Swoop: Washington’s World: March 5th – 11th, 2012 – War of Attrition

Swoop: Washington’s World: March 5th – 11th, 2012 – War of Attrition
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Swoop: “Despite the announced agreement on North Korea, the debate over Iran continues to monopolize attention. It will reach its climax in speeches by President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to the AIPAC conference. As we anticipated last week, Obama’s rhetoric is hardening. However, the underlying US policy remains that time is working against Tehran.

As sanctions exact an increasing toll on the Iranian economy and the pro-Iranian regime in Damascus continues to crumble, US officials believe that the Iranian leadership will see that its interests lie in negotiation. The open question is whether the US political climate will allow the Administration to follow this course. Based on our conversations with senior officials, our sense is that Obama feels that he can adhere to his course and take immediate action.

As always, the Israeli dimension is the wild card. Top US officials from Obama down have made their views clear to their Israeli counterparts that military action is premature. They have little confidence, however, that their advice will be followed. This issue has been a staple of the Washington debate for at least three years, but the expectation that it is coming to a head has never been more palpable. Related to Iran, Administration strategists calculate that if the West and its regional partners can maintain pressure on Syria, then this will change regional dynamics by reducing Tehran’s options to retaliate against an attack.

Behind the scenes, however, the assessment is that the Syrian regime will last longer than seemed likely a few weeks ago.

With Vladimir Putin’s likely return to the Russian presidency in the March 4th election, the White House is bracing for even stronger Russian support for Syria. US officials tells us that they will try to reach out to Putin – assuming he is elected – but are deeply concerned that relations with Moscow are headed for, in the words of an NSC Russia analyst, “a new ice age.”

Elsewhere, the continuing anti-coalition violence in Afghanistan is roiling the policy debate. Defense Secretary Panetta is promising that the policy of gradually turning over responsibility to the Afghans remains intact. More quietly, however, the implications on the safety for coalition trainers are prompting a far-ranging rethink.”

Source: Swoop / Videos added by Cap Falcon

Photo Credits: Israel – the golan heights (syrian border) By marshillonline / FlickR