The Attack on Saudi Arabia’s Oil Facilities

October 7, 2019

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.” (*) Continue reading

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74th UNGA: A Sad Day for Democracy

September 26, 2019

What attracts global attention at UNGA’s annual plenary sessions is the first week of general debate since it serves as a top forum for leaders to address the world. Tuesday, September 24 was the first day of general debate for 74th UNGA. As leaders waited for their turn to take the rostrum, expectations regarding a Rouhani-Trump meeting were dashed. Moreover, all attention soon turned to a looming impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the judgement of the UK Supreme Court regarding PM Johnson’s suspension of parliament. Everything else took a back seat. Continue reading

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Never a Day of Peace

September 24, 2019

With the release by Iran of Stena Tempero on Monday, the tanker dispute between Iran and the UK reached its easily predictable conclusion. But the Middle East just can’t offer its peoples a chance to breathe a sigh of relief. Thus, the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities once again put the region and the world on edge. In assigning responsibility, Washington and Riyadh point towards Tehran, the latter denies all charges. Continue reading

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Chaos Reigns as the 74th UNGA Opens

September 16, 2019

The 74th regular Session of the UN General Assembly opens tomorrow in the wake of the drone attacks which knocked out more than half of Saudi Arabia’s oil output raising the risk of further regional confrontation. It will close on December 16 after thirteen weeks. World’s attention will focus on New York only during the week of “General Debate” which starts on September 24 because that is when world leaders are there to address the UNGA and hold their bilateral and group meetings. The rest will be business as usual. Continue reading

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“The End” for the Tanker Crisis?

September 12, 2019

Two days ago, the Guardian reported that White House national security adviser John Bolton “an ultra-hawk on foreign policy who under George Bush was a key architect of the invasion of Iraq in 2003” was fired by President Trump.

Iran’s rulers must have been pleasantly surprised. Continue reading

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Iranian Diplomacy at Work

August 27, 2019

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. Continue reading

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Turkey’s Syria Labyrinth (2)

August 19, 2019

In early August, American and Turkish military delegations met in Ankara to discuss plans to coordinate the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria. A joint statement issued at the end of the talks said they agreed on the rapid implementation of initial measures to address Turkey’s security concerns; to stand-up a joint operations center in Turkey as soon as possible in order to coordinate and manage the establishment of the safe zone together; and, that the safe zone shall become a peace corridor, and every effort shall be made so that displaced Syrians can return to their country. Continue reading

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