Islamic Republic of Iran

The Civil War in the Syrian Opposition: How Long Can the Free Syrian Army Hold Off Its Islamist Rivals?
June 25, 2012

If you want to know where the fourteen month-old Syrian revolution against President Bashar al-Assad is headed, the case of Walid al-Boustani provides a useful rubric. Al-Boustani led an ill-fated “Islamic Emirate of Homs” that lasted only a few weeks. Apparently the locals did not appreciate having an “Emir” who kidnapped and murdered their people while claiming to wage jihad against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Calling Iran’s Bluff: It’s Time to Offer Tehran a Civilian Nuclear Program
June 15, 2012

The ultimate goal of the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, the next round of which commences in Moscow on June 18, has always been the same: Determining whether Iran is willing to accept that its nuclear program must be credibly limited in a way that precludes it from being able to turn civil nuclear power into nuclear weapons. The collective approach of the 5+1—the five permanent members of the U.N.

Jenny Craig’s Overseas Ambitions and a New Olympic Sport: Today’s TNR Reader
June 14, 2012

Editor’s Note: We'll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! In America, food is both the enemy and the cure. We overeat, we diet, we overeat. Is France heading in the same direction? Jenny Craig hopes so. The New York Times | 14 min (3, 449 words) Even though the Green Revolution was a tragic failure, Iran’s Mullahs are steadily losing their grip. World Affairs Journal | 11 min (2, 632 words) This summer, the Olympics will debut a new sport: women’s boxing.

The Need to Lead
June 07, 2012

Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global PowerBy Zbigniew Brzezinski (Basic Books, 208 pp., $26)  When it comes to offering a vision to guide American foreign policy, Zbigniew Brzezinski’s latest book, unlike so much other literature of this type, refuses to lament or exaggerate the alleged decline in American power and influence. Instead Strategic Vision offers a kind of blueprint—a path that Washington must take, in Brzezinski’s view, to ensure a secure international order, in which free markets and democratic principles can thrive.

The Romance of Realism
May 04, 2012

Eisenhower in War and Peace By Jean Edward Smith (Random House, 950 pp., $40) The histories we write say as much about our own times as about those we study. The current polarization in Washington has prompted a nostalgia for parties that were less ideologically uniform and more prone to compromise. Fashionable “pragmatism” has similarly infected thinking about foreign policy, as the fallout from the Iraq war lingers in the air a decade on.

Pravda Lite
March 14, 2012

As international outcry grows alongside the body count in Syria, one news network has taken a decidedly unconventional approach to covering the crisis.

Why Israel Still Can’t Trust That Obama Has Its Back
March 07, 2012

When the President of the United States repeatedly says he’s got your back, and in precisely those words, what more can you ask for? Yet as I read Obama’s interview with Jeff Goldberg in The Atlantic, then his speech to the AIPAC convention, and finally reports of his meeting with Netanyahu, I felt increasingly uneasy. True, Obama went farther than he ever has in reassuring Israel of his commitment to stopping a nuclear Iran. He explicitly mentioned the military option. He upheld Israel’s right to defend itself.

It’s Time to Use American Airpower in Syria
March 05, 2012

After a year of bloodshed, the crisis in Syria has reached a decisive moment. It is estimated that more than 7,500 lives have been lost. The United Nations has declared that Syrian security forces are guilty of crimes against humanity, including the indiscriminate shelling of civilians, the execution of defectors, and the widespread torture of prisoners. Bashar Al-Assad is now doing to Homs what his father did to Hama. Aerial photographs procured by Human Rights Watch show a city that has been laid to waste by Assad’s tanks and artillery.

Can Israel Trust the United States When It Comes to Iran?
March 02, 2012

When Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Barack Obama on Monday, the main issue will be trust. Obama will ask that Israel trust America’s determination to stop Iran, and trust that when he says all options are on the table he means it. Netanyahu will likely be thinking about May 1967. In late May 1967, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol dispatched his foreign minister, Abba Eban, to Washington. Egyptian and Syrian troops were pressing on Israel’s borders; Egypt had imposed a naval blockade on the Straits of Tiran, Israel’s shipping route to the east.

Why Won’t Obama Speak Frankly About Iran?
February 28, 2012

The world is nearing the point where it is going to have to make some difficult decisions about how to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon—among them, a decision about whether to use military force. Given Iran’s deep hostility to the United States and Israel, as well as its history of sponsoring terrorism, the importance of denying Iran a nuclear weapon cannot be overstated. But, while President Obama says he believes Iran must be denied the bomb, his rhetoric on the subject has been curiously circumscribed.

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