As civil war paralyses Syria’s transit routes and political flux in Egypt may affect security at the Suez Canal, Israel is busy repositioning itself as a transhipment hub and trade gateway to the Middle East.
Despite strenuous objections by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and mostly Republican lawmakers here, the new accord between the Iran and the U.S. and five other major powers on Tehran’s nuclear programme appears to be gaining support here and abroad.
The devil is in the details. This cliché is already being invoked regarding the deal concluded this past weekend between Iran and the so-called P5+1 – the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, along with the European Union’s High Representative, Baroness Catherine Ashton.
As Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers of at least four other major powers prepared to join talks with Iran in Geneva Saturday, the stakes over the eventual success or failure of the negotiations seem very much on the rise here.
Israel, Saudi Arabia, and some of the other ArabGulf states are deeply sceptical of the Barack Obama administration’s efforts to reach a deal with Iran limiting its nuclear programme and to improve U.S.-Iranian relations generally.
Amidst rising expectations of a breakthrough, Iran and six world powers Wednesday resumed their quest for a deal on Iran’s controversial nuclear programme that seemed just within reach earlier this month.
Two pillars of the U.S. foreign policy establishment urged Congress Monday to forgo any new sanctions legislation directed against Iran, warning that it will risk “undermining or even shutting down” ongoing negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
In the municipal sports hall with an army officer to his side, Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox Arab priest in full regalia, briefs Arab Christian twelfth-graders on the merits of serving in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). “It’s only natural that the country which protects us deserves that we contribute to its defence,” he tells them.
As Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and nuclear talks on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme continue, a unique international conference, “A Middle East without Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)”, was held in Jerusalem.
While Monday’s meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi King Abdullah may have helped calm the waters, the latest anxieties and anger expressed by Riyadh toward the United States has reignited debate here about the value of the two countries’ long-standing alliance.
On the 34th
anniversary of the seizure by Iranian militants of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, a growing number of experts here believe Washington and the Islamic Republic may be moving toward détente, if not rapprochement.
“O green Battir, mother of the air,” Mariam Ma’mmar sings in praise of her village. As the hot season draws to a close, the land – her people’s strength – dries up. Not here in her Battir, where a peaceful form of resistance against the Israeli occupation is taking root.
Despite renewed calls in Congress for increasing pressure on Iran, support for a U.S. attack against the Islamic Republic has declined markedly over the past year, according to the latest in an annual series of polls carried out by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
Israel keeps urging the group of six major powers to agree nothing less than a full dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear capability. Yet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might have to come to terms with settling for an agreement which, though sustainable, falls short of his longstanding demand.
New and unexpected strains in Washington’s ties with two of its closest Middle Eastern allies -- Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- have underlined the difficult challenges the administration of President Barack Obama faces in navigating its way in the region’s increasingly treacherous and turbulent waters.