Peace in our time?

The announcement by the Obama Administration that a deal had been hammered out with the Iranians over their nuclear program caused mixed reactions. Open consternation came from House Republicans, who have demonised the Mullahs in Tehran since their ascension to power in 1979. Also openly critical is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while more muted criticism came from the Sunni Gulf (GCC) States. On the other side of the ledger are Obama’s supporters and the governments of the P5+1 group (the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany), that worked tirelessly to extract what is being widely touted as an Iranian climb-down after years of eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation, (under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), with the West.

So, is a celebration premature? Or are the doomsayers in Tel Aviv and among the GCC States reflecting a more accurate reality? Only time will tell. And there are so many different variables to consider, not just the nuclear situation in Iran. There is Iran’s support of various militant factions in the Palestinian territories (Hamas) and southern Lebanon (Hezbollah); Iran’s hand in the Syrian civil war (backing the Assad regime); the power play between Saudi Arabia, the seat of the Sunni Islam versus the ‘Shia’ of Iran; Israel’s nuclear weapons; Israel’s reluctance toward the creation of a Palestinian state; Israel’s relations with the Arab world; Israel’s hostility toward Iran. Then there is the fact that this agreement between the West and Iran leaves out the region’s other diplomatic players, the Gulf States and Israel. No long-standing peace can be guaranteed with these actors merely sitting on the sidelines. These are just some of the complicating issues that might well see any deal between the P5+1 dissolve before the 6-month life span given.

On a more optimistic note, if Iranian motives for peace are indeed ‘pure’, then we are in the midst of a power change in the Middle East that may see Iran secure for itself a long-term position as a preferred US security partner (in conjunction with, not against Israel). Given that Iran sits astride the Gulf, is a neighbour to problematic Pakistan, Afghanistan and the politically unstable, energy rich Central Asian Republics, there is some utility for US policy planners to prepare for such a scenario. What needs to be watched carefully over the next few weeks and months ahead, is local Iranian reaction to what will be extremely intrusive IAEA inspections at some very sensitive sites. Not all Iranians, especially those who were heavily invested in the Ahmadinejad years, will be happy to facilitate an IAEA run on Iran’s sovereignty at the behest of the United States. Watch this space, we are in for interesting times.

By Dr. John Bruni, Director SAGE International

5 THOUGHTS ON "Peace in our time?"

  1. Paul Brown on November 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm said:

    Well written, John, and thought provoking. Endless analysis on this subject is everywhere now, with varying judgments. When all is said and done, my instincts tell me that this will lead to Iran’s ultimately being successful in achieving nuclear weapons development. And that will probably lead to Saudi Arabia following suit to counter the threat. In the end this will all go bad, very bad, in my opinion, with serious adverse consequences.

  2. Don Rich on November 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm said:

    Obviously, there is much Zhou en lai principle here, as to too early to tell. Time of course is a strategic variable too, as to attrition strategies in a psychological sense, if, that has dangers too, possibly, of people thinking something might be about to happen, and then you have impatient people wanting to do something possibly, which is a departure from rationality, if maybe that is why there are the Usual Suspects.

  3. Jake Kipp on November 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm said:

    A thoughtful and balanced look at a complex and dynamic situation. Yes, we are in for interesting times. Only comment I’d make is that demonizing the mullahs in Tehran was a pretty popular sport for all parties, save the Reagan administration when it was trading arms for cash to fund other purposes. That has not, however, prevented Iran from cooperating when a common threat emerged, noteably the Taliban in Afghanistan. Tha tdid not last, but it was an indicator. Have you noticed the attention Turkey is paying to Iran these days?

  4. Neil Gibson on December 11, 2013 at 10:33 am said:

    What we can be sure if is US involvement in Afghanistan and the Russians will be invited back with a new deal. The Soviet Union was Afghanistan’s main trading partner from the start in 1978. Tehran will also play an increasingly role in Afghanistan.

    If you look back the whole Afghanistan fiasco started with Bush snr, who tried to negotiate with Afghanistan groups. his aim to build a pipeline through Afghanistan and Kashmir. The idea was the US would pump Russian oil-gas East and to India. This led to the Abdul Haq affair. The Afghani groups didn’t have the business knowledge to negotiate so they used a guy called Bin Laden to advise and the rest is clouded history from George Bush’s consolidated book of lies. 

    Today the Russian’s will control the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline. Iran the the Pars Pipeline and Iran–Europe pipeline. And with the Russia again the Central Asia–China gas pipeline and the Turkmenistan–China gas pipeline

. What we will see by 2015 is Russia taking the lead with Iran to control the pipeline business. It will bring Iran and Russia fully into the Afghanistan game which will be to India and China’s advantage.

    A couple of years ago under US pressure India walked away from talks on the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) Peace Pipeline citing security concerns. Today it seems New Delhi will rejoin the project. 

    When you examine the Geneva agreements the first thing which is obvious is it’s not about nuclear weapons.There is no evidence that Iran has or ever had a nuclear weapons program. Every relevant intelligence agency in the world has verified this fact for more than a decade. Two U.S. National Intelligence Estimates that were made public in 2007 and 2011 supports this. The International Atomic Energy Agency has also consistently asserted that Iran has not diverted any nuclear material for any military purpose and Israeli intelligence analysts agree that Iran is “not a danger” to Israel.

    What Obama has done is gone with his cap in his hand to Iran. At the same time he has fooled the public by giving the impression he has persuaded Iran to stop temporarily doing what it never intended to do. Which is make a nuclear weapon. If you believe having enriched uranium would immediately lead to a nuclear weapon then it is a big mistake. In fact so big most people would see it’s hyped for public consumption

    We know Israel would hate to see this cold war come to an end. They are still the largest recipient of U.S. aid. Who would not be able to live the life style they are living if it was not for US Aid and the US oil Oligarchy. This is Americas super rich who are protecting Israel because they need them to die for their oil. But no matter how you twist the facts the only threat to Israel is from a bunch of rock throwing Palestinians. This is because they systematically steal their land, and intimidate their other neighbours or by periodically invading Lebanon.

    Even to the worlds dumbest is obvious It’ s about the control of the oil wealth. The oil cartels and the banks tried everything in their power to get control of Iran’s oil. In doing so the last four American presidents have left a legacy any madman would be ashamed of. The last real psychotic Netanyahu has been used as the decoy but thanks to Putin nobody is going to rescue Iranians from a catastrophe. Well folks it was a good twenty years of good old redneck fun but it looks like it’s over. The next chapter in US history is called the great depression Pt2.

  5. Neil Gibson on December 11, 2013 at 10:34 am said:

    If we look at the economic reality facing the West; the creation of BRICS by the Russian Federation was the major factor in world politics and most Americans seem to have missed this. If we doubt if these agreements are worth Russia going to war to protect their interests consider this; the Chinese agreement to sell Russian and Iranian oil without the US$ fiat dollar is the biggest trade agreement in the history of the world.

    On the military front the combined military strengths of the China and Russia surpass that of the former Warsaw pact or any other feasible coalition of countries this includes NATO. It can be assumed any BRICS joint venture agreements are protected by a pre-determined military response.This means the USA is still the biggest defence spender but it is no longer the worlds only superpower in fact strategically they are below fourth. As for nuclear weapons like most of NATO ‘s countries Iran does not need it own system as it’s part of the Russian-Chinese protection agreement. Imagine Non-nuclear Germany being Iran in Nato.

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