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If you’ve been following the Middle East situation closely, you’ve probably noticed a lack of information as of late. I’m not sure whether the news media is so locked on the American election that they cover little else …  or Syria has stolen the headlines … or  possibly the stories aren’t getting the coverage they deserve for reasons that I’ve not yet been able to ferret out. However, some important details have been developing behind the scenes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of course, has pushed a red line. While it’s not exactly clear where it is, he is pressing for cessation of uranium enrichment and full transparency for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspections. He believes the dismantling of the enrichment infrastructure is necessary for the world to know Iran is not attempting to build the bomb. At the same time, Israel knows that Iran will not negotiate seriously without massive pressure bearing down on them. We now have two hints that they seriously recognize the vise is tightening.

For weeks a secret manifesto has been circulating through Iranian asking for signatures protesting the status of the country’s economy. Addressed to Iran’s labor minister, this protest attacks the decline of their national situation. This uprising is the result that sanctions are having and also a protest against the mismanagement by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Such a dangerous statement in a tightly controlled nation demonstrates that sanctions are having a significant effect on the entire country. The current squeeze has put the mullahs behind the eight ball in a nation already filled with tension. In less than two weeks, their currency dropped around a third in value against the dollar and Congress is still considering expanding these sanctions. The result in a slumping economy points to a discontentment and growing distance between  the people’s economic hardship and the Islamic rulers militaristic desire for nuclear striking power. Although suppressed, the petition sounds like the man on the street is ready to     throw in the towel on making nuclear weapons.

On the other hand, the Ahmadinejab regime has declared oil sales to China and India can over ride the impact of sanctions. However, even he has recognized that international banking transfers have created big problem in keeping commerce rolling.

A second situation is the recent denial by Iran that they had offered a “nine-step” plan to resolve their problems with the West. Their “deal” was the lifting of sanctions if Iran eventually suspended uranium enrichment. They are now saying such a deal was never extended. The significant point is that Iran probably floated this idea to see what response it got abroad. Because they have been unable to break the stranglehold that America has on them, they would be delighted to dissolve the relationship that America and Europe have. If my contention is true, it also signals that Iran has made no progress in breaking the Allies’ intelligence systems.

Perhaps, we won’t get much international reporting and attention on this situation until after the election. It is now clear that Israel won’t be making a pre-emptive strike until after November. In the mean time, the economic   screws continue to tighten on Iran. Does this mean that the light at the end of the tunnel might not be a bomb explosion? Let’s hope so!

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