Archive for the ‘confrontation’ Category

Experts urge Obama to rethink Iran policy

November 15, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama must rethink U.S. policy toward Iran, eschewing confrontation and failed attempts to isolate Tehran through sanctions, according to a group of experts and former diplomats.

Reuters

Tackling Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be one of Obama’s main foreign policy challenges after he takes office on January 20. He has said he would harden sanctions but has also held out the possibility of direct talks.

The panel of 20 experts, who include academics and former U.S. ambassadors, warned against a military attack on Iran and called for unconditional negotiations, saying it was the only viable option to break “a cycle of threats and defiance”.

“An attack would almost certainly backfire … and long experience has shown that prospects for successfully coercing Iran through achievable economic sanctions are remote at best,” they said in a joint statement to be presented to a conference on the future of U.S.-Iran relations next week.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles during a meeting ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles during a meeting with Iraqi former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafari in Tehran in October 2008. Barack Obama may have pledged during his campaign to talk to Iran’s leaders, but he could fall into a trap by replying to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s congratulatory letter, analysts warn.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081114/
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Tibet and the Ghosts of Tiananmen

March 18, 2008

By Bill Powell
Beijing
TIME Magazine

It is still nearly five months before the Olympic torch is to be lit in Beijing, officially starting the 29th summer Olympics. But, diplomats in the Chinese capital believe that a high level game of chicken has already begun, one that has now turned deadly – first, in Lhasa, the capital of what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region, and now elsewhere, according to Tibetan exiles and human rights groups.

A demonstrator rallies against China's deadly crackdown ...
A demonstrator rallies against China’s deadly crackdown on pro-independence protesters in Tibet. The United States said Monday it would increase radio broadcasts to Tibet as China clamped down on media coverage of the bloody protests in the Himalayan territory.(AFP/Filippo Monteforte)

Yesterday, in China’s Sichuan province, at least eight bodies were brought to a Buddhist monastery in Aba prefecture, allegedly shot dead by Chinese riot control police, according to an eyewitness account quoted by Radio Free Asia. The escalating confrontation in and around Tibet is a nightmare for China’s top leadership, but one, some diplomats believe, that could not have taken anyone in the central government completely by surprise. It pits the leadership in Beijing against its domestic opponents – who include not only Tibetan dissidents, but also separatist groups in the heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang, as well as human rights and political activists throughout the country.

Each side understood that the months leading up to the Games would be “extremely sensitive,” as one diplomat put it. The government knew “from day one,” another diplomat told TIME, that “a successful bid for the games would bring an unprecedented – and in some cases very harsh – spotlight” on China and how it is governed. On the other side, everyone from human rights activists to independence seeking dissidents in Tibet and Xinjiang – “splittists” in the Chinese vernacular – knew they would have an opportunity to push their agendas while the world was watching. “Thought the specific trigger for this in Tibet is still unclear, that it intensified so quickly is probably not just an accident,” the senior diplomat says.

According to this view, it was never hard to imagine a scenario in which some group – and maybe several – would push things, try “to probe and see whether they could test limits.” The critical issue, now front and center, diplomats say, is just how far angry Tibetan activists will push – and how harshly the Chinese government will push back.

How extensive…

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/tibetandtheghost
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Pentagon Gives Further Discussion Of Iranian Boat Incident

January 12, 2008
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON – Recent clashes between Iranian and U.S. Navy forces in the Persian Gulf reflect Iran‘s shifted military strategy to use its Revolutionary Guard’s fast boats more aggressively in the region, the top U.S. military officer said Friday.

In a confrontation Sunday — captured on a 36-minute video the Pentagon made public Friday — military officials said boxes were thrown into the water by the Iranians, triggering concerns about potential mine threats. And in an incident last month, a U.S. ship fired warning shots at a rapidly approaching Iranian boat.

Admiral William Fallon

While there are lingering questions about the origin of menacing verbal threats heard during the confrontation…

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 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080112/ap_on_go_
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