Towards a Nuclear Middle East

2 June, 2009

Within a matter of months, Iran could be in possession of nuclear weapons. The evidence for this was considered last week here. This is a state perfectly content to finance, train and arm with conventional weapons terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. This is a state with political discourse dominated by nationalism.

These are the two major impacts from Iran’s decision: nuclear proliferation, and the possibility of terrorist organisations obtaining weapons of mass destruction. It is often easy to forget these consequences and simply focus on the prospect of the Ayatollah with his finger on the button, hoping that mutually assured destruction will save us.

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Back in Iraq

14 May, 2009

The Washington Post reports militants have renewed their entry into Iraq through Syria. The developments come as diplomacy between the US and Syria are promising, suggesting the real motivation behind these movements. Meanwhile, violence in Iraq is lower than it has been since the summer of 2003. President Obama’s decision to renew economic and political sanctions against Damascus will threaten the progress made on both fronts.

The ability of Syria to make life difficult for America, was demonstrated by their removal of support for border control operations with Iraq last year after incursions into their territory. This should not be forgotten. Antagonism also tends to drive Syria towards its neighbour Iran. Even though this is clearly only a marriage of convenience, it should be avoided.

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Tough Love

12 May, 2009

Israel will continue to place short-term security concerns ahead of the long-term prospects of peace, as long as the US tacitly consents by not objecting. If he forced their hand in diplomatic negotiation with Syria and Fatah, President Obama would be doing the Israeli people a favour. Strong words from Vice-President Joseph Biden before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) bode well.

Considering the comments made by his President in the run-up to the election before that same committee, Vice President Joseph Biden’s remarks are a welcome dose of realism. Most notably, he declared that Israel must work towards a two-state solution. It seems obvious.

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