Wednesday News

Will Israel Become Involved In Syria?
For the most part, Israel has remained on the sidelines in terms of the crisis in Syria, but Russia’s growing involvement may draw them into the fight, says Amos Harel of Foreign Policy magazine.

“Israel has established that there are two factors that will convince it to intervene in the Syrian war: when its sovereignty is compromised by attacks from within Syria or when it detects attempts to smuggle sophisticated weapons systems from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon. While Israel has announced these principles, it has only publicly admitted to acting on the first,” writes Harel.

He adds that Israel may be more willing to become engaged after the Iranian nuclear deal was reached than before it.

“The Iranian nuclear deal, and the intense disagreements it sparked between Israeli and U.S. leaders, looms large over this new challenge in Syria,” he says, adding that “Netanyahu admitted last week that he would no longer fight the Iran nuclear agreement, he is also signaling that he does not trust Obama anymore to protect Israeli interests. From now on, when an urgent strategic problem develops, Netanyahu will try to deal with it himself.”

The UN, Sanctions, And Counterterrorism
One of the efforts around which the international community has sought to coalesce is sanctions, particularly as a means to track and prevent terrorism financing. Shortly after the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the United Nations formed the 1267 Committee, also known as the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, as a way to impose sanctions on al-Qaida and associated terrorist groups.

While it was well-intentioned, Barak Mendelsohn of the blog Lawfare says it represents another example of a United Nations initiative which has fallen short of expectations, particularly in terms of how the committee performed threat assessments.

Mendelsohn examined numerous documents and meeting transcripts expecting to find reasoned debate about al Qaida and trends in its activities, but found a committee that “often settled for reporting trivial information that was already widely known, but often failed – or consciously avoided – presenting a thorough assessment.”

And that lack of thorough research and analysis undermines any effort “to guide the international efforts to fight terrorism” and “inevitably leads to less effective collective action as the international community cannot design a comprehensive

Put On Your Reading List
A newly-released book, Andrei Sakharov: The Conscience of Humanityedited by George P. Shultz and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Sidney Drell chronicles the life of the Russian nuclear physicist who would evolve into a leading human rights activist Andrei Sakharov.

The book, which was released by Hoover Institution Press, tells the story of how Sakharov went from participating in the development of the hydrogen bomb to fearless humanitarian who would be a leading advocate for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.


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