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Synopsis

There have been five central crises in America's post World War II encounter with the Middle East, and the Obama administration now faces a sixth. Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapons capability, and the prospect of Israel launching air strikes to stop it, are ingredients for a conflict that could ruin any residual hopes for fostering peace in the region. The Sixth Crisis explores the fraught linkages between the Iranian nuclear challenge, the increasing likelihood of an Israeli preventive strike, the continuing Israel-Palestine tragedy, and President Barack Obama's efforts to recast America's relations with the world's Muslims. It is the first full account of the situation since Obama took office. The authors, a former senior official on President Clinton's National Security Council Staff and a leading authority on international politics, lay out in clear and accessible detail the technical and political dimensions of Iran's nuclear program, and the ongoing diplomacy to stop it. They show how Israel's panic about Iran's nuclear threat--combined with its policy toward the Palestinians--is undermining Jerusalem's alliance with America. Tehran, meanwhile, is exploiting tensions between Arab regimes fearful of a nuclear Iran and an Arab public that is both angry about the plight of the Palestinians and resentful of Israel's nuclear monopoly in the region. The Sixth Crisis brilliantly illuminates this fateful juncture. The status quo is on an incline to disaster, and the hopes that President Obama has inspired are threatened by the toxic mixture of Israeli-Palestinian stalemate and Iran's nuclear ambitions. The time bomb of Iran's defiance and Israel's panic has the potential to spark a firestorm that would imperil US interests in the Middle East and engulf Obama's presidency. With the outcome of this unfolding crisis far from certain, The Sixth Crisis is required reading not only for policymakers, but also for anyone interested in world politics.

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