Some of the main negotiators of the Iran nuclear interim deal at the table (from left): Russian Foreign Minister of Sergei Lavrov Russia, the EU´s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy Cathrin Ashton and Iran´s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (BBC)
Comment: The Iranian Elephant on the Middle East Table
The US can´t handle everything in the world at the same time. Its focus shifts to the Pacific, away from Europe and the Middle East.
In Syria, Iran has manoeuvred itself into a position allowing it to extract concessions from its foes. It can´t dominate, but now it sits like a huge elephant on the table, in the middle of the region and just won´t go away. Its opponents have to deal with that, and they obviously don´t know how.
Opposition groups protest in Jordan on October 5, 2012. (Al-Jazeera)
Estimation and outlook on the situation in Syria and the region – Part 4
Jordan feels the strains of the Syrian situation as well. Throughout its history, the kingdom did steadily and carefully adjust to changing situations, constantly balancing pressure from bigger Arab countries and the West.
Though the kingdom gave Syrian opposition fighters training ground on limited scales, it did resist demands from Qatar and Saudi Arabia to heavily arm the Syrian opposition.
Once allies, now foes: Turkish PM Erdogan and Syrian President Assad. (Al-Jazeera)
Estimation and outlook on the situation in Syria and the region – Part 3
Assad does not need to negotiate
Questions arise why Syrian President Bashar al-Assad does not want to negotiate with the opposition and is so adamant. Our reading is simple: Given the odds he was facing since two years, his stance did work relatively well for him, and now he does not have to negotiate anymore seriously, though he might send representatives to a future conference.
The strategic balance in Syria is shifting significantly to his side, and outside powers are becoming even more reluctant to hinder him go after his foes.
A deserted street in Tripoli during fighting between Alawites and Sunnites. (Al-Jazeera)
Estimation and outlook on the situation in Syria and the region – Part 2
Not happy with Hezbollah
People in Lebanon – many Shiites among them – are not content and even angry about Hezbollah´s role in Syria. But they can’t or don’t want to get rid of the organization for several reasons.
Many Shiites depend on Hezbollah, and the others just have no serious means to confront the organisation or are bound in political affiliations. Though, the latter may be in flux as some recent moves of Christian leader Michel Aoun suggest, who signed a Memorandung of Understanding with Hezbollah.
A Syrian army tank firing rounds in the battle for Qusayr. (Al-Jazeera)
Estimation and outlook on the situation in Syria and the region – Part 1
The battlefield situation in Qusayr, Syria, remains unclear. Some circumstantial conclusion can be drawn from news reports. The recent overall coverage of developments by pro-opposition media outside the country is very telling, just as reactions of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) command.
Realities reloaded for the media
Since some weeks, pro-opposition media in Europe and the US are tuning down their war drums. Western commentators, who tried to push through an agenda of regime change and intervention for two years now, did fall relatively silent when it comes to analysis.
Arming “paramilitary” forces, which in fact are militias, has rarely been a good idea. They take the knowledge and the arms. Once they got what they wanted, they are loose guns and often the nightmare of their fellow countrymen.
Ordinary people in Syria don’t have an agenda. They want to eat, drink and send their children to school. Life in Syria was not as bad for the majority of people as one might think when now we read about the “dictator” Bashar al-Assad, who was the “President” for ten years before the uprising.
Beirut (11:38) Huge deployment of security forces around the French embassy for fears of demonstrations after a likely postponement of the deportation from France of jailed Lebanese national Georges Abdallah. (Lebanese media)
UPDATE (17:04) France has delayed the release of Georges Abdallah until the end of the month. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati told the French envoy in Beirut such a step was not justified.
Demonstrators are currently blocking the road leading to the French embassy in Mathaf, protesting the postponement of Abdallah’s release. (Daily Star/Lebanese media)
The Lebanese television station LBC reports that Syrian refugees in Lebanon are facing a hard living in the Chouf district.
Yesterday, former residents of the embattled Damascus “Yarmouk” Palestinian refugee camp staged a protest in Taalabaya, Lebanon, outside the Palestinian cultural center to bring attention to their cause.
They called upon the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Higher Relief Commission, asking for food and shelter.
General Prosecutor Judge Hatem Madi has ordered an investigation into the business of Abdul Latif Fneish and Fouad Ahmed Wehbe who both may be involved in a counterfeit medicine scandal. A search warrant has been issued. (An-Nahar/Lebanese media)
Background: Abdul Latif Fneish is the brother of Mohammad Fneish, a state minister in the current government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, in which Mohammad Fneish represents the Shiite Hezbollah organisation.
Since some time rumours are circulating that involve Hezbollah or people close to the organisation in the production or trafficking of fake drugs.