Tag Archives: negotiations

Anyone Know What’s Going On In N. Korea?

A recurring theme from American conservatives is the need to avoid making the CIA come across as incompetent because such attitudes only aid terrorists. The same people who never predicted the downfall of the Soviet Union or the possibility of terrorist attacks on America are completely in the dark about what is going on inside North Korea.
South and North Korean officials recently held meetings to discuss the improvement of relations between their countries. The talks came days after several North Korean diplomats flew south to attend the funeral of former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung.

During the past month, Bill Clinton was allowed to enter North Korea and negotiate the release of two Americans being held on spy charges. Governor Bill Richardson met with North Korean diplomats to discuss issues between their countries. I believe it is fair for the CIA to offer some insight into possible leadership changes in North Korea or an explanation for what is happening.

On the other hand, for safety sake, don’t hold your breath waiting for the CIA to explain anything.

Israel Bombed–Gaza Tunnels Rebuilt- What Next?

After nearly three weeks of unrelenting bombing a high percent of tunnels leading from Gaza to Egypt were destroyed, but work has already begun on constructing a new set of tunnels that will smuggle in goods, fuel, and weapons. Perhaps, the assumption on both sides is to have one more whack at trying to destroy Gaza and kill the people who live in this unfortunate place. There is no question dozens of tunnels have been destroyed and there is now a new awareness among Egyptian officials they can no longer simply look aside from tunnel construction and smuggling operations. Hamas insists it won a “great victory” which is a rather strange comment since 1,300 people in Gaza died compared to 13 Israeli and major sections of Gaza are in ruin.

There is an eerie sense that reality for Hamas is not the same as reality for the average citizen of Gaza or the average citizen of Israel. The disparity in reality is also evident in the belief of many Israelis that they have won a “great victory.” No “victory” was won by anyone. It was a “great defeat” for all involved in this episode in death and destruction.

Negotiate With Iran Urge Mid-East Experts

The Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington D.C. issued a report calling on president elect Barack Obama to engage Iran in discussions. The report entitled: “Restoring The Balance- A Middle East Strategy for the Next President” argues Iran is much closer to atomic weapons than has previously been thought and there is need to engage its government in discussions in order to relax tension in the region. The report emphasizes; “If you’re moving on the Israel-Palestinian front, in Teheran, they might feel they’ve been left behind and react with terrorist attacks. This time it’s really important to engage them in making the new order, to make clear we’re not trying to isolate them, but to engage them.”

This report took 18 months to prepare but anyone familiar with the situation could have saved the time by honing in on why Iran is upset. Iran HAs been isolated by Bush and Israel which has resulted in its support for terrorism. “Jaw, jaw is better than war, war,” as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill used to say.

Washington Continues Policy Of Talking With Terrorists!

President Bush has repeatedly denounced assertions by Barack Obama that under his administration, the Untied States would engage in discussions with nations such as Iran and Syria. Bush and Senator John McCain have made plain any attempt to enter into discussions with nations listed as supporting terrorism would be appeasement of terrorism. Last week, the Bush administration dispatched a high ranking State Department official to participate in discussions with Iran. This week, the United States said it was ready to hold talks with two key visiting Syrian officials. Riad Daoudi and Ahmad Samir Al-Taki, are in the United States to participate in a forum organized by Search for Common Ground. The visiting Syrian diplomats will also have a meeting with representatives of the State Department.

The rhetoric of defiance which postures with strong words of defiance is a meaningless gesture whose audience is more likely right wing Republicans than the world outside. Barack Obama’s emphasis on talking and negotiating apparently has become accepted by the Bush administration.

John McCain Talks Tough On Iran

Senator John McCain is aware his opponent is wandering across the Middle East so what better than some rhetoric about standing tall for Israel. His interview with Channel 2 was given just a few hours before Barack Obama arrived in Israel. Senator McCain expressed his hope that Israel would not have to launch an attack on Iran. “I would hope that Israel would not feel threatened” because Western sanctions would impose painful consequences on Iran. But, the Arizona senator made clear to the people of Israel, “I have to look you in the eye and tell you that the United States of America can never allow a second Holocaust.”

Senator McCain, who has sharply been critical of comments by Barack Obama regarding his intention to engage in negotiations with Iran, indicated his present position is to pursue low level negotiations before seriously considering any military options.

McCain insists there must be preconditions for talks with Iran. One would assume that stance is favored by just about anyone interested in diplomatic interactions with another nation.

The Many Faces Of George Bush!

During the past seven years the Bush administration has been engaged in a nonstop campaign to deride, threaten, and denounce the government of Iran even to the extent of warning about possible military attacks. Suddenly, President Bush has switched his view point and decided that Barack Obama’s plan to engage in discussions with Iran is an intelligent idea. The president approved the highest level American diplomatic contact with Iran since the 1970s. He is sending an envoy this weekend to discuss issues with Iranian representatives. The British newspaper, The Independent, also suggests, “the rapprochement includes plans by the US to post diplomats in Tehran for the first time since the Islamic revolution in the form of a US interests section– a move halfway to setting up an embassy– subject to approval by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

This is not good news for the candidacy of John McCain since the president apparently is now supporting Barack Obama’s view that negotiation with terrorists is needed. William Burns, the third in line at the STate Department, will travel with the EU’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, to Geneva to talk to Iran’s main nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili.

Bush’s change of heart came after a Rand Corporation report bluntly told the president, “if Iran’s facilities were to be bombed, public support for any retaliation its government took would like to be widespread. Attacks on iran proper would generate a great deal of ill-will and, in our view, would be unlikely to change Iranian policy.” Administration sources said Burns would not be allowed to conduct separate talks with the Iranians.

Who knows, perhaps George Bush has decided appeasement is the best policy in the Middle East. Or, is George Bush revealing he is really a closet supporter of Barack Obama?

Top Blair Aide Urges Negotiation With Al Qaida

Jonathan Powell, who served as chief of staff for former Prime Ministr Tony Blair, now argues, “There’s nothing to say to al-Qaida and they’ve got nothing to say to us at the moment, but at some stage you’re going to have to come to a political solution as well as a security solution. And that means you need the ability to talk.” He admitted at this point it is unclear who exactly might be the person or group within al-Qaida that might even enter into discussions, but at some point, talks must begin.

In a wide ranging review of the Blair administration, Powell expressed the view Labor did not govern boldly enough because it feared losing power. However, the British government did initiate secret tlks with IRA leaders in Ireland that set the stage for the final peace agreements. Powell raises a central issue about the process of eventually ending the current state of unrest in the Middle East. Perhaps, one might begin by dealing with the Iranian government which provides extensive aid to militant groups.