Why is Iran interested in Latin America?

February 20, 2012 by

In January of 2012, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad conducted a four nation tour of Latin America, with stops in Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Cuba. From the time that this trip became public, US government officials began asking “Why Latin America?” In February, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing on the “Tour of Tyrants” and during his testimony, Dr. Jose Azel of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami rhetorically asked the question “What allows the Iranian theocracy, so removed from Latin America by ethnicity, customs and values, to play an increasingly influential role in this hemisphere?”

Now is not the Time for Intervention in Syria

February 20, 2012 by

As pressure mounts on foreign powers to consider intervening militarily in Syria, analogies are being drawn between what NATO accomplished in Libya and whether something comparable may be possible in Syria. Military intervention would perhaps make the West feel better — knowing that it attempted to do something concrete to end the bloodshed — but it is unlikely to be successful for several reasons. An air and sea campaign against Syria would likely prove more difficult than in Libya. The Syrian military — which numbers more than 500,000 men (including reservists) — is more formidable than Gadhafi’s forces and would prove more challenging to impact by air.