Divining the News (DTN)

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More on NATO seeking accomodation with Iran to supply Afghanistan

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Bhadrakumar says the Taliban don’t play chess, what a good use of words! These fundamentalists are altering the wests international strategies! Wonder if Pakistan secretly agreed to the bridge being blown up?

This is what the Taliban were thinking:

“Those whose faith only increased when people said, ‘Fear your enemy: they have amassed a great army against you,’ and who replied, ‘Allah is enough for us: He is the best protector.” Al-Imran, 3:173


Moscow, Tehran force the US’s hand
By M K Bhadrakumar

It may seem there could be nothing in common between the blowing up of a bridge in the Khyber, the usage of an air base nestling in the foothills of the Pamirs and the launch of a 60-pound (37.2 kilogram) satellite into the night sky that will circle the Earth 14 times a day.

But band them together and they trigger the political and diplomatic equivalent of what is known in the game of chess as zwischenzug, which means an intermediate move that improves a player’s position.

Persians, who invented chess, would have mastery over zwischenzug.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said in

Tehran on Wednesday, “Iran has no plans to stop its nuclear activity. At its forthcoming meeting, the ‘Iran Six’ should draw up a logical approach and accept the fact that Iran is a nuclear state.”

The Taliban don’t play chess
It is unlikely the Taliban factored Iran’s imminent zwischenzug when they blew up the 30-meter iron bridge in the Khyber Pass 24 kilometers west of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan on Monday, which halted the supplies for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops in Afghanistan. But the disruption of traffic once again exposed the vulnerability of the main NATO supply route and focused attention on Tehran.

This is forcing NATO into a major policy shift. NATO’s top military commander in Afghanistan, General John Craddock, admitted that the alliance would not oppose individual member nations making deals with Iran to supply their forces in Afghanistan. To quote Craddock, a four-star American general who is also NATO’s supreme allied commander, “Those would be national decisions. Nations should act in a manner that is consistent with their national interest and with their ability to resupply their forces. I think it is purely up to them.”  

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey



And another formidable authour at Asia Times is saying the same thing:


Iran and the US: United over Afghanistan?

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI – The annual Munich Security Conference, which brings together a dozen world leaders and about 50 top diplomats and defense officials, starts on Friday for the 45th time with one item paramount on its agenda: the United States-led world order, given the troubles in Afghanistan and Iraq and the ongoing impasse with Iran.

The US has sent a high-ranking delegation led by Vice President Joe Biden and the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrook. They are expected to seek informal dialogue with Iran, represented by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and parliament speaker Ali Larijani.

This contact on the event’s sidelines will likely focus on the Iranian role in Iraq and the need for Tehran’s cooperation over

Afghanistan, especially in allowing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) non-military supply lines to pass through the Iranian port of Chabahar on the way to Afghanistan.

This has become a crisis point for NATO, given that the Taliban have severely disrupted its conveys as they pass through the Khyber Pass in Pakistan and elsewhere. In the latest incident, the Taliban this week blew up a bridge on the Peshawar-Torkham Road and NATO supplies are expected to be crippled for at least 10 days.

With about 80% of NATO’s supplies going through Pakistan, and with an additional 30,000 US troops to be pumped into Afghanistan, it is crucial that these supply lines be protected, or routed elsewhere.

Although NATO has struck deals with some Central Asian republics and Russia for non-military supplies to pass through their territory, these routes are much longer and more expensive, leaving NATO with no choice but to negotiate with Iran.

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online’s Pakistan Bureau Chief


Also see:

NATO seeks Iran supply route for Afghanistan? Russian ploy?

Written by morris

February 7, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Posted in Afghanistan, iran, NATO

Tagged with , ,

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