Voices from Russia

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Moscow Urges West to Tone Down Anti-Assad Rhetoric

These Islamist terrorists are the darlings of the West… they’ve pledged to massacre the Alawis and drive out the Christians… remember that when you hear Victoria Nuland’s honeyed words. She’s a protégé of Strobe Talbott and Richard Holbrooke… the Butchers of the Balkans… ask any Serb. Do you want a repeat of the Kosovo fiasco? 


On Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that Western allegations that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s régime is illegitimate are unacceptable. He observed that the anti-Assad stance is unlikely to foster a peaceful settlement in the conflict-torn country, saying, “In our view such opinions are counterproductive, as they give a false signal to the opposition that there’s no reason to engage in dialogue, that it’s better to expect help from NATO and the West, as was the case in Libya. We believe that this scenario’s absolutely inadmissible and it’ll have grave consequences for Syria and the stability of the situation in the region”. He also condemned Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to shutter its embassy in Syria, saying the move’s at odds with the general concept for easing the situation in the country. On Friday, four member states of the Persian Gulf Cooperation CouncilQatar, Kuwait, Oman, and the UAE… announced that they’d withdraw their diplomats from Damascus. Earlier this month, Bahrain, also a member of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, recalled its diplomats from Syria.

16 March 2012




Monday, 30 January 2012

The Outcome of This Week’s Posturing: Asia Refuses to Back the USA and Europe Against Iran

THIS is the world of Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney… and what they want to do with Iran. It’s why many countries won’t join the US/EU embargo of Iran… any questions?


Asian countries threw down a challenge to the USA and the EU. China, India, and Turkey refused to support a ban on Iranian oil imports, and they’ll not allow the USA to block the export of Iranian oil. Japan and South Korea are planning to follow suit. This week, the EU banned the import of Iranian oil imports, but it remains an isolated unilateral action. On Monday, EU foreign ministers approved a new package of sanctions against Tehran that provides for a gradual ban on the import of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products. The EU plans to stop purchasing oil from Iran by 1 July. Until recently, the main buyers of Iranian oil in Europe were Greece, Italy, and Spain, who bought 600,000 barrels a day. Yevgeni Satanovsky of the Institute of the Middle East said, “Europe decided to buy itself some time so that it could find alternatives to Iranian oil imports. Europe will have no problems replacing Iranian oil with oil from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, or Kuwait. The Gulf Cooperation Council has already made it clear that it will recoup the losses”.

Meanwhile, some oil refineries in Europe might face quite a headache, for they’re not only set up to refine Iranian crude oil, they refine a particular sort of it. Experts have speculated on whether an embargo will hit the buyer or the seller harder. The IMF predicts a 20 to 30 percent increase in the cost of oil. Sergei Druzhilovsky of the Moscow Institute for International Relations said, “That means an increase of 20 to 30 dollars per barrel at current prices. Europe accounts for 18 to 20 percent of Iranian crude oil exports. A ban on these exports will not collapse or cause any serious problems for the Iranian economy. It might affect oil prices set for China and India, which could create a bit of a problem. It looks like “dumping” is inevitable, as Iran will definitely have crude oil stockpiles available for sale. Iran’s now switching to payments in currencies other than the dollar, the Japanese Yen, the Indian Rupee, and the Chinese Yuan”.

This week, China and India reiterated their determination not to support the embargo. Japan‘s gradually changing its position, having initially yielded to pressure from the USA. It has now asked, as an exception, not to cut its imports from Iran. South Korea dragged its feet over the decision, forced to choose between political solidarity with its pushy overseas ally, and the country’s energy security. Analyst Stanislav Tarasov commented, “Unlike Tokyo and Seoul, Ankara unhesitatingly rejected pressure from the USA without hesitation. Turkey’s position is purely pragmatic. It’s well aware that Europe’s going through a depression and that cutting Iranian oil imports would only make things worse. Iran is Turkey’s main trading partner, accounting for half of its oil imports. Ankara won’t find any alternatives to Iranian supplies amongst the Arab countries, from which it’s trying to distance itself in any case. Besides, Iranian oil offers it freedom to act as it pleases. Turkey is simply being sensible about the issue. A crude political game is underway, aimed at pressuring Iran, which simply testifies to the deteriorating quality of Western diplomacy. The West is trying to make Iran begin talks with the ‘six’ (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) on its nuclear programme. The problem is, after Turkey played a crucial role in mediating Iran’s consent to a meeting with the six-party representatives in Istanbul, the West started ‘torpedoing’ the talks”.

Yevgeni Satanovsky commented on Ankara’s position, saying, “Turkey wishes to demonstrate that it’s an independent player, a regional superpower, and sets its foreign policy towards its neighbours as it will. On the one hand, it agreed to station an American radar base on its territory, certainly an anti-Iran move. Yet, on the other, it’ll continue to buy oil from Iran, as Ankara’s interested in energy cooperation with Tehran”.

On Friday, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry reiterated that Pakistan would take part in a project to build a gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan despite the threat of an imposition of international sanctions, even though the USA is strongly against the project. In commenting on their stance, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry emphasised that international sanctions should be limited to Iran’s nuclear programme and should not affect Pakistan’s participation in a gas project with Iran.

28 January 2012

Konstantin Garibov

Voice of Russia World Service


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