World View: Cyprus Begs Russia for a Bailout

World View: Cyprus Begs Russia for a Bailout

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Obama and Netanyahu appear to agree on military action in Iran
  • Debate over Iraq war continues on tenth anniversary
  • Cyprus begs Russia for a bailout
  • Turkey’s Erdogan says that his comments on Zionism were misinterpreted

Obama and Netanyahu appear to agree on military action in Iran

Obama and Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday
Obama and Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday

In their joint press conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday, PresidentBarack Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appearedto agree that military action must be used to prevent Iran from havinga nuclear weapon. However, they appeared to differ on the timing.Obama said:

“A nuclear armed Iran would be a threat to the region,a threat to the world and potentially an existential threat toIsrael,” Obama said. “Our policy is to prevent Iran from having anuclear weapon.”

This would imply that military action would be taken only at thelast minute, just in time to prevent final development. However,Netanyahu is demanding that Iran be stopped much earlier, beforeit can produce the enriched uranium needed in a nuclear weapon.

As I’ve said many times in the past, my expectation is that we’llnever make a military attack on Iran. This is my personal view basedon a generational analysis: Iran is ruled by hardliner survivors ofthe 1979 Great Islamic Revolution, but most people under 30 arepro-Western and have no particular desire to see Israel pushed intothe sea. Even if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, I can’t see ascenario where it would be used against Israel. And to repeat whatI’ve said before, in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, Iranwill be allied with the West, including Israel, against China,Pakistan and the Sunni countries. It’s certainly possible that, inthe interim, Israeli leaders will panic and attack Iran, but myexpectation is that such an attack is unlikely. VOA and Ynet

Debate over Iraq war continues on tenth anniversary

With American forces gone from Iraq, Sunni militants in al-Qaeda inIraq are stepping up terrorist attacks on the Shia-led government, andpromised to go further.

At the same time, there’s a lot of nonsense in the media about whetherwe should have launched the 2003 ground invasion. The bestresponse to the nonsense is this quote from Tony Blair in 2010:

“Sometimes what is important is not to ask the March2003 question but to ask the 2010 question. Supposing we hadbacked off this military action, supposing we had left Saddam andhis sons who were going to follow him in charge of Iraq, peoplewho had used chemical weapons, caused the death of over a millionpeople? What we now know is that he retained absolutely the intentand the intellectual know-how to restart a nuclear and a chemicalweapons program when the inspectors were out and the sanctionschanged.”

The only reason that we know that Saddam didn’t have WMDs is becauseof the ground invasion. Blair said that Saddam had “the intent” todevelop a nuclear and chemical weapons program. If it weren’t for theinvasion, we still wouldn’t know to this day, whether Saddam had orwas developing WMDs. Just as important, neither would Iran. So Iranwould have its own chemical weapons program to counter Iraq’s, andWednesday’s press conference with Obama and Netanyahu would have beendiscussing a chemical weapons arms race between Iran and Iraq, inaddition to nuclear weapons development in Iran. (See “The Iraq war may be related to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” from 2008.) Guardian (London)

Cyprus begs Russia for a bailout

Cyprus pleaded for help from Russia on Wednesday, the day after itsParliament rejected the European bailout terms, without a singlesupporter. However, the crisis appeared to deepen on Wednesday forseveral reasons:

  • Cyprus announced that banks will be closed until Tuesday, to avoid an immediate bank run and crash, and to buy time.
  • European officials repeated that their bailout terms will not be softened.
  • The European threatened to cut off liquidity to Cyprus’s banks, which would force them into bankruptcy.
  • The Russians say that no deal has been reached.

Moscow has its own interests in ensuring the survival of Cyprus’sbanks, which have served as an offshore financial haven for Russianbusinesses and individuals. Talk of Cyprus leaving the eurocurrency continues. Cyprus Mail

Turkey’s Erdogan says that his comments on Zionism were misinterpreted

Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that his remarks onZionism were being misinterpreted. Earlier this month, he said in aninterview:

“As is the case for Zionism, anti-Semitism andfascism, it is inevitable that Islamophobia be considered a crimeagainst humanity.”

Erdogan has received harsh criticism for his remark, but onWednesday he said the following:

“I know that my remarks created controversy, but noone should misunderstand my statements. Everyone knows that mycriticism targeted certain critical issues, particularly Israelipolicies in Gaza,” Erdogan said in what is his first response tocriticism by the US, Israel and the European Union following hisearlier remarks. The prime minister added that he will continue tomake such criticisms until Israel recognizes the state ofPalestine.

On the other hand, we recognized and still recognize Israel as astate within the 1967 boundaries. It should not be forgotten thatwe have hosted in our country a number of Israeli presidents andprime ministers as part of our peace efforts.

Turkey, like it did in the past, supports all international andregional efforts for a just, lasting and comprehensive solution tothe Israeli-Palestinian conflict within the perspective of atwo-state solution. My several speeches openly condemninganti-Semitism demonstrate my stance. In this regard, I standbehind my speech in Vienna.”

It’s not clear to me that this statement will quell the criticism.Zaman (Istanbul)

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