THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY is a compelling factual history of neoconservatism and its influence on US Foreign Policy in the Middle East during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Click on image above for details.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Here we were on Monday thinking the Iranian deal with Turkey, whereby Iran would get to do an exchange by sending some 1200 kgs of LEU to Turkey in exchange for 120 kgs of MEU, would ease the stand-off between the West and Iran. It seemed that the deal would put an end to the pursuit of further sanctions on Iran by the US if, for no other reason, China and Russia, in light of the new deal Iran has with Turkey, would very likely not support further sanctions against Iran.

Then, the very next day, news comes in that, not only has the US decided to push ahead with a resolution to impose further sanctions, regardless of the deal between Iran and Turkey, but that Russia and China have tentatively agreed to support such a resolution.

One can be forgiven for asking ‘What’s going on?’ given that both Russia and China were previously reluctant to be behind any further sanction even without any deals having been made to swap uranium.

Max Fisher, writing online at The Atlantic magazine, attempts a reasonable analysis. Fisher argues, in essence, that both Russia and China are simply shifting toward a more pragmatic stance that reflects their own wider interests in regards to their respective relations with Europe and the West respectively.

This may be so, but one wonders if, had Iran and Turkey announced their deal even a day earlier, Russia and China would still have agreed publicly to support this new resolution.

The fact is the sanctions are not really all that tough. They are certainly not likely to deter Iran from working to achieve their goal of producing electrical power from nuclear energy. Li Baodong, China’s Ambassador to the UN, has said that they only support sanctions that are likely “to bring the Iranian side to the negotiating table”, adding that, "The sanctions are not for punishing innocent people and should not harm normal trade and business exchanges."

Because of the mild nature of the new proposed sanctions, there have been reports that the US and the EU may also be initiating certain unilateral sanctions outside of the UN sanctions tentatively agreed to. Already Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed concern at these reports. Lavrov was quoted in Ria Novosti, the Russian online news magazine, as saying that the unilateral sanctions would include measures "of an extraterritorial nature, beyond the agreed decisions of the international community and contradicting the principle of the rule of the international law, enshrined in the UN Charter." The key word of concern here is ‘extraterritorial’.

The implications of this are very serious. They may even have a bearing on whether or not Russia actually signs up to the UN resolution when it comes to the vote next month. China too may think twice about their position if the US and their Western allies decide on unilateral sanctions that go beyond those already agreed to within the UN and which ‘contradict the principle of the rule of international law’.

It remains to be seen whether or not the two deals were ‘crossed in the post’, but it certainly seems that, one, the sanctions recommended were ‘soft’ enough for both Russia and China to sign up to; and, two, it also seems that, if that is the case and the US and their Western allies want to fool around with tougher unilateral sanctions, then Russia and China might just back off the UN negotiated sanctions. Given that it seems as if the Turkey-Iran deal is almost fait accompli, the end result will be at the very least embarrassing for the US and the West, and, at worst, bring on a dangerous situation in the Middle East where the US and Israel may feel compelled to take matters into their own hands.


Anonymous said...

Further to this matter, there is a useful (and mildly humourous) article in Wednesdays's 19th May 'Australian' newspaper of a reprint from the WSJ by Bret Stephens.
It highlights the farce this issue has become where Iran, Turkey and Brazil have picked up the same offer suggested by the yanks and their sycophants late last year as a recommended and helpful action, but now suddenly isn't deigned to be acceptable by the yanks etc.

How can any system in the real world function where one keeps on changing the rules to suit themselves, all with the inescapable conclusion of reaching the contrived finding of 'iranian guilt' and thus needing to be attacke in a new war!.
As a long time footy supporter, I fear what we have in the yanks etc are the ultimate cheats, inveterate "goal post shifters"!.
.....right over to you Sybil Fawlty!.

Nylon Shirt

james said...

Given that it seems as if the Turkey-Iran deal is almost fait accompli, the end result will be at the very least embarrassing for the US and the West

The US (presumably including israel) and 'the West' are beyond embarrassment. It's not an issue.
Perhaps the sanctions proposed to Russia and China are so ineffectual on purpose to gain their signatures to "Sanctions against Iran". Then the US/israel and EU go their own way outside the UN with a second lot of sanctions but confusing them in the public's mind with those agreed to by Russia and China. So it appears that Iran is alone with no support in the public's mind and therefore must be a "rogue state".

In short, never, ever do a deal with psychopaths. You will never, ever win. There is absolutely no way you can gain from a deal with a liar. Period.

I can't for the life f me understand why Russia nd China are even talking to these psychopaths who clearly are after the demise of both the Russian and Chinese states.

IDHolm said...

G'day Damian,

I think you tend to see everything through the 'Eretz Yisrael' or 'greater Israel' prism, and no criticism for that. IMHO, your "US and Israel may feel compelled" is illustrative.

I think that the issue is *beyond* IL, and far beyond. The US target is clearly Iran - not on behalf of IL, but rather, because of Iran's oil, just as in Iraq, or Afghanistan's potential pipelines, and otherwise key strategic positions vis-à-vis central Asia, meaning Russia and more importantly, China.

IF the US is to keep winning THEN it will eventually control *all* ME oil; that means denying it to all others. The only logical upshot of this denial is that the US should survive, all others to perish - finite oil. Why else are they there? We know, latest since WW2: "Most stupendous strategic resource!" In other words, if the US continues winning then all others are losing, and that - terminally - means the genocide of all opponents - EU included; see current financial war against Greece, the PIIGS, EU + Germany. I don't think genocide it too strong; without oil people will be back to the horses.

*THAT'S* what we should all be considering, and the Russkies, Chinks better watch out - because, painfully obviously, they're gunna be next, right after Iran.

michael mazur said...

Brazil and Turkey are currently non permanent members of the UN Security Council which is comprised of 5 permanents, each with veto power, and 10 non permanents from amongst whom 2 dissenting members are sufficient number to prevent the passage of a resolution, while 1 dissenting member is insufficient to prevent its passage.

This means that permanent members Russia and China may well say that they would be in support of a trade sanctions resolution against Iran knowing in advance that the vote would fail at level of the non permanent members, since with non permanents Brazil and Turkey both voting against any trade sanctions against Iran, the resolution at the level of the non permanent members would fail by 1 vote, and so would not be presented to the permanent members for deliberation.

Methinks Pres Ahmadinejad has excellent advisers around him, for it would be there that the initiative would have come from and presented to Russia and China and Brazil and Turkey, who all would have had a good laugh at Madam Clinton's chagrin when she realised that they are every bit as smart as she is.

Damian Lataan said...

Sorry about the delay in getting comments up; I've been really busy and away a lot lately.

Clearly a convergence of common interests, IDH.

NS, I found the WSJ art. you mentioned; you're right, it does highlight how farcical this whole business is - not to mention the ulterior motives behind it all.