In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan 1, 2012/ 6 Teves, 5772

Iran's threat to close Strait of Hormuz: bluff to influence U.S. presidential election?

By Heather Robinson

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last week, as many Americans took to the skies and roads to visit with family and friends for the New Year's holiday, the Islamic Republic of Iran unleashed a torrent of threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping channel vital to transporting one third of the world's crude oil.

On Tuesday, Iranian Vice President Mohamed Reza Rahimi warned that "not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz" if the West imposed new sanctions against the country's oil sector. Wednesday brought a boast from Iran's navy chief, who said that the Islamic Republic could close the Strait, adding that doing so would be very easy for his country's forces. Thursday, a commander of the Revolutionary Guard continued to raise the specter of disrupting the Strait, declaring, "The U.S. is not in a position" to tell Iran what to do and adding, "Iran does not ask permission to implement its own defensive strategies."

As I wrote last week, most oil analysts agree that, in the words of one, "shutting down the Strait is the last bullet Iran has" short of attaining nuclear weapons and that "therefore we have to express some doubt that they would do this" at this juncture. With oil prices actually declining slightly mid-week despite the Iranian threats, the smart money said the Iranians would not make good on them. And sure enough, they haven't: on Saturday, Tehran seemed to back off, with a Revolutionary Guard commander suddenly suggesting such discussion is passe and "belongs to five years ago."

What the heck is going on here? Some argue the Islamic Republic is simply acting irrationally in the face of international pressure. And many assume Iran's latest challenge was simply intended to dissuade Obama from signing ratcheted-up sanctions against Iran's oil sector or to bully the EU out of its planned boycott of Iranian oil. Perhaps. But if so, it predictably fell flat (over the weekend Obama at last signed a defense bill that penalizes foreign financial firms that do business with Iran's central bank).

Unless, that is, Iran's threat to close the Strait reflects a more patient strategy. The Islamic Republic's overriding goal is to attain nuclear capability. Is it possible that the Iranians could be calculating that backing down from an empty threat to close the Strait will enhance Obama in the eyes of the U.S. electorate?

If President Obama calls Iran's bluff he gets to look strong for the moment and his chances of re-election are enhanced.

"The extremists [in the region] view Obama as weak," according to Iraqi politician Mithal al-Alusi, a Sunni Muslim who was elected to Iraq's Parliament in 2005 on a platform that advocated free markets, free speech, rule of law, and normalized relations between Iraq and Israel. Alusi, who has long warned of the Iranian nuclear threat and Iranian influence in Iraq's government, says that Iranian leaders follow the U.S. election process closely - and they have their preferences.

To understand what they want in a U.S. leader, Alusi says one must "remember how they reacted to Carter, and then to Reagan."

During Jimmy Carter's presidency, the Iranians held 52 American hostages for 444 days, abused and paraded them blindfolded in a spectacle designed to humiliate the U.S. They freed them the day of Reagan's inauguration.

In threatening to close the Strait, then, the Islamic Republic's leaders could be engaged in a sleight of hand. If their goal is to attain nuclear capability so as to dominate the region, continue to export terrorism, destroy Israel, and establish a global caliphate, Iran's leaders do not want an American president who will stop them.

Perhaps fearing the election of a Republican U.S. president, the Iranians are trying to create a pretext of imminent threat to oil transport via the Strait from which to back off in response to strong statements from the U.S., such as Wednesday's remarks by representatives of the U.S. Navy and the Pentagon that any blockage of the Strait "will not be tolerated."

If Iran makes idle threats and backs off, it will strengthen Obama's image at home in advance of the next election. The Iranians want Americans to elect as President someone they believe will not stop them from attaining nuclear capability.

On the brink of going nuclear, Iran's leaders view the next four years as pivotal.

So should we.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Heather Robinson is a New York City-based independent journalist. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, New York Magazine, Time Out New York, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Daily News, Heeb magazine, and other publications. Comment by clicking here.

© 2011, Heather Robinson