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Tag Archives: Iran

Syria war, Sochi peace

The main take-away of the trilateral, two hour-long Russia-Iran-Turkey summit in Sochi on the future of Syria was expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin:

“The presidents of Iran and Turkey supported the initiative to convene an All-Syrian Congress for national dialogue in Syria. We agreed to hold this important event at the proper level and ensure the participation of representatives of different sectors of Syrian society.”

In practice, that means Russian, Iranian and Turkish foreign ministries and defense departments are tasked to “gather delegates from various political parties, internal and external opposition, ethnic and confessional groups at the negotiating table.”

Putin stressed that “in our common opinion, the success on the battlefield that brings closer the liberation of the whole of Syrian territory from the militants paves the way for a qualitatively new stage in the settlement of the crisis. I’m talking about the real prospects of achieving a long-term, comprehensive normalization in Syria, political adjustment in the post-conflict period.”

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Syria-war-Sochi-peace-by-Pepe-Escobar-Assad_Daesh_Negotiation_Peace-171124-877.html

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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Middle East

 

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How Turkey, Iran, Russia and India are playing the New Silk Roads

Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani will hold a summit this Wednesday in Sochi to discuss Syria. Russia, Turkey and Iran are the three power players at the Astana negotiations — where multiple cease-fires, as hard to implement as they are, at least evolve, slowly but surely, towards the ultimate target — a political settlement.

A stable Syria is crucial to all parties involved in Eurasia integration. As Asia Times reported, China has made it clear that a pacified Syria will eventually become a hub of the New Silk Roads, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — building on the previous business bonanza of legions of small traders commuting between Yiwu and the Levant.

Away from intractable war and peace issues, it’s even more enlightening to observe how Turkey, Iran and Russia are playing their overlapping versions of Eurasia economic integration and/or BRI-related business.

Much has to do with the energy/transportation connectivity between railway networks — and, further on the down the road, high-speed rail — and what I have described, since the early 2000s, as Pipelineistan.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/How-Turkey-Iran-Russia-a-by-Pepe-Escobar-Iran_Iran-Russia-And-China_Pipeline_Pipelineistan-171122-416.html

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in Asia, Economy, Europe, Middle East

 

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Tension mounts in Lebanon as Saudi Arabia escalates power struggle with Iran

In Beirut’s southern suburbs, where buildings scarred with wars of old blend with posters of the latest dead, talk of another conflict has taken hold. A fight on a scale not seen before may be brewing, say locals like Hussein Khaireddine, a barber who says he and his family in the Shia suburb of Dahiyeh have grown used to tensions over decades.

“This one’s different,” he said. “It could lead to every valley and mountain top. And if it starts, it may not stop.”

The trepidation extends beyond the city’s predominantly Shia suburbs and south Lebanon, which bore the brunt of the 2006 war with Israel, to all corners of a country that has suddenly found itself at the centre of an extraordinary regional crisis. The turmoil had been brewing for years. But it was brought to a head on 3 November, at a lunch in Beirut being hosted by prime minister Saad Hariri. Midway through the meal with the visiting French cultural minister, Françoise Nyssen, Hariri received a call and his demeanour changed. He excused himself and left for the airport, without his aides.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/11/lebanon-saudi-arabia-iran–power-struggle-saad-hariri-resignation

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Donald Trump’s best new policy in the Middle East would be no new policy

President Trump’s stance on conflict in the Middle East is a mixture of bellicose threats and demonisation of opponents combined with rather more cautious and carefully calculated action or inaction on the ground. Leaders in Baghdad, Damascus, Riyadh and Tehran face the same problem as those in Tokyo and London, uncertain where the rhetoric ends and the reality begins and unsure if Trump himself distinguishes much between the two.

The debate about Trump in the Middle East does differ from that in the rest of the world in one important respect: the need for an answer here is more urgent because of the greater likelihood of a crisis, which Trump might provoke or exacerbate.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/donald-trump-middle-east-israel-iran-saudi-arabia-syria-raqqa-conflict-war-us-military-isis-fight-no-a8035541.html

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

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Why Trump Has Gone Nuclear on Iran

Just when world public opinion feared the US and North Korea were on the brink of nuclear war, the new axis of evil times (North Korea, Iran, Venezuela) yield a dramatic plot twist; President Trump is adamant the real threat is the Iran nuclear deal.Enter a brand new, major international crisis deployed out of the blue with inbuilt war potential.The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a.k.a. the Iran nuclear deal, works, and Tehran is complying. So says the IAEA (eight separate certifications of compliance since the deal was struck in Vienna in 2015). So says the EU, Russia and China. So says even Trump’s military troika – Tillerson/McMaster/Mattis.

Source: Why Trump Has Gone Nuclear on Iran

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in Asia, Middle East, North America

 

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Letter from Iran part III: Under the shadow of the Assassins’ castle

I returned to Si-o-se pol a few days later in the company of a young man called Hamid, an employee at a carpet shop next to the Imam Mosque at Naghsh-e Jahan whom I had met after circumventing the entrance fee to said mosque by slipping in with a tour group. I had told Hamid about my morning jogs on Chahar Bagh and he had pledged to take me to a “normal” place to run: the parks along the riverbank.

I first made the acquaintance of Hamid’s colleague Hussein when I exited the magnificence of the mosque and was busy congratulating myself on having saved six dollars. Hussein approached, asked where I was from and why I didn’t have a guide, and gave me a high five when I told him about the six dollars. Some small talk ensued, with Hussein complaining that the Iranian government was “suffocating” its people; he then backtracked to assert that there was in fact room to breathe despite the rules and that the mullahs had at least charitably refrained from blocking the VPNs that were necessary to access Facebook.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Letter From Iran – Part II

Every Friday morning in Esfahan, a used book fair is held in an underground parking lot on Taleghani Avenue, named for an ayatollah described by historian Ervand Abrahamian as “the most popular cleric in Tehran” during the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Had he not perished shortly thereafter, he “might have provided a liberal counterweight to Khomeini.”Prior to his revolutionary activity in the 1970s, Taleghani was a supporter of the secular nationalist Mohammad Mossadegh, victim of that infamous coup jointly perpetrated by the Americans and British in 1953 to make the world safe for imperial control over the oil business. Nowadays, imperial representatives up in arms over the contemporary orientation of the Iranian state would do well to contemplate Abrahamian’s observation that this very coup—in destroying Mossadegh’s National Front and the communist Tudeh Party (literally the Party of the Masses) via arrests, executions, and the like—“paved the way for the eventual emergence of a religious movement.” Abrahamian explains: “In other words, the coup helped replace nationalism, socialism, and liberalism with Islamic ‘fundamentalism.’… One can argue that the real roots of the 1979 revolution go back to 1953.”

Source: Letter From Iran

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Letter from Iran: To Lebanon and back, Part I

A note from the Editors

Some honest introspection: when The Region has covered Iran, it’s been from the viewpoint of the boardrooms, conferences and the occasional prison-cell. It’s as if, in our new incursion into the bewildering universe of Journalism, our readers are only to understand the Persian Gulf as an in-between space. A cold-war battlefield pitting the clerics of Persia, against the statesmen of Saudi Arabia.

For, as far as the post-colonial world is concerned, West Asia can only be understood as cyclical. The Sunni’s, we are told, are in perpetual war with the Shiite’s. The cold war with the Gulf States on one end, and Iran on the other, is merely a dramatic and modern re-enactment of the Ottoman and Safavid Imperial rivalry in earlier times. Iran, it is to be understood, if  at all, only as a conniving puppeteer.  And thus, Iran is Houthi, Iran is, as of late, Qatar, Iran is Hezbollah, and if we are not too careful, Iran could become nuclear.
But what about the Iranian people? Even when we try to get to the ground a difficulty in the absence of a correspondentwe have found it hard to cover stories that go beyond the occasional human rights appeal. We haven’t been to the mousques, the schools, the intersections on the highway, and the weekly Bazaar. We’re new, and we’re just not there yet.

And while we don’t discriminate in West Asia, usually siding with any who struggle, wherever they maybe, we only get to know activists and dissidents after their incarceration and solitude. The Region is of course, burdened with the truth; political prisoners need our urgent comradely help and the least we can do is tell their stories. But we are also painfully aware that neo-conservative vultures would want nothing more than for us to promulgate an image of Iran that is nothing but repressive.

This is why we are privileged to introduce this three-part series on Iran. It is a travelogue by Belen Fernandez, but not any random one. This is not just another piece written to appease, a “clichéd desire to convey the humanity of a nation that had for so long occupied US crosshairs and suffered attendant vilification” and it is not another declaration of Iranian Humanity. Part I, is rather, a narration of contradiction interweaved into Iranian space and time. We move from the conference room, to the mosque and Bazaar. Every single one of these spaces carries multiple stories. In every space we visit, there is a secret protocol between the generations of the past and that of our own. We are not only taken to the Bazaar, but we are made to feel the pain of past generations within it, and the piety of its presence. In return for its acquiescence to the ruling regime,  embodied in pictures of Khomeini adorning many stalls, we walk into markets of Isfahan which thrive vibrantly. And while the shopkeepers love for the founding fathers of Iran’s Islamic revolution could very well be authentic, who is to fault them? There would be no Bazaar under the Shah, whose intelligence agency almost eradicated the market on the basis of its supposed medieval backwardness.

And this is how you, very briefly, meet the characters of Belen’s story. Each one, somewhere in between two different worlds sharing only the same coordinates. What she lacks in access, she makes up for with historical situation. In times like this, the outsiders eye is paradoxically revealing, even if, with Belen’s humility (and humor) you come to realize that orientalism is an unavoidable facet of every outsider narration. 

http://theregion.org/article/11472-letter-from-iran-to-lebanon-and-back-part-i

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Trouble in the Gulf: the view from Tehran

Throughout the Gulf region people are talking about the rift between Saudi Arabia (and its allies) and Qatar and the unexpected appointment on 21 June of Muhammad Bin Salman (known as ‘MBS’) as Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince. The unprecedented attempt to marginalise a fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member has shocked many in the region, and there are fears that the promotion of MBS may further exacerbate the tension.For months it has been obvious that King Salman was grooming his favourite son as his successor, but few imagined that happening quite so soon.At the core of the Qatar furore lies the longstanding rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Throughout the commotion, Iranian politicians have largely kept quiet and advised both parties to settle their issues through negotiation. But if they were concerned about the inter-Arab squabbling, the promotion of MBS has sent an altogether more powerful message to the Iranians, as he is behind the war on Yemen, and seen either as a ‘reformer’ or as ‘reckless’.

Source: Trouble in the Gulf: the view from Tehran, by Camelia Entekhabifard (Le Monde diplomatique – English edition, July 2017)

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2017 in Middle East

 

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In Saudi Arabia, Trump Reaches Out to Sunni Nations, at Iran’s Expense

As voters in Iran danced in the streets, celebrating the landslide re-election of a moderate as president, President Trump stood in front of a gathering of leaders from across the Muslim world and called on them to isolate a nation he said had “fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.”That nation was Iran.In using the headline address of his first foreign trip as president to declare his commitment to Sunni Arab nations, Mr. Trump signaled a return to an American policy built on alliances with Arab autocrats, regardless of their human rights records or policies that sometimes undermine American interests.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2017 in Middle East, North America

 

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