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Thursday, August 13, 2020

March 9, 2012

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Meet the Israeli ‘Octet’ That Would Decide an Iran Attack

Eli Lake of the Daily Beast explains how Netanyahu is not the only one who decides whether Israel will strike Iran.

Israeli law requires that major national-security decisions, like signing peace accords or ordering airstrikes, must receive a majority vote in either the full cabinet or a smaller ministerial committee on national security—a panel comprising half the ministers of the full cabinet. (The current Israeli cabinet has 30 ministers, 15 of whom serve on the national-security committee.) But in practice, the decision of the octet is most vital.

Three Scientific Problems for Iran’s Nuke Program

Writing in Real Clear Science, physicist Tom Hartsfield outlines the challenges Iran faces in building a nuclear bomb.

Why is it a struggle for an entire nation to assemble a lump of metal smaller than a volleyball and build a bomb around it? The answer is three-fold: (1) Fuel for nuclear weapons is hard to come by; (2) The design of the bomb is daunting; and (3) The brainpower to run the project is hard to assemble.

Hamas is making a tactical appeal to the grassroots

Hamas’ decision to distance itself from Iran and Syria is a policy shift following the ascent of Islamist parties in the region, writes Tareq Baconi in the Guardian.

If anything, this move comes on the heels of several recent manoeuvrings aimed at better aligning Hamas with regional changes. The recent tour of the region by Ismail Haniyeh climaxed with explicit support for the people of Syria against a brutal regime. Also, Khaled Meshaal recently declared his intention to form a Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, suggesting a desire to capitalise on the democratic rise of “moderate” Islamic parties in regional politics.

Obama vs. Israel

Obama’s push to deter Israel from striking Iran is simply political maneuvering by a president wishing to get reelected, writes Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post.

The world’s greatest exporter of terror (according to the State Department), the systematic killer of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, the self-declared enemy that invented “Death to America Day” is approaching nuclear capability — and the focus of U.S. policy is to prevent a democratic ally threatened with annihilation from preempting the threat?

The Missing Middle in American Politics

Writing in Foreign Affairs, Reihan Salam tracks the decline of moderate Republicans, and its impact on the party’s politics.

[M]oderate Republicanism will not return as a bona fide movement anytime soon, despite the efforts of right-of-center public intellectuals such as David Frum and David Brooks. The social group that contributed so heavily to the moderate movement of yesteryear—upper-middle-class social liberals who live in big cities and their suburbs—has shifted overwhelmingly to the Democratic Party, and it seems unlikely that those voters will ever return to the GOP. Yet the moderates’ flexibility and pragmatism are experiencing a tentative renaissance, as younger conservatives, led by figures such as Ryan, face up to their movement’s shortcomings.

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