Friday, September 26, 2008


Der Spiegel Wooing the Pariah: How Syria's Assad Is Steering His Country out of IsolationDamascus Fears Deviation on Peace Road By: Sami Moubayed Asia Times As Israeli premier-in-waiting Tzipi Livni battles to form a government, Syria is preparing for the possibility she will call off the indirect talks with Damascus
Syria Comment News Roundup (22 Sept 2008)
Syria Pushes the Envelope in the North By: Michael Young The Daily Star Of all the ridiculous reasons explaining the deployment of thousands of Syrian troops along the northern Lebanese border, surely the most ridiculous is that this was done to thwart smuggling
UN urges clarity amid Syrian troop movement The UN calls for more clarity from Damascus on the reasons behind the stationing of thousands of troops on the Lebanese border, a move that has raised anxieties in Beirut
How Feasible is Peace with Syria? - United Press International
Syria's Love Affair With Livni
Syria hints it can make peace with Livni
Syrian troops raise Beirut anxiety
The massing of 10,000 Syrian troops on the Lebanese border this week has raised fears among Damascus’s opponents in Beirut that Syria is seeking to consolidate its influence over its smaller neighbour.
10,000 Syrian troops mass on Lebanon border
Fear grows that surprise deployment could be prelude to first incursion since invading forces pulled out three years ago
Concern in Lebanon After Syria Bolsters Border Force
Embers under the ashes Al-Ahram Weekly A Syrian military court has sentenced 50 Kurds to prison. With other Kurdish leaders awaiting trial, tensions are running high. Since the Barzani revolt in Iraq and the emergence of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Kurdish Syrians have been clamouring for recognition
Turkish president says Syria serious about peace talks
Bush attacks Iran and Syria in final UN speech
President uses final speech to the United Nations to lambast the enemies of his administration and to reassure the rest of the world that America has a grip on its financial crisis.
EU: Say No to Syria - Rep. Eleana Ros-Lehtinen
Diplomats: Assad Aide Killing Hurts UN Probe in Syria
Ten Russian warships have docked at Syrian port
Russia Passing Intelligence on Israel to Syria and Hizbullah
Al Awsat Is Reconciliation with Hezbollah Possible? : Tariq Alhomayed
Background: Hizbullah - enemy of Israel

Jonathan Steele / Guardian:
Israel asked US for green light to bomb nuclear sites in Iran — US president told Israeli prime minister he would not back attack on Iran, senior European diplomatic sources tell Guardian — Israel gave serious thought this spring to launching a military strike on Iran's nuclear sites …
Mossad chief fights Iran nuclear program his own way Under Meir Dagan, the Mossad has used creativity and daring to strike Israel's enemies
Editorial: Only way to stop Palestinian terrorism is to improve life in the territories
Explainer: Relations between Iran and Israel
Labor sources: Barak to demand lead role in Syria talks from Livni Barak feels the defense establishment is central to negotiations with Syria as well as the Palestinians
Benn Better occupation than a partial peace For a breakthrough in talks with the Palestinians, we have to understand the basic differences between the sides - and try to bridge the gap between Mars and Venus
Will Livni Be Another Horror Show? By: Rami G. Khouri The Daily StarIn Israel today, the curtain opens on the new political performance of Tzipi Livni, who last week was elected leader of the Kadima Party. It is not clear if Livni will dazzle or disappoint; if she will generate historic change or just another hour of horror
Forget Palestine? Surely You Jest By: Claude Salhani The Middle East TimesThe paradox in the comatose peace negotiations is that although the details calling for a two-state solution are generally accepted by all sides, a solution is not truly desired by either the Palestinians or the Israelis for various reasons

The Era of Sanctions Has Ended By: Yossi Melman HaaretzShould Israel accept that its era of nuclear monopoly in the Middle East has ended, and assume a new role as passive witness to a regional arms race
Report: U.S. said no to Israeli strike on Iran The Guardian quotes European officials who say Bush 'would not support it' and did not expect to revise that view
'US refused to support Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear sites' Guardian, quoting senior European officials, reports Bush refused to give Olmert green light for attack during May visit to Israel.
EU assessment: IDF can't stop Iran alone Diplomats predict a regional conflagration of unknown proportions as a result of any strike
Stratfor Geopolitical Diary: Changing Agendas on Iran Russia derailed a meeting the United States had hoped to use to discuss new sanctions against Iran. Washington, meanwhile, is growing weary of Tehran's negotiating games
CFR If Iran Stonewalls
Carnegie's George Perkovich encourages a firm stance toward Iran's nuclear program.
EurasiaNet Iran: Can Putin Link the Georgian and Iranian Crises?MARK N. KATZ Linkage is the time honored practice of getting another party’s cooperation on an issue of importance to oneself by promising to help or threatening to hinder that other party on another issue of importance to it. Moscow is clearly trying to get American and European acquiescence (if not approval) for the gains it has made in Georgia by threatening to increase Russian cooperation with Iran if this is not forthcoming
Appease Iran? by Daniel Pipes
EU: Iran Closer to Nuclear Arms Capacity
Asia Times Iran plays up its peacemaker role In his speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad called for free elections in Israel-occupied territories, blasted the West's "bullying" policies and reiterated Tehran's right to nuclear technology. At the same time, blending theology with diplomacy, Ahmadinejad positioned Iran as a conflict mediator. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Russia stalls talks on Iran nuclear plans The leading powers were forced to cancel a meeting on the Iranian nuclear threat after Russia said the talks were not urgent, in a further sign of Moscow’s frostier relations with the west after the Georgia crisis
Russia backs off from cooperating with U.S. on Iran Russia has announced that it will not participate in a meeting with the United States this week to discuss Iran's nuclear program, the most significant indication yet of how Russia's war with Georgia has spoiled relations regarding other security issues

Editorial Another Iraq Benchmark
Legislators approve a crucial deal on provincial elections
Iraq election law marks progress, opens political season Provincial polls are now expected early next year and could bring about a political realignment across Iraq
Iraq OKs Elections – Except in Oil-Rich Kirkuk
Iraq Passes Provincial Elections Law
Iraqi lawmakers pass provincial election measure But they set aside the contentious issue of a vote in Kirkuk, which Kurds seek for their semiautonomous region, and postpone voting in four northern provinces
Iraqi Elections: Definitely, Maybe - Abu Aardvark blog
Iraq OKs Provincial Elections Law
Iraq's parliament overwhelmingly approved a provincial elections law Wednesday, overcoming months of deadlock and giving a boost to U.S.-backed national reconciliation efforts.
Internally displaced Iraqis shun elections
Despite infighting, Iraq OKs vote lawIraq deal over province elections
Iraq's parliament passes a law paving the way for provincial elections, ending long debates over the city of Kirkuk.
Iraqi Parliament Approves Provincial Elections Law

Washington Institute America's Grand Strategy in the Middle East: Views from the Campaign Max Boot, an advisor to John McCain, and Richard Danzig, an advisor to Barack Obama, discussed their candidates' views on Middle East policy
Report: Blair is failing Middle East peace effort Aid groups' damning verdict claims peace process push headed by Tony Blair is suffering from a 'vacuum of leadership'
Quartet’s Middle East efforts questioned The international community has largely failed in its attempt to improve the chances of peace in the region, according to a coalition of aid groups
Rand Political Reform in the Arab World is a Mixed Bag in Confronting Terrorism

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Power Barometer: Syria's Unpredictable Policies
Difficult Decisions Loom for Syria's Assad
Jerusalem Post Future of talks with Syria in doubt
Diplomatic official: Recommendation of indictment may have led to cancellation of Olmert's Russia trip
Daily Star Lebanon and Syria have vested interests in each other's success
Syrian Economy Opens – Will Its Politics Follow?
Lebanon's Sunni and Shi'ite Rivals Heading Towards Reconciliation

Stratfor Israeli Strategy After the Russo-Georgian War Stratfor
Security sources: Israel preparing for Hezbollah attack Hezbollah sources threaten that revenge for Imad Mughniyeh's death will come as a terror attack in Israel
Moshe Arens: Likud must say it won't give up Golan
U.S. coordinator to visit Israel in last-ditch bid for security draft Gen. James Jones was appointed by Rice to draft a plan to create a stable security environment in Mideast
'We may kidnap Iran leader'
Ahmadinejad may find himself before Int'l Court, ex-Mossad operative Rafi Eitan tells Der Spiegel
Jewish participation in US politics greater than in any European country, Yoram Ettinger says
The United States, Israel, and the Iranian Threat: A View from Congress - Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Should U.S. Forces Withdraw From Iraq?
U.S. to Pull 8,000 Troops From Iraq Early in ’09
The Times Bush keeps troops in Iraq until bitter end President will wait until last month in office, January next year, to bring home troops totalling about 8,000
Iraqi Leaders Opposed Biden's Partition PlanBy Dan Senor His alternative to the surge would have stoked sectarianism
Groups move to tap a different pipeline Conoco’s Australian joint venture, Eni’s bid for First Calgary and Shell’s Iraq development deal underline the growing interest among the major energy companies to sign potentially lucrative international gas contracts
Iraq, Iran, China: The Emerging Axis By: Paul Rogers Open DemocracyA United States pressed by Iraqi government confidence and Afghan guerrilla defiance is now confronted with a larger and longer-term strategic challenge in greater west Asia
Iraq Gets Its First Christian Militia - With a Little Help From the Peshmerga

Russia, the U.S. and Iran By RAY TAKEYH AND NIKOLAS GVOSDEV / The Boston Globe Russia is not interested in playing a role in the Iran crisis on terms America can accept.
Iran's Asymmetric Naval WarfareIn this new Policy Focus, an Iranian military expert outlines what form potential Iranian military action might take in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz given the capabilities and role of Iran's unconventional naval forces.
Yedioth Ahronoth 'Iran plant nearly complete' Representatives of Russian company building first Iranian nuclear plant in Bushehr say its activation close at hand, exact launch date to be determined after talks between Russian, Iranian nuclear officials this month
For Iran, Energy Woes Justify Nuclear Push
Al-Qaeda calls Iran a ‘crusader’ ally
In a video to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the terrorist group’s deputy leader, has accused Tehran of collaborating in a western war against Islam
Russia Prepares to Launch Iran's Nuclear Plant

The United States and Libya: Where Do We Go From Here?Source: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Full Paper
The Middle East should worry about Russian behavior By Ekaterine Meiering-Mikadze

Monday, September 01, 2008


Russia Announces Increased Naval Presence in Syria
ANALYSIS / Assad working post-Georgia world to his advantage As America's standing erodes, Syrian President sells country to highest bidder after long int'l isolation
Assad slapped in the face/ Bechor Syrian leader thought Cold War is back, but Russia made it clear Assad was wrong
Syria eyes an edge amid Russia-U.S. rift Damascus is seeking an arms deal with Moscow, a move that would bolster its position in the Middle East
Diplomat: Russia to up naval presence in Syrian ports Diplomats in Damascus say, however, Russia not keen to sell arms that may change Mideast power balance
Syria, Iran warm to Russia as US tensions grow: The Associated PressBy Sam Ghattas
A Syrian-Israeli Breakthrough? David Ignatius, Washington Post
Bush’s Policy of No Dialogue with Syria is Costing US Lives
US refuses to follow France's lead and talk with Syria
EDITORIAL: An Israel-Syria 'deal'?: Washington Times
Sarkozy confirms Syria visit date BBC, August 27, 2008
Erdoğan to visit Damascus on Thursday
Syria arrests two Kurdish leaders

New Lebanese army chief promoted New Lebanese army chief, Jean Kahwaji, is promoted to general in a ceremony attended by President Michel Suleiman
Massive Lebanon rally reflects missing cleric's continuing influence Followers in the Amal movement demand answers from Libya, where Imam Moussa Sadr disappeared in 1978. He is also considered a spiritual forebear by Hezbollah.
Lebanese President Michel Sleiman tells US officials: “World should open up to Syria”