MENA Mashup: Breakthrough Imminent? Edition
It seems that we’re about to see a pivotal shift in International Relations, fully exposing our misbegotten Foreign Policy, all within the next couple of days…!
Starting, alphabetically, with Afghanistan…
Afghanistan has rejected a key provision of a security pact with the United States that would allow the US forces to stay in the country beyond 2014.
A spokesman for the Afghan President Hamid Karzai insisted that the government would not allow the US military forces to enter people’s homes after the end of combat operations in 2014.
He emphasized on Karzai’s position that he would not accept any agreement allowing US forces to enter Afghan homes for “the purpose of aggression.”
Karzai and other high-ranking Afghan officials have repeatedly expressed their opposition to such US attacks on Afghan homes.
American and Afghan representatives are working on compiling a draft of the so-called Bilateral Security Agreement to present it to the Loya Jirga, a traditional Afghan assembly of elders consisting of some 3,000 Afghan tribal leaders from all over the country.
The assembly will consider the deal on Thursday. If the assembly agrees, the deal will be sent to the parliament for final ratification.
Shifting gears back to Iran and the P5+1 talks…
I had to laugh when I saw this Israeli op-ed…
Israel media tempers excitement over the French president’s visit, and reports on political maneuvering within the Knesset
Despite the excitement around the visit of French President Francois Hollande to discuss, among other subjects, the Iranian nuclear program, and the gratitude in Israel for France’s tough stance on a potential deal with Tehran, some Israeli commentators argue that any optimism should be tempered.
“Hollande split into three” during his visit, writes Israel Hayom’s Boaz Bismuth. “First there was the Israeli Hollande, the one who spoke about Iran as if he were the Israeli prime minister. Yesterday was the Palestinian Hollande, who spoke as if he were Abbas. Today we will have the third Hollande, the salesman who is trying to increase the French economic presence in Israel…The change in American policy in the Middle East and the Iranian threat are causing the French to suddenly dream that for the first time in history… they will be able to be a friend of the Israelis and a friend of the Palestinians.”
I suppose it’s starting to dawn on Bibi that the jig is up…
At odds with ally Washington over terms of an emerging international nuclear agreement with Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will on Wednesday take his campaign against the deal to Moscow.
“We’d like them to have a better understanding of our concerns and the need to prevent Iran from having a breakout capacity,” an Israeli official told AFP ahead of the trip.
“A breakout capacity means that they have the capability to develop a nuclear weapon at a time and a place of their choosing in the future,” the official said.
So, while Bibi is reading headlines like this in Tel Aviv… Iranian Jews Protest in Favor of Nuclear Program! On the other side of the pond, Bloomberg had this to say… Iran Nuclear Deal Sought in Geneva Following Israeli Objections
And, sticking to this side of the pond, McClatchy, reports…
“What we are suggesting, both to the Israelis, to members of Congress here, to the international community, but also to the Iranians, is ‘Let’s look, let’s test the proposition that over the next six months we can resolve this in a diplomatic fashion,’ ” the president said. “I think that is a test that is worth conducting.”
Obama said the proposal would require Iran to halt advances on its nuclear program, as well as roll back elements that get it closer what he called a “breakout capacity, where they can run for a weapon before the international community has a chance to react.” The regime would be subject to more vigorous inspections, in some cases daily, the president said.
Some Democratic and Republican lawmakers, encouraged by intense pro-Israel lobbying, are moving to stiffen sanctions against Iran, a move that Obama said would undermine the Geneva talks.
Obama even trotted out NSA Susan Rice to allay the Warhawks’ bloodthirst…
NSA Susan Rice says reports of proposed relief are exaggerated; stresses that tough sanctions regime will remain in place
US National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Tuesday that the sanctions relief being discussed in Geneva this week as part of an interim deal to stop Iran’s nuclear program would not exceed $10 billion.
Speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Rice said reports of the scope of relief were exaggerated, and that the Iranian assets that could potentially be unfrozen were a fraction of the rumored figures.
“We’re talking about a modest amount of money,” she said, stressing that the crippling sanctions regime that brought Iran to the negotiating table would remain in place.
Talks between the P5+1 and Iran are scheduled to resume Wednesday, with a deal reportedly in the works.
US President Barack Obama met Tuesday with members of various Senate committees in an attempt to convince them to hold off on new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting… Obama says unclear if deal on Iran’s nuclear program is near.
Lest anybody is fooled one iota, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar, wrote today…
Those endeavoring to sabotage any negotiated agreement with Iran have shifted their arguments in interesting ways as events have successively caused their arguments to lose credibility. Once upon a time, well before the last Iranian elections and when there were no active negotiations to speak of between Iran and the Western powers, one heard the contention that the Iranian regime didn’t really want normal relations with the West because it saw its isolation as an important ingredient in its power.
The idea was that the more opportunity the Iranian people had for interaction with more enlightened parts of the world, and the less their regime could pose as defenders of a beleaguered nation, the less patience ordinary Iranians would have with their own backward political system and the less secure would be the mullahs’ rule.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani talks by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Nov. 18, 2013, discussing the latest developments in the talks between Tehran and the world powers as well as ways to end the bloodshed in Syria. (Iranian government photo)
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani talks by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Nov. 18, 2013, discussing the latest developments in the talks between Tehran and the world powers as well as ways to end the bloodshed in Syria.
One doesn’t hear that line of argument much anymore, now that the current Iranian leaders, including the Supreme Leader as well as the president, have demonstrated beyond any doubt that they do seek a better and fuller relationship with the West. The nay-saying has shifted to assertions that we might get a deal with Iran but it won’t be a good one.
Please allow saner minds to prevail within the next few days…! *gah*