Middle East observations

The conversation between President Obama and Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu next week in Washington could have huge implications for both deciding on a course of action. What they say to one another and how they interpret each other’s posture will be critical.
 
- Global pressure continues to mount on Iran, making it more difficult for them to go to their people to justify the nuclear program. The economy is starting to come apart at the seams and the sanctions are increasingly biting.
 
- The ayatollah will have to make the calculation that a nuclear program is not worth the costs, or that they won’t be able to placate the people. They look at North Korea as a model — once it got nukes, the world had to take it seriously in a whole new way. The ayatollah currently looks at the nuclear capability as an insurance card.
 
- Russia and China are finding it harder to continue providing cover for Iran. At the same time, they are continuing to prop up Assad because of business interests and out of a desire of blocking the United States and putting themselves forward as a counterweight to the world’s lone superpower.