-- January 24, 2012- Europe Takes Strong Action Against Iran, Syria: the Bloodshed Continues

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By Marc Schulman

January 24, 2012- Europe Takes Strong Action Against Iran, Syria: the Bloodshed Continues

Yesterday the European Union passed the strongest sanction in its history. Those sanctions were aimed at stopping the Iranain nuclear program. While until now it was easy to say that the world was not taking the Iranian actions seriously enough, that would be hard to say today. The actions of the Union to stop importing oil from Iran (no new oil contracts will be signed and all current contracts must end by June) is very real and risky. It both carries the very real risk that the Iranians will do something that is not very logical, (for example, close the Straits of Hormuz.) In addition, Europe will have to replace the oil it currently receives from Iran.

Why have the Europeans been leading the charge when it comes to Iran? Most observers have stated it is because Europe is physically closer to Iran and deeply fears Iranian missiles. Another view is that the rise of Islam is a very real fear on the streets of Europe, and remains a much more academic concern in the US. While both of these facts are true, I think there is another fact at work as well. In reading some of the American discussions on whether to accept the fact there will be an Iranian bomb, I have noticed an almost passive acceptance of the risk to Israel. Many have basically said that while the risk is real that Iran will attack Israel with nuclear weapons and bring about a second holocaust, that is a small and acceptable risk. I am not enthusiastic about an Israeli attack on Iran. I am certainly happy that I do not have to make this sort of decision. However, sitting in downtown Tel Aviv writing this piece, it is impossible for me to accept the type of reasoning that accepts the fact an Iranian bomb might be used is "an acceptable risk." I am glad that the Europeans agree. It is true that America has been a greater supporter of Israel over the years. Yet I believe, despite that fact, the Europeans take the possibility of a second holocaust more seriously than the Americans do.

Yesterday the Arabs League's observers of Syria gave their report. The report was an interesting farce. The chief observer being a Sudanese General who is wanted in the Hague for war crimes. He claimed that since the arrival of the observers violence is way down. This is a down right lie. In fact, violence keeps rising. Yesterday the Foreign Minister of Qatar called for Assad to step down. What may ultimately bring the end of Assad's regime is the fact that more and more of his army are defecting every day.

Another worthwhile link from Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic How Nuclear War Would Start in the Middle East

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