Posts Tagged 'Lebanon'

“Syrian-Saudi summit, US ‘power play’ efforts aim to isolate Iran”

“Syrian-Saudi summit, US ‘power play’ efforts aim to isolate Iran”
June 24-July 2, 2009
     Nicholas Kimbrell writes that a possible summit between Syrian, Saudi Arabian and Lebanon to be held in Damascus, as well as a likely meeting between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Saudi King Abdullah on July 16, could signal stability in Lebanon and help unite Arab states against Iran. According to Joshua Landis, the US is working to reestablish a “triangular entente” between Riyadh, Damascus and Beirut that was damaged by the previous US administration’s efforts to turn Beirut against Damascus. Landis believes that Damascus hopes to play a strong role in the US’ Middle East peace strategy (Daily Star).
     David Ignatius writes that while the domestic turmoil in Iran has lowered the chances for international negotiations, the US instead has a “power play” opportunity to “peel away” Tehran’s regional allies, including Hamas in Palestine (Washington Post). Iran relies on Syria to arm and fund Hamas as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon, and US strategists hope domestic instability will hurt Tehran’s ability to support these groups and maintain its partnership with Damascus (Wall Street Journal).
     In a sharp critique of Western media coverage of the protests in Iran, M. K. Bhadrakumar counters that Tehran’s power is at its “peak”, emphasizing that regional stability will require engaging Iran and its allies (Khaleej Times). Iran and Syria recently held a meeting to increase bilateral economic ties. The two states have previously agreed to establish a joint bank in Damascus, and Iranian officials stated that industry projects worth $3 billion were planned for the future (Tehran Times).
Daily Star | Washington Post | Wall Street Journal | Khaleej Times | Tehran Times

Related posts:
“Potential Saudi-Syrian-Lebanese grand bargain could isolate Iran”
“Efforts to draw Syria from Iran remain difficult”

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“Potential Saudi-Syrian-Lebanese grand bargain could isolate Iran”

“Potential Saudi-Syrian-Lebanese grand bargain could isolate Iran”
June 24 & 25, 2009
     The US will dispatch an ambassador to Syria for the first time since 2005 in a move widely viewed as an effort to isolate Iran. Michael Collins Dunn writes that the move may be part of a “Saudi-Syrian-Lebanese grand bargain” in which Damascus would recognize US- and Saudi-backed Saad al-Hariri’s nomination as Prime Minister of Lebanon and Riyadh would mend relations with Damascus, thereby further decreasing Tehran’s influence in Damascus. Hariri is also working to mend relations with opposition group Hezbollah, which is allied with Damascus and Tehran (Middle East Institute). Tariq Alhomayed writes that Damascus may have already decided to move away from Tehran, citing comments by officials that Syria would welcome Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah while also pursuing both cooperation with the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon and indirect peace talks with Israel (Asharq Alawsat).
Middle East Institute | Asharq Alawsat

“Coverage of protests largely subdued among Iran’s Arab allies and enemies”

“Coverage of protests largely subdued among Iran’s Arab allies and enemies”
June 22 & 23, 2009
     In an overview of Arab media coverage of the protests in Iran, Josie Delap and Robert Lane Greene speculate that state media in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both of which strongly oppose Iran’s nuclear program, have been “eerily quiet” on the protests due to government fears of similar domestic discontent. Controversy over the election results has also been downplayed in Syria, an ally of Iran, as well as in media owned by Lebanon’s Hezbollah. However, media outlets in Lebanon and the Gulf emirates (with the exception of Bahrain) are offering more extensive coverage and have been supportive of the Iranian opposition, and pan-Arab publications based in London have portrayed the current developments as a serious threat to the Iranian government (The New Republic).
     Other analysts add that Arab states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are afraid of angering Tehran and continue to hope the US and European states will address the election issue and the overall Iranian threat (Associated Press). Ronen Berman writes that debate in Palestinian online media has been minimal due to the view that regardless of the outcome of the controversy, Iran will continue to provide support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad and seek to destroy Israel. Nicholas Blanford says that while Hezbollah prefers President Ahmadinejad to Mir-Hossein Mousavi, they are more concerned about the power struggle between Iran’s clerical rulers and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as Khamenei has provided the group with funds, arms and military training (New York Times).
The New Republic | Associated Press | New York Times