Israel-Iran tension-Editorial

THE web of deception that preceded the Anglo-American attack on Iraq in 2003 seems to be in place again as reports in the western and Israeli media give conflicting messages to the world. A military option to pre-empt Tehran`s acquisition of nuclear weapons has always been there with Tel Aviv and Washington, especially since the Bush days. Reports now speak of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak lobbying for an air strike to take out Iran`s nuclear plants. At the same time, as revealed in a recent congressional hearing, the Pentagon has readied several contingency plans ranging from an all-out war to surgical strikes on Iranian nuclear installations. Yet, war lobbyists admit, President Barack Obama would not want a war at a time when his military is already bogged down in Afghanistan and the race for the White House is to begin next year. Ironically enough, this could be Israel`s moment of opportunity, for it would be difficult for any Democratic or Republican candidate to be on the wrong side of America`s powerful Israel lobby. On Monday, Mr Netanyahu denied that only two men, he and his defence minister, could decide on a matter of war and said that the attack option reports were based on �thousands of pages” of the minutes of cabinet meetings. But the very next day, he told parliament Israel could be forced to act unilaterally to �defend” itself. On Thursday, Israel saw a nationwide anti-missile drill, which the government says was routine. Against this backdrop, the western media seems to be welcoming in advance an International Atomic Energy Agency report, to be released next week, which reportedly contains new information on Iran`s progress on manufacturing nuclear weapons. It would be a tragedy for the Middle East and for America`s own interests in the region if the media reports do turn out to be an exercise in deception preparatory to war. Provocative statements only play into the Iranian government`s hands, serve to harden Tehran`s position and marginalise domestic opposition. While Tehran must, no doubt, lower the level of its confrontation with the West, what Washington must note is that the destabilising effect of an attack on Iran could unleash forces that will be far more deadly and revanchist than the ones America is tackling today. The region from Afghanistan to Gaza is a dormant volcano ready to erupt anytime at the slightest provocation. Given its long-term economic and political interests in the region, America has no choice but to restrain Israel`s war lobby instead of succumbing to it.

Global protests-Editorial

Asia and particularly Europe gathered in over 900 cities. after people finally lost patience with years of power cuts that dramatically spiked as finances dried up. the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Islamabad warned that assistance for more than 8. Indeed. Prof Roubini`s warning that inequality breeds instability is as true for Pakistan as it is for the rest of the world. particularly in Punjab. Also on Saturday. it is still far from clear what the protesters claiming to represent the `99 per cent have-nots` in those societies seek to achieve in concrete terms. “Any economic model that does not properly address inequality will eventually face a crisis of legitimacy”. the country saw riots in many cities and town. According to Prof Roubini. While tens of thousands of protesters in the Americas. under the banner of Occupy Wall Street snowballed on Saturday into global protests against the global financial system. corporate greed and government cutbacks. However. .and rainrelated damage push an already impoverished population over the edge? Just days ago. That means moving away from both the Anglo-Saxon model of unregulated markets and the continental European model of deficit-driven welfare states. The ruling class here should pay heed. People demand fairness and when hope of ever receiving fair treatment dies. To stabilise market-oriented economies requires a return to the right balance between markets and provision of public goods.9 million floodaffected people in Sindh and Balochistan may end in November because only 18 per cent of the $357m requested by the UN has been donated so far. on Saturday employees of Pakistan Railways protested in cities across the country against the non-payment of salaries by the crisis-ridden state-owned enterprise. Could successive years of flood. New York.WHAT began as a small but diffuse group of activists gathered in a park in Manhattan.” While Pakistan is removed from the crises of afflicting more advanced economies — individuals have not over-borrowed as much as they did in the US and the state has not over-borrowed to the same extent as European governments (though the trends here are definitely worrying) — the risks of social unrest here are also high. as the influential American economist Nouriel Roubini has written in a widely quoted recent essay. “the laissez-faire Anglo-Saxon model has … failed miserably. the resulting instability can hurt everyone.

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