, but unlike Henry Kissinger's efforts 30 years ago, Condi's is an empty pose while Saudi Arabia does the hard work. And Rice gets a free ride from the press to boot. - Tony Karon

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Daily Star Damascus has constructed a fantasy around Pelosi's visit
SyriaComment Pelosi’s Trip to Damascus
Pelosi Poised to Meet Syria's Assad Speaker Tours Damascus as Bush Calls Such Visits Counterproductive'
Itzik: Pelosi's trip to Syria could sway it to abandon 'axis of evil' Official: Israel asks U.S. speaker to tell Syria to stop backing terrorism; Pelosi meets families of seized soldiers.
Helena Cobban Pelosi's spring break in Syria
Syria hails Pelosi trip to Damascus Syria hailed what it called the “courageous position” taken by Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, after President George W. Bush criticised the Democrat’s trip to Damascus
US Democrat set for Syria talks
Top US Democrat Nancy Pelosi arrives in Damascus for a visit criticised by the White House undermining US policy
Defiant Pelosi to meet Assad despite Bush condemnation
Jerusalem Post Pelosi shrugges off criticism of her planned trip to Syria
Pelosi, Warmly Greeted in Syria, Is Criticized by White House
Pelosi visits market, mosque in Syria
Pelosi's controversial Syria tour continues
What's going on in Syria?
Washington Post Back to Baker-Hamilton By David Ignatius, The Baker-Hamilton report is the best framework for building a policy that is sustainable, in Washington and in Baghdad
Syria back in the Arab fold By Claude Salhani
MEMRI Mar 29 IA# 337 - Syrian Efforts to End Its Regional and International Isolation
DEBKAfile: Arab summit ending in Riyadh strengthens radical Iran and Syria and recognizes Palestinian Hamas
SyriaComment The Arab League Summit: Arabism is Back - Syria is In
Jerusalem Post 'Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah preparing for summer war' Head of IDF intel. Gen. Yadlin says allies anticipate US strike against Iran; he adds that Haniyeh is threatening to order third intifada.
Israel seeks to reassure Syria: No summer attack
IDF preparing for possible Syrian strike on Golan Gov't seeks to reassure Damascus there will be no attack this
Turkey, Syria cement cooperation
Turkey-Syria discusses energy, security

A Change in Attitude, Lebanon as a Model Abdullah Iskandar
UN chief criss-crosses Lebanon's fractious political divide Christians seek visas to flee from Lebanon Christians are fleeing from Lebanon to escape the rise of radical Islam and growing fears that the trend will result in a Sunni-Shi'ite civil war, with minority Christians trapped in the middle.
Hoping for peaceLebanese gloom as the crippling political crisis continues
Lebanon can use bipolar electoral order By Charles Rizk
Israelis plan for rematch with Hezbollah

Iraq’s Sectarian and Ethnic Violence and Its Evolving InsurgencySource: Center for Stragegic International Studies Full Paper (PDF; 1.94 MB)
New York Times What About Those Other Iraq Deadlines?
By LEON E. PANETTA Instead of dividing over the strategy on the war, the president and the Congress should make very clear to the Iraqis that there is no open-ended commitment to our involvement.
Christian Science Monitor Iraq seeks a few good Sunnis
Poor turnout at a Sunni neighborhood recruiting drive marks the challenges facing US military trainers seeking to build a balanced Iraqi force.
No Choice: Stay the Course in Iraq By: Barry R. McCaffrey Los Angeles Times
From Democratiya, an article on Iraq’s Future 101 and the failings of the Baker-Hamilton Report.
Asia Times Shi'ite power bloc in Iraq takes shape After some stormy times, young cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the highest-ranking Shi'ite ayatollah, Ali Sistani, have connected. The swing of alliances highlights the unpredictable politics of the Shi'ite community and the ascendency of Sistani and his clerical elite in Iraq. Both Tehran and Muqtada know that Sistani should not be ignored. The US should know it too.

Independent Britain vs Iran: A high- stakes game of chess
The stand-off over the 15 British sailors and marines captured by Iran looks to be moving towards a de facto prisoner exchange, despite denials by Britain and Iran that a swap was intended
Iran's third revolution Gulf News - By Amir Taheri
From PINR, an article on the U.K.-Iran crisis: The West confronts a rising Iran.
ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran
Not 1979, but some lessons apply
Britain's 'softly, softly' approach, drawn from experience, appears to be yielding progress.
U.S. Strategy on Iran May Have Backfired
Britain Calls for Direct Talks With Iran

Ruling But Not Governing: Militaries in the Middle East By Steven A. Cook