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)