Legacy watch: Israel should beware a wounded Obama

The lamed U.S. president might well seek to repair his reputation abroad — at Israel’s expense.

The potential consequences of the Republican sweep of the 2014 midterm elections should be neither over-stated nor under-stated, especially with reference to the wounded administration’s policies towards the Middle East in general and Israel in particular.

What is not so clear is what this will mean in practice. When the Senate reconvenes in January, the Republicans will have 53 or 54 seats out of a hundred, depending on what happens in the Louisiana runoff election next month. That is not enough to cut off debate, which requires sixty votes, and even less so to override presidential vetoes, which requires sixty-seven votes. In other words, despite the election results, the Republicans cannot pass significant legislation unless they have at least a half dozen or more Democratic votes in the Senate, and even then, if the president vetoes any such measures, they are very unlikely to be able to override his veto. Continue reading

Khamenei allies trounce Ahmadinejad in Iran election

Clerical Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has tightened his grip on Iran’s faction-ridden politics after loyalists won over 75 percent of seats in parliamentary elections at the expense of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a near-complete count showed.

The widespread defeat of Ahmadinejad supporters – including his sister, Parvin Ahmadinejad – is expected to reduce the president to a lame duck after he sowed divisions by challenging the utmost authority of Khamenei in the governing hierarchy.

Full article: Khamenei allies trounce Ahmadinejad in Iran election (Reuters)