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MENA Mashup: AIPAC, Bibi, Karzai, and Syria

Never underestimate the sheer might of AIPAC, Bibi, and the Neocons…!

Naturally, AIPAC has ‘serious concerns’ with Iran deal

Gareth Porter reported today on our Foggy Bottom Neocons’ duplicity…

U.S. Officials Hint at Reservations on Final Nuclear Deal

The “first step” agreement between Iran and the United States that was sealed in Geneva over the weekend is supposed to lead to the negotiation of a “comprehensive settlement” of the nuclear issue over the next six months, though the latter has gotten little attention.

But within hours of the agreement, there are already indications from senior U.S. officials that the Barack Obama administration is not fully committed to the conclusion of a final pact, under which economic sanctions would be completely lifted.

The administration has apparently developed reservations about such an “end state” agreement despite concessions by the government of President Hassan Rouhani that were more far-reaching than could have been anticipated a few months ago.

The signs of uncertain U.S. commitment to the “end state” agreement came in a background press briefing by unidentified senior U.S. officials in Geneva via teleconference late Saturday night. The officials repeatedly suggested that it was a question of “whether” there could be an “end state” agreement rather than how it could be achieved.

“What we are going to explore with the Iranians and our P5+1 partners over the next six months,” said one of the officials, “is whether there can be an agreed upon comprehensive solution that assures us that the Iranian programme is peaceful.”

The same official prefaced that remark by stating, “In terms of the ‘end state’, we do not recognise a right for Iran to enrich uranium.”

Later in the briefing, a senior official repeated the same point in slightly different words. “What the next six months will determine is whether there can be an agreement that…gives us assurance that the Iranian programme is peaceful.”

“We’ll see whether we can achieve an end state that allows for Iran to have peaceful nuclear energy,” said one of the officials.

Looking at Bibi’s recent perfidy…

Shifting gears, Israeli team heading to US to try to shape final nuclear pact

After speaking with Obama on Sunday, Netanyahu dispatching national security adviser to Washington; says permanent deal must dismantle Iran’s program.

“I spoke last night with President [Barack] Obama. We agreed that in the coming days an Israeli team led by the national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, will go out to discuss with the United States the permanent accord with Iran,” Netanyahu told members of his Likud party.

Taking a gander at our own Critters’ actions… Interim deal on Iran splits Congress on new sanctions

And, I mustn’t leave out Bandar Bush… Why Saudi Arabia Doesn’t Trust the Iran Deal, Either

However, the EU had chimed in today…Brussels satisfied with Iran nuclear deal

Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv… Wary of war, Israeli public gives Iran deal a chance

Here’s a great primer on what looms ahead… Four Emerging Myths About the Iran, P5+1 Deal.

Now, getting to the root of the real problem in Israel and the MENA… Israel-Palestine: Enough Negotiations Already!

Moving along to Karzai’s latest demands…

From the WaPoo…

Karzai tells Susan Rice of more demands for accord extending U.S. troop presence

Efforts by the United States and Afghanistan to finalize a long-term security arrangement appeared on the brink of collapse Monday as Afghan President Hamid Karzai made a new set of demands, and the Obama administration said it would be forced to begin planning for a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces at the end of 2014.

In a two-hour meeting here, Susan E. Rice, President Obama’s top national security adviser, told Karzai that if he failed to sign the bilateral security agreement by the end of this year, the United States would have “no choice” but to prepare for withdrawal, according to a statement by the National Security Council in Washington.

Karzai told Rice that he would sign only after the United States helps his government begin peace talks with the Taliban and agrees to release all 17 Afghan citizens being held in the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

In addition to those new demands, the Afghan leader reiterated that he will not sign if “another [U.S.] soldier steps foot into an Afghan home,” Karzai spokesman Aimal Faizi said. The United States has already promised to show “restraint” in “home entries” by U.S. troops and to carry them out only in conjunction with Afghan troops, but the tactic remains a part of U.S. operations against some insurgents here…

On Sunday — despite endorsement of the deal by the assembly, called a loya jirga — Karzai repeated his refusal to sign until after the presidential election here in April. U.S. officials have said they believed that Karzai was bluffing.

But “the president said, ‘Madame Rice, the ball is in your court,” Faizi said. “The president said, ‘If you are under the impression the [agreement] will be signed without a peace process, and without a total ban on raids of Afghan homes, this is a serious miscalculation.’?”

I’m actually rooting for Karzai, pups…! Naturally…

US looks to bypass Karzai on Afghanistan security deal, sources say

U.S. officials seeking to resolve a tense standoff with Afghan President Hamid Karzai were exploring on Tuesday whether they could bypass him and get other senior officials to sign a security deal authorizing American troops to remain in the country after 2014.

A day after Karzai abruptly said he would not sign unless Washington agreed to additional conditions, the Obama administration was pushing for Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osmani or another official to endorse the agreement on behalf of the government in Kabul, Afghanistan, several U.S. officials said.

The Pentagon has been saying for months that it needs the security pact in place by the end of the year to give planners time to draft deployment schedules and secure funding for post-2014 operations…

Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor, told Afghanistan’s Tolo television station that it was not possible for the United States to postpone signing the deal until the spring, as Karzai has called for. She brushed aside Karzai’s call for the release of all Afghans held at the naval prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other demands.

We’ve concluded the negotiations of the agreement,” Rice said at the end of a three-day visit to Kabul.

We’re getting the text ready, and we’ll sign it at a high level,” an apparent acknowledgment that someone other than Karzai could sign for the Afghans.

In wrapping up, the international diplomatic logjam that was the P5+1 talks, has apparently loosened up the Syrian Geneva II talks…

Russia: Geneva 2 will be held on the level of foreign ministers of 30 countries

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov said that Geneva 2 will be held on the level of foreign ministers of 30 countries, with representatives of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey participating in its preparation.

In a statement on Tuesday, Bogdanov said that Russia and the US are discussing the participation of Saudi Arabia and Iran in the conference, asserting the need for everyone to be represented in it and for its resolutions to be legally binding.

Bogdanov said that Moscow will continue communiqués with the Syria opposition to prepare for Geneva 2, noting that opposition representative understand the importance of the conference but the problem lies in them agreeing with each other.

He stressed the need for the Syrian government and opposition to hold negotiations and for the conference to focus on consensus, saying that the opposition representatives he met affirmed that there is no option other than a peaceful solution.

Bogdanov also underlined the need for UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi to submit a list of invitees to Geneva 2 by the end of December, adding that the conference will be open in terms of number of days and that funding hasn’t been finalized yet…

Update: Syrian opposition to attend Geneva peace conference
May Peace finally prevail for a change…!

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