Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Private alarm"

"...On the foreign policy front, Secretary of State Kerry continues to enjoy unexpectedly favorable currents. In Syria the progress being made in the disposal of chemical weapons together with the deepening disarray among the Syrian opposition is enhancing prospects for a peace conference to be advanced by Kerry during his travel to Europe next week. These developments have certainly put on the defensive the advocates of armed intervention in the region. The spillover from Syria in favor of diplomacy may also be seen in the P5+1 talks with Iran. With more technical talks to take place in advance of a new round new round at the principals level on November 7th/8th, US negotiators are at pains to stress the constructive aspects of the Iranian proposals. Already some thought is being given to easing sanctions. This will not be easy as most sanctions require Congressional action – which will be difficult to mobilize as there is a solid majority, including among Democrats, that opposes any easing until Iran has effectively dismantled its nuclear program. These favorable trends have come at the cost of a plunge in relations with Saudi Arabia. Massive new ordnance sales will to some extent repair the breech, but US officials are reacting with private alarm to reports that Saudi Arabia has rejected a seat on the UN Security Council, where it would have reliably supported US policies. ..."

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