Friday, July 10, 2015

Yemen Picking Up Again

Related: World War III: Pausing in Yemen

"Pause in fighting OK’d for Yemen aid" New York Times Syndicate  July 10, 2015

UNITED NATIONS — The Saudi-backed government of Yemen has agreed to a pause in fighting, starting Friday, so that humanitarian relief can be delivered in the country, UN officials said Thursday.

The Houthi rebels who control large parts of Yemen have agreed to respect the agreement as well, the officials said.

“I am personally feeling we are making some progress,” the United Nations mediator for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said by telephone as he was leaving Sana, the capital city, which the Houthis largely control.

Related: Iran Deal Would Prove American Independence

“We have all the reason to believe we have a pause in hand. I can tell you, coming from Sana, the needs are so big,” he said.

The Yemeni government in exile has been saying for at least a week that it favors a pause, though it has also insisted the Houthis withdraw their forces from strategic cities.

While the various sides in the conflict have haggled over details of a truce, Yemen has suffered some of the deadliest violence since the start in March of a Saudi-led campaign of airstrikes against the Houthi rebels and the large parts of the Yemeni army that have joined them.

Airstrikes and shelling have killed hundreds of people in July alone.

A UN spokesman said the truce was due to begin Saturday and last a week, until Ramadan ends on July 17.


"Saud al-Faisal, 75; former Saudi foreign minister" by Ben Hubbard New York Times  July 10, 2015

BEIRUT — Prince Saud al-Faisal, the urbane diplomat who used diplomacy to elevate Saudi Arabia’s influence though many international crises during his four decades as foreign minister, died Thursday, according to an associate and Saudi news media. He was 75.

Before his retirement in April, Prince Saud was the world’s longest-serving foreign minister, and he helped shape the oil-rich kingdom’s responses to monumental changes in the Middle East, including a destructive civil war in Lebanon whose end he helped negotiate; the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington; the US invasion of Iraq in 2003; and the Arab uprisings of 2011.

He worked mostly behind the scenes to preserve the status quo, maintain Saudi Arabia’s status in the Middle East, and strengthen its relationship with the United States.

“It was traditional state diplomacy that was conservative, quiet, and logical,” said Abdullah al-Shammari, a Saudi political analyst in Riyadh and a former diplomat. “He did not take hasty or emotional positions.”

The length of his tenure and his clout inside the royal family made him a key player in the kingdom’s decision-making as well as a familiar face in Washington and other capitals.

From Washington, Secretary of State John F. Kerry expressed his condolences to Saud’s family and friends, King Salman, and to the people of Saudi Arabia, saying the prince was ‘‘a man of vast experience, personal warmth, great dignity, and keen insights who served his country loyally and well.’’

‘‘I personally admired him greatly, valued his friendship, and appreciated his wise counsel,’’ Kerry added. ‘‘His legacy as a statesman and diplomat will not be forgotten.’’

Prince Saud was born in the Saudi city of Taef in 1940, a son of the prince who would become Saudi Arabia’s third king, Faisal. Educated at Princeton University, he spoke English as well as he spoke Arabic and was known for his keen intellect and for trying to charm guests with jokes.


Related: The Power Behind the Saudi Throne

"Ban on arms sales to Iran is snagging nuclear deal; UN sanctions on conventional weapons at issue" by Michael R. Gordon and David E. Sanger New York Times New York Times  July 11, 2015 

If the deal is scuttled because of this, then it is obvious USrael wanted war.

VIENNA — One of the last major obstacles to concluding a historic nuclear deal with Iran is a dispute about a set of UN sanctions that appeared to be resolved months ago and only peripherally have to do with nuclear weapons.

The sanctions, passed in a series of resolutions by the UN Security Council beginning nine years ago, ban the shipment of conventional arms into and out of Iran.

Conventional arms? That's all?

For those worried about Iran’s continued muscle-flexing in the Middle East — supporting the forces of President Bashar Assad in Syria, Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, Palestinian terror groups, and Shi’ite militias in Iraq — keeping the ban in place is critical for containing Tehran, even after an accord is reached.

What "they" want is Iran to be totally defenseless, and thus ripe for destruction and occupation.

President Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton Carter, even told Congress this week that part of the ban, on technology for ballistic missiles, was critical to the United States’ own security, especially since Iran’s ballistic missiles would be dangerous weapons if they were ever equipped with chemical, biological, or even nuclear warheads.

All these subjections and fear-mongering to try and kill the deal. Even if Iran had all that stuff, they would be the last to do such a thing. Any ma$$ media claims to the contrary will be met with disbelief in the event Iran is framed for the next false flag attack. Cui bono? Ashole Carter.

“The reason that we want to stop Iran from having an ICBM program is that the ‘I’ in ICBM stands for ‘intercontinental,’ which means having the capability of flying from Iran to the United States,” he said, adding, “We don’t want that.”

But to the Iranians, this is a matter of reciprocity and national pride. The sanctions were imposed on Iran’s nuclear program, they say, so they should be lifted as part of any deal. More broadly, it crystallizes the issue of whether a nuclear deal will mean that Iran is no longer treated as a pariah and is accepted as a major power in the region.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has also sought to use the issue to split the six-nation coalition he is negotiating with. He has tried to slice off Russia and China, two countries that are eager to resume a highly profitable arms trade with Iran, and has made little secret of how much he has enjoyed touching off a bit of infighting on the other side of the negotiating table.

Related: The Biggest Gun Dealers on Planet Earth

Is who? 

It is far from clear that the arms embargo will be a deal stopper. 

So when does the U.S. stop selling all that stuff?

Secretary of State John Kerry, asked Friday about progress during a meeting with some of his staff in the garden of the Coburg Palace here, where the negotiations are underway, said: “A couple differences have been decided. It’s safe to say we have made progress.” He did not specify on which issues.

To Zarif, the arms embargo, including on ballistic missile technology, is part of the “nuclear-related sanctions” imposed on Iran starting in 2006, as the United States slowly assembled partners to force Iran to limit its then-nascent nuclear enrichment program.

And the key trade-off contained in the still-fluid 80 pages of agreements and annexes being drafted here is that Iran’s program will be constrained for more than 10 years in return for the lifting of those sanctions around the globe.

“That’s been our position, that’s been Russia’s position, that’s been China’s position, and that is the requirement,” a senior Iranian official told US reporters Thursday night. “And one way or another, something of that nature needs to be achieved.”

And if the deal fails, they will go ahead without us. It's WWIII battle fronts and alliances, folks.

The official, unable to contain himself, added that when he looked across the table at Kerry, “our friends spend more time coordinating their positions than negotiating with us.”

“That tells you about the state of play,” he said.

Yeah, the NYT says the Iranians are laughing at the allies.

The arms embargo issue is not a new one to US officials, but they thought it had been worked out, or at least finessed, when negotiators ended a round of talks in Switzerland.

Is it wrong to be tired of the negotiating minutiae of the Jewish War Pre$$?

A fact sheet describing the main provisions of an eventual accord — distributed by the US government in early April, when the outlines of a potential deal were ostensibly agreed to with Iran — suggested that the nuclear accord itself would not specify the continuation of the arms ban.

But a UN Security Council resolution that would endorse whatever final deal is negotiated would incorporate “important restrictions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles,” the fact sheet said. It did not say for how long the ban would be in effect or under what circumstances it might be relaxed.

US officials insist that all the elements in the text they issued in April were agreed to behind closed doors with the Iranians. But the Iranian summary of what was agreed to in Lausanne made no mention of the arms issue.

That, it turned out, was a portent of problems to come. When talks resumed in late June, the Iranians reopened the question, adding yet another issue for negotiators, who were already dealing with tough questions about inspections and what kind of nuclear research and development the Iranians could conduct.

The issue is important politically to both sides. For the Obama administration, the idea of allowing Iran to use the billions of dollars it would obtain through sanctions relief to buy missiles and weapons from Russia is a nonstarter.

It could doom the ultimate pact in Congress, which will take an up-or-down vote (which the president can veto) on the accord. White House officials fear that any hint that the arms embargo would be lifted could turn Democrats in Congress against the agreement — votes Obama desperately needs.

Moreover, lifting the embargo would allow Iran to ship arms openly to Assad, just as Russia does.

Of course, left out of that is Turkey, Jordan, and the Gulf Arab allies arming and training terrorists to overthrow him.



"A cease-fire brokered by the United Nations that was intended to allow the delivery of relief supplies failed to take hold in Yemen on Saturday. A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia carried out airstrikes, and their foes, the Houthi rebels, battled rival militias in several cities. The cease-fire had been scheduled to last for a week (New York Times)."

Imagine my utter shock.