Κυριακή, 9 Νοεμβρίου 2014

MESOP (αναδημοσιεύσεις-σχολιασμός) / Συμφωνία Η.Π.Α-Ιράν (;) και κάποια ρωσο-συριακά παρασκήνια..




Iran Daily: Supreme Leader “May Send Top Aide to Nuclear Talks With US Secretary of State Kerry”

By Scott Lucas November 9, 2014 08:52 Updated – eaworldview – Iran’s Supreme Leader may send his top aide to nuclear talks on Sunday in Oman with US Secretary of State John Kerry and the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Unnamed sources told Al-Monitor that Ali Abkar Velayati, a former Foreign Minister, will join current Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a sign of the Supreme Leader’s willingness to accept a comprehensive agreement before a November 24 deadline.Velayati also went to Oman in October 2012 for secret talks with US officials over a renewal of the nuclear talks. Oman also hosted secret US-Iran discussions in March 2013, soon after Tehran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) resumed negotiations. However, another Iranian official denied the report. Other Iranian and US officials would not comments.
See Iran Exclusive: Did Supreme Leader’s Top Advisor Meet US Officials in Qatar?

The lead Iranian negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, said on Saturday that a “deal is within reach”:
No one wants to return to the way things were before the Geneva Agreement [for interim arrangements in November 2013]. That would be too risky a scenario. Both sides are aware of this, which is why I think a deal is within reach. We are serious and I can see the same resolve on the other side.
Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani echoed that there was a “good opportunity” to resolve a dispute of more than a decade: “The path of the government and the 5+1 group in the nuclear negotiations is a rational approach, and we hope that they can reach an agreement through serious talks.”
Major issues for resolution before the interim arrangements expire in two weeks include the level and number of Iranian centrifuges for uranium enrichment, the removal of US-led sanctions on Tehran, and the duration of an agreement.The Supreme Leader has been sceptical of any deal with a “dishonest” US, but may have to accept a settlement because of the precarious state of Iran’s economy. Some Iranian officials have been telling Reuters that the deal is necessary because of the difficulties amid continuing sanctions that have cut Tehran’s oil exports by more than 40%. The situation has been compounded by the 25% fall in the price of oil, Iran’s main source of income, in recent weeks.
President Rouhani recently warned MPs that Iran has lost 30% in oil revenues. 



The US strategy against Isis is working – for Assad – THE GUARDIAN – 6 Nov 2014 – Bashar al-Assad was in a relaxed and hospitable frame of mind a couple of weeks ago, according to a Syrian expat who met him in Damascus. True, the US was now leading a coalition attacking Islamic State (Isis) fighters on Syrian soil as well as in Iraq, but he had received firm assurances that it would not be targeting his own forces. The only thing, the president admitted, was a nagging worry that the Americans could not be trusted.The word from Washington, passed on via Syria’s UN envoy and the Iranians, was that Barack Obama was focused firmly on the jihadi threat and had no intention of helping other rebels who are fighting to overthrow Assad, the guest told friends.

The fact is that in the second month of the US-led air campaign, American and western policy towards Syria is in disarray and perhaps facing disaster. Operation Inherent Resolve does not seem worthy of its grandiose name, hence Assad’s surprisingly upbeat mood.
The latest blow to his enemies was suffered by the Syrian Revolutionary Front and Harakat Hazm, both groups the US hoped would become the nucleus of an anti-Isis force. Last weekend in the Idlib area they lost ground and weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra, a battle-hardened al-Qaida-aligned outfit which was hit by US air strikes again on Thursday. The problem, say critics, is that Obama is taking a narrow counter-terrorist view of Syria and has no strategy for tipping the scales – even though he claims to want to force Assad to negotiate an end to the war. Jabhat al-Nusra men are now reportedly fighting alongside Isis.
“The US,” said the analyst Faysal Itani, “wants its allies in Syria to fight its enemies but not their own, and will not even give them military support to do so effectively.” Many note the gap between verbal commitments and investment. “US strategy against Isis puts moderate Syrian rebel forces in an impossible situation,” tweeted Emile Hokayem of the International Institute for Strategic Studies: ”Assad benefiting, Isis/Jabhat al-Nusra appearing as anti-Assad champions.”
Fighting Isis in Iraq is tough but still easier, with Kurdish peshmerga and a functioning if incompetent and sectarian Iraqi army. US plans for organising Syrian “boots on the ground” looked problematic even before the latest losses. The $500m (£300m) “train and equip” programme for a 5,000-strong force is modest and painfully slow-moving. Vetting to prevent (more) US weapons falling into the “wrong” hands has yet to begin.
And events on the battlefields are not standing still. Coalition air strikes have caused civilian casualties while leaving Assad to act with impunity, dropping deadly barrel bombs with even greater frequency than before – and, gallingly, close to where Isis has been hit by US attacks.
Appeals for a no-fly zone to ground the Syrian air force continue to fall on deaf ears. Hadi al-Bahra, president of the ineffective western-backed Syrian National Coalition, is unlikely to get a different response when he attends the shrinking Friends of Syria forum in London next week. It is a sign of the sluggish pace of international diplomacy that foreign ministers will not be attending.
This week saw a flurry of interest in a proposal by a European NGO to expand local ceasefires and freeze the situation on the ground. Supporters see this as the only way out of the current impasse while acknowledging that it would give the Syrian government the upper hand. Critics oppose it for that reason while warning of a growing trend in European countries – especially by domestic security chiefs fixated by the Isis “blowback” threat – to cooperate with Assad.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests scepticism in Arab coalition partners – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan and Bahrain – which fear a Sunni backlash and question a policy galvanised by the beheading of four western journalists but not by the 200,000 Syrian deaths that preceded them. Mistrust of Obama and fear of an impending US-nuclear deal with (Shia) Iran have to be factored into that mood.
“The limitations of US policy on Syria were obvious from the start and have become more apparent,” observed Noah Bonsey of the International Crisis Group. “it is not clear that air strikes against Isis have been a step forward. The Assad regime is getting near to the point where it can deal a really serious blow to the viability of the forces that Washington has identified as its allies moving forward. It prefers perpetual war with Isis and feels the west will be compelled to work with it.”
No wonder, say dispirited Syrian opposition figures, that Assad sounds more relaxed than embattled these days. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/06/us-strategy-against-isis-working-well-assad-syria


MESOP : MEETINGS WITH RUSSIANS INLCLUSIVE JUMBLATT / Ex-Syrian Opposition Chief Says he Discussed Conflict With Moscow

2014-11-09 01:42 GMT – (Reuters) — The former head of Syria’s main political opposition said he had visited Russia with other opposition figures and had discussed ways to end the conflict with Damascus’s ally Moscow, but had insisted that President Bashar al-Assad must go.Moaz Alkhatib, the former head of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, said on Twitter on Saturday that they had met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. “At the invitation of Russia, Syrian opposition figures and I visited and talked about a political solution and its mechanisms,” he wrote in a tweet.

“We mentioned to the Russians that our country cannot heal while the head of the regime, who is the No.1 responsible for bloodshed and devastation, remains. We cannot accept his role in the future of Syria,” he wrote in a second tweet. Although he no longer leads the main opposition in exile, Alkhatib is a respected figure seen by diplomats as someone who could play a part in a future political solution for Syria, where the conflict is in its fourth year.
Attempts to reach Alkhatib were unsuccessful and the Russian Foreign Ministry was not immediately available for comment. Lebanese media reported on Saturday that Walid Jumblatt, the leader of Lebanon’s minority Druze community and head of the Progressive Socialist Party, was also at the meeting, which took place late last week. Jumblatt wrote on Twitter that he was in Moscow and posted photos of his trip. Jumblatt has also called for Assad to step down in order for Syria to reach a solution to the civil war, which has occasionally spilled over into its smaller neighbor Lebanon and stirred communal and political tensions. Details on the Moscow meeting come at the same time as the start of a visit by the United Nations Syria mediator Staffan de Mistura to Damascus on Saturday.
Syrian media have said he will meet government officials to discuss ideas on implementing local ceasefire agreements. De Mistura visited Moscow last month.Russia and Iran are Assad’s most powerful international allies. In August, Lavrov urged Western and Arab governments to overcome their distaste for the Syrian president and to engage with him to fight Islamic State insurgents.
Alkhatib, a former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, stepped down in March 2013 after only four months at the head of the coalition, which is backed by Western and Gulf states. His resignation came after the coalition berated him for offering Assad a negotiated exit and after the group went ahead with steps to form a provisional government that would have further diminished his authority. The opposition coalition has little influence over insurgents fighting to overthrow Assad in a conflict that has been complicated by the success of rival hardline Islamist groups.
Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Dominic Evans and Stephen Powell.

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