Lebanon faces a political crisis. Its presidency, elected by parliament, has been vacant for 23 months. Parliament has convened 39 times over the past two years, but it has failed to elect a president due to lack of a quorum.
Absent a president and a functioning parliament, Lebanon is in a downward spiral. It is struggling to assist the more than 1 million refugees from Syria. The central and municipal governments cannot provide basic services. Garbage is piling up on the streets. Socioeconomic conditions are worsening.
Having just returned from Beirut, I've seen the consequences of Lebanon as a fragile state, under the influence of Iran with Hezbollah acting as its proxy.… Seguir leyendo »
After months of talks mediated by the European Union, Serbia and Kosovo signed an agreement last month to resolve disputes dating from the 1990s, when Kosovo, a former province of Yugoslavia, effectively won independence following a Western-led military intervention.
But the deal won’t reconcile the two Balkan nations or help them gain admission to the European Union. To make matters worse, the two nations said this week that they could not agree on a timetable for implementing the agreement.
This setback is nothing on the scale of Balkan massacres in the 1990s, but it represents a continued failure to put the region’s troubled past behind it through integration with the rest of Europe.… Seguir leyendo »
Is Iran serious in threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz or is this simply saber-rattling? Whatever the motives, inaction is not an option - not any more.
Fearful of the impact of expanded U.S. sanctions, Iran’s first vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi told the official news agency IRNA on Dec. 27, “If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz.” This could spell disaster for the whole region as skyrocketing oil prices would wreak havoc on the global economy.
In any contingency planning, it is imperative to establish who our allies are and who our foes are.… Seguir leyendo »
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili accuses Russia of staging violent attacks across the administrative boundary lines (ABLs) of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Despite a cease-fire agreement that ended the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, relations are tense - and getting worse. Renewed violence could risk the “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations, undermining cooperation that is critical to preventing proliferation by Iran and in hot spots such as Afghanistan and Libya.
On Aug. 7, 2008, Russia’s 58th Battalion stormed into South Ossetia, and Russian warplanes hit targets across Georgia. Russian troops halted their offensive just 25 miles from Tbilisi. Despite the six-point cease-fire agreement that ended hostilities, Russia has pursued policies aimed at weakening Georgia and getting rid of Mr.… Seguir leyendo »