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Middle East

Mark N. katz

After Russia joined the rest of the Security Council in condemning Syrian government forces for killing so many people in Houla, hope has arisen in the West that Moscow can now be enlisted to bring about a resolution to the ongoing crisis in Syria in a manner similar to what occurred in Yemen.  As the headline of a May 26 New York Times article put it, the “U.S. Hopes Assad Can Be Eased Out with Russia’s Aid.”  Such expectations, though, are utterly misplaced.  Moscow is neither willing nor able to persuade Syria’s President Assad to step down like Yemen’s President Saleh did at the beginning of 2012.

The recent round of inconclusive fighting across the Gaza-Israel border prompts several observations about the outcome and possible implications for the future

Heller Mark A.

Mighty Iron Dome

Israel’s Iron Dome rocket interception system underwent its first operational test and achieved some notable successes. It was able to discriminate between rockets likely to land in open areas and those headed for population centers, and to refrain from wasting itself on the former while intercepting about 80 percent of the latter. As a result, many Israeli fatalities and injuries were undoubtedly prevented and extensive property damage was avoided. That result validates the economic rationale of the project, despite the huge cost imbalance between cheap rockets and missiles coming out of Gaza and expensive interceptors sent up to destroy them.