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Archive for December, 2012

2013 – A Year of War?

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

At the start of the new year, the IDF faces many challenges: Iran, Hezbollah, the West Bank and of course Post-Assad Syria. How will the next year look like? Possible forecastsTitle

2013 has been defined by the IDF as a “decisive year”, but there is a reasonable chance that it will become a year of war. Even if the year ends without war on some front, it can be stated that the IDF has never entered a work year with so many question marks as it will in 2013.

The assumption at the base of the IDF’s work plan for 2013 is that the Middle East is in a period of change, one which has yet to conclude – the upheavals are continuing. Processes of historical significance which in the past would take many years are occurring within weeks and even few days. It is not only the Middle East that’s changing either: the whole international system is changing as well. The US is no longer a singular world power. Russia, China and the developing countries are challenging it. Furthermore, the things taking place here influences the reality of 2013 as well. Read more…

Explosive State of a Nuke World Order

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

The first war of 2013 – Israel’s attack on Iran – is threatened for ”spring or early summer”, the time by which the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is likely to be re-elected next

Stand-off ... Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, presides over a criminal state.

Stand-off … Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, presides over a criminal state.

month, believes that the Mullahs will be ”nuclear weapons capable”. The White House may prevail upon him to postpone until Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is replaced in June, but his successor as president will just be another proxy for the international criminal who really rules Iran – its Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

The US President, Barack Obama, has promised that a US-led coalition will prevent Iran from obtaining the bomb, and when a US president talks of ”coalition” he generally means Britain and Australia. Read more…

Russian Warship Heads to Syria in Preparation for a Possible Evacuation

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Moscow officials have acknowledged that citizens will be pulled out of the country should Assad’s regime fall.

The Russian Federation Navy Udaloy class destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov transiting the channel into Pearl Harbor in October 2003 (photo credit: US Navy)

The Russian Federation Navy Udaloy class destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov transiting the channel into Pearl Harbor in October 2003 (photo credit: US Navy)

The Kremlin is sending another warship to the Syrian port of Tartus, where Russia has a naval base, Russian news agencies reported.

The reports Sunday by the ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agency cited an unidentified official in the military general staff as saying the Novocherkassk, a large landing ship, has set sail from the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk. She was “accompanied by a combat ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet,” according to a Russian news source.

The Novocherkassk was the third vessel of its kind dispatched since Friday from Russia to Tartus, AFP reported, and was expected to arrive in the area in early January. Read more…

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2013

December 29, 2012 Leave a comment

From Turkey to Congo, next year’s wars threaten global stability.121221_intro_RS

Every year, around the world, old conflicts worsen, new ones emerge and, occasionally, some situations improve. There is no shortage of storm clouds looming over 2013: Once again, hotspots old and new will present a challenge to the security of people across the globe.

There is, of course, an arbitrariness to most lists — and this list of crises to watch out for in 2013 is no different. One person’s priority might well be another’s sideshow, one analyst’s early warning cry is another’s fear-mongering. In some situations — Central Asia, perhaps — preventive action has genuine meaning: The collapse into chaos has yet to happen. More complicated is anticipating when it will happen, what will trigger it, and how bad it will be. In others — Syria, obviously — the catastrophe is already upon us, so the very notion of prevention can seem absurd. It has no meaning save in the sense of preventing the nightmare from worsening or spreading. Read more…

Will 2013 see action on Iran’s nuclear program?

December 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Back at the beginning of 2006, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)made waves in Washington by predicting that the United States could ultimately have to choose Will 2013 see action on Iran's nuclear programbetween allowing Iran to go nuclear and taking military action to stop it. Pretty much every year since then, someone’s New Year’s forecast has had that fateful choice finally coming before the president.

For seven years, it hasn’t happened. But will 2013 be different?

The conventional wisdom I’ve heard from diplomats in Washington this month says probably not. Most likely, it goes, next year will look like previous years: Negotiations will limp along inconclusively. Iran will make incremental progress on uranium enrichment, while stopping short of steps that would provoke a U.S. or Israeli attack. Read more…

How do you think we should be playing it in Syria right now? An Interview with Richard N. Haass

December 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Should the Bush administration have been better prepared for the national security threats that were crystallized in the attacks of 9/11?haass-1

Richard Haass: Armchair quarterbacks or Monday morning quarterbacks might say so. It’s fair to say that mainstream national security thinking at that time did not place that high of a priority on terrorism. It wasn’t that terrorism was inconceivable, but the scale of it was seen as modest, so people who were working on these issues were not as focused on it as they ought to have been. It took 9/11 to make clear that the nature of the challenge had changed. Hence the comprehensive response from the Intelligence Community, Homeland Security, [Department of] Defense, you name it. It wasn’t just the administration—most of the people working in foreign policy or national security did not approach terrorism or counterterrorism pre-9/11 with anything like the intensity that became the new normal after 9/11. Any criticism you would lodge with the Bush administration, you would have lodged with any other administration, and indeed you probably could have lodged with the field at large.

Was the Global War on Terror, in your opinion, an effective and appropriate response to the challenge?

Haass: I never much liked the wording “Global war on terror.” A “war” suggested too many things that were unhelpful. First of all, it suggested that the main Read more…

Supermajority of Senators Urge Increased Sanctions, Support for Iranian People, and Credible Military Coalition Against Iranian Threat

December 23, 2012 Leave a comment

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan supermajority of Senators today sent a letter to President Obama laying out four steps that they urge the Administration to take, as it prepares for the possibleUS Senate resumption of nuclear negotiations with Iran. Led by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), the letter was signed by a total of 74 Senators.

In their letter, the Senators pointed to the significant impact current sanctions are having on the Iranian economy, yet cautioned that “the Iranian government has continued to press forward with its nuclear program. It has quintupled its stockpile of low enriched uranium since 2009. It has taken a significant step closer to possessing weapons-grade uranium by enriching up to 20 percent. And it has raced towards completion of its hardened Fordow enrichment facility, more than doubling the number of centrifuges installed there just since the summer of this year.” Read more…

Canada Again Leads UN Condemnation of Iran

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Canada Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:Canada again leads un condemnation of Iran

“Today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Canada-led resolution on the situation of human rights in Iran.

“We are proud of the substantial support that this resolution garnered at the United Nations. The community of nations spoke with clarity of view and purpose to acknowledge what the regime in Tehran consistently denies: its widespread, systematic and egregious human rights violations. This is a clear signal that these violations will not be tolerated.

“The resolution is also important because it reminds courageous individuals and their families, as well as victims of human rights violations, that they have not been forgotten by the international community. Read more…

Lawmakers Insisting on Justice for Benghazi Attack on Consulate

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Four quit posts at State Department in wake of reportBenghazi Coffins

Key Republican lawmakers on Wednesday embraced the findings of the State Department’s internal inquiry into the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, even though its long-awaited report stopped short of probing questions of an Obama administration cover-up in the attack’s aftermath.

The report by the Accountability Review Board noted that senior State Department officials ignored intelligence and security warnings that might have prevented the fatal onslaught on the diplomatic mission and prompted the removal of four department officials Wednesday. Read more…

The End of the University as We Know It

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

In fifty years, if not much sooner, half of the roughly 4,500 colleges and universities now operating in theThe end of University United States will have ceased to exist. The technology driving this change is already at work, and nothing can stop it. The future looks like this: Access to college-level education will be free for everyone; the residential college campus will become largely obsolete; tens of thousands of professors will lose their jobs; the bachelor’s degree will become increasingly irrelevant; and ten years from now Harvard will enroll ten million students.

We’ve all heard plenty about the “college bubble” in recent years. Student loan debt is at an all-time high—an average of more than $23,000 per graduate by some counts—and tuition costs continue to rise at a rate far outpacing inflation, as they have for decades. Credential inflation is devaluing the college degree, making graduate degrees, and the greater debt required to pay for them, increasingly necessary for many people to maintain the standard of living they experienced growing up in their parents’ homes. Students are defaulting on their loans at an unprecedented rate, too, partly a function of an economy short on entry-level professional positions. Yet, as with all bubbles, there’s a persistent public belief in the value of something, and that faith in the college degree has kept demand high. Read more…

Review Board Raps State Department for Poor Security in Benghazi

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

The mandatory State Department internal inquiry into the deadly Sept. 11 terror attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, slams bureaucrats for “grossly inadequate” security butBenghazi case says that poor leadership could not be punished under department regulations.

The report blames inadequate security at the mission on “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels” of State Department headquarters, where officials turned down repeated requests from diplomats on the ground for more security, both at the embassy in Tripoli and in Benghazi.

The failures, at State’s Diplomatic Security and Near Eastern Affairs Bureaus in Washington, left the diplomatic post with security “that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the report states. Read more…