Special Representative of the UN and LAS on the Syrian crisis Lakhdar Brahimi, followed by the head of the National Coalition of Syrian Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (NKORS) Ahmed Muaz al-Khatib gave ratings happening in the country. Brahimi lamented the inaction of the UN Security Council, where the Russian Federation and China blocked several resolutions on Syria. And Mr. Khatib, without extinguishing himself, said that he was going to ask right here at the conference, at bilateral meetings (that is, behind the scenes), to ask representatives of world powers, including the Vice President of the United States, to support the opposition, ready to overthrow “the Bashar regime Asad.
Officials in Damascus, as you might guess, were not invited to the forum. Sergei Lavrov, apparently, did not focus on this in his speech. However, he did not step back from the previous positions of Russia regarding the Syrian conflict. is he сказал:
“If you look at the most volatile region today - the Middle East, North Africa, it is difficult to get rid of the feeling of some kind of curved space. Many questions arise in connection with the approaches of our Western colleagues. We all want stability to be ensured in the Middle East, on the African continent and in other regions, so we need to agree on transparent and understandable rules that should guide all external players in their practical actions. ”
What are the rules about it - transparent, and even understandable? And this is the hairpin of the West, which then fights against the Syrian people along with Al-Qaida and other Islamists, then it supports the fight against religious radicals in Mali.
After such a statement on the sidelines of the conference, our minister spoke with Comrade Brahimi. And Joe Biden talked with Ahmed Muaz al-Khatib. To each his own. There is nothing new under the sun, as wise Ecclesiastes used to say for a long time.
As for the topic of the Iranian atom, the parties also did not say anything new. Repetition is the mother of learning, here's how to briefly describe the results of the Munich forum. Tehran said the absence of evidence of a military orientation of the nuclear program, and representatives of the Western powers called on Iran to make concessions first.
In the West, apparently, they do not at all consider that the “suspect” remains a suspect until his guilt is proven. Anyone pointed to the finger of the West is immediately accused. And it goes to the accused until it proves otherwise. No lawyer in the world (except, perhaps, Obama, who studied at Harvard Law School) would not like such judicial logic. But democracy is democracy, and the Germans and their guests forced Comrade Ali Akbar Salehi to defend themselves. He even had to raise his voice.
February 3 broke out heated debate on Iran’s nuclear program. Salehi, the Iranian foreign minister, rejected the West’s accusation that his country was making a nuclear bomb in a rather loud voice.
"Where is the proof? - Outraged Salehi, raising his hands to the glass ceiling in the Royal Hall of the hotel «Bayerischer Hof». “Show me the report on paper, and I am on your side.” The head of the committee on foreign policy in the German Bundestag, Ruprecht Polenz, insisted that it was not the international community that should prove Tehran’s secret intentions, but Iran, its peaceful intentions. Polenz also harshly criticized Tehran’s anti-Israel rhetoric: “This is unacceptable.”
By the way, Salehi named the date of the next round of negotiations with the “six” international mediators: February 25. The venue of the meeting will be Kazakhstan.
Neither French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, nor Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived at the conference in Munich. That is why the Malian theme and faded into the background.
Behind the scenes, quite important things were discussed.
During a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, who had often criticized Russia before, somewhat unexpectedly spoke in friendly tones. At least affiliate. It was not about anything neutral, but about normalizing relations between the two countries.
Washington proposed start normalization with cooperation in areas that do not cause contradictions in the two powers. The fight against weapons of mass destruction is a suitable field of cooperation. The Nunn-Lugar program expires in the summer, and Russia refuses to renew it. Under the treaty, the United States assists other countries in disposing of decommissioned nuclear and chemical weapons and means of delivery. Over the past twenty years, the program has destroyed 7610 nuclear warheads, 33 nuclear submarines, 902 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 155 bombers and hundreds of other delivery vehicles. Moscow explained the refusal to extend the agreement to the fact that it no longer needs subsidies.
Journalists already know the conditions on which Moscow is ready to sign a new agreement. True, such will be signed if the conditions "are based on equality and meet modern realities." The contract for the disposal of plutonium in 2010, renewed in 2002, regarding plutonium can serve as a model for the agreement: both parties have equal financial obligations and “fairly distribute responsibility”. As for the Nunn-Lugar program, contractors from the USA who were hired to work in Russia were not responsible for the accidents and the emergencies caused by their fault.
This is not all. In the new agreement, the Russian government would like to limit the access of Americans to some objects.
To discuss the conditions put forward by the Russian side this month, Rose Goethemuller, the senior US Undersecretary of State, will fly to Moscow. In Washington, events are rushing: they say they want to reach concrete agreements as soon as possible. However, as the representative of the Russian delegation in Munich firmly stated, "unlike the 1990s, Moscow now" will not do anything quickly. "
Speaking at the conference, Joe Biden saidthat Washington and Moscow successfully reloaded relations, mentioning a joint vote on sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council, a START treaty and Russia's accession to the WTO. He also noted disagreements with Russia, primarily the missile defense system in Europe. However, he did not say a word about the resolution of the issue.
And Sergei Lavrov, in response, reminded the Russian position that Moscow is seeking to obtain assurances that the European missile defense system will not be directed against Russia.
What do people think about the conference in Munich abroad?
Cave Afrasiab, Ph.D., author and coauthor of several books, writes in Asia Timesthat it is time for cautious optimism. Iran and the United States, he writes, are on the verge of historical opportunities to restore their "frozen" relationship. It's time to do this, the scientist believes, noting that all past opportunities were lost - simply because one or the other side was not “ready”.
Fortunately, the author says, the current situation is different from the previous ones. And this is what gives reason for cautious optimism, especially in the light of the positive statements from US and Iranian officials, in particular, US Vice President Joseph Biden, who during his participation in the 49 conference on security in Munich announced that the United States ready for a serious dialogue with Iran. Thus, he made a step to which Iran responded reciprocally: Minister Salehi called Biden's words “a step forward”. He then confirmed that his country was ready for negotiations.
At the same time, responding to Biden’s remarks that the diplomacy window is not open forever and that all options remain on the table, Salehi rightly condemned the US’s “contradictory” intentions to simultaneously negotiate and immediately “use this threatening rhetoric ... it is incompatible ...” We will be ready to participate only when we speak as equals. ”
Thus, words are words, and America, famous for its double standards, has to prove its good intentions in practice. Either she is ready for dialogue, or she, like the characters of Orwell, will consider herself "more equal than others."
The current US strategy for Iran comes down to two aspects: deterring Iranian power and deterring Iran’s desire to get nuclear weapons. As for the latter, Hillary Clinton, in her final Secretary of State speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, outlined the priority of the Iranian nuclear threat and confirmed that the United States is firmly committed "not to let Iran get nuclear weapons."
There is a contradiction, the analyst believes. After all, Iran has already reached the threshold of nuclear potential due to the mastery of the full nuclear fuel cycle, and this is a fait accompli that must be taken into account and fully integrated into the realistic US strategy towards Iran. Incredibly, the author writes, but the United States is not able to make an important distinction between potential and actual capabilities and develop appropriate policies based on the existing difference.
What do we have in the end? If the US intends to insist on suspending the uranium enrichment program, then it is useless. This, according to the scientist, is doomed to failure - in the light of clear signals from the Iranian leadership that they will not cease to enrich uranium under any circumstances.
But what Tehran could (and is ready to) consider is the voluntary establishment of a uranium enrichment ceiling. Let's say we can talk about temporary suspension of 20% enrichment or the like. In this, the analyst sees certain compromises that do not impinge on Iran’s “inalienable nuclear law”, enshrined in the articles of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
All this can be supplemented by efforts to strengthen Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA.
Together, these Iranian steps will provide an “objective guarantee” regarding the peaceful nature and objectives of the nuclear program.
But are these steps enough to lift the Western sanctions against Iran? And are the US ready to reciprocate the Iranian movement? Will Washington move away from the coercive diplomacy that has become his second nature? Another question is what role the US allies, such as the United Kingdom or France, will assume.
Christoph Dreyer (World Socialist Web Site) emphasizes that Biden used the conference field to confirm the US claims to be a global hegemon. In a speech on Saturday, he declared that the “Pacific state of the United States”, together with the “greatest military alliance in the world” (NATO), would retain “our power” both over the Atlantic and the Pacific region — thanks to “our new defense strategy.”
To the Western policy of potential military intervention in geo-strategically important regions of the world, the US Vice-President justified by social instability:
“Today in North Africa and in some countries of the Middle East,” he said, “extremists are trying to use: border permeability; the presence of many uncontrolled territories; the availability of weapons, new governments that sometimes lack the ability to fight extremism; outflow from the countries of a generation of disaffected young people whose desires are stifled by stagnation in the economy. ”
Such a situation, explained the vice-president of the United States, requires
“An integrated approach and the use of the full range of tools at our disposal, including the armed forces”.
It would seem that already enough, but Joe Biden continued. He went so far as to present the brutal wars against Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as major successes and even called them models for future campaigns.
As for Syria, Biden repeated the US demand for "regime change." He said that Syrian President Assad is “a tyrant obsessed with clinging to power”, which the Syrian people do not need and must “leave”. According to a report in the Times of London, the author notes that the United States gave Israel a green light for further air strikes against Syria after the bombing of targets in Syria on January 30.
By the way, the vice president of the United States did not make a secret of the fact that the American offensive initiative in the Middle East and North Africa is directed against Chinese influence in the region and is generally associated with the anti-Chinese political and diplomatic attack by the Obama administration, known as the "turn to Asia" .
In response, representatives of the European powers made it clear to Biden that they were very willing to participate in the re-colonization of the Middle East and North Africa in cooperation with the United States.
The German government has stated directly that it will not stand aside. Both German ministers, Guido Westerwelle (foreign affairs) and Thomas de Maiziere (defense), stressed the importance of cooperation with the United States and their support for Western intervention in the affairs of Syria, as well as Mali. Westerwelle promised the leader of the NKRS Hatyba "active support" from Germany.
Interestingly, the same Westerwelle several times stressed the importance of partnership with Russia. Germany, after all, is not interested in confrontation with China and Russia, which has its own interests in the Middle East. And China has its own - in Africa.
There is no longer double standards smacks, but triple.
Jay solomon of "The Wall Street Journal" focuses on Western skepticism about making progress in the negotiations on a nuclear settlement.
He notes, in particular, that Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator is Saeed Jalili. This man is the personal representative of the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the latter persistently expressed his unwillingness to curtail Iran’s nuclear program. Mr. Jalili plays a far greater role in the formation of Tehran’s nuclear policy than Mr. Salehi, who, by the way, was educated in the United States with a degree in nuclear physics.
The author also points out that the new US secretary of state, former Massachusetts senator John Kerry, has a reputation for being not such a militant “hawk” as its predecessor, Hillary Clinton. As for the US Secretary of Defense, the candidate for this post, Chuck Hagel, confused the legislators, saying that he would work to "contain" the Iranian nuclear program, if approved for the post of head of the Pentagon. True, he immediately explained that the policy of President Obama is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and not to keep Tehran after receiving them.
Mr. Biden in Munich had to “minimize the damage” from Mr. Hagel’s comments and emphasize the position of Barack Obama, who intends to use all means, including perhaps military force, to prevent Iran from making a bomb. Biden said bluntly:
“As President Obama has made clear to Iranian leaders, our policy is not deterrence - this is not deterrence. We must prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. ”
As for Europe, EU diplomats who are familiar with the negotiations say that it remains unclear whether Iran is really interested in a compromise. Mrs. Ashton, in particular, insisted that there should be no negotiations for the sake of the negotiations, and stated that Iran should take the first step to build confidence.
Thus, nothing fundamentally new was said at the Munich conference, except for the fact that Vice President Biden had to repeat the theses of his head Obama, who in Washington, defending himself against attacks from hawks like McCain, unwittingly shook the candidate for defense ministers - Chuck Hagel. Highlight should also be a backstage meeting of Sergey Lavrov with Joe Biden, at which they talked about the normalization of relations between Russia and the United States. Probably, the field of partnership with weapons of mass destruction will soon become a partnership field. And as before, EuroPRO will be a stumbling block.
Observed and translated by Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for topwar.ru
- especially for topwar.ru