Sunday, July 6, 2014

The crux of all that matters: 'The door is as half open to a realignment in US-Iranian relations'

'At a time when calls from foreign policy experts for a more assertive US engagement overseas, President Obama’s caution finds itself perfectly in tune with public opinion whose antipathy to the use of force overseas has not budged despite the tumultuous events in the Middle East. Doubts among top Republicans are also beginning to surface. With resentment at the person of Prime Minister al-Maliki deeply entrenched at the State Department and Pentagon, the advocates of intervention among Obama’s advisers are making little progress. The longer-term implications for the US posture in the Middle East arising from events in Iraq and deepening violence between Israel and Palestine are, as far as we can tell from private conversations with knowledgeable officials, being allowed to take care of themselves. The emergence of Kurdistan as a de facto independent state is being quietly tolerated. None of these implications may be more important than the future role of Iran. With nuclear talks now at a pivotal stage in advance of the July 20th deadline and a curious overlapping of interests at least temporarily present in Iraq, US officials see the door as half open to a realignment in US-Iranian relations. Secretary of State Kerry has warned of the formidable obstacles that lie ahead, so officials are warning that it is prudent to keep expectations modest. However, with the US top sanctions official included in the negotiations, there is some prospect of change....'

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