U.S. already chosing new Syrian management team

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 7, 2012

The United States role in the Syrian conflict has gone from “no boots will be on the ground” to “let’s choose who will be the government after Assad”. While the main stream media reports that Washington ran out of patience regarding the work of the Syrian National Council, the truth is that the opposition to Bashar al-Assad’s led government has been influenced by Western forces all along.

The Syrian National Council, which brings together about 60% of the political opposition to the regime is seen as allegedly having failed in its attempt to bring about ‘real change’ to Syria.

This follows from the shift occurred in the last week by the State Department. “We want to make clear,” said Hillary Clinton on a recent visit to Croatia. She then added that “the CNS can not be considered as the most visible leader of the opposition.” The same kind of outcome suffered by the CNS  today is what former Libyan leader had to go through after his western support ran out of patience. Gaddafi was murdered on the streets of Libya by alleged opposition groups that had been armed by the United States after the West decided it was time for him to go.

Clinton’s statement is seen as a direct attack on the opposition movement led from abroad by Abdulbaset Kurdish Seida, who left Syria and now lives in exile. The opposition movement in Syria has failed to carry out the agenda of the West despite the significant help provided by the United States and Turkey. The Turkish government lent its territory to create a revolution that would bring down Assad, but the Syrian government has been able hold on to power. This week, hundreds of Syrian opposition and rebel leaders meet in Qatar to try to redirect the revolution from the other side of the trench.

The rejection by the US state department of the work performed so far by the Syrian opposition movement has publicly questioned the revolution’s role as an organization in which the Muslim Brotherhood has a prominent place.

Last Thursday, State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell said during a press conference that after many months, the CNS had not shown its ability to extend its leadership to larger areas of the country that effectively reached other ethnic groups, or other geographies.” According to Ventrell, the U.S.’s former Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, contacted several people to submit their names to those attending the Doha meeting so that they can be considered for positions of power within the CNS.

“We have seen some individuals who have shown leadership and they want to be part of the future of Syria,” said Ventrell. Individuals that U.S. diplomacy has known as conference opponents, but who also lead movements such as the Free Syrian Army (SLA). Although formally rebel commanders maintain communication with the CNS, which has come to send delegations to areas seized from the regime, the management of the war and is in the hands of the militias.

The attempt by the U.S. to change directions was not received well inside the CNS. According to Zuhair Salem,  a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, “the direct tutelage and dictates from the United States are unacceptable to the Syrian people.” While talks about the need for a change in direction are heard, the United States is actively seeking support for such change around the world. U.S. diplomats are working on this refocusing with other members of the Friends of the Syrian people.

Among the groups been contacted by western governments is the so-called National Coordinating Committee for Democratic Change of Syria, which supposedly has a close relationship with China and Russia. Its leader, who lives abroad in Paris, is a doctor and writer known as Haytham Manna. Apparently, he held a meeting last week with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Committee, which claims to have established links with some brigades of fighters in Syria, does not have a good relationship with the CNS. Manna says their plan is to achieve a ceasefire, start comprehensive dialogue as well as to promote negotiations and a transition without the current president in power. “Bashar al-Assad has failed in recent months to solve the country’s problems,” said Manna. “He belongs to the past,” he added.

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Iran Playing American-style Politics

Obama finds an unlikely ally in the Iranian leadership

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 5, 2012

As unlikely as it may seem, Iran has chosen a side in the American election. The suspension of part of its uranium enrichment is a very positive move to help Barack Obama clinch the presidency for a second time in a row.

Reports surfaced last week about a possible negotiation between the Iranian and American governments that sought to stop the enrichment of uranium conducted by the government led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Two days before the election, several media outlets confirmed that the Iranian government halted its uranium enrichment process by as much as 20%.

The Iranian goal is to obtain a moratorium in the sanctions imposed on that country by the West; mainly the United States. However, the move to slow down the production of nuclear material, which the Iranians say the base for energy independence, is also making Barack Obama look good at home. In the United States and abroad, political pundits are assigning credits to Obama while saying that American sanctions have been of paramount importance to curb Iran’s thirst for a nuclear bomb.

Iran has suspended uranium enrichment to 20% in order for the West to lift economic sanctions imposed on the government and several strategic sectors, as confirmed by the Iranian parliamentarian Mohammad Hosein Asfari to pan-Arab Al Arabiya chain.

Asfari, who is the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy and National Security, said that the Iranian government is willing to suspend uranium enrichment as a “goodwill gesture” with the intention to open direct negotiations with the United States, scheduled for after Tuesday’s presidential elections, as recorded by the Iranian news agency ISNA.

However, the Iranian parliamentarian said movement has conditioned the talks to the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iran. If a positive answer from the West fails to arrive, Tehran will resume the uranium enrichment process, according to Al Arabiya.

The decrease in enrichment of uranium to 20 percent of Iran’s capacity is not enough to develop a nuclear weapon, although the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Fereydoun Abbasi, confirmed this week that the Government is finalizing the installation of centrifuges at the Fordow enrichment plant , in the north of the country.

The Iranian economy is being hit hard by the sanctions, affecting especially in the oil sector, the main item of income for Iran. In this context, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Ramin Mehmanparast, has insisted that the government “has nothing to hide” over its nuclear program and proposed to have a live broadcast of the operations as well as to hold talks with the Group 5 +1 — the five permanent members of the Security Council of the UN and Germany.

“The conversations we are encouraging are highly transparent and our proposals are very specific. That is why Iran has advocated to have a live broadcast of the whole dialogue,” said the spokesman to the Iranian news agency Fars. “Our dispute with the other party are neither technical nor legal, but political,” Mehmanparast stressed.

Whether Iran intended to help Barack Obama or not — since Obama has shown to be more tolerant towards Iran than Romney has promised to be — the move has helped the US president’s public image during a time when Mitt Romney seemed to be surging in the polls all over the United States. Sizeable differences in traditionally democratic states have turned into short leads and some disputed states have even turned for Romney in the last few weeks. Meanwhile, Obama and his pundits hope that the Iranian bump shows tomorrow at the voting booths.

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