A Blog Reporting on Reports, Conjecture,and Opinions on International Affairs

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What about China?

The headlines in regards to Iran in recent days has been primarily focused on Russia. President Vladmir Putin recently made a historic visit to Iran to talk about nuclear plans, the Caspian Sea, among other mutual concerns. While some people were alarmed by the meetings many in the West still believe a deal can be made with Russia despite its nuclear relationship with Iran. It is believed that the US can try to cajole Russia to take a harder line with Iran at the Security Council. Russia on the outside appears to have friendly relations with Iran; but Russia does not want a regional hegemon at its doorstep, especially a nuclear one. US's Iranian policy is currently based on global economic sanctions. If the sanctions fail, it would most likely lead to war. The sanctions regime has been working but the US knows that the noose needs to be tighten. Russia could help it but at the same time will continue to be reluctant, in order to extract more concessions from the US. If the US succeeds with getting Russia on the table, the problem still won't be solved. China could always veto any UN resolution demanding more sanctions.

China's relationship with Iran is very close and they have access to Iranian oilfields . Iran is the 2nd largest supplier of oil to China -Washington Post China is the 4th largest economy and growing and its blossoming trade with Iran will be the major stumbling block that will ultimately restrict the complete tightening of the noose. Cajoling China will be a bit harder then with Russia.

Update The Washington Post reported yesterday on the issue of sanctions against Iran and how Iran is beginning to circumvent them due to increase in trade with China, and utilizing Asian banks and finding other economic opportunites away from the West. If the US cannot convince the world that Iran's nuclear ambitions is a threat than a war will be looming.

Russia Attempts to Block Election Monitors

Russia is trying to prevent OSCE election monitors from being able to publicly report electoral irregularities soon after an election. They are also trying to limit the size and scope of these missions. Russian parliamentary elections take place in five weeks and the Kremlin has not allowed monitors in to the country. It takes months for election monitors to prepare for the elections in order to observe well. International Herald Tribune ... the slide to authoritarianism and autocracy in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States continues.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Economic Report The current State of the economy

The IMF predicted that China is going to "pump" more money in the global economy then the US next year. Economic forecasts prognoticate that China economic growth is going to reach 10%. The US economic growth is predicted to stagger with only 1.9% growth. China has already replaced the UK as the 4th biggest economy.

The Credit crunch in the US is not just dragging the American economy but also effecting banks in other countries that have lended to American banks and hurting other markets. Cuts in interests rates maybe be helpful but would be hard to stem off an increase in inflation , with oil prices reaching 90$ a barrel. Food prices have also been on a rise do to an increase in demand, poor harvests, global warming and the use of biofuels. -Telegraph The use of corn ethanol as a "savior" to our energy needs we be lamented in a future post.

The issue with China is not a concern in this piece. The economic slow down caused by this credit cruch is a real concern. The aforementioned inflation is a problem and a recession appears to be looming. Stay Tuned

Sunday, October 14, 2007

US Policy in Kurdistan Encouraging Stronger Relations between Iran and Turkey?

American policy in Iraq in in recent months have been about containing Iran and fighting al Qaeda . In recent days al Qaeda has been on the defensive. Its policy in containing Iran has been weakening due to its failure in mitigating Kurdish based terrorism. The Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) is terrorist group fighting for independence in neighboring Turkey. There has been a recent spate of attacks in Turkey requiring the Turkish goverment to take decisive action. The PKK has a lot of support in Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey has threatened to invade it to chase after the PKK. Iran which also has a restive Kurdish minority has also been attacked by Kurdish groups, PJAK, is the most important group. The Iranian government has already admitted shelling Iraqi Kurdistan along its borders. The US for the most part has been, pretty despondent over the issue. The US has been telling Turkey that the PKK would be dealt with but have failed to do so at this point and the PKK has been stepping up its attacks. At a time of confrontation between the US and Iran, the US needs to play a constructive role in fighting the PKK to prevent the convergence of interests between Ankara and Tehran. Unfortunately this has not happened. The issue over Armenia in Congress also is not helping Turkish American relations but that is a separate issue. Turkey and Iran share a lot of common interests that will prevent our Nato ally from isolating them.

In regards to Iranian Kurdish Separatists and PJAK who are based in Iraq, the US needs to use them as proxies against Iran. An Iranian invasion in Kurdistan could be perfect way to have someone to fight them. Turkish involvement would jeopardize this option. The US with Kurdish help need to silence the PKK before Turkey and Iran take matters in their own hands. Turkey's role in the Middle East could become an obstacle to our policies in the region if we do not listen to their concerns seriously. See Debka and crossfire war.com for more information.