Clinton: Russia Recognizes Iranian “Threat”
News Brief – October 15, 2009
Hilary Clinton’s assessment of Russia’s position on the face-off with Iran is somewhat at odds with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s version.
According to a BBC report, the U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton says that Russia now “recognizes the threat posed by Iran.”
But does it really? Or has Hilary Clinton been making reassuring but essentially empty sound bites? Because on the same day she spoke to the BBC, Vladimir Putin told Itar-Tass that talk of sanctions against Iran is premature.
This isn’t exactly in line with the U.S. position on Iran. Particularly when Putin emphasised that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev “is not bent on pursuing a policy of sanctions.”
Mr Putin's comments came a day after Russia's foreign minister, at Hillary Rodham Clinton's side in Moscow, said threatening sanctions was "counterproductive."
So are Russia and the U.S. closer to agreeing and unified policy on Iran? Or is Russia simply playing for time? Giving Iran the opportunity to build up its defences and prepare for a possible attack should diplomacy and sanctions fail?
Certainly Iran seems to be preparing for the possibility of a military strike: regularly unveiling new domestically produced missiles and weapons systems.
This must worry the Americans for Iran isn’t another Iraq and in her BBC interview, Hilary Clinton conceded that Iran had bought itself more time by agreeing to UN inspections of its nuclear enrichment facility near Qom.
For time is a crucial factor here and with each passing week, Iran can better prepare for what some see as an inevitable Western military strike.
However, Russia’s position is only one part of the Iranian conundrum. Equally significant and one that has hardly been addressed by Western diplomats is China.
Again, this websites recalls a psychic friend with a sound track record telling us that when, not if, war erupts with Iran China will be a key participant.
This is also a matter of common sense. For China’s continued emergence as a global player is dependent on Iranian oil and gas and naturally it doesn’t want them falling into Western hands.
Shortly before Hillary Clinton left Moscow, the first tentative signs of a potential shift in alliances in the Middle East emerged.
Syria, which has a mutual defence pact with Iran, announced Tuesday that its armed forces would embark on joint military exercises with Turkey.
The announcement came after Ankara cancelled joint military exercises involving Turkey, NATO and elements from the Israeli Air Force. Unofficially, the cancellation was in protest at Israeli military action in Gaza although Turkish authorities claim it was due to the late delivery of an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle.
Whatever the reason, the emergence of a military alliance of Syria, Iran and Turkey and maybe even a nuclear capable Pakistan could prove a daunting prospect, particularly for Israel and those who would fight at her behest.
Last updated 17/10/2009