Les récents progrès des négociations entre les États-Unis et l’Iran suscitent une grande inquiétude dans certains pays. Benyamin Nétanyahou vient de s’en faire le porte-parole devant le Congrès américain, sans craindre de forcer le trait ni de se brouiller davantage encore avec le Président Obama. Les opposants à l’accord qui semble s’esquisser, notamment en Israël mais aussi parmi les monarchies du Golfe, redoutent des lacunes et des imprécisions qui laisseraient à l’Iran la possibilité d’accéder à l’arme atomique et de devenir la deuxième puissance nucléaire au Moyen-Orient (Israël étant jusqu’à présent la seule).
Il faut bien reconnaître que ce scénario serait profondément déstabilisateur, car il pourrait précipiter une course aux armements nucléaires dans la région.… Seguir leyendo »
If the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine meet as planned in Minsk tomorrow, it will inevitably recall the time leaders of those same republics met to dissolve the USSR at the Belavezha hunting lodge in Belarus on 8 December 1991.
Then, the key figure was the president of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin. Now it is Vladimir Putin. In 1991, George HW Bush was still striving to keep the Soviet Union together, and he was not sure which way Yeltsin would move. Today, Obama will be hoping for a settlement, but is very unsure of the outcome.
There is little doubt that the United States and the European Union will have done their utmost to persuade the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, to negotiate constructively.… Seguir leyendo »
It was the use of chemical weapons in Syria – in the shape of a horrendous attack in the suburbs of Damascus in the summer of 2013 – that first stirred the world to action. Under a Russian/American deal, reached with United Nations support, the bulk of President Bashar al-Assad’s stockpile of sarin and other chemical warfare components has been satisfactorily dealt with under international supervision.
But now another horror has emerged – the use of chlorine. Tests conducted for this newspaper last month by a retired British army colonel, Hamish de Bretton Gordon, who now runs a chemical weapons consultancy, showed the presence of chlorine and ammonia in samples taken from the scene of eight recent attacks in the north-west of Syria.… Seguir leyendo »
The referendum in Crimea has no standing in international law, but the history that lies behind it cannot be brushed aside. For centuries the Russian Black Sea fleet has operated from Sevastopol, in the past 20 years under special arrangements – the most recent signed in 2012 between the Ukrainian and Russian Federation governments.
Today Russia will not risk the new Ukrainian government, which it regards as illegitimate, controlling so much of Crimea that it could render Sevastopol naval base inoperable.Spheres of influence exist in the minds of many nations, not just Russia, even if not formally acknowledged in law.
There are other lessons from history too, which I researched for my latest book.… Seguir leyendo »
La conferencia sobre Siria, prevista para mañana en Suiza, convocada por el secretario de Estado norteamericano, John Kerry, y el ministro ruso de Exteriores, Serguéi Lavrov, es la única esperanza que queda de lograr un alto el fuego. Y será muy difícil conseguirlo.
Es imprescindible que se produzca un alto el fuego auténtico y vigilado por motivos humanitarios; pero algunos quizá digan que, si somos realistas, sabemos que no habrá tregua hasta que se llegue al agotamiento o la victoria. Además, las líneas de frente que existen en el momento de acordar un alto el fuego tienden a convertirse en permanentes, y la situación desemboca con demasiada frecuencia en una partición de hecho, como ocurrió en Bosnia-Herzegovina, o a la aparición de un país nuevo, como en Kosovo.… Seguir leyendo »
The lesson of history for dealing with Syria in 2013 is to avoid a repeat of 1919. At the Paris conference dominated by the United States, Britain and France, Lloyd George was heard to say: «Mesopotamia … yes … oil … irrigation … we must have Mesopotamia [which was destined to be in Iraq]. Palestine … yes. The Holy Land … Zionism … we must have Palestine. Syria … hm; what is there in Syria? Let the French have that.» Henceforth Damascus was under the French, and the Emir Faisal I, King of Greater Syria, was double-crossed, and with him, Lawrence of Arabia.… Seguir leyendo »
Kofi Annan, the UN special envoy to Syria, did not mince his words when the security council met yesterday. «If things do not change, the future is likely to be one of brutal repression, massacres, sectarian violence and even all-out civil war,» he said.
The UN’s current international impotence is devastating to behold, with Russia and China holding out against the US, Britain and France over the issue of foreign intervention in Syria. But this was the situation the world faced with Libya, as Gaddafi’s forces closed on Benghazi; the crucial change came when the Arab League demanded the security council intervene.… Seguir leyendo »
The best thing to be hoped for is that the Liberals Democrats will behave loyally and modestly in the national interest; loyally when the going gets tough over reducing the deficit, and modestly with regard to the lack of enthusiasm for PR to which their bad showing in the election attests.
Sadly that is Cloudcuckoo Land, because the modern Liberal party is often to the left of Labour and sees this as a once-in-a-generation chance to muscle in PR. Every Government since the war has always been re-elected once — except Ted Heath’s in 1974 — so a minority Tory ministry is the second best thing to hope for.… Seguir leyendo »
Some key decision makers in Israel fear that unless they attack Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities in the next few months, while George W Bush is still president, there will not be another period when they can rely on the United States as being anywhere near as supportive in the aftermath of a unilateral attack.
In the past 40 years there have been few occasions when I have been more concerned about a specific conflict escalating to involve, economically, the whole world. We are watching a disinformation exercise involving a number of intelligence services. Reality is becoming ever harder to disentangle.
Last month a story in The Guardian claimed that on May 14 Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, in a meeting with Bush, had asked for a green light to attack Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities.… Seguir leyendo »