Follow the links to read the whole thing.
On his ABC News program “This Week,” the alert Jake Tapper was talking with CIA Director Leon Panetta about Iran’s efforts. Panetta believes they are bent on developing weapons and thinks they might be about two years away from having a deliverable nuclear bomb.
Tapper asked about suspicions that the U.S. was secretly helping Iran stumble in its research. That wouldn’t exactly be transparent, would it? But, hey, when it comes to nukes in the hands of the likes of those types, whatever works, right?
Panetta, of course, is not really going to answer. “Why, yes, Jake. We did give his scientists the incorrect recipe for enriching uranium just the other day.” . . .
Andrew Malcolm, “So maybe the U.S. is secretly helping Iran screw up its nuclear weapons program,” Los Angeles Times, June 28, 2010
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday awarded President Bashar al-Assad La Orden del Libertador of First degree.
President Chavez said this order is a recognition of all of the effort you have been exerting, not only as a leader of Syria but as a leader in the Arab region and the world, in the ongoing and courageous struggle for freedom of the peoples, peace and for life. I am not exaggerating when I say you are one of the new world liberators.
He added that this medal is presented by us and our people to President al-Assad and then we present a replica of the sword of the Liberator Simon Bolivar, the sword of the liberation of peoples to President al-Assad who deserves it.
President al-Assad, in turn, invested President Chavez with Order of Omayyad, the highest national medal in Syria,
President al-Assad said since you are the symbol of resistance in Latin America, the Arab region and in the world, as a representative of resistant Venezuelan people, in appreciation of your support to the Arab just causes, including the Palestinian cause, the occupied Syrian Golan issue and in recognition of the human values you and your people are representing, I offer you the Order of Omayyad, the highest national medal in Syria.
“Presidents al-Assad and Chavez Exchange Highest National Medals, SANA, June 28, 2010
Left and right, religious and secular, socialist and capitalist, Democrat and Republican, The Wall Street Journal and Mother Jones: There is a broad, deep consensus around the need to reduce or end our dependency on oil.
The environmental consequences have been evident for years, from pollution to spills to the game-ending threat of climate change.
The political consequences are now just as apparent. In 2005, Saudi Arabia made $160 billion off its oil exports and sent billions abroad to fund the most radical and militant form of Islam, Wahhabi.
“The underlying beliefs that are being taught around the world in those Wahhabi institutions are essentially al-Qaeda beliefs,” former CIA Director James Woolsey writes. “The result is that the war on terror is the only war the United States has fought, with the obvious exception of the Civil War, in which we pay for both sides.”
Rob Eshman, “Oil as a Jewish Issue,” Jewish Journal, June 28, 2010
The other day, noting Bret Stephens’ analysis in Commentary as to why Iran cannot be contained, Jonah Goldberg made a very shrewd throwaway aside: “Arguments like this tend to get ignored not because they aren’t persuasive, but because they are,” he said. “The political and psychological costs of accepting the premise are too high. So, denial inevitably triumphs.”
And thus our Iran “policy”: There will be no US military strike. There will be no international sanctions regime. And so the mullahs will go nuclear, because letting them go nuclear requires least of us – and there will always be scholars and experts ready to justify our inertia as farsighted realpolitik. Thus, the rehabilitation of “containment”: That we can do. Iran, says Zbigniew Brzezinski, “may be dangerous, assertive and duplicitous, but there is nothing in their history to suggest they are suicidal.”
Dr Brzezinski is a man who has been reliably wrong about everything that matters for decades and whose decision to route American support for the Afghan resistance through the malign double-act of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki and Pakistan’s ISI has had consequences we live with to this day. He is the master of unrealpolitik, and so naturally his is now the new conventional wisdom: Iran is not “suicidal”. Therefore, it can be contained. . . .
But let’s flip Dr Brzezinski’s point around: An American might conclude that Iran isn’t suicidal. But can the Iranians make the same confident claim about America? After all, we’ve just let them go nuclear – not under cover of darkness, as Pakistan did, but in slow motion and in open contempt of the US and its European negotiators. Why would you do that? Iran doesn’t observe even the minimal courtesies of mutually hostile states: It seizes foreign embassies at home, and blows them up on the other side of the world; it kidnaps the sailors of permanent members of the UN Security Council in international waters; it seeds terrorist proxies in Gaza and Lebanon, and backs terrorist attacks all over the world. And it pays no price for any of this. If you can’t rouse yourself to prevent a rogue state with a thirty-year consistent pattern of behavior getting nukes, what else won’t you rouse yourself for?
Mark Steyn, “CONTAINING YOURSELF,” Steynonline.com, June 30, 2010
Phalange Party MP Sami Gemayel expressed his party’s opposition to grant Palestinian refugees rights that the Lebanese lacked, as he called on Arab states and the international community to assume their responsibility. . . .
Some 400,000 Palestinian refugees living in camps all throughout the country are denied basic civil rights, including ownership of property, access to employment and social security services. Christian parties fear that granting the refugees rights would lead to their naturalization and would thereby alter the country’s confessional power sharing balance. . . .
Meanwhile, Change and Reform bloc MP Neamatallah Abi Nasr on Friday expressed his fear that granting Palestinians civil rights would lead to granting them political ones.
In a statement, Abi Nasr also called for a united and firm Arab stance against the naturalization of Palestinians in Lebanon.
Elias Sakr, “Phalange MP raps bid to grant Palestinians rights”, Daily Star, July 3, 2010
The story of Turkey’s Islamic revolution is illuminating. It is the story of a charismatic leader with a methodical plan to unravel a system, a politician cynically using democracy to pursue autocracy, Arab donors understanding the power of the purse, Western political correctness blinding officials to the Islamist agenda, and American diplomats seemingly more concerned with their post-retirement pocketbooks than with U.S. national security. For Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it is a dream come true. For the next generation of American presidents, diplomats, and generals, it is a disaster.
Michael Rubin, “Turkey, from Ally to Enemy,” Commentary, July-August 2010