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14 December 2015

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Valissa

Great piece overall! Excellent synthesis of key points.

However, I disagree with the Borg position that you support:

[from the Huff Po article] "A prior condition for a settlement, or even the opening of serious talks, is Assad's removal from office. That should be kept separate from an abdication of the entire present regime - a step that is a recipe for chaos. Putin has stressed that Assad and his regime are not identical while voicing a preference for keeping him in office for the time-being. However, that probably is unworkable. Selling the idea of cutting Assad loose to the Iranians will require Russia taking the lead in bringing Tehran around. That would be roughly analogous to the role it played is resolving some of the last stumbling blocks to the nuclear accord."
-----------

Do you personally think "Assad must go" or is this paragraph in there to get your other ideas through the Borgian reality filters?

Seamus

You're saying all the talk by the White House of a "democratic Syria" is BS then? Who'd a thunk? Then again, the US hasn't been able to impose a puppet regime, or a Libya style scenario on Syria, so maybe it won't be so easy for it to completely suppress people's democratic aspirations either.

turcopolier

Seamus

Absolute bullshit. your point of reference is somewhere in the West and you know nothing of reality in Syria where community and sect are everything. pl

Kooshy

Babak, in my opinion that kind of punditry on Iran, is way over exaggerated, if not totally dangerous for Iran. In the neighborhood Iran leaves, with demography of allies she has not considering all her enemies, Iran shouldn’t be a Mediterranean power unless she intends to be at war for another millennia with Westerners, Israelis, Sunni and Nationalist Arabs you name it. IMO Iran don’t need no terrestrial expansion , but she must secure and support her allies on equal mutual bases. Since she is doing that she is expanding “morally” among her allies. IMO, everybody else’ moral standing in region’ streets is on a downward trajectory, for many years to come. Never the less i always enjoy your comments.

Barish

Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg would be this person's name who is supposed to represent my country. On behalf of my German compatriots, I apologize for his abysmal conduct.

I am genuinely distressed at how what you report there reflects the sort of hive-mind consensus that is so apparent in the German government closer to home. No different from the Washington consensus.

As such, whatever the German position represented by the good "Freiherr", it is none of any consequence as far as any truly independent agency on part of my government is concerned, as it is apparent that Mrs Merkel, the "most powerful woman" in the world is merely tailing the US. Nor is its involvement with the US anti-ISIL show of any weight. Indeed, word is that the first two of a total of six reconnaissance Tornadoes showily sent to Incirlik a few days ago are not even capable to carry Recce Lite Pods intended for the six planes' reconnaissance role:

http://augengeradeaus.net/2015/12/operation-counter-daesh-erste-tornados-fuer-syrien-nicht-tauglich/comment-page-1/

"Operation Counter-Daesh: First Tornadoes unfit for Syria"

[...]
"However, a Luftwaffe spokesman said that for now it is important to test and assess aerial procedures in Turkey. Toward this end it is of no consequence whether the air planes already possess the configuration necessary for the [reconnaissance] mission. Tornadoes actually equipped for the reconnaissance technology [Recce Lite Pod] would only be required for flights above Syria scheduled later in January."

Some hare-brained posturing there. Fun-fact: our current Mrs Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who prior to this position headed the Ministry for Family Affairs, when appointed to her current position last year came out and said that she never had looked at matters of defence before...

Kooshy

I agree Americans (I include myself) are not sheep. IMO for the most part if they want, they know what is going on in the world by their government, but they are getting paid not to, for that reason as you wrote they know their standard of living is better than the most and all other large states. True that the good manufacturing jobs are gone else wear, but the good old zero percent credit card checks are back in the mail 15 month zero interest, in return they are asked to just watch the “mornin joe” and don’t read Lang’.

Mark Logan

All

On the subject of mental conditioning, humor alert:

A Jedi's path to Jihad.

http://decider.com/2015/12/11/the-radicalization-of-luke-skywalker-a-jedis-path-to-jihad/

Kooshy

Babak
The link don't work

FB Ali

During WW2 the German military had a well-deserved reputation for efficiency, and its generals and staff officers for professional competence. Certainly in the earlier years of the war.

I am quite puzzled to often read nowadays of what seems to be a culture of incompetence and ineptness in the present military.

Is there some clear explanation for this vast difference?

confusedponderer

The Ungern-Sternbergs certainly are an interesting family.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_von_Ungern-Sternberg

As for Ursula von der Leyen, under her sage leadership the Bundeswehr made the interior Germany's Puma IFV a safe workplace for pregnant soldiers (at the tune of a couple millions extra), built Kitas (so female soliers could better reconcile job and family) and last I read was that she was considering introducing single rooms in the barracks for enlisted to make the army more attractive as an employer (destroying a necessary condition for male bonding - having to put up with the annoying habits of your peers before you become a unit capable of cohesion), the navy built F-125 "stabilisation frigates" the size of a cruiser (at that size, and given the role, they should have given them at least flight decks and a second pair of helicopters) - so specialised at patrol, embargo policing and counter-terrorism that they are pretty much useless for high-intensity combat. Etc. pp.

She's the worst. She leads the Bundeswehr as if it was a normal corporate employer and is apparently quite pleased with herself.

Under her guidance, and before her, to be fair, there was no concept (and there still isn't) in army procurement but merely reactive procurement, long term programs - perpetually delayed, budget constraints (leading to limited procurement of spare parts, and thus rampant cannibalisation in the airfleet) and an optimisation for the sort of policing roles found in Afghanistan, in the assumption that it would be blue helmet i.e peacekeeping stype of missions. The horror.

Babak Makkinejad

http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/fa/page/1954744/%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%87+%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AC%DB%8C%DA%AF%D8%B1%DB%8C+%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%86+%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86+%D9%88+%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86+%D9%87%D8%B3%D8%AA%DB%8C%D9%85+.html

Babak Makkinejad

No apologies need or expected.

However, I think the Swedish and Russian ambassadors had represented their cases better when interviewed.

Babak Makkinejad

Full text of the interview is as follows:

Q: You had mentioned in an interview with Germany to Iran as an important country in the region will look. But before the nuclear deal with the P5 + 1, Germany, like other countries interested in regional cooperation with Iran, especially in the crises in Iraq and Syria did not show. Do not you think the Iranian nuclear issue if European countries were isolated from other political problems we are experiencing such crises in the region, particularly in Syria were not?

A: Since the beginning of the dispute, the German position was that Iran should somehow involved in the debate on the resolution for this case. But it is clear that the nuclear deal had made a difference and create a platform for collaboration that previously did not exist. We believe and hope that the nuclear deal opens the door for more cooperation. In other words, although the nuclear deal opened the door but the main differences in other areas not solve. In the case of Syria, known and there are serious differences. Syria is five years old and fundamental differences between Iran and Germany and not just the US and Iran or other countries there is the case. However, at this stage, all major regional and international parties to a meeting in Vienna agreed and we all know that this change was very helpful. Moreover, substantial gains were achieved at the last meeting. For the first time since the beginning of the crisis, in a joint document, such as the establishment of a cease-fire goals, counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance was agreed by everyone. So I think it is true to say that there are serious differences that have no relation to the nuclear issue. However, everything has gone and now we must focus on our future.

Q: European countries follow two issues in Syria. Bashar al-Assad was in power in the near future and long term and the other is more important to fight against the Islamic State. Which of these two German priorities in Syria?

A: First, Germany priorities in the light of the conditions to which Syria is a legitimate government which represents all people experience. The circumstances in which the violations of human rights and access to humanitarian aid is not news it is possible. We are looking for political solutions that lead to that conclusion. The second problem is that the state law should have control over all of Syria and we have to prevent any disintegration or dissolution of Syria. This is our common goal and are also located in the Vienna document. With the exception of the parties to the conflict in Syria, all countries involved around a table were: regional powers, European countries, Russia and the United States. As a result of all these countries is now bound to comply with the document that this is a very big step forward.

Q: As you mentioned 5 years of crisis going on in Syria.
A: The first point is that this war was initially a purely domestic crisis. No European or American soldiers did not attack the regime of President Assad. It was civil war. Since then, many people have died, many have been displaced and many were forced to leave their country. This is not unrelated to the presence of Europeans or Americans. I think if Assad was willing to listen to what people say 5 years ago, we were not faced with such a crisis. One of our main goals was to be able to bring humanitarian aid, but it was impossible because there was no access. Assad government did not allow any external cause. Even today, UN bodies with difficulties many face in order to achieve adequate access. This is a big problem. In addition, the Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the human rights situation in Syria has been determined, headed by Mr. Sergio Pinheiro charged. A report prepared by the Commission is clearly in the description of the situation in Syria. The crisis in Syria is a serious human rights problem, but the root of the civil war between Syrian government. However, extremist groups Extremist were added in the later stages of the crisis.

Q: Will Germany be given room for Bashar al-Assad in the coming election? Iran, for example, argues that Bashar can participate in the elections and vote for him if they could stay as head of government.
A: Progress towards free and fair elections would be complicated. But one of the next steps that we are waiting for the opposition to direct talks with the government. Naturally, this depends on the groups decide about future events.

Q: Do you think this decision they cope? If we could see 5 years were not such a crisis.

A: We hope that some kind of mediation under the auspices of the United Nations is out. I do not think that there is no substitute or alternative but to transfer the Syrians to decide the fate of the Syrian parties to exist. Security Council can do this. As a result of the recent meeting in Vienna, all parties have agreed on several issues: the Syrian opposition to direct talks with Assad, a transitional government must be agreed. Finally, after 18 months, elections were held and a new constitution must be developed. The framework of the road map is very cumbersome, but at least today we have a program and the program and the framework of the international community's support.

Q: The Security Council has issued human rights resolution on Syria that your country had also supported it. In that resolution, the Security Council of military and foreign militant groups, including groups urged Iran to immediately leave Syria. Do not you think that the presence of Iranian military advisors in Syria and Iraq to help fight Islamic State security of Europe?

A: We never think the presence of foreign military groups in Syria is helpful. In that resolution, there are many issues and this case is not the first resolution by the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council in Geneva on Syria issued. We always vote in favor of such resolutions because we monitor closely the human rights situation in Syria is of great importance for all of us. In addition, the resolution based on the report of the investigative commission strongly that I mentioned above. In a statement we issued after the resolution in New York, we emphasized that we have to look forward. Of course that does not mean we were those who insisted that the Iranian presence in Syria listed in the resolution, but we did what we had to support the resolution as a whole.

Q: Paris terrorist attack affect Germany's foreign policy in the region?

A: I think that the impact of recent events in Paris only to Germany and EU foreign policy Europe has been limited but had global consequences. In recent weeks we have witnessed several times that terrorists everywhere and not only in Europe, are present. The Russians also suffered from this trend and this is certainly the awareness of the dangers of the presence of terrorist groups has increased for all created.

Q: So you think that Europe towards a stronger military presence in the Middle East go?

A: We will be seeing more military presences. We hope that the issues will be resolved through political solutions. No options have to look far Nmydarym and already some European countries have different forms of military presences. In addition, the German government agreed to support the process of dealing with ISIS 1200 with the participation of German soldiers said. But certainly our preference is to resolve problems diplomatically.

Q: ISIS think the solution is diplomatic defeat?

A: I think that a clear understanding at the international level on how to advance the story there. I've asked you about the increased military presence. If there is a single approach in the international community, working for ISIS, for the same to continue its activities, will be very hard. It is obvious that to combat Isis, a combination of different approaches is needed, both diplomatic and military strategies are included.
Q: Is the solution of the refugee problem reached European countries? After the events of Paris spoke some close its borders. If there is such a program what will happen to immigrants and if not, which countries have the highest number of asylum seekers accept?

A: Ongoing discussion about the refugees in Europe there is still a certain way We have not in this case. When the crisis began, there was a significant need to address it because there were refugees and one person should be cared for them. So you could not tell the refugees wait three months until we find a more complete solution. As a result, they came and their number is constantly increasing at the same time. However, at that time and now accept that the number of refugees is very hard to work quickly. The capacity is one of the issues that must be addressed. Signs indicate that the Europeans want to refugees who have fled the war-torn country, it is natural that we cannot help but do everything. The first, a fair border-sharing agreement must be achieved between European countries. We realize that the host countries in the region need assistance. The Germany of refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey supports. The latter is also the issue of humanitarian aid in Syria is a crucial issue. We have problems in the way of access to humanitarian aid from removing. We need to work with the external border of the Union Europe and make it safer. Those who have come into the control method was better there. In conclusion, we must say that summarizes its borders to the refugees who fled the civil war, we won’t close. We believe that the international community must come to a more active form and in practice the issue is one of capacity.

Q: What do you think about the Russian invasion of Isis locations in Syria? Is it useful to know the Russians in the long run?

A: I do not want to comment on the policies of Russia. This is not my work.

Q: Does Germany have officially supports or opposes this measure?

A: We are pleased that the process aimed at advancing the Vienna document. This is a great step forward. We have to see what steps should be taken towards the full implementation of the Vienna Document. However, none of the Vienna document from the Russians did not want to stop their attacks. It is true that, as far as we are concerned ISIS we've agreed to fight the group.

Q: The military option?
A: By any appropriate means.

Q: Before the nuclear crisis, Germany's largest economic partner of Iran. Germany's plan to return to those days?

A:Of course, we tend to exchange between Germany and Iran in the field of trade and investment increase. We think that this event will be beneficial for both parties and are pleased that traditionally there is a positive view of Iran and Germany. We think that there is a huge potential. Increased investment will lead to the creation of new job possibilities and access to modern technology will make it easier for Iranians and income will be for German companies. Closer bilateral trade relations can have a positive effect on political cooperation, we have cultural and scientific. So I am hopeful and optimistic that we can have a good development.

Q: We always hear that European countries have criticized the human rights situation in Iran and Syria. But never in the case of Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Europeans not hear such criticism. Because European countries are talking about human rights violations in Saudi refuse?

A: This is not true. If human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, we will say frankly this issue to the government of that country and these issues are of great importance in our conversations.

Q: But do not think that the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia should be a resolution? Recently, a resolution on human rights violations in Iran was called on Iran was issued. We never saw the issuance of such resolutions have not been to Saudi Arabia. Is it economic relations with European countries is Saudi Arabia?

A: Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are major trading partners for us and I think that we should combine these two issues. We can for each country with which we have a resolution on the issue of human rights, human rights Disparities export. But a UN resolution against a country, is not an exception and the ordinary. We have different mechanisms in the field of human rights at the United Nations there. Including the UPR process, the resolutions related to specific countries or human rights reports. All of these tools are equally important. Now we have a resolution on Iran if it finds significant progress in the resolution will be reviewed. At this point we think that the situation needs a resolution. However, it is clear that any resolution must be balanced and if progress in some areas should be considered and should be reflected in the document.

Q: German Foreign Minister on his recent visit to Iran's willingness to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia's Germany. Whether Germany has taken steps in this regard and has accepted the mediation of Saudi Arabia?

A: You can talk bilaterally, which do not get to talk. You can offer your help to deliver. But it is impossible to impose. Of course we are aware of the fact that sometimes the prevailing conditions, the beginning of the interview process is very difficult for both sides. But I think that we should wish to submit. To try those responsible for Saudi Arabia and Iran around a table hear, to find areas of cooperation and simultaneously reduce the gaps. All of these efforts will be beneficial to the entire Middle East. So I can only repeat my message that our proposal to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia remain, however, as long as the two sides are not willing to accept that we cannot create the conditions change.

Q: More than eight months that we're attacking Saudi Arabia to Yemen. Why Europeans do not work to stop attacks on Saudi Arabia to Yemen? Is there any difference between Syrians and Yemenis?

A: First, I must say that both in Europe and in Germany there are serious concerns about the situation in Yemen. In fact, the main goal of our current work is to convince all parties to sit around a table and support the efforts of the United Nations in this regard. Similar steps have been taken by the representatives of the United Nations. We can look forward to direct talks in the near future we hope to receive good results because we believe the people of Yemen should have been a bad situation to be saved.

Q: Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Tehran, the official alliance between Iran and Russia spoke. Does it not worry the Europeans?

A: To answer your question dates back to type of unions that are listed. We have no problem that the two countries such as Iran and Russia, which are geographically close to each other, have a good partnership together. It is to be economic relations, is quite normal. If this alliance would lead to greater stability still will be a positive development. Therefore, everything depends on the cooperation of what direction to go and what goals are.

Q: Some analysts believe that Russia is trying to use the card Syria to win in the Ukraine. The situation in Ukraine is and do you think that European countries will further cooperation with Russia to solve the Ukrainian question?

A: Germany has tried many different levels of détente Ukraine, and it is still not resolved through negotiations. Many meetings at the level of foreign ministers and heads of government in Minsk was held. Fortunately, we can claim that progress has been made. Heavy weapons fire scene taken out and agreed upon in the largely accepted.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your kind words.

I am not suggesting territorial expansion of Iran but one can only look at US as see that she is a Mediterranean power.

But I think the expansion of Iranian presence was one of those unintended consequences of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the death and destruction that they visited on that country.

IN regards to Nationalist Arabs - I think since Arab Nationalism is dead, there are scarce any Arab Nationalists left. I think for at least a generation of two we would be facing with a reversion to communal identities across the Levant and the Persian Gulf.

You saw what happened in Bahrain; in 2009 they were streaming in the streets of Manama, carrying the flag of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the victory of the Saudi team over Iranian footballers. But now they are under the proverbial jackboot of the Saudis because of they are Shia.

Kooshy

With regard to Lebanon, Syria, Iraq I agree Iran for last 400 years has no other choice but to defend and secure the Shia’ of everywhere if she cares to keep and safeguard her own boards and national integrity.

Seamus

Soft arse.

turcopolier

Seamus

You must be the only human alive who thinks I am a "soft arse." What does that even mean? I'm the guy who wants kill ALL the jihadis. pl

Seamus

It was in relation to your not allowing my response to your "absolute bullshit" comment. Btw, it's very easy being a tough guy from an office.

turcopolier

Seamus

You simple ass. I guess you know nothing of me. SF officer, three years combat in VN, three years in other place. Go F---k yourself. You are banned. pl

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