Experts Believe Iran Conflict Is Less Likely

(…..) IRNA, the Iranian state-controlled news service, reported last week that a leading Iranian cleric, Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi, had made positive statements about the negotiations. The news service said that the cleric, in his Friday sermon to thousands of worshipers in Tehran, said that if the United States and other nations negotiating with Iran show “logical behavior in nuclear talks, the outcome will be good for all”. According to IRNA, Ayatollah Seddiqi said the Istanbul meeting showed “the power and dignity of the Iranian nation and was the outcome of people’s resistance and following the supreme leader’s guidelines.” At the same time in Israel, conservative government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been rocked by a series of public comments from current and former Israeli military and intelligence officials questioning wisdom of attacking Iran. The latest comments came from Yuval Diskin, the former chief of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, who on Friday said Mr. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak should not be trusted to determine policy on Iran. He said the judgments of both men have been clouded by “messianic feelings”. Mr. Diskin, who was chief of Shin Bet until last year, said an attack against Iran might cause it to speed up its nuclear program. Just days before, Israel’s army chief of staff suggested in an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Iranian nuclear threat was not quite as imminent as Netanyahu has portrayed it. In his comments, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz suggested he agreed with the intelligence assessments of United States that Iran has not yet decided whether to build a nuclear bomb. Iran “is going step by step to the place where it will be able to decide whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb. It hasn’t yet decided whether to go the extra mile”. He suggested that the crisis may not come to a head this year. But he said, “Clearly, the more Iranians progress, the worse the situation is”. Last month, Meir Dagan, former chief of the Israeli spy agency Mossad, said he did not advocate a pre-emptive Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program anytime soon. In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, Mr. Dagan said the Iranian government was “a very rational one”, and that Iranian officials were “considering all the implications of their actions.” Mr. Netanyahu is dealing with the criticisms at the same time as he faces, for domestic political reasons, prospect of an election this year, rather than next. The divide within the Israeli establishment is significant because Israel has been threatening to launch a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities if the United States is unwilling to do so. Washington has feared that if Israel were to do so, the US could get dragged into the fight, which could result in a widening war in the region (…..)



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7 Responses to Experts Believe Iran Conflict Is Less Likely

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: The NYT has written tens of editorials and articles while CNN/FOX have aired hours of TV time to discusss a US-Israel attack to Iran’s nuclear facilities. The attack will not happen. According to the NYT “the White House APPEARS DETERMINED to prevent any confrontation that could disrupt world oil markets in an election year.” Three lessons from an air strike against Iran that never happened. First, Israel cannot wage another major war without the US military muscle upfront. Second, Israel powerful Washington lobby is losing its dominant position. Third, the longer the US economic recovery, the more difficult to engage Washington in another Middle East war. Paraphrasing John Lennon: Is time to give peace a chance.

  2. Amman, Jordan.

    And so it came to pass that in 2012 — a year after the Arab awakening erupted — the United States made two financial commitments to the Arab world that each began with the numbers 1 and 3. It gave Egypt’s military $1.3 billion worth of tanks and fighter jets, and it gave Lebanese public-school students a $13.5 million merit-based college scholarship program that is currently putting 117 Lebanese kids through local American-style colleges that promote tolerance, gender and social equality, and critical thinking. I’ve recently been to Egypt, and I’ve just been to Lebanon, and I can safely report this: The $13.5 million in full scholarships has already bought America so much more friendship and stability than the $1.3 billion in tanks and fighter jets ever will.

    So how about we stop being stupid? How about we stop sending planes and tanks to a country where half the women and a quarter of the men can’t read, and start sending scholarships instead?

    I am on a swing through the Arab world right now, and I am spending as much time as I can with public schoolteachers and students — and young Arabs doing technology start-ups — and as little time as possible with officials. It derives from my conviction about what really propelled the Tunis and Tahrir Square revolutions: Arab youths — 70 percent of this region is under 30 — who were humiliated and frustrated that they were being left behind. This Arab awakening was their way of saying: We want the freedom, the voice, the educational tools, the jobs and the uncorrupted government to realize our full potential. That’s what sparked this revolution. Yes, the various Muslim Brotherhoods have exploited the opening created by these uprisings because they were the most organized parties. But if the Islamists don’t respond to the real drivers of this revolution — that yearning for education and jobs and the dignity they bring — they, too, will eventually face a rebellion (…..)

  3. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Mr. Friedman, you have a rational mind and always ask the right question, even though you already know the answer in advance. In the case of the Middle East, remember the law of unintended consequences. You’ve proposed a NOVEL and REVOLUTIONARY idea for the folks at Foggy Bottom: ” So how about we stop being stupid? How about we stop sending planes and tanks to a country where half the women and a quarter of the men can’t read, and start sending scholarships instead? The answer for the question above lies in another question. Why does the US changed its foreign policy of sending guns instead of books to third world countries? school, books and teachers would do magical wonders in Afghanistan, for example.

  4. En una visita sorpresa a Kabul que marca el comienzo del fin del conflicto en Afganistán, Barack Obama firmó este martes con el presidente de ese país, Hamid Karzai, un acuerdo de cooperación estratégica para la ya cercana posguerra. Este acuerdo, que pretende superar un largo periodo de desavenencias y dificultades entre los dos Gobiernos, simboliza la voluntad de EE UU de poner fin cuanto antes a las operaciones militares y ceder el control del país a los afganos. La visita coincide con el primer aniversario de la muerte de Osama bin Laden a manos de marines. La visita, que solo fue anunciada una vez que Obama se encontraba ya en territorio afgano, responde a la presión de una opinión pública norteamericana crecientemente escéptica sobre la necesidad de prolongar la contienda. Durante su estancia de pocas horas en Kabul el presidente Obama se dirigió a sus compatriotas a través de la televisión para anunciarles que, después de más de una década de combates, el fin está ya próximo. “El tiempo de guerra comenzó en Afganistán y será aquí donde termine”, declaró el presidente norteamericano durante su discurso a la nación. “Con fe mutua y con la mirada fijada en el futuro, acabemos el trabajo y forjemos una paz justa y duradera”. El acuerdo firmado con Karzai garantiza la implicación de EE UU y de sus aliados de la OTAN en el futuro de Afganistán, en su estabilidad y en su reconstrucción, con el propósito de que el país no sea presa fácil de los talibanes una vez que se retiren por completo las tropas extranjeras, lo que está previsto para 2014. Este acuerdo promete una considerable ayuda económica durante al menos 10 años y establece vías de cooperación en diferentes áreas civiles (…..)

  5. (Autoria) Comentario del Prof. Uziel Nogueira: El acuerdo Obama-Karzai resulta una situación win-win para los dos bandos. Obama garantiza la seguridad de EE UU a través de la presencia permanente de tropas en suelo afgano. Karzai garantiza su permanencia en el poder bajo el paraguas protector militar norteamericano.

    Mientras tanto, el pueblo afgano no encuentra ni la ansiada paz ni la promesa de progreso y prosperidad para la mayoria.

  6. (…..) All along, the contention of the Iran hawks has been that the Tehran regime is immune to external pressure. But this makes little sense. Its leaders are craven, bellicose, nasty. But they are also opportunistic, intent on self-preservation. Around the world, ugly regimes that were once seen as impervious to reform have indeed changed from within. Again and again, the mistake that Western hawks have made has been to overestimate the longevity of authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorships. The late Jeane Kirkpatrick even made a distinction between authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, arguing that the latter were far less likely to alter their political complexion. But as she herself acknowledged, this turned out to be wrong. The Soviet Union, viewed as a kind of implacable tyranny that could not be significantly undermined, was. Fast forward to today and you have Burma, one of the world’s leading reprobate countries, reaching out to the West. Who would have dreamed a few years ago that it would hold free elections? The blunt fact is that standards continue to change, that the costs of remaining in not-so-splendid isolation are rising, both for leaders and their countries, as Basher al-Assad and his wife, who may not be able to enjoy her luxurious Parisian shopping trips any longer, are discovering. So it would be mistaken to assume—as some are assuming—that the sole way to deal with Iran is to bomb it back to the stone, or at least the Safavid, age. Not so. But perhaps it is also a mistake to reckon that Netanyahu is really intent on going mano-a-mano with the Islamic republic. A credible threat, after all, is required to prod the Mr. Khamenei & Co. into deviating from the nuclear path. The good news, however, is that a debate, or, to put it more precisely, a very public battle is taking place in Israel over whether Iran is determined not simply to research but also to build and test a bomb—and whether a strike on Iran, which might lead to a wider war in the Middle East, would really be merited.

  7. The most striking sentence of President Obama’s eloquent speech to the nation Tuesday night came very near the end: “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” Would that it were so. Would that it were so that the Sept. 11 attacks marked the beginning of a period whose end is soon approaching. The president thinks this, and the American people would like it to be so. It’s an attractive view, with the great political merit of offering hope of a relatively early and clear end to “this time of war.” And it’s not an intellectually incoherent view: The 9/11 attack was launched by al-Qaeda based in Afghanistan. Our war aim has been and is to destroy al-Qaeda and prevent the use of Afghanistan as a base for future attacks. When we’ve achieved this objective, the war will end. But what if the reality is that, from Pakistan in the east to Tunisia in the west, and most visibly now in places such as Iran and Yemen and Somalia — and not just in Afghanistan — we are at war with political Islamism, a movement whose ability to find state sponsors and enablers is not limited to just one country or two? This isn’t a pleasant reality, and even the Bush administration wasn’t quite ready to confront it. But President George W. Bush did capture the truth that we are engaged in — and had no choice but to engage in — a bigger war, a “global war on terror,” of which Afghanistan was only one front. There are, of course, problems with “global war on terror” as a phrase and an organizing principle. But it does capture what we might call the “big” view of 9/11 and its implications (…..)


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