Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Diplomacy Ring of US, Iran & Israel:


 Focus on Historic US – Iran Deal:

Written by: KANWAL ABIDI
                     *** Political Analyst & Journalist

The historic tweet of Iranian President Rouhani “The deal is done” around 3.30 am – on 23rd November night – was a moment to celebrate in Tehran. A ten year ice was broken with US government and Tehran looked forward to easing of the sanctions. It was the first time in nearly a decade, American officials said, that an international agreement had been reached to halt much of Iran’s nuclear program and roll some elements of it back.
The aim of the accord, which is to last six months, is to give international negotiators time to pursue a more comprehensive pact that would ratchet back much of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it could be used only for peaceful purposes.
Shortly after the agreement was signed at 3.00 a.m. in the Palace of Nations in Geneva, President Obama, spoke from the State Dining Room in the White House, to hail it as the most “significant and tangible” progress of a diplomatic campaign that began when he took office.
“Today, diplomacy opened up a new path towards a world that is more secure now,” he said, “a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.”
In Geneva, the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said he hoped the agreement would lead to a “restoration” of trust between Iran and the United States. In an avuncular stance and smiling, he reiterated Iran’s longstanding assertion that its nuclear program was peaceful, adding that the Iranian people deserved respect from the West.
Secretary of State, John Kerry, who flew to Geneva early Saturday for the second time in two weeks in an effort to complete the deal, said it would “require Iran to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.”
Iran, which has long resisted international monitoring efforts and built clandestine nuclear facilities, agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent, a level that would be sufficient for energy production but that would require further enrichment for bomb-making. To make good on that pledge, Iran will dismantle links between networks of centrifuges.

US growing strong on Iran’s sites and soils:
There are widespread hopes, and fears fewer in number but more virulent, of the relationship between Natanz – The Iranian nuclear fuel enrichment site and Itamar – one the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, that is, the connection between Iran’s relations with the West and Israel-Palestine peace. US Secretary of State John Kerry, in remarks made since the Iran channel showed its promise, leaves no doubt that the Obama administration considers these two threats to regional security to be conceptually connected.
In Washington, the decision to turn a new page in relations with Iran has, for the first time in more than a generation, begun to remove practical, operational, bureaucratic and ideological constraints that have defined US policies in the region. There are encouraging signs that this “new thinking” is already enabling US policymakers to consider possible opportunities that Washington has shunned for decades — Iran, of course, is at the top of the list. Since 1979, no one within US policy and security bureaucracy has seen any value in thinking outside the box on Iran. Challenging the consensus view of Iran as a charter member of the “axis of evil” was a terrible career move.
Today, however, thinking about the possibilities of an improved US relationship with Tehran is back on the agenda. And, as a consequence, there is space for more critical thinking by the Washington policymaking bureaucracy. And if Iran is no longer a taboo subject, then what is preventing Washington’s reassessment of other “little Irans” formerly beyond the pale — for example, Hamas, Hezbollah and even Syria’s terrible Bashar al-Assad?
The decision to open a dialogue on Iran’s nuclear program, if it is to be fruitful, must necessarily engage both US and Iranian policymakers, and therefore everyone else, in far broader considerations aimed at defanging other threats to regional security and devising “win-win” solutions across a range of issues according to the model being discussed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany or P5 + 1.
A quick look at the map identifies both the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and Lebanon’s Hezbollah as important factors in this equation. Each has long been considered by its enemies as a “spoiler” — crashing the party organized by Washington and Israel. But without underestimating the continuing power of this view, the blinkers that have long limited Washington’s space for considering these charter members of the axis of evil are being lifted. In both cases, new US thinking on Hamas and Hezbollah would have to be reciprocated by its respective leaders Khaled Meshaal and Hassan Nasrallah, while each attempt to navigate an improved place in the new Middle East being imagined by Washington and Tehran.
All threaten to upend Israel's view — and not only Israel’s — of how the future should unfold. In this new context, every car bomb in Dahia or shelling of the Gaza Strip is viewed, perhaps with justification, as a provocative challenge by dead-enders of all stripes to embryonic reconciliation orchestrated by US President Barack Obama and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. There is a real potential indeed for such actions to threaten or even overwhelm the still-fragile connections being forged. Washington and Tehran together are each obligated to communicate their commitment to succeed and steel themselves against being whipsawed by those anxious to change the subject and resume more familiar, comfortable — if deadly —business as usual.
Israel upset over US and Iran Deal:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to revise his attitude toward Obama’s efforts on Natanz and Itamar - promises to cause him increasing trouble in the months ahead. During an October visit to Rome, Netanyahu acknowledged that “the solution of the Iranian issue may have a decisive influence on the Palestinian issue — for bad and for good.” Obama has left no doubt that the train on Iran has left the station, apparently without Netanyahu aboard.
In both Natanz and Itamar, Kerry is adopting the standard of increasing mutual security through agreement — not force, or war, or continuing occupation — and enabling a US-led diplomacy to create a stable framework for peace that will in each case increase Israel's security. Netanyahu sees only the potential perils of this holistic connection and the challenge that it presents to his worldview.
As Obama stressed in remarks on Dec. 8 in Washington, “The United States’ military cooperation with Israel has never been stronger. Our intelligence cooperation with Israel has never been stronger. Our support of Israel’s security has never been stronger."
For Netanyahu, these soothing words are not a source of comfort, but rather a cause for concern. If Bibi’s warning against a diplomatic solution for Natanz is rejected by Obama, then what, Bibi fears, will stop Obama from having his “own way on Itamar?” And he is right.
Conclusion:

Diplomacy as an end unto itself:
President Obama in his speech on 10th Sept 2013, talked of placing “no boots on the ground” and a limited military strike” to avert any Syrian threat. Obama stated that his preference was always to resolve the issue “diplomatically’.  Few months back, Syrian regime denied it possessed any chemical weapons, it turns out that Syria now is actually removing its chemical weapons and has provided a comprehensive list that they have already begun taking these weapons out of Syria.  And although that does not solve the tragic situation inside of Syria, it turns out that removing those chemical weapons will make us safer and it will make Israel safer, and it will make the Syrian people safer, and it will make the region safer.

And so I do not see military action as an end unto itself.  Military action is one tool that we have in a tool kit that includes diplomacy in achieving our goals, which is ultimately our security. We should make “diplomacy as an end unto itself”.

Likud Convention Speech of Netanyahu – 18th Dec 2013
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dedicated a large part of his speech on Dec.18 at the Likud Party convention to the Iranian nuclear program. He behaved in an alien way, dismayed by the Iran deal - as if “no agreement” had been signed between the world powers and Iran. He carried same old threatening tone with the bottom line that “Israel will not accept a nuclear bomb.”

This was an anachronistic speech, lacking in vision, and most of all, detached from the international reality created after the signing of the Iranian Geneva deal on the night of Nov. 23. The significance of the interim agreement is that in the next few months, at least until negotiations over a final agreement, the “world powers are giving diplomacy a chance”, calming the tone and halting the threats. Only in Netanyahu’s world has time been frozen. 

Focus on President Obama’s Year-end News Conference – 20th Dec 2013
President Obama in his year - end news conference, from the White House, on 20 Dec, Friday, ahead of the vacations, spoke of various issues of Obamacare, health laws and diplomacy pursued with the Iran. Obama categorically stated few facts and came out forceful in his speech that “America has nothing to fear from Iran.”
“We lose nothing under this negotiation deal” stated by Obama – under his diplomatic stance. Current deal of $ 7 billion will be beneficial to restore diplomatic relations with Iran and at the same time US has made clear that Iran cannot build new nuclear plants and neither can they extend on the networks of the centrifuges.
Obama says “if negotiations would fail – Iran knows very well, they can come under high economic pressure.” He assured the American nation that we can do it in “one day” to burden Iran once again by the sanctions. At the end, he wished his nation and the world a “happy new Year” with a concrete and a definite message of “diplomacy as an end unto itself.” But, on the other hand, PM Netanyahu has left the message that “Deal is a Christmas present” for @Iran.
At the end, Israel hopes that Obama will not arrive at the wrong conclusion from what had transpired in Syria. To solve the Iranian problem, Jerusalem says, Obama needs to demonstrate much greater resolve, creativity and a much larger stick than the one he flashed at Syria.
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Written By:
KANWAL ABIDI     MBA, CA (F), JAIBP & ACB (UK)
-          Political Analyst  &  Journalist 
      President Mishal Welfare Trust  
      Public Advocate @ Citizens Advocacy Platform 
      Peace/Human Rights Activist

The writer can be reached through Twitter @KANWALanalyst