Bomb Iran? Why 5 Top Israeli Figures Don’t Want to Do It
Christa Case Bryant, Christian Science Monitor – September 4, 2012
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s threat of a unilateral strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, supported by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, has sparked an unusually public debate in Israel about the wisdom of the move. While nearly all of those involved seem to agree that Iran poses a serious nuclear threat, they disagree about the timing and method of best countering that threat.
Can Egypt Defuse the Iranian Nuclear Crisis
Michael Hughes, Huffington Post – September 4, 2012
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has a historic opportunity to help resolve the Iranian-Israeli nuclear imbroglio by leveraging Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Tel Aviv and exploiting its newfound goodwill with Tehran. Morsi is well-positioned to broker a “cool peace” and prevent Israel and/or the United States from launching airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities. However, this will only be possible if all parties involved put aside ideological differences, focus on true underlying interests and come to the table with properly managed expectations.
Iran’s Nuclear Site Opened to Mongolian President
Nasser Kirimi, Huffington Post – September 3, 2012
Iran on Monday gave Mongolia’s president a tour of its main uranium enrichment plant, the first time that it has opened the site to a foreign leader. The visit by President Tsakhia Elbegdorj followed a summit of nonaligned nations in Tehran that Iranian officials hoped would show the failure of Western sanctions to isolate Iran diplomatically. State TV showed Elbegdorj inspecting centrifuges used to enrich uranium at the facility in the central Iranian town of Natanz.
To Calm Israel, US Offers Ways to Restrain Iran
David E. Sanger & Eric Schmitt, The New York Times – September 2, 2012
With Israel openly debating whether to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities in the coming months, the Obama administration is moving ahead with a range of steps short of war that it hopes will forestall an Israeli attack, while forcing the Iranians to take more seriously negotiations that are all but stalemated. Already planned are naval exercises and new antimissile systems in the Persian Gulf, and a more forceful clamping down on Iranian oil revenue. The administration is also considering new declarations by President Obama about what might bring about American military action, as well as covert activities that have been previously considered and rejected.
In Authoritarian North Korea, Hints of Reform
Chico Harlan, Washington Post – September 3, 2012
Under new leader Kim Jong Eun, North Korea in recent months has shifted its rhetoric to emphasize the economy rather than the military and is introducing small-scale agricultural reforms with tantalizing elements of capitalism, according to diplomats and defector groups with informants in the North.
Kim Jong Un’s Nuclear Agenda
Scott A. Snyder, The Atlantic – September 2, 2012
As the country rolls out its “new look” leadership, North Korea’s continuing nuclear program has dropped from the headlines, following North Korea’s failed rocket launch and the failure of the Obama administration’s “leap day” understanding with North Korea. An article this month by Frank V. Pabian and Siegfried Hecker in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and an Institute of Science and International Security (ISIS) report by David Albright and Christina Walrond are firm reminders that North Korea’s nuclear program and uranium enrichment efforts continue regardless of whether or not they are in the headlines.
North Korea Makes “Significant” Nuclear Reactor Progress: IAEA
Fredrick Dahl, Reuters – August 31, 2012
North Korea has made significant progress in the construction of a light water atomic reactor over the past year, a U.N. watchdog report said, a facility that may extend Pyongyang’s capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), citing satellite images, also said “certain activities” had been observed at locations where the reclusive Asian state “reportedly” conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION NEWS
Dems Try to Rev Up Obama Enthusiasm at Convention
Calvin Woodward, Boston Globe – September 4, 2012
Democrats open their national convention Tuesday offering President Barack Obama as America’s best chance to revive the ragged U.S. economy and asking voters to be patient with incomplete results so far. Michelle Obama, in her opening-night speech, aims to give people a very personal reminder of ‘‘the man that he was before he was president.’’ ‘The truth is that he has grown so much, but in terms of his core character and value, that has not been changed at all,’’ Mrs. Obama said in interview airing on SiriusXM’s ‘‘The Joe Madison Show.’’ The three-day convention has drawn thousands of delegates to a state Obama narrowly carried in 2008. And although Obama no longer is the fresh-faced newbie who leveraged a short Senate career into an audacious run for the nation’s highest office, he still can excite partisans, and Democrats were counting on massive numbers to pack a stadium for his speech later in the week.
Romney’s Silence on Afghanistan
Uri Fiedman, Washington Post – September 4, 2012
It’s rather surprising that it was mystery-guest actor Clint Eastwood — not Mitt Romney — who made the only reference to the war in Afghanistan during the final night of the GOP (Grand Old Party) convention last week. Commentators on both the right and the left have taken the Republican presidential nominee to task for not addressing a nearly 11-year-old conflict in which roughly 90,000 US troops are currently engaged and more than 2,000 have died. In fact, the so-called “forgotten war” was only mentioned four times during the three-day Republican convention (the word “jobs,” by contrast, was uttered 220 times).