Cold War in the greater Middle East
Iran knows how to get on the nerves of the United States; chess is a Persian game after all. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s tour of Latin America takes place at a very intresting time.
Here are some of the developments which makes this visit worth considering in a wider context than the possible anti-American political orgy which we might witness in the next few days.
- Iran announced plans on new uranium enrichment capabilities two days after Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced in a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoğlu in Tehran that, his country was ready to resume nuclaer talks in Turkey with the United Nations Security Council permament members, plus Germany; known as P5+1. The announcement of new enrichment facitities put additional pressure on Davutoğlu in his contacts even before it started with Catherine Ashton, the European Union Foreign Affairs and Security Policy High Commissioner who is representing the P5+1 in talks with Iran.
- In the meantime Britain has decided to send a warship to the Hormuz Strait, in order to contribute the military build up a the exit of the Persian Gulf, which means more than a third of all oil exports in the world. The USA and Israel have already got warships there (no need to mention other players in the Indian Ocean like India and Pakistan) amid one after another military exercises by Tehran with threats of blocking the Strait if the West put new embargoes on Iran.
- Blocking of the Strait, even as a phantasy would harm Iran’s oil exports as well. But it will definitely affect growing economies of Asia such as India, China and Japan. The prices are up because of the Hormuz crisis (around 113 US dollars per barrel yesterday) making the current exporters such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Latin American producers happy. (Iraq is another story.) So oil exporters benefit from the continuation of the crisis, as long as they do not turn into war which could block the trade.
- After closing a 30 billlion dollars deal with the USA for 84 F-15 jet fighters is trying to give assurances that it can provide the oil to demanding countries; they do nor need Iran as much as they think. But those who are in need of oil from Iran seek caviats in the US imposed embargo for their economies; Turkey and Japan are asking for exemptions openly. It is not a surprise that Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba’s talks with Davutoğlu on the next day from his return from Tehran focused on energy matters.
- The situation of Iraq after the withdrawal of the USA troops is getting more fragile every other day, bringing the country on the brink of secterian with and division. The deal of the American conmpany Exxon with the Kurdish authority in the North prepares every player to the idea of a seperated Kurdish state, which strains the nerves of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan. The Iraqi situation is going to be on the agenda, besides Iran in the talks of the USA Deputy Secretary od State William Burns, expected to start in Ankara today. The Cold War-like picture is completed with Russian warships in the Mediterranean sailing off the shores of the unrest-hit Syria; Russia which becoming a major supplier of energy for the economic crisis-hit Europe.