President Biden’s trip to the Middle East took place against the background of Arab-Israeli disenchantment with the Obama White House, the Netanyahu-Trump relationship, the uncertain future of the Iran nuclear deal, the far-reaching consequences of the war in Ukraine, the strategic competition with China and Russia, and his plummeting approval rates at home.
The Russia-West standoff over Ukraine continues. The US and its European allies are warning of a serious risk of a Russian offensive against Ukraine. Moscow is claiming that the US is trying to pull Russia into an armed conflict over Ukraine that Russia does not want. The US is sending troops to Germany, Poland, and Romania. The West is waiting for the Russian response to its written proposals which Moscow says focus only on secondary issues. Lines of argument and underlying rationale are getting increasingly blurred and confusing.
On July 14, 2015 the P5+1 and Iran agreed on the JCPOA.
The deal represented a sea change for Iran. It came out of the negotiation process as a successful interlocutor for the P5+1 giving a boost to regime’s legitimacy. It moved from being an adversary to a potential partner for the West. The gradual removing of the sanctions brought dynamism to its economy. Foreign companies flocked into the country. GDP growth rate surged from -1.3 % in 2015, to +13.4 % in 2016.
From the very beginning of his presidency Mr. Trump’s principal foreign policy target was the Iran nuclear deal, described by many as his predecessor’s “signature achievement”.
Thus, the US announced its withdrawal from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018. A month later, on June 12, 2018 Mr. Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. Following the summit, he held a press conference and said, “My meeting with Chairman Kim was honest, direct, and productive. We got to know each other well in a very confined period of time, under very strong, strong circumstance. We’re prepared to start a new history and we’re ready to write a new chapter between our nations.”
With inauguration safely behind, President Biden would now start addressing America’s polarization, Covid-19, and a wrecked foreign policy. He has a far heavier agenda than many of his predecessors.
Among his major tasks in the international arena would be restoring confidence in the Washington’s foreign policy steadiness and charting a reasonable course in relations with China and Russia. Washington’s traditional Western allies, disillusioned with the Trump presidency, would give Mr. Biden more than a warm welcome while anxiously watching domestic developments in the US. Because according to a CNN poll, 47% of Republicans still say the party should continue to treat Trump as the leader of the party. And remains to be seen whether going ahead with a second impeachment, though more than justified, was a politically wise decision.
The UN Security Council has adopted seven resolutions[i] addressing Iran’s nuclear program. Only Resolution 2231 (2015) remains in effect today. After Iran and the P5+1 reached agreement on the JCPOA, the Security Council endorsed the deal through this Resolution and set up measures to lift UN sanctions targeting Iran’s nuclear program. However, it kept certain restrictions on ballistic missile activities and arms sales. The latter is set to expire on October 18, 2020, five years after JCPOA’s Adoption Day. Okumaya devam et →
Following the September 14 attack on two of Saudi Arabia’s major oil facilities, country’s leadership blamed Iran. US Secretary of State Pompeo tweeted, “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.” He later said this was an act of war. President Trump, after his “locked and loaded” tweet, said it looked like Iran was behind attack but he did not want to go to war. On September 20, Washington announced new sanctions on Iran’s national bank and the country’s sovereign wealth fund. Three days later the leaders of France, Germany and the UK issued a joint statement saying, “It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details.” (*) Okumaya devam et →
Two days ago, the Guardian reported that White House national security adviser John Bolton “anultra-hawk on foreign policy who under George Bush was a key architect of the invasion of Iraq in 2003” was fired by President Trump.
Last Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made an unexpected visit to Biarritz during the G7 summit. There he met with President Macron and had extensive talks with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. He later shared a picture taken during the meeting with the French President saying “Iran’s active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues. Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying.” The picture reflected the very cordial atmosphere of his meeting with the French President. Okumaya devam et →
In a couple of years, the world could well be speaking of a decade of conflict in Syria in which regional and external powers were involved either directly or through proxies.
The Islamic State remains a threat. Thousands and thousands of jihadist fighters not only from those directly involved but also from distant countries traveled to Syria to take part in the fighting. Their return home has now become a security challenge. Specialist monitors at the UN have warned that a recent pause in international terrorist violence may soon end, with the possibility of a new wave of attacks before the end of the year. What this portends for the clash or dialogue of civilizations remains to be seen. Okumaya devam et →