Israel-Iran tensions on the rise
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta feels confident an Israeli attack on Iran is imminent and likely to happen as soon as April.
This comes after years of mounting suspicions Iran has been developing nuclear weapons, despite increased economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the United Nations. However, Iran continues to claim its nuclear program is purely to generate energy for civilian use.
In the wake of growing suspicions, Iran’s leaders have not been what most would consider diplomatic. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently stated war against Iran would be “detrimental” for the U.S. and described Israel as “the cancerous tumor of this region” that “needs to be removed and will be removed.”
These developments have made it increasingly difficult to convince Israel peace talks are the best course of action in dealing with Iran as a nuclear threat.
U.S. think tank Bipartisan Policy Center recently released a report that suggested the U.S begin making military preparations, which will make it apparent to Iran the U.S. is ready to take military action if needed.
US embassy in Syria closed
The U. S. embassy in Syria was shut down yesterday amidst violence between protestors and the Syrian government. Embassy officials and staff were promptly evacuated.
The Associated Press reported the move as an attempt to place pressure on Syrian president Bashar Assad to end the violence between protestors and government troops.
The embassy itself is located in the Syrian capital of Damascus. On Saturday, Assad began shelling the city of Homs. Numerous world leaders, including President Barack Obama, have expressed their disdain and absolute disapproval with the Assad regime’s handling of the uprisings.
The embassy closure also comes as nations are stepping up pressure on Assad to step down as president. Arab League monitors were dispatched to Syria earlier this year in order to assess the situation and evaluate the Assad regime’s position going forward.
Attention is now turned on Russia and China, as they moved to veto a U.N. resolution yesterday that would have imposed tougher sanctions on Syria as well as Assad’s resignation.
Arab League Chief Nabil Elaraby issued a statement saying that Russia and China have lost their credit with the Arab world in the blocking of the resolution.
–Compiled by News Editor Hutton Marshall.