Here the administration's incapacity to develop a strategy has had deeply detrimental effects. They don't seem to realize their writing off Iraq has fanned sectarian tensions throughout the middle east, how their inactivity on Syria is further destabilizing Iraq (and vice versa), or their approach to the peace process undercut Palestinians working to build a state and further isolated Israel, can't tell the difference between success in Libya and success in Egypt, what fleeting opportunities now exist to contain Iranian activity and influence in the region, how far -- and even just how -- to support the transition to democracy, whom to partner with, or coordinate their rhetoric about priorities (a pivot to Asia?) with in this once in a century set of changes occurring in the middle east.Morning Brief: European Union bans Iranian oil:
European ministers elected to phase in the embargo gradually to protect the European economy as it struggles to overcome its debt crisis, but enraged Iranian authorities may foil that plan. Iran's Fars news agency quoted one official as saying Iran should halt oil exports to the EU immediately "so that the price of oil soars and the Europeans ... have trouble."Why we should take Tehran's threat to cut off the Strait of Hormuz seriously. :
, , , The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), a well-connected Washington defense think tank, just released a new analysis of future military trends around the Persian Gulf. Mark Gunzinger and Chris Dougherty, authors of "Outside-In: Operating from Range to Defeat Iran's Anti-Access and Area-Denial Threats," assert that over the next decade, Iran could acquire military capabilities that would rip up the assumptions that the U.S. military has used for its Persian Gulf planning over the past three decades. The authors conclude that the Pentagon needs to adapt to changing military circumstances in the region by devising new plans and redirecting investments into new capabilities.From the web page offering up referenced CSBA piece:
Iran has had ample opportunity over the last twenty years to examine the “American way of war” and to deduce that allowing the United States and its allies to mass overwhelming combat power on its borders is a prescription for defeat. Therefore, Iran is pursuing measures to deny the U.S. military access to close-in basing and make traditional U.S. power-projection operations in the Persian Gulf possible only at a prohibitive cost.Challenges, challenges.