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Recognizing that the US has so far torpedoed his efforts to gain UNGA statehood recognition, Abbas turned to a plan for de facto statehood. He claimed correctly that 117 countries recognize Palestine, and the number grows every month. That figure rivals the number of countries which recognize Israel, so there is now an irony surrounding the matter of who must recognize whom.

Israel can easily dictate Palestinian policies, statehood or no statehood, simply because 87% of Palestinian exports go to Israel, and Israeli tax transfers account for the largest chunk of the Palestinian budget. But so far treacherous Israeli leaders refuse to exercise that leverage.

Iranian missileSince the outspoken British FM went public with the information that Iran has tested four nuclear-capable missiles, pressure has been mounting in the UNSC for another resolution condemning Iran’s military program. Indeed, the missile tests blatantly violate the sanctions the UNSC has imposed on Iran—though, of course, no one expected Iran itself to abide by those sanctions.

But who expected Iran to go without nuclear-capable ballistic missiles when North Korea exports them freely? Iran could easily get the missiles from Pakistan, or even from China, which has not abided by international non-proliferation treaties since the US stupidly sold F-16 fighters to Taiwan in the late 1990s. Indigenous or not, nuclear-capable missiles were an inevitability in the Iranian armory.

It is extremely unlikely that Iran would use ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads against Israel. It makes no sense for them to risk trying to get their few available warheads through Israeli air defenses,which are integrated with US early-warning stations. A terrorist weapon arriving in Haifa port in an inconspicuous container with no direct links to Iran is much more likely.

The West could have easily stopped the Iranian nuclear and missile programs simply by banning its oil exports. The oil-sanctions tactic was applied to Iraq with considerable results. Saudi Arabia has vowed to compensate for any oil shortages by increasing its own exports. The world’s refusal to slap Iran with oil sanctions is the clearest sign to the ayatollahs that they are welcome in the nuclear club.

July 2011
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