Sunday, December 10, 2006

Iran: dealing with the demons

David Seaton's News Links
The only way that the USA could "solve" its situation in the Middle East, as it stands today, is to make a deal with Iran. Not just a little deal, but the "mother of all deals". The realpolitik solution to America's problems in the Middle East would be to become Iran's "new best friend". Full trade (especially oil technology), full diplomatic relations, non-interference in Iran's internal affairs, let them have their atomic bomb: all in exchange for a dignified withdrawal from Iraq and Iran's recognition that the US Navy -- over the horizon -- guarantees the independence of Saudi Arabia and the emirates and free movement of oil. To insure the survival of the Saudi throne, force Israel to accept the Saudi peace plan, which means Israel returning all the land it took in 1967, including Jerusalem.... Hey David, what are you smoking? The United States' international behavior is normally ruled by domestic politics. Pressure groups of every stripe twist the general interest to their benefit. Things will have to get a lot worse in the Middle East before the deal I've sketched out could happen. Will things get worse? Do bears do whatever they do in the woods? DS
Iran looks like the winner of the Iraq war - Los Angeles Times
Abstract: The report issued last week by the blue-ribbon Iraq Study Group provides fresh proof of Iran's strengthened hand in the Middle East since the U.S.-led invasion: It mentions the Islamic Republic more than 50 times and makes clear that the U.S. will have to seek Iran's help for any resolution. "The report told the Iranians, You are mighty now in the region and in Iraq. The Iranians feel now they are untouchable," said Mustafa Alani, director of security and terrorism studies at the Gulf Research Center, an independent think tank in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Bush administration no longer has much leverage to stop Iran from pursuing uranium enrichment, diplomats and analysts said. And the price of cooperation, Alani said, will be very high.(...) "So far, Iran won the Iraq war," said George Perkovich, the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "They gained the most by far." He said the U.S. hand was already weak on the nuclear issue because of Russia's reluctance to go along with sanctions against the Islamic Republic. But the report makes clear that Iran has substantial leverage in any negotiation, he said, because of Iran's importance in helping to quell the civil war in Iraq. "We have to deal with reality," Perkovich said. Israel views the situation with alarm. "The idea was to make Iraq a partner in the moderate Arab camp. Instead, it has come under the influence of Iran, a state that calls for Israel's destruction," said Ephraim Sneh, Israel's deputy defense minister.(...) Western diplomats are reluctant to describe Iran as a victor but concede that for the moment, at least, it looks that way. "Iran won the first round," said a senior Western diplomat in an Arab state. "But there is a long way to go, and if the U.S. leaves Iraq and other countries in the region come in — Saudi, Syria — Iran's position could weaken."(...) Analysts emphasized, far more than the report's authors did, that Iran's strengthened position means the nation is unlikely to see any reason to help the U.S. unless Washington meets Ian's demands. And, they said, Iran will put such a high price on cooperation that it will be impossible for Washington to agree. "Iran certainly would want recognition of their enrichment program, what they claim to be their rights to uranium enrichment…. They would also want lifting of [existing] U.S. sanctions, particularly on investment in oil and gas," said Mark Fitzpatrick, a senior analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. (...) "It's ironic that Bush, after having coined the 'axis of evil' phrase, now finds it very hard to address the Iran problem because of the failure of the Iraq policy," Fitzpatrick said. "So now they have to deal with the demons." READ IT ALL

No comments: