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David Gardner | The Financial Times
But what is, on the face of it, rather puzzling, is the behaviour of Hizbollah, the Shia Islamist paramilitary movement, allied to Syria and beholden to Iran, and the most powerful force in Lebanon. Hizbollah seems to be the cause of the fall of the Mikati government, over which it was considered to exercise a large measure of control.
Mr Mikati’s replacement is Tammam Salam, scion of a historic Sunni dynasty, close to the opposition and Saudi Arabia. Why would Hizbollah make this sort of move on the region’s three-dimensional chess board?
One possible answer is that Iran, patron of Hizbollah and enemy of Sunni Saudi Arabia, has made a judgment. In this reading, the fall of the Assads is inevitable and the Shia theocrats of Tehran are trying to consolidate control in Lebanon, just as they are in Iraq, where their allied Shia Islamist government of Nouri al-Maliki has gathered almost all the reins of power.
John Kerry | Foreign Policy
We and the Russians both have “boots back on the ground” — inspectors who monitor the inner workings of our respective strategic forces.
New START is maintaining stability and predictability between the world’s largest nuclear powers, as we promised. So far, the United States and Russia have completed 78 on-site inspections. On top of that, we have exchanged over 4,000 notifications on the numbers, locations, and movements of our strategic forces. On a day-in, day-out basis, we have a real-time picture of what is going on with the Russians’ strategic forces, and they have the same with ours.
The inspection teams are thus steadily confirming that the treaty’s verification regime works. Accurate and timely knowledge of each other’s nuclear forces dampens the risks of misunderstanding, mistrust, and worst-case analysis and decision-making. Such mutual confidence and predictability are crucial to international stability.