cunt soup

Pindostan & Russia discuss deescalation zone for south-west Syria
Suleiman al-Khalidi, Reuters, Jun 9 2017

AMMAN – Pindostan and Russia are quietly holding talks on creating a “deescalation zone” in south-western Syria, Western diplomats and regional boxtops said, but could face fierce opposition from Iran. The Russian and Pindosi envoys for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev and Michael Ratney, have met with other officials in Amman at least twice in the past two weeks and will talk again soon, the diplomats and boxtops said. The talks are at an early stage of discussing the boundaries of the proposed deescalation zone in Deraa province, on the border with Jordan, and Quneitra, which borders Golan Heights, and could represent a major new attempt by Washington and Moscow to end the war. Iran, Russia and Turkey brokered a deal in Astana, in May to create four deescalation zones in Syria, but Pindostan wants (Iran to have) no role in the south-west, the diplomats said (because of the supply routes to Hezbollah! – RB). Faschingstein has misgivings about the Astana talks, and wants to forge a bilateral understanding with Moscow. One senior diplomat said:

The Pindosis are talking to the Russians and proposing a deconfliction zone outside the Astana process without the Iranians and their proxies.

Pindostan is proposing a deescalation zone covering areas held by both rebel and government forces that could eventually turn into a safe area, the diplomats and boxtops said. A regionalAn Israeli intelligence official said:

The two sides are in the process of drafting its border, and which outside forces will be on the ground, but there are many flaws on how to implement it.

A Western intelligence source said:

Time may be of the essence. Hezbollah is expanding its foothold in the south-west, and dozens of raids this week by the Syrian army and new troop deployments by Hezbollah in Deraa city were intended to preempt or wreck any agreement.

A State Dept source said:

We have nothing to announce regarding reports of discussions about southern Syria. Pindostan remains committed to supporting a diplomatic resolution to the Syrian conflict, one which can bring about a more representative and peaceful Syria, free of terrorism.

Under the Astana accord, deescalation was envisaged as the halt of hostilities between government forces and opposition groups and the creation of conditions for humanitarian access, medical assistance, the return of displaced civilians to their homes and restoration of damaged infrastructure. Safe zones should be guaranteed by all parties to a conflict. The regional Israeli source said:

Pindo boxtops have told the Russian negotiators that the Syrian army and Iranian-backed troops are exploiting the Astana agreement to free up additional troops for other battles.

Pindostan under Trump has taken a tough stance against Tehran, but Iranian and allied militias are integral to groups supporting Assad. Although Trump has voiced support for safe zones in Syria, Faschingstein opposes Iran’s involvement as a guarantor of the deescalation zones set out in the Astana accord, and regards Assad’s track record in upholding previous agreements as poor. A regional source said:

In the talks with Moscow, Faschingstein has proposed a halt in military offensives by rebels who control swathes of Deraa and Quneitra. Jordan’s role in the deal is important because of its leverage over rebels in that area. Deraa and Quneitra are a center of the insurgency against Assad. They are a potential launchpad for rebel attacks on Damascus, 40 miles to the north. Pindosi enthusiasm to push the deal depends on Russia forcing the Iran-backed militias to leave this area. Iran and its proxies have to be out of this zone. This is key to the deal being proposed.

Regional tensions are on the rise and the warfare in southern Syria has pitted rebels around the Tanf base near the border with Iraq against Syria’s army and militias backed by Iran. Two senior diplomats said:

There are doubts in the West that Russia can rein in the growing involvement in the region of Iran and its allies.

There are other difficulties. Another regional source said:

Jordan wants a deal that keeps the Deraa front quiet and eases the plight of civilians under the threat of army bombardment, but it has rejected a Russian proposal for its troops to police the proposed deconfliction zone.

India’s plan to develop key Iranian port faces Pindocuntishness
Nidhi Verma, Sanjiv Miglani, Reuters, Jun 9 2017

DELHI – Western manufacturers are shying away from supplying equipment for an Iranian port that India is developing for fear that Pindocunt may reimpose sanctions on Tehran, dealing a blow to Delhi’s strategic ambitions in the region, Indian boxtops say. Lying on the Gulf of Oman along the approaches to the Straits of Hormuz, the port of Chabahar is central to India’s hopes to crack open a transport corridor to Central Asia and Afghanistan that bypasses Pakistan. India committed $500m to speed development of the port after sanctions on Iran were lifted in 2015. But the state-owned Indian firm that is developing Chabahar is yet to award a single tender for supplying equipment such as cranes and forklifts, according to two government sources tracking India’s biggest overseas infrastructure push. Pres Trump denounced the nuclear agreement on the campaign trail, and since taking office in January has accused Iran of being a threat to countries across the Middle East. Swiss engineering group Liebherr and Finland’s Konecranes and Cargotec have told India Ports Global Pvt Ltd, which is developing the deepwater port, that they were unable to take part in the bids as their banks were not ready to facilitate transactions involving Iran, due to the uncertainty over Pinocunt policy, the two boxtops said in separate conversations. These firms dominate the market for customized equipment to develop jetties and container terminals. One boxtop said:

The first tender was floated in September, but attracted few bidders because of the fear of renewed sanctions. That fear has intensified since January. Now the situation is that we are running after suppliers. Some tenders have been floated three times since September because they failed to attract bidders. A Chinese firm called ZPMC has since come forward to supply some equipment.

Trump has called Obasma’s P5+1 agreement with Iran “the worst deal ever negotiated.” Last month his administration extended relief on its broadest and most punitive sanctions, while carrying out a wider policy review. Uncertainty over Pindocunt policy is already causing long delays in contracts that Iran has sought with international firms to develop its oil fields and buy planes for its aging airlines. The lifting of UN and EU sanctions in 2016 partly reconnected Iran with the international financial system crucial to trade. But large international bankers with exposure to Pindocunt remain unwilling to facilitate Iranian deals for fear of running afoul of narrower, unilateral Pindocunt sanctions that remain, and uncertainty over whether wider sanctions relief will continue. Saurabh Kumar, India’s ambassador to Iran, said in an emailed response to Reuters from Tehran:

The process of procuring equipment for the Chabahar port is under way. Some of the customized cranes need up to 20 months to build. The banking situation is slowly improving. Tenders are refloated for a variety of reasons including technical specifications not being met, etc. Banking channels in recent months, have in fact somewhat eased. If some companies do not participate, it really is their business.

India has been pushing for the development of Chabahar port for more than a decade as a hub for its trade links to the resource-rich countries of central Asia and Afghanistan. Access to those countries is currently complicated by India’s fraught relationship with Pakistan. Bureaucratic delays, difficult negotiations with Iran and the risk of incurring Faschingcunt’s displeasure during the financial embargo in Tehran had meant there was little progress on the port until now, but prodded in part by China’s development of Gwadar port, 100 km from Chabahar on the Pakistani coast, Indian PM Modi’s government has unveiled massive investment plans centered around the Iranian port, offering to help build railways, roads and fertilizer plants that could eventually amount to $15b. So far, even an initial credit line of $150m that India wants to extend to Iran for development of Chabahar has remained a non-starter, as Tehran has not been able to do its part of the work. The second government official said:

They have not sought the loan from us, because they haven’t awarded the tenders, either because of lack of participation or banking problems.

Ambassador Kumar said the Iran had indicated it would be sending proposals shortly to tap the credit line. Meena Singh Roy, who heads the West Asia center at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, a New Delhi think-tank, said:

The increasing tension between Faschingstein and Tehran will have an impact on the Chabahar Project. It has strategic significance for India, but nothing much seems to be moving due to new uncertainties in the region.

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