Iran pushes for Saudi isolation in the Gulf amid military buildup in Hormuz

Two landmark events in the Persian Gulf this week attested to Tehran’s confidence that it has escaped the threat of a military clash with the US and Israel over its nuclear program – certainly in the Persian Gulf. By the same token, Iran is no longer threatening to block the Straits of Hormuz to Gulf oil exports in reprisal for this attack.

One of those events, as noted by debkafile’s military and Gulf sources, is the rapid détente between Tehran and the United Arab Emirates. Tuesday, Dec. 10, unnamed Gulf officials announced that Iran and the UAE were close to an agreement for the return to the Emirates of three Iranian-occupied islands in the Arabian Gulf.

The other event was the conspicuous absence of Oman’s Sultan Qaboos from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit taking place in Kuwait this week. Continue reading

Obama launches diplomacy with Tehran after quietly accepting Iran’s current nuclear capabilities

Whatever direction gives Israel the short end of the stick is the one both Iran and the current White House administration will likely choose.

Iranian President Rouhani conspicuously avoided shaking the hand President Barack Obama extended to his government at the UN Tuesday, Sept. 24, by absenting himself from the UN reception for world readers. He made this gesture under strong international spotlight to underscore the value Iran places on being respected as an equal in the negotiations ahead with the United States, Iranian sources stress.

Obama knew the “handshake rebuff” was coming, yet he went through with his announcement of direct engagement with Iran earlier Tuesday. To give his rhetoric weight, he demonstratively instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to take charge of the pursuit of “face to face negotiations” with Tehran.

The link Obama made in his speech between the Iranian and Palestinians negotiating processes as the two focal issues of his Middle East policy was further embodied by his appointment of the same official, John Kerry, to take charge of both tracks. This has placed Israel at a disadvantage on both fronts. Continue reading