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The EU’s foreign policy chief called on Israel do to everything possible to preserve health of one Khader Adnan, who for two months has been protesting his administrative detention by refusing to take food.

Administrative detention would be unacceptable in a peaceful democratic state, but in time of war it is similar to internment of POWs. The US uses it in Guantanamo and other foreign prisons, and indeed administrative imprisonment without charges is sometimes the only way to deal with enemies. What is really shameful is that Israel’s government also applies this wartime measure against conservative Jews.

As for Adnan, he has at his disposal an easy way to preserve his health: start eating.

The White House touts the SWIFT agreement to shut off Iranian banks from the world’s premier system of financial transactions as a great success.

In reality, it’s a non-starter. Iranian banks will simply fall back on the slightly more time-consuming alternative of doing transactions through correspondent accounts in Russian and Chinese banks.

Now that the US is preparing to surrender Afghanistan to the Taliban next year, Pakistan sees no reason to continue on its tentatively pro-American course, and is beginning to embrace Iran. The trade agreements between Iran and Pakistan have been upgraded, and their relations now presumably extend to the exchange of nuclear technology.

The Iranian-Pakistani entente constitutes a major drawback for Saudi Arabia, which was counting on Pakistan to supply it with nuclear weapons and troops. These Pakistani troops were meant to oppose Iranian adventures in the Middle East.

It remains to be seen what made the Pakistanis more receptive to pauperized Iran than to rich Saudi Arabia, but it presumably has something to do with the threat Iranian proxies could pose to Pakistani security, which has already been destabilized by Al Qaeda-affiliated militias.

February 2012
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