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Short Takes
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Short Takes

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

Iran

There is something fundamentally flawed in the entire Iran—P5 +1 agreement.  Having signed an agreement, it took two months to effectively operationalize it.  It now remains to be seen if both sides will adhere strictly to the terms.  In the meanwhile, of course, Iran had additional time to churn its centrifuges and to hide its fissionable material.

Israel may not be right. It indeed may be appropriate to give the diplomatic track—without additional sanctions—a chance, but the inherent procrastination–as seen again in the delayed implementation of the agreement–is so pervasive in the Middle East that it rightfully ought to make one skeptical.

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Iraq

Any U.S. service member returned from service in Iraq watching the unravelling of the agreements which were created by U.S. forces in Iraq and which were assumed to be in place when the U.S. left Iraq, must be screaming his/her head off.  The failure of the Maliki Government to maintain a semblance of stability and the depth of the religious based fighting re-emerging, must cause American soldiers to cry out in frustration. The return to the status quo ante or perhaps even worse with the ascendancy of Al-Qaeda in Fallujah and Ramadi makes 10 years of fighting in Iraq certainly seem sadly to have been for naught.

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Afghanistan

It seems fairly clear that Hamid Karzai has no interest in facilitating a U.S. agreement for a long-term U.S. presence in Afghanistan following pull out at the end of 2014. As was the case in Iraq, it now seems likely that no permanent security arrangement will be in place between the U.S. and Afghanistan as well. The likelihood of the return of a radical Taliban/Al-Qaeda force seems all too probable. The tragic loss of lives and treasure in Afghanistan with a minimal return after more than 11 years is a sad commentary of failed U.S. foreign policy by both the Bush and Obama Administrations.

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Lebanon

A momentary lull has settled into Beirut as residents await the next moves to emerge from the radical Islamists and Hezbollah who are seeking to destabilize the regime further. There is a theory suggesting that a serious movement is afoot now to renew the Greater Syria movement tied directly to Syria’s Iranian patrons. All that remains is the future of the instability in Iraq to be determined and the non-Shiite forces in Lebanon to leave or be eliminated. 

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Syria

Ironically perhaps the only regional bright spot at the moment is occurring in Syria as the removal of the chemical weapons is finally proceeding. Reports suggest that the removal of the gas weapons which was delayed due to dangers in transporting them across Syria has now been solved and the materiel is now being shipped out of Latakia; albeit slowly with only about 4% removed to date.  Arrangements have been made as well for the weapons, after being disassembled aboard U.S. ships will be sent to Germany for their actual destruction.

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AND—-As Ariel Sharon is laid to rest, it is likely he would only shrug his shoulders at all this regional instability and say that is why Israel needs to be strong, even while seeking to make peace.

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