Tag Archives: Bagdad

Iranian file – Moscow : another useless summit?

Varianta în limba română poate fi citită pe noul site al PPW.

Lately, it seems to become common as the leaders of the world to meet in the many and various summits just to change their contradictory opinions and, of course, stoically to smile at the group photo.

In this way things are showed also in long discussions on the Iranian file, and meeting in Baghdad was no exception. From EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton found (after a two-day meeting in Baghdad, where six world powers* holding nuclear talks with Iran) that was achieved some common ground despite remaining differences. Ashton said that another round of negotiations will take place in Russia Federation. “We will maintain intensive contacts with our Iranian counterparts to prepare a further meeting in Moscow,” she told a news conference in Baghdad. The next meeting, the third in the latest round of talks that began in Istanbul last month, will be held in Moscow on June 18-19.

So, something has been achieved. Something that can not be defined, because it is part of the negotiation process, say officials if are asked to be more specific. And if you compare the statements of those involved realize that there are real works of art in words which say nothing concrete. Lets take a look about: “The two sides’ commitment to diplomacy in the absence of any clear agreement is a positive sign,” said Ali Vaez, Iran expert at the International Crisis Group think-tank. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there would be no let up in sanctions against Iran, even as talks continue. “As we lay the groundwork for these talks, we will keep up the pressure as part of our dual-track approach,” she told reporters in Washington hours after the talks ended in Baghdad. “All of our sanctions will remain in place and continue to move forward during this period.” Western powers insist Tehran must first shut down enrichment activities before sanctions can be eased. In reply, the Islamic Republic has repeatedly ruled out suspending all enrichment as called for by several U.N. Security Council resolutions, saying nuclear energy is a matter of national sovereignty and pride in technological progress.

What they want ?

The powers want Iran to send its more highly refined uranium abroad and close an underground plant devoted to 20 percent enrichment which is largely invulnerable to air strikes. In return, the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany have offered fuel to keep Iran’s medical isotope reactor running, assistance in nuclear safety and an end to an embargo on spare parts for Iran’s ageing civilian aircraft. The six powers were going to try to advance the talks “as fast as we can”. But it is too early to talk about technical level or expert meetings because the political issues still needed to be clarified. EU spokesman Michael Mann told VOA the world powers presented a “clear” proposal calling on Iran to address international concerns about its nuclear program in return for “reciprocal measures” that the six-nation group believes will be attractive to Tehran. He said it is important for Iran to engage in the negotiations “seriously.”

 What Iran wants ?

Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli defense official, predicted that Iran would take a conciliatory tack at the Baghdad talks while not abandoning its goal of becoming a nuclear power. “They will be willing to show what appears to be flexibility as long as it doesn’t affect their strategic direction, meaning that they will be able to develop nuclear weapons if that decision is made,” Gilad told Army Radio. More, “It appears that the Iranians are trying to reach a ‘technical agreement’ which will create the impression of progress in the talks, in order to remove some of the pressure before the talks tomorrow in Baghdad (and) put off the intensification of sanctions,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement.

Iran needs nuclear talks to stabilize currency. But Iranian officials have labored to insist that they do not need a nuclear agreement with the international community and that their economy can survive more punishment. But one look at the recent gyrations of Iran’s currency suggests otherwise. The rial tanked early this year after the Barack Obama administration signed a law barring US banks from any dealings with foreign banks that do business with Iran’s Central Bank. The currency sank on so-called unofficial markets to 20,000 to the dollar — half what it was a year ago — before stabilizing at about 16,000 after a new round of nuclear talks in Istanbul in April.

It is well to remember that meeting in Moscow in June comes as a preamble to other sanctions. European sanctions to block Iran’s economically vital oil exports are to take force in July and Israel has mooted military action. A defiant Iran, which denies any ambition to acquire atom bombs, has threatened reprisals and oil prices have risen on fear of a new Middle East war hitting a wobbly world economy. The US official said sanctions coming into effect in coming weeks would increase leverage on Iran in the negotiations. “Maximum pressure is not yet being felt by Iran,” the official said, adding there were many other potential sanctions that remained to be employed.

*The world powers include the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (UK, China, Russia, France, United States) plus Germany – known as P5+1.

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Libya – Operations: Mermaid Dawn and the Morning of a new Iraq

A major international scandal could be brewing following the unofficial admission by NATO commanders that the allies deployed special forces units to help rebels fight Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya despite limitations set by a UN mandate. Plan to conquer the Libyan capital received the codename Operation “Mermaid Dawn” ( in Arabic – amaliyyat Bahr el-Arus Fajr). Perhaps the name is the metaphor that described the city of Tripoli – Bride or Fiancee of the Sea. It can say anything, but not that U.S. strategists are not very sensitive and creative when they have to give names of military operations. 😀

One aspect, however, was very clear from the beginning: the rebel forces could not beat Gaddafi’s troops without active support of Western allies at the ground, training, equipping and the all activities 3C (command, control and communications). When NATO took command of the air exclusion zone imposed (NFZ – no fly zone), those quasi-clandestine operations had to be turned parallel to NATO operations and in any case not have an active and visible tangent with NATO operational command.

The first news about the activities of land appeared in the press at the end of May, probably by Al-Jazeera footage and articles in the Guardian. Latest events in Tripoli and rapid conquest of most neighborhoods of the city, including Gaddafi’s fortified residence in Bab al-Aziz, revealed the participation in planning battles, and often involvement of allied ground forces. These forces included commando of British SAS, 2REP French (Groupe des commando parachutiste) and American Navy DELTA (according Politeia). Since from the beginning to set up the view that Gaddafi could be conquerable only if he loses Libyan capital, Tripoli, Western coordinators have developed the current plan, which is in the process of development in Tripoli. Prominent opposition members confirmed that the rebels had been shipping weapons into Tripoli for several weeks, in preparation for this uprising. After the British newspaper The Telegraph delivered an amazing headline: Libya: Colonel Gaddafi ‘flees’ to Venezuela as cities fall to protestersGaddafi delivered a speech via phone through Libyan media, announcing the date and time to prove his message wasn’t pre-recorded. One transcript of his remarks can be read here.

Operation Mermaid Dawn” has succeeded, after six months of civil war, but viewed from afar the joy rebels in Tripoli is sad and lack of support on long term. An ephemeral euphoria. Behind that are 20,000 dead in these six months of confrontation. Mermaid Dawn will soon be replaced by the Midday Heat of oil wells blown up. And the rebels, who were decapitated, a few days ago, a gold statue of Gaddafi and turned into ruins Gaddafi’s residential, not seem to understand that these days, more strikingly resembles Tripoli with Baghdad in 2003. Slowly but surely Libya is likely to sink into the same species of chaos as in Iraq. Perhaps a swift capture of Gaddafi would provide more or less stability in Libya. But the analysts believe that if we make a parallel with Iraq War, we see that the hanging of Saddam has not changed much for good things. But Gaddafi is not yet found. And the reward offered to catch not yet found willing betrayal. Between two reports of accident  from Fukushima, International Atomic Energy Agency issued a warning of some possible nuclear deposits that would have Gaddafi and that he could uses in the manufacture of “dirty” bombs. It is possible that information is correct. But who can believe it, after never found weapons of mass murder of Saddam Hussein ? Yes, I speak about those famous weapons of mass destruction mentioned in the counterfeit reports of special services that gave the Americans reasons and justification of the invasion of Iraq. The same justification could be base for hunt of Gaddafi by international forces – a justification which Prime Minister Putin seems to missed when recent he condemned again the events in Libya. In reply, Rupert Colville – UN human rights spokesman in Geneva – said: “Assassination is not within the rule of law. If he can be captured alive and the arrest warrants carried through, obviously that’s the best solution”, referring to the hunt for Gaddafi. On the other hand, even if it will catch on Gaddafi, Libya’s stability is not assured from the start. This country means too much fragmented tribes and clans which unlikely to listen to the Transitional Council who comes to power. And while barrels of oil will take the road of the West, will find many dissatisfied who will say that “Gaddafi’s time was better” or “Down the Council !” Then they will blow up a street in Tripoli…or in Benghazi; just only to show their power. Welcome in the morning of a new Iraq !