Document: Iran Caught Red-Handed Shipping Arms to Taliban

Recently, writing in The Washington Post, US Congressman Darrell Issa made "the case for talking to Syria." However, implementing his proposal would effectively reverse years of multilateral US policy to deal with Syrian behavior in Lebanon - a policy carefully constructed with Trans-Atlantic and Arab allies and enshrined in seven UN Security Council resolutions. Instead, Issa, a California Republican, proposed an awkward change of course for, well, it was unclear for what in exchange. The fuzziness at the heart of his argument only reflected that of most American officials who would like to see a renewal of dialogue with Syria. (The Daily Star)

The Resolution Threatens Syria's Stability

By Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed

Although Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has said -- and Deputy Saad al-Hariri has reiterated -- that the objective of UN Security Council Resolution 1757, which endorsed the formation of the tribunal of an international character under Chapter 7 [of the UN Charter], is not to undermine Syria's stability or target it, these assurances are not accurate because the course of future developments could destabilize the political and security situation in Syria. (Asharq Al- Awsat)

Did the U.S. Incite Iran's Crackdown?

Tehran's jailing of Haleh Esfandiari, a 67-year old grandmother who holds dual Iranian-American citizenship, as well as the interrogation of others with similar papers, is evidence that Washington's latest attempt to foist change on Iran is backfiring — as Iranian democracy advocates had warned. The Bush administration had trumpeted its $61.1 million democracy program, including Farsi-language broadcasts into Iran, education and cultural exchanges and $20 million worth of support for "civil society, human rights, democratic reform and related outreach" as an important effort. However, sources tell TIME that several key Iranian reformers had repeatedly warned U.S. officials through back channels that the pro-democracy program was bound to expose them as vulnerable targets for a government crackdown whether they took Washington's funds or not. (Time)

Message for Mr. Putin

In the past few days, the anti-Western rhetoric of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which had been rising in pitch for several months, has reached Soviet levels of shrillness. He accused the United States of "imperialism" and "diktat" and threatened to target Europe with new Russian weapons. In an interview with foreign journalists, he cynically mocked Western democracy, saying that U.S. "torture, homelessness, [and] Guantanamo" and Europe's "harsh treatment of demonstrators" have left him as the only "absolute and pure democrat" in the world. (Washington Post)

An Islamic Test for Turkey

By Michael Gerson

Here in Turkey, the matter of headgear is taken seriously. An edict in 1925 forbade the wearing of the fez, causing millions of Turkish men to don bowlers, which were seen as more Western and secular. In 1982, the government of Turkey banned the wearing of headscarves by women in university classrooms -- a symbolic statement that Turkey would not be taking the route of the Iranian revolution across the border, which mandated the veil. But colorful headscarves are common on the streets here, worn in piety and protest. And the resulting headscarf debate is the Turkish equivalent of the American abortion controversy -- heated, culturally defining, admitting no compromise. (Washington Post)

Cool It; It's Not a Cold War

By Rajan Menon

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