News of note on Iran:
1. Israeli journalist supposedly in the know claims: “Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012” Why do people think his view is newsworthy? According to another security journalist: “Bergman is one of a small circle of heavyweights in the Israeli media who spend a significant amount of time with the politicians, spies and generals who are going to make the ultimate decision. So his assessment carries more weigh[t] that your average Israel-Iran analyst.” Not everyone is so sure Bergman is right.
2. Colin Kahl, a security studies professor at Georgetown University, argues that the Arab Spring hasn’t been the blessing the Iranians had hoped it would be. Kahl: “One year later, however, it is hard to find evidence that Iran has benefited from the Arab uprisings. In fact, Iran’s regional position has taken a big hit. With the partial exception of Yemen, Tehran has struggled to build new networks of influence with emerging Islamist actors. Meanwhile, Assad’s regime has been thoroughly delegitimized, expelled from the Arab League, and is wobbling in the face of nationwide protests. This, in turn, has created considerable anxiety for Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that constitutes Iran’s chief non-state ally.”
3. Don’t believe the hype on Iran’s nuclear pace? So says an op-ed for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Money quote: “It is crucial to recognize that the quality of Iran’s nuclear workmanship has been consistently poor, so it has been able to progress at no more than a snail’s pace.” Apparently the boys who cry nuclear wolf didn’t learn from Iraq. Or did they actually get what they wanted (or at least some of them)?!
4. Brookings Institute scholar Bruce Reidel gets it exactly right (and Obama last night, not to mention most Republicans, get it exactly wrong): “So don’t let the hot air from Tehran or the Republican debates confuse the reality on the ground. Iran is a dangerous country but it is not an existential threat to either Israel or America.”