A former Iranian nuclear negotiator has said that a nuclear Iran would set off an arms race in the Middle East that could eventually include Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey. Hossein Moussavian also argues that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons. A nuclear capability would make Iran more vulnerable and isolated. One possible consequence would be the toughening of sanctions specifically by Russia and China, which have to this point criticized unilateral steps taken by Washington. Moussavian argues that the short-term advantage of having a nuclear capability does not outweigh the long-term vulnerability that would be in store if Iran developed a nuclear warhead. Meanwhile, Iranian officials claim to have material evidence that Iran has captured a US drone, while the US Navy claims that none of its drones is missing.
Tensions are still high in Cairo, where supporters of President Morsi and protestors of Morsi’s recent decree clashed at a sit-in at the presidential palace. Many protestors feel that Morsi’s recent actions are a step backwards and a betrayal of the revolution.
The crisis in Syria continues to show signs of spilling over into neighboring countries. Two days of clashes between Assad loyalists and opposition supporters have left at least six dead in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli. The city, which has already seen a spillover of violence in the past months, is experiencing increased tension after the killing of 21 Lebanese from Tripoli and one Palestinian in a Syrian town near the Lebanese border. To the north of Syria, Turkey is set to receive Patriot missiles from NATO in order to defend its border with Syria, which has seen an escalation in violence in recent months. Harriet Fildes writes in the Journal of Turkish Weekly that the recent NATO decision is just one of many developments that indicate a possible change in international policies towards Syria.
The US military is working with the African Union to develop a plan for intervention in Mali, which is under the control of al-Qaeda’s branch in Northern Africa, AQIM. Mali, roughly the size of Texas, is the largest area in the world controlled by Islamic extremists, as put by Senator Chris Coons, D-Del. The US has emphasized that any intervention in the country would have to be African-led, specifically Malian-led. Army General Carter Ham has warned against pursuing a premature intervention. For now, the focus is on negotiation, with military intervention remaining a possibility depending upon the likelihood of success and the availability of appropriate timing.