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IAEA demands to inspect Israeli nukes

This is a major shift:

The UN nuclear assembly voted on Friday to urge Israel to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and place all atomic sites under UN inspections, in a surprise victory for Arab states.

The resolution, passed narrowly for the first time in nearly two decades, expresses concern about "Israeli nuclear capabilities" and calls on International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei to work on the issue. 

The Middle East resolution, sponsored by Arab states, was backed by 49 votes to 45 against in a floor vote at the IAEA's annual member states conference. The vote split along Western and developing nation lines. There were 16 abstentions


This is a major victory as the Israel's representative on the council has already promised to "not cooperate in any matter with this resolution which is only aiming at reinforcing political hostilities and lines of division in the Middle East region." 

It also probably won't do a whole lot for the credibility of the IAEA to have one more country over which it is powerless to enforce its rulings.

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Petraeus makes the case for war... to Britain

CentCom commander Gen. David Petraeus writes in the (London) Times to make the case for a population-centric counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan and praise U.S.-British cooperation:

[W]e need to be realistic in recognising that the campaign will require a sustained, substantial commitment. Many tough tasks loom before us — including resolution of the way ahead after the recent election, which obviously has been marred by allegations of fraud. The challenges in Afghanistan clearly are significant. But the stakes are high. And, while the situation unquestionably is, as General McChrystal has observed, serious, the mission is, as he has affirmed, still doable. In truth, it is, I think, accurate to observe that, as in Iraq in 2007, everything in Afghanistan is hard, and it is hard all the time.

Iran constitutes the main state-based threat to stability in the region. The impact of its malign activities and harsh rhetoric are felt throughout the Arabian Peninsula, making it, ironically, the best recruiter with prospective partners. We now have eight Patriot missile batteries spread across countries on the western side of the Gulf, where two years ago we had far, far fewer.

If Cecil Rhodes was correct in his wonderful observation that “being an Englishman is the greatest prize in the lottery of life”, and I’m inclined to think that he was, then the second greatest prize in the lottery of life must be to be a friend of an Englishman, and based on that, the more than 230,000 men and women in uniform who work with your country’s finest day by day are very lucky indeed, as am I.

Petraeus also gave an address at London's Policy Exchange think tank, saying, "The challenges in Afghanistan are significant, but the stakes are also high, and while the situation unquestionably is serious, the mission is still do-able." (See the AfPak Channel for more.)

Sending Petraeus to rally British support makes sense, but it makes me wonder why the Obama adminsitration hasn't used Petraeus -- certainly the most well-known military officer in the country and a bona fide pop-culture icon -- to pitch the Afghanistan strategy to the U.S. public.

The media-savvy general seemed to be everywhere during the later Bush years defending the Iraq surge. But Petraeus has been out of the spotlight lately and the job of "selling" Afghanistan seems to have been left to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen and the previously unknown Stan McChrystal. With the Pentagon worried about declining public support for the war, it seems odd that they haven't pulled out the big guns, so to speak. 

CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images