The New Face of the Middle East

Is starting to look suspiciously like… the old face of the Middle East.
In a new development with respect to Iran and its recalcitrance to comply with various demands concerning its nuclear program, Russia and China agreed to get out of the way of a referral of Iran’s non-compliance to the U.N. Security Council. In part, this relates to this weekend’s G-8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, and in part, to the fact that the U.N. action will certainly not include any military action, but only the possibility of economic sanctions, or some kind of carrot and stick approach.
Which may not be nearly enough, if we are to believe this from the New Republic‘s Yossi Halevi (registration required for the full article) suggesting that Israel may well take it upon itself to attack Iran rather than permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, with the implication of doing so “sooner rather than later.”
Of course, Israel already has its hands full, what with its ongoing assault on Gaza in retaliation for/an attempt to achieve the release of one kidnapped soldier there (today, bombing the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry building there), and its plate seems to be full in the North, with Hizbollah having attacked Israel over the Lebanese border, killing a number of soldiers, and kidnapping two others, which drew an Israeli response of troop and tank movements and aerial assaults on power stations, bridges and roads in Southern Lebanon. Israel blamed the Lebanese government, of which Hizbollah is a participating political party, as well as Syria and Iran, which are believed (by everyone) to support Hizbollah, if not control it. For its part, Hizbollah purports to be trying to set up a prisoner exchange, which Israel promptly rejected. The week could find Israel back in both Gaza and Southern Lebanon… what’s old is (deep sigh) new again?
And in Baghdad… people are leaving by the thousands to escape the escalating sectarian violence, which neither the nascent Iraqi government, nor the American forces present, seems to be able to control to anyone’s satisfaction.
I guess once again it would appear that this sure looks like I picked a bad week to give up sniffing glue.