Any hope that the American administration has of making a deal with Iran over Iran’s nuclear programme, appears—according to recent press coverage—to be on the edge of a razor. The European parties to negotiations are said to be rushing to save the diplomatic framework. It’s an awkward business. One party to the negotiations is Russia, against whom the democratic world now finds itself ranged after the invasion of Ukraine. The optimism of early March, when a deal was glimpsed, has now receded from view. Iranian demands include the delisting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization; that now seems most unlikely. Extraneous demands like this, and the business of sanctioning Russia, clutter up negotiations. The Biden Administration, despite its desperation for a deal, seems so far unable to secure one—and hardly in a position of strength.Continue reading
Tag Archives: Barack Obama
With Netanyahu Gone, Will Israel Soften Its Stance on Iran?
On 13 June, before the new coalition government won a vote of confidence in Israel, the outgoing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, made an incendiary speech in the Knesset.
‘Iran is celebrating’ the new coalition, he said. He claimed the government, led by religious-nationalist Naftali Bennett, would be dominated by the left-wing and therefore weak.Continue reading
Gaza War May End Arab Acceptance of the Israeli-led Status Quo
For all the pro-forma talk of a two-state solution among diplomats and politicians across the world, it is commonly believed that the Palestinian national cause has lost its impetus. Palestine lies in two divergent parts, separately ruled by parties which hate each other. Because no Palestinian state worth the name could spring quickly into existence, the diplomats and politicians believe, they need give it no heed save the platitudes.Continue reading
Zarif’s Hardliner Misdirection
Attentive readers will have noticed an Iranian media campaign of late. Most recently, this has included a strange back and forth between Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, and Joe Biden’s special envoy on climate, John Kerry. Once the best of friends, Kerry and Zarif have fallen out. Zarif claimed that Kerry had told him details of Israeli strikes on Iranian assets in Syria, to which the Iranian minister says he listened with shock. Stretching credulity, Zarif claims all of this was news to him.Continue reading
On a Biden Presidency
If the polls are to be believed, Joe Biden could soon be elected president of the United States. Internationally, there is no shortage of leaders hoping to see Mr Trump become a one-term president, putting an end to America’s experiment with uncontrolled chaos in government so that business as usual can once again resume.Continue reading
From Good Crown Prince to the Mad King
Review – MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman by Ben Hubbard
Ben Hubbard, the New York Times’ man in Beirut, has written a biography of Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s young crown prince and uncrowned king, which will surely be widely read. Continue reading
Britain Has Little Room for Manoeuvre in the Strait of Hormuz
Britain’s next prime minister was never likely to have enjoyed an easy start. With no majority in the House of Commons, and having reached a point with Brexit which proved impassable enough to end the career of Theresa May, Boris Johnson will not have the strongest of hands upon assuming office. Continue reading
Syria’s Chemical Tactics Could Have Dreadful Consequences for Future Conflicts
Chemical warfare has dominated the global perception of the Syrian civil war. The use of chemical weapons, banned internationally, attracts its own condemnation but the way the Syrian war is captured and communicated to the world increased the horror and disgust its crimes can inspire. Continue reading
America’s New Plan for Syria Promises Little Change
For years, the United States and its leaders articulated a sense of what Syria ought to look like without a plan for making it so. Continue reading
Criminalising the Assad Regime
As the Syrian war reaches its terminal stages, open conflict has given way to a PR war.
The regime of Bashar al-Assad, backed by its Russian and Iranian allies, desires legitimacy and recognition. Assad is unlikely to receive it. His enemies wish to make it clear that, though the regime looks unlikely to fall, its essential character and its crimes exclude it from the community of nations. Continue reading