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Archive for the ‘Condoleezza Rice’ Category

US-India Nuclear Deal Derailed and Threatening India’s UPA Government?

Posted by K.E. White on September 25, 2007

The Asia Times Online reports on the imperiled nuclear deal, and how it might just take down Prime Minister Manmohan Singh:

A speeded-up negotiation process with the IAEA and the NSG is likely to muddy the waters of the UPA-left talks and might lead to their collapse. The Communist Party of India recently warned that if the government held talks with the IAEA on a safeguards agreement at its general conference in Vienna, the CPI would regard it as a “breach of trust”.

Indian Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar did address the IAEA meeting last week, but refrained from making a specific mention of the US-India nuclear deal during his speech. However, he held informal consultations with IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei and nuclear officials from different countries.

It is uncertain, however, if the deal will sail smoothly through the IAEA, and especially the NSG.

Although the IAEA bureaucracy, and ElBaradei in particular, is sympathetic to the deal, the agency’s board of governors may not be unanimous in conceding India’s demand for a special safeguards protocol, which limits inspections on Indian facilities to the period during which they receive imported supplies. Typically, the IAEA demands safeguards in perpetuity.

Reuters reports on an October deadline for Singh’s government to approve the deal, lest new elections are to be called:

India’s government and its communist allies are eyeing ways out of their face-off over a nuclear pact with the United States, but failure to grasp these straws will spark a fresh crisis next month, officials said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s coalition faces an informal end-October deadline to start working on the next steps needed to clinch the deal, and if the row with left parties opposed to it is not resolved by then early polls may be called, they said.

Singh does not need to have the Indian parliament approve the deal, but he risks forcing elections if he does not get his Communist allies on board with the deal. Will Singh get an agreement from the left, or will he risk snap elections which could not only shoot down the deal but take him out of a job?

And just in case you were wondering, the US-India nuclear deal is a top priority of the fading Bush administration. From Condoleezza Rice’s interview with Reuters:

“I am not worried about my legacy. With 14 months to go, I’m worrying about what we’ve yet achieved on the Palestinian-Israeli track, the North Korean nuclear issue, the India civil-nuclear deal and trade agreements. We have got a big agenda,” Rice told Reuters Editorial Board in an interview, text of which was released by the State Department.

Let’s have a little score-card:

Israel-Palestine peace process = fat chance

North Korea Nuclear Crisis = contained after years of botched policy, but also greatly intractable

Trade Agreements = Democrats run Congress

US-India Nuclear Deal = no means a sure bet

But it is nice to here that Iraq isn’t dominating Rice’s agenda; there are other issues that could use a year of smart policy.

Posted in Condoleezza Rice, IAEA, India Nuclear Deal, Monmohan Singh, NSG, Nuclear | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rice Criticizes IAEA Iranian Plan: “The IAEA is not in the business of diplomacy.”

Posted by K.E. White on September 19, 2007

Guess not everyone guess with the NYTimes that the ElBaradei is an “indispensable” figure. Today Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took aim at the IAEA–and indirectly its chief Mohamed ElBaradei. From Reuters:

“The diplomatic track can work but it has to work both with a set of incentives and a set of teeth,” she said.

The United States has criticized a deal International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei has made with Iran to answer long-standing questions about its nuclear activities.

Washington and its European allies argue the IAEA moves divert attention from U.N. Security Council demands that Iran suspend uranium enrichment and grant broader inspections.

Rice, who in June accused ElBaradei of “muddying the message” to Iran, voiced strong irritation with the IAEA chief, without naming him.

“The IAEA is not in the business of diplomacy. The IAEA is a technical agency that has a board of governors of which the United States is a member,” Rice told reporters traveling with her to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

“It is not up to anybody to diminish or to begin to cut back on the obligations that the Iranians have been ordered to take.”

Now this brings up an interesting question. What is the role of the IAEA? Rice argues the the IAEA should not be crafting independent deals with countries it wishes to inspect. Rather, according to Rice, the IAEA should step back: leaving the decision of whether inspections occur to international diplomacy, with the IAEA then merely implementing the inspections will occur.

This does run into a problem, though. What happens when a nation of focus—Iran—is not having formal talks with the United States? Suddenly intermediaries like the European Union or the IAEA become necessary.

And at a time when American credibility is at an all time low, it’s hardly surprising to see the IAEA’s stock go up—especially with ElBaradei’s notorious and exceptionally long stint as IAEA director general.

Posted in Condoleezza Rice, IAEA, Iran, Mohamed ElBaradei, United States | 3 Comments »

The Quandaries of a Secure Middle East? Egypt’s Proposed Constitutional Reforms Run Into Stiff Resistance

Posted by K.E. White on March 27, 2007

Numerous news-outlets are reporting on the bind Egypt’s moderate, democratic government has found itself in after trying to push religious parties out of the government. 

From Al Jazeera: 

Egypt‘s judges have vowed to boycott the supervision of future polls after rejecting the results of a referendum that approved a series of changes to the constitution.

“The judges wash their hands of the referendum results,” Ahmed Sabr, a spokesman for the body that represents the country’s judges, said on Tuesday. 

“We will no longer be a fig leaf to cover something shameful.”

The changes, which will help the government exclude religious parties from the political system, were backed by 75.9 per cent of people who voted but human rights groups estimated that turnout was less than 10 per cent.

The Egyptian justice ministry said 27.1 per cent of registered voters took part. 

The Economist caught the cynicism of the constitutional amendments:

Finally, in an Assembly where the Muslim Brotherhood, with less than a quarter of parliamentary seats, is still the only thing even remotely resembling an effective opposition grouping, further attempts to keep it out of political life are certain to be seen as anti-democratic. This is especially the case given the continuing stringent constraints on the formation of other opposition parties. If the Egyptian government were really serious about opening up the political arena to a secular alternative, it would abolish the stranglehold on the formation of new parties exercised by its highly restrictive Political Parties Committee.

The Middle East Times gives more details: 

The regime has defended the move as a boost to democracy and security, but the opposition and rights groups have described the changes, especially new anti-terrorism measures, as a major setback for basic freedoms.

“I affirm again that democracy will not be achieved only by constitution and legal texts but also by broadening participation,” Mubarak said in a televised address.

However, officially only 27.1 percent of the 35-million-strong electorate turned out, compared with 53 percent in a referendum two years earlier that paved the way for Egypt’s first contested presidential election.

The official American response? Take a look at these accommodating words from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

“We have had a discussion. I have made my concerns known as well as my hopes for continued reform here in Egypt,” Rice told a news conference after meeting with Mubarak.

“The process of reform is one that is difficult. It’s going to have its ups and downs. We always discuss these matters in a way that is respectful, mutually respectful. But I have made my concerns known, and we have had a good discussion,” she said.

Protesters seem to have had enough of “being mutually respectful.”

 

Posted in Condoleezza Rice, Constitution, Egypt, protesters, reforms | Leave a Comment »