Nostradamusís taxes

Nostradamus.jpg

A Sunday question. Perhaps someone will reply. Why should companies pay taxes in Italy? An entrepreneur opens a company. He manages to make a profit. Heís so honest that he doesnít run away, dodge taxes or do corruption. He declares the lot.
The State, to reward him, taxes him immediately double.
In fact if the company has made a profit, the State has the maximum trust that next year it will do the same.
This trust in the ability of the taxpayer is translated into an advance on the taxation.
Almost equal to the value of the current year, a presumed income in advance. The income is hypothetical but the taxes are real.
The money from the presumed income is taken away from the investments in the company. From employment, technology, machinery. And above all itís presumed. Why do you have to pay on the presumption of future income? They are Nostradamusís taxes. And for the companies that have recently been created, if they make profits in the first few years, it can be such a heavy burden that they have to close. Thus itís better to make a loss.
Only a saint or a madman can declare all the profits with this hellish mechanism. The State wants money. More money.
It wants cash. Always more cash. But it takes it from the honest taxpayers. Not from the tax dodgers. Too difficult. Itís better to send a request asking for a payment of 20 Euro in taxes plus penalties (yes it does happen) Ė than to attack the tax dodgers.
At this point the State could insist on a presumed advance of taxation on every income. On inheritance, for example. In the year following the first, another relative could die. On the lottery winnings. On scratch cards.
If Padoa Schioppa reads this post, Iím sure heíll do it.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 10:55 AM in | Comments (13)
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Hello there,
How much interest are you getting from your bank for the money or savings you have with them?
Let me see, I guess 0.5-0.75% at max, meanwhile the Prime Rate has gone from June2004 at 2% to the current March2007 of 3.75%.
Now this means, that if the Banks barrows from the Central Bank it has to pay 3.75% to them while if they use your money they have to give you at best 0.75%.
Well I am wondering, which one will they choose?
At the same time the interest on loans already issue to you and everyone else will immediately go up by 0.25% while the interest to you on your deposit, well that one can wait until someone will twist their arms into do it.
This is the Bank of Italy or Politicians that are in charge of protecting the public interest.
Do you believe that cows fly?
Keep believing, meantime they laugh all the way in the Banks!
Thanks

Posted by: Giacomo Chiametti | March 8, 2007 02:36 PM


Hello there,
The proof is in the pudding, IVA tax restitution, Public work deficit and the Hole in Social Security all summed up cost approx 30 Billion Euros.
This is the truth they are not telling you, although you are paying for it, meanwhile your tax burden went up to 42.3% and Fiscal year deficit to 4.4%.
Did I miss something?
While they (All of them) beat up on you, not even a wrinkle in their daily routine, not even the free cappuccino and croissant.
Someone better tell these idiots, Italians are feed up with them, their inconclusiveness incompetence and irrelevance.
They are the problem not the solution!
Meanwhile Senators sells their vote to the highest bitter just like on Ebay, although the prize in unknown (They will tell you later on).
Rest my case, send them to work in the private sector at least they irrelevance will float them to the top of the layoff list right away.
Thanks

Posted by: Giacomo Chiametti | March 1, 2007 06:34 PM


To Mr Chiametti:
That's a great post! Spot on! The Banks are the only institiutions making any real money. In the meantime politicians get fatter and fatter as they get more expensive by the day. We need to get these fuckers out of the way and issue our own debt-free money.

This time it's all or nothing. You can bet your ass it's going to be nothing!

Posted by: piero sanna | February 27, 2007 06:58 PM


Hello there!
My point is that incompetence is running amuck, on the Left side and on the Right as well and displayed very clearly during the current crisis.
There is no more money, this is the problem, the EU is pushing Italy for reforms and expenditure cuts that Politicians do not have the guts to implement because it would mean their demise.
The real problem is that the Managers of Italian Economy and Social Life (Politicians) are themselves wasting and feasting on 60% of the GDP without returning to the people the Services citizens expects and demand.
The Economy is in shamble (It grows only when Germany drives), corruption has reached levels of third world countries, justice is a farce (11 years average for a case, while Politicians usually get off by expirations of terms), while Italian Foreign Policy is the laughing stock at the UN (With the Moratorium on Death Penalty).
Do I get the picture correctly, the only things growing are the Salary and Perks for Politicians from all sides, the highest salary in the European Community are Italian, Italy has the highest number of Parties, Senators, Representatives, while every Agency of the Government is Bankrupt (Alitalia, Anas, Postal Service, Train, Health Service, Social Security etc).
Please someone tell me what Agency is functioning properly?
I got it, the Banks, with your money and political cover they thrives and thumb their noses at Bank of Italy and EU regulators complaining of high costs.
Sorry I forgot, life Senators with Golden Paycheck while unable to speak and reson properly although fully conscious while voting.
Get a grip, if you want better Politicians, they should serve in the Government for free, even better they should invest their money and pay to get elected without any perks or benefit.
Then we shall see how many inspiring Politicians Italy has for real.
Thanks

Posted by: Giacomo Chiametti | February 27, 2007 02:16 PM


u r another victim of the ideologized disinformation, i think this is a globally trust of stupidity.

we r waiting ur ass at the bus stop.

run more fast.

Posted by: dark sun | February 27, 2007 04:20 AM


for not Italian people:
d u know mister Berlusconi got rich using mafia money?

Posted by: James Esposito | February 27, 2007 12:12 AM


The Italian Gettysburg address:
instead of "government of the people, by the people, for the people" it should read "government of the mafia, by the mafia, for the mafia".
No change in Electoral law? No solution.

Posted by: Enrico Rossi | February 26, 2007 07:42 PM


Hello there!
I am fighting with my own brains, although confident few things my brought up by my grey matter make sense.
The first one is, what kind of credibility these politicians inspire on the average citizen, and if the credibility and remedies they actually perform for the citizen ďWhy are they still there?Ē
Since Italy had 61 Government in 61 years (Government should last 5 years, instead of 1) either the Citizen are ridiculed or the elected are ďNo good at allĒ.
The same can be extrapolated for the Taxes Italian pay dearly to these incompetent bunches of Individuals that claim to be elected, although incapable to serve a legislature to full term.
The following questions arise in me:
1) Government goes down, these idiots have to pay penalties to a fund and restitute all the money they receive for the job not performed.
2) All the Laws implemented by a failed Government have to be invalidated!
3) The same Stupid Party or Coalition canít re-establish Government in the same exact format!
4) Taxes during a Government Crisis will be abolished (Since the Citizen is not represented, No taxes without representation).
5) Every Party represented in the Failed Government shall pay Euro 500.000,00 to the Fund until the Crisis is resolved.
6) Prime Minister shall not serve more than 2 Government (Credibility?)
Now these idiots are leaches, and until they will be held accountable with their own wallet, not yours nothing will stop them.
Make them accountable to you.
Send them home, you are better off without anyone at the Government, but more importantly without Government no taxes should be collected.
Ask for a refund for the damage they do to Italy.
Thanks

Posted by: Giacomo Chiametti | February 26, 2007 06:57 PM


Well, perhaps Dr. Abdul is doing a favour to those who would be happy to have an issue like the one just raised by Beppe, buried and avoided, what is called a diversion job, I have seen it on
other posts by Beppe, ( and other blogs ) muddling up the issues with out of context posts, is a good way to to discourage proper debate and exchange of ideas, like for example, does the government really need to collect these enormous sums of money, year after year, and where exactly does all this money go, since only a part of it can be seen translated into actual services for the people who pay, compared to what is taken ?

And this of course applies to any other country
in the world, where there seems to be this big discrepancy between what is taken and the return in the form of actual services to the populations
that can actually be seen.

Or are we paying taxes just to feed a huge parasitic system, who cares little ( if at all )
for us, except for the money they can take from us ?

Posted by: Stefano Manfreo | February 26, 2007 02:36 PM


Hello Mr. Dr. Abdul
What in the heck are you doing? This is not a think tank where you post your abstract article and claim publication toward a notch in your PHD.
Please do yourself a favor get your point swiftly, clearly and possibly condense it all in a readable statement otherwise get your own blog and whomever cares to read your opinions is willing to sit through a history lesson.
Give me a break please!
Thanks

Posted by: Giacomo Chiametti | February 26, 2007 01:38 PM


Russian policy in West Asia
By-- By-- Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal

Russian diplomacy, focused on the Kremlin's balanced relations across the globe, moves ahead to consolidate its role in the Middle East, too. As the USA that has maintained the "identical views" with Israel over international issues, especially the Middle East crises is intolerably troubled in Gulf waters, Russia has come out openly to soothe the wounded pride of the Arabs caused by the war strategies of the US-led forces by its cooperative gestures and slamming the US foreign policy that has over years made world more insure and terribly dangerous. By continuing to pursue a balanced foreign policy, Presidemt Valdimir Putin took Russia from its chaotic existence in 1990 to new hights in economic, politicasl and militalry terms by 2004 when he completed his first term.

Putin administration's resolve to regain its "legitimate" control over the former Soviet republics, baring a couple of Central Asian states and Belarus, has not materialised as yet. In extention of Kremlin's drive to reach out to the Arab world, Putin has embarked on a historic mission of fruitful ties with some of them. On the contraty, some of them like Georgia and Ukraine have drifted to the Western side. Moscow's efforts to control them all by using enrgy diplomacy have not favored Kremlin significantly.

Putin's tour of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as Jordan, is the first in the history of diplomatic links between Russia and the Gulf region. "We are in a new level with the view to broaden political talks with Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain and strengthen economic-commercial cooperation with Saudi Arabia,'' Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said in January. Putin's tour of Saudi Arabia and Qatar , as well as Jordan, is the first in the history of diplomatic links between Russia and the Gulf region. "We are in a new level with the view to broaden political talks with Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain and strengthen economic-commercial cooperation with Saudi Arabia,'' Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said in January.

Among the three nations, Putin has achieved maximum success in Saudi Arabia , the oil giant of the world, while in Qatar, the gas giant of the world the proposal for OPEC for Gas regime, or Gas Cartel, was properly addressed. Europe imports nearly 44 per cent of its gas supplies from Russia, and the European Union leaders have said they would oppose Russian moves towards forming a cartel. Announcing Russia 's intent to play an independent role in the region, Mr. Putin has said Moscow is ready to host an international conference on West Asia . Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani has backed the proposal. Saudi-Russian ties got a phillip with large scale contracts were signed between them.Lending credence to its claim as a global champion of energy security, Russia extracted 9.236 million barrels per day (mbpd) of oil in June 2006 - 46,000 barrels more than Saudi Arabia - and its oil supply is expected to average 9.9 mbpd in 2007. As a result, Riyadh wants its own "energy dialogue" with Moscow , which has been facilitated in some way through the five-year oil-and-gas cooperation agreement signed during the landmark visit of Crown Prince Abdullah in 2003.

Addressing Saudi businessmen and financiers, Putin called on them to open Saudi banks in Russia. Putin also promised that Russia would help Saudi Arabia develop a national nuclear program as well as launching several Saudi satellites in addition to the seven already boosted into orbit by a Russian missile in 2005. Addressing Saudi businessmen and financiers, Putin called on them to open Saudi banks in Russia. Putin also promised that Russia would help Saudi Arabia develop a national nuclear program as well as launching several Saudi satellites in addition to the seven already boosted into orbit by a Russian missile in 2005.

Russia and Qatar have discussed establishing a mechanism to coordinate the supply of natural gas across the globe. In Qatar he held talks with Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and in Saudi Arabia, the first visit to the country by a Russian head of state, Mr Putin met Saudi King Abdullah. The BBC's Russian affairs analyst Steven Eke says that Mr Putin's tour of these pro-western Middle Eastern nations comes at a time when Moscow's disillusionment with the West is growing. Last weekend, at a prestigious European security conference, the Russian president launched a broadside against American foreign policy, accusing Washington of unilateralism.

Moscow and Doha are also engaged in intensifying bilateral energy cooperation, with Gazprom expressing interest in joint gas production and refining projects in Qatar. In other potential businesses, just as Russia is diversifying its arms clients beyond China and India - after losing out on the Syrian, Iraqi and Libyan markets - the Gulf countries too are looking for a basket of suppliers beyond the United States. Though Russia is the world's third largest weapons exporter after the United States and Great Britain , at $7.1 billion, Russia sold more weapons than the US in 2005.


Russian President is determined to transform Russia 's Cold-War image as a regional instigator and arms proliferator into one of a peacemaker and stabilizer. unity government and US-Israeli-Palestinian talks likely later this month, Russian and Saudi pressure to restart peace talks would serve well to provide momentum. Putin's advantage in West Asia is Russia's century long ties with Muslim nations in Middle East and Central Asia, the latter was a part of the USSR until 1991 when the might nation collapsed and disintegrated, The cooperative activities during his historic visit in mid February to Saudi Arabia, followed by Qatar and Jordan were in line with the wishes expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin for purposeful ties.


President Putin has launched a personal diplomatic campaign in the Middle East, while at the same time not hesitating to scold Washington for what he sees as its contribution to the prevailing insecurity and chaos all over the world. As a member of the Quartet of Middle East mediators comprises the EU, the UN, the US and Russia, his visit to West Asia assumes significance. Putin's Middle East tour glitteringly revealed the Moscow's intent for the region. Aiming at consolidating his personal ties with the Arab world, Putin completed his historic three-day visit to the Middle East on February 13, after visiting Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan. As a veto member of UNSC and one of the four sponsors of the peace "roadmap" that aims to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russia certainly plays its credible role in the Middle East peace process.

On the eve of his visit to Riyadh, Putin made a historical, confrontational speech in Munich in the presence of, among others, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, which some commentators said revived the spirit of Cold War now. Putin seems to be doing his best to have the Arab world on his side. This may be among the factors that explain Putin's address in Munich, in addition to his resentment of the NATO expansion to include East European nations and the exclusion of Russia, which sees itself as a primarily European rather than Asian nation. American commentators have interpreted Putin's speech as signaling a return to the Cold War. This is a mistake. Rather, it is a call for a healthier multi-polar international system, based on a balance of power and underpinned by a balance of deterrence, in which conflicts are resolved not exacerbated, in which the strong are contained, and the weak no longer live in fear.
But his criticism at this very important historical juncture does make sense. Message is loud and clear to the USA : Look, you can no longer take Russia and the rest of non-Western world for a ride.

Moscow sees the Middle East the most disturbed region of the globe now and the USA is the cause of it. There was a hue and cry when President Putin has launched a personal diplomatic campaign in the Middle East, while at the same time not hesitating to scold Washington for what he sees as its contribution to the prevailing insecurity and chaos. As a member of the Quartet of Middle East mediators comprises the EU, the UN, the US and Russia, his visit to West Asia assumes significance. Putin's Middle East tour glitteringly revealed the Moscow 's intent for the region. Putin's remarks at the security conference in Munich earlier this month provide important clues to Russia's new strategy of challenging American unilateralism. And the rhetoric does not mean any revival of Cold war in the earlier form.

Presumably, the rhetoric was meant to reiterate the Kremlin resolve to forge strong relations with West Asian nations against the wishes of the US. Some Middle East countries like Iran and Syria will no doubt be immensely reassured by Putin's remarks, but so will Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states who are eagerly seeking to diversify their international relations so as to reduce their dependence on a dangerously volatile United States. Putin's conclusion was the following: "I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. We must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue."

The Arabs as other Muslims profoundly worried by the way the United States appears to have lost its mind after 9/11, embarking on a world-wide campaign against real and imaginary enemies. Putin's tour coincided with the Palestinian peace process set in motion by the King's initiative to ensure a Unity government by Hamas and Fatah. That the Palestinian factions have just finished a round of talks in the holy city of Makkah on forming a Unity government. Seeing an opportunity to increase Russia's influence in the Middle East, Putin now wants feelings of animosity extinguished and past threats to be forgotten.

Syria wants to redeem its territories on Golan Heights it lost, when Israel with US support annexed them. Moscow has maintained strong economic ties with Syria.

Proactive role of Egypt and Syria is vital in resolving the Middle East Conflict. President Putin, reiterated his proposal made during his visit to Israel and Egypt in 2005 about holding an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow later this year. Putin said the other three members of the Middle East "quartet" - the United States, the United Nations and the European Union - as well as "all the states concerned" would be invited to attend the conference.. Egypt and Russia enjoyed close ties until the 1970s when Egypt turned to the US which has since become its most strategic foreign partner, his policy is aimed at bolstering Russia 's political and economic relations with Egypt.


With the collapse of US led wars in Middle East, spoiling the US image as a great super power eager to lead the world on democratic and enlightened path, Russia seeks to reassert its influence in the region. The move to forge beneficial ties with all Arab nations was discerned right from 2005 when Putin visited Egypt en-route to Israel, with a striking statement that he would call for a Middle East Conference. But it took more years to ascertain the Moscow's Middle East Policy as part of its role in wider Asia where China and Japan are the giant economic players. Visit to Tel Aviv was seen as a deliberate attempt by Moscow to end the frozen relations with that state. Russia strongly oppose the Israeli invasions of Lebanon and Palestine.

Of complicated cirses in the region, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq figured prominently in the talks held by the Russian leader with Arab leaders. While Afghanistan is being looted and destroyed and the Afghans being massacred by the NATO forces, supported by several countries including Israel and India with funneling their resources, the US-Israel combine is fully focused on eliminating Palestine, Lebanon and Iran.Justifiably worried for their own security, Iran and its local friends -- Syria , Hizbullah and even Hamas -- have been attempting to challenge and contain American and Israeli power. If you hit us, they are saying, we will hit you back. This is legitimate and they have achieved some success, but they should not push their enterprise too far. They need to recognize that the Western world, too, has interests -- in the free flow of oil, for example, and in Lebanon's pluralistic system. A balance of power means respect for everyone's interests, not only one's own.


In much the same way, a lack of balance in West Asia has allowed America's ally, Israel , to maintain its cruel military occupation of Palestinian territories -- harass, oppress and kill their inhabitants, violate their human rights, destroy their homes and seize their land, and like the United States, arbitrarily hold in jail some 10,000 Palestinians, including women and children, in harsh conditions. The similar lack of (an Arab) counterweight has given the Jewish state the freedom to invade its weaker neighbor, Lebanon, no fewer than five times -- 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996 and 2006, killing thousands of people, and causing enormous material damage. The principle underlying these numerous aggressions is that American and Israeli security is all that matters, and has to be given precedence over everything else, even at the cost of the insecurity -- and worse -- of everyone else. The notion that international security is indivisible is simply not entertained by either nation.

On Iran, there have been intense diplomatic efforts between US and Russia in the recent past, particularly after the increased US naval presence in the region heightened tension. While the Gulf countries undoubtedly resist Iran 's nuclear foray, they also fear that any US military misadventure would wreak further havoc in the region. In this context, just as Russia can use its influence with Iran to insist on containing the nuclear program, it can also use its influence in the United Nations Security Council to block any unwarranted action. Both sides must use this opportunity to insist on 'sensible' policies from the US and Iran.

Russia's ties with Iran are extremely relevant at this juncture. While the estimated $800 million Bushehr nuclear power plant is being developed as part of a technical agreement with Moscow, there are plans to build and supply another two - possibly five - nuclear reactors, including a second one at Bushehr. In 2005, permanent members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which includes Russia, granted Iran 'observer' status. Further, Russia delivered Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran in December 2006 under an estimated $700 million contract signed a year earlier. US wants Russia to assume a leading role in convincing Tehran, the so-called 'axis of evil' and Syria that its higher and sustainable interests lie in consolidating Iran's standing exclusively within its borders, rather than extending its 'tentacles' to manipulate Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. Putin stresses the importance of UN for resolving all regional crises and that diplomatic solution should be opted and wars and war threat strategies be buried.

The West is keen that no one country in the West Asia, other than Israel,should possess nuclear weapons.When the story about Iraq possessing WMD has been exposed badly, now Iran is accused of threatening the world with its new nuclear weapons. They insist that there is a danger to the Middle East and world at large until Iran comes clean about its real intentions, all those supplying it with arms and extending nuclear cooperation must cease to do so. Going any further at this stage would only strengthen Iran's ambitions to dominate the Middle East even more.

However, by involving itself with the Iranian nuclear issue as a 'honest broker', Russia could also help the scenario in Iraq, where Iran's influence in the internal politics of the war-torn country is increasing every day, posing a threat to the unity of the country and throwing up the possibility of the conflict spilling over to the neighboring countries. Apart from economic interests, it is in this context that Putin is also visiting Jordan. Discussions surrounding regional stabilization plans are also likely to touch upon anti-terror cooperation in the face of common threats and challenges. While the Gulf countries have been largely successful in controlling the threat posed by extremists and militants, Moscow is still hotly pursuing Chechen rebels, who have had sympathizers and supporters in the Gulf.

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the United States as the world's sole superpower, wars, violence, and mass killings have proliferated to the extent that the world is now suffering from a condition of near anarchy, and nowhere more so than in the Greater Middle East. Much of the problem can be traced to America's unilateralism under the Presidency of George W. Bush, in what has been called America's "unipolar moment." In simple terms, it means that over the past six years the United States has been able to do what it pleases without restraint -- to invade, torture, kill and destroy, ignoring international laws and conventions.
The lack of a counter-weight has allowed the United States to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq, smashing those two societies, overthrowing their regimes, killing a great many people -- and then finding itself burdened with the responsibility, which it is plainly incapable of assuming, of rebuilding these shattered countries.

Besides the emergence of the United States as the world's sole superpower, wars, violence, and mass killings have proliferated to the extent that the world is now suffering from a condition of near anarchy, and nowhere more so than in the Greater Middle East. In addition, the United States is conducting a bullying campaign against Iran , pressing for international sanctions against it, seeking to undermine its banking system, depriving it of advanced technology, and even threatening it with war. The United States has also waged what it calls a global war on terror, trampling on the sovereignty of friend and foe alike, arresting suspects in large numbers, transporting them to secret jails where they have been tortured, or holding them without trial for years on end in deplorable detention centres .

The ball is in Moscow's as well as US. Engagement of both Arabs and Israel by USA and Russia is the only way to achieve a qualitative shift in the Middle East peace process by a developed partnership between the US and Russia, which Russia strives to achieve, despite the aggressive rhetoric. Most important, Russia's main concerns remain to revolve around the escalation between the US and Iran, not because it expects US military action, but because tension would lead to the deployment of advanced US missile systems near Russian borders, which Moscow perceives as a threat to Russian security.It depends on whether the USA is genuinely seeking a leading and positive role in the region; for just as the US administration should rid itself of the 'Cold War victory' complex and start thinking outside the box.
By-- Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal
Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi, India

Posted by: Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal | February 26, 2007 11:31 AM


Russian policy in the Middle East.
By-- By-- Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal

Russian diplomacy, focused on the Kremlin's balanced relations across the globe, moves ahead to consolidate its role in the Middle East, too. As the USA that has maintained the "identical views" with Israel over international issues, especially the Middle East crises is intolerably troubled in Gulf waters, Russia has come out openly to soothe the wounded pride of the Arabs caused by the war strategies of the US-led forces by its cooperative gestures and slamming the US foreign policy that has over years made world more insure and terribly dangerous. By continuing to pursue a balanced foreign policy, Presidemt Valdimir Putin took Russia from its chaotic existence in 1990 to new hights in economic, politicasl and militalry terms by 2004 when he completed his first term.

Putin administration's resolve to regain its "legitimate" control over the former Soviet republics, baring a couple of Central Asian states and Belarus, has not materialised as yet. In extention of Kremlin's drive to reach out to the Arab world, Putin has embarked on a historic mission of fruitful ties with some of them. On the contraty, some of them like Georgia and Ukraine have drifted to the Western side. Moscow's efforts to control them all by using enrgy diplomacy have not favored Kremlin significantly.

Putin's tour of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as Jordan, is the first in the history of diplomatic links between Russia and the Gulf region. "We are in a new level with the view to broaden political talks with Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain and strengthen economic-commercial cooperation with Saudi Arabia,'' Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said in January. Putin's tour of Saudi Arabia and Qatar , as well as Jordan, is the first in the history of diplomatic links between Russia and the Gulf region. "We are in a new level with the view to broaden political talks with Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain and strengthen economic-commercial cooperation with Saudi Arabia,'' Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said in January.

Among the three nations, Putin has achieved maximum success in Saudi Arabia , the oil giant of the world, while in Qatar, the gas giant of the world the proposal for OPEC for Gas regime, or Gas Cartel, was properly addressed. Europe imports nearly 44 per cent of its gas supplies from Russia, and the European Union leaders have said they would oppose Russian moves towards forming a cartel. Announcing Russia 's intent to play an independent role in the region, Mr. Putin has said Moscow is ready to host an international conference on West Asia . Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani has backed the proposal. Saudi-Russian ties got a phillip with large scale contracts were signed between them.Lending credence to its claim as a global champion of energy security, Russia extracted 9.236 million barrels per day (mbpd) of oil in June 2006 - 46,000 barrels more than Saudi Arabia - and its oil supply is expected to average 9.9 mbpd in 2007. As a result, Riyadh wants its own "energy dialogue" with Moscow , which has been facilitated in some way through the five-year oil-and-gas cooperation agreement signed during the landmark visit of Crown Prince Abdullah in 2003.

Addressing Saudi businessmen and financiers, Putin called on them to open Saudi banks in Russia. Putin also promised that Russia would help Saudi Arabia develop a national nuclear program as well as launching several Saudi satellites in addition to the seven already boosted into orbit by a Russian missile in 2005. Addressing Saudi businessmen and financiers, Putin called on them to open Saudi banks in Russia. Putin also promised that Russia would help Saudi Arabia develop a national nuclear program as well as launching several Saudi satellites in addition to the seven already boosted into orbit by a Russian missile in 2005.

Russia and Qatar have discussed establishing a mechanism to coordinate the supply of natural gas across the globe. In Qatar he held talks with Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and in Saudi Arabia, the first visit to the country by a Russian head of state, Mr Putin met Saudi King Abdullah. The BBC's Russian affairs analyst Steven Eke says that Mr Putin's tour of these pro-western Middle Eastern nations comes at a time when Moscow's disillusionment with the West is growing. Last weekend, at a prestigious European security conference, the Russian president launched a broadside against American foreign policy, accusing Washington of unilateralism.

Moscow and Doha are also engaged in intensifying bilateral energy cooperation, with Gazprom expressing interest in joint gas production and refining projects in Qatar. In other potential businesses, just as Russia is diversifying its arms clients beyond China and India - after losing out on the Syrian, Iraqi and Libyan markets - the Gulf countries too are looking for a basket of suppliers beyond the United States. Though Russia is the world's third largest weapons exporter after the United States and Great Britain , at $7.1 billion, Russia sold more weapons than the US in 2005.


Russian President is determined to transform Russia 's Cold-War image as a regional instigator and arms proliferator into one of a peacemaker and stabilizer. unity government and US-Israeli-Palestinian talks likely later this month, Russian and Saudi pressure to restart peace talks would serve well to provide momentum. Putin's advantage in West Asia is Russia's century long ties with Muslim nations in Middle East and Central Asia, the latter was a part of the USSR until 1991 when the might nation collapsed and disintegrated, The cooperative activities during his historic visit in mid February to Saudi Arabia, followed by Qatar and Jordan were in line with the wishes expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin for purposeful ties.


President Putin has launched a personal diplomatic campaign in the Middle East, while at the same time not hesitating to scold Washington for what he sees as its contribution to the prevailing insecurity and chaos all over the world. As a member of the Quartet of Middle East mediators comprises the EU, the UN, the US and Russia, his visit to West Asia assumes significance. Putin's Middle East tour glitteringly revealed the Moscow's intent for the region. Aiming at consolidating his personal ties with the Arab world, Putin completed his historic three-day visit to the Middle East on February 13, after visiting Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan. As a veto member of UNSC and one of the four sponsors of the peace "roadmap" that aims to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russia certainly plays its credible role in the Middle East peace process.

On the eve of his visit to Riyadh, Putin made a historical, confrontational speech in Munich in the presence of, among others, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, which some commentators said revived the spirit of Cold War now. Putin seems to be doing his best to have the Arab world on his side. This may be among the factors that explain Putin's address in Munich, in addition to his resentment of the NATO expansion to include East European nations and the exclusion of Russia, which sees itself as a primarily European rather than Asian nation. American commentators have interpreted Putin's speech as signaling a return to the Cold War. This is a mistake. Rather, it is a call for a healthier multi-polar international system, based on a balance of power and underpinned by a balance of deterrence, in which conflicts are resolved not exacerbated, in which the strong are contained, and the weak no longer live in fear.
But his criticism at this very important historical juncture does make sense. Message is loud and clear to the USA : Look, you can no longer take Russia and the rest of non-Western world for a ride.

Moscow sees the Middle East the most disturbed region of the globe now and the USA is the cause of it. There was a hue and cry when President Putin has launched a personal diplomatic campaign in the Middle East, while at the same time not hesitating to scold Washington for what he sees as its contribution to the prevailing insecurity and chaos. As a member of the Quartet of Middle East mediators comprises the EU, the UN, the US and Russia, his visit to West Asia assumes significance. Putin's Middle East tour glitteringly revealed the Moscow 's intent for the region. Putin's remarks at the security conference in Munich earlier this month provide important clues to Russia's new strategy of challenging American unilateralism. And the rhetoric does not mean any revival of Cold war in the earlier form.

Presumably, the rhetoric was meant to reiterate the Kremlin resolve to forge strong relations with West Asian nations against the wishes of the US. Some Middle East countries like Iran and Syria will no doubt be immensely reassured by Putin's remarks, but so will Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states who are eagerly seeking to diversify their international relations so as to reduce their dependence on a dangerously volatile United States. Putin's conclusion was the following: "I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. We must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue."

The Arabs as other Muslims profoundly worried by the way the United States appears to have lost its mind after 9/11, embarking on a world-wide campaign against real and imaginary enemies. Putin's tour coincided with the Palestinian peace process set in motion by the King's initiative to ensure a Unity government by Hamas and Fatah. That the Palestinian factions have just finished a round of talks in the holy city of Makkah on forming a Unity government. Seeing an opportunity to increase Russia's influence in the Middle East, Putin now wants feelings of animosity extinguished and past threats to be forgotten.

Syria wants to redeem its territories on Golan Heights it lost, when Israel with US support annexed them. Moscow has maintained strong economic ties with Syria.

Proactive role of Egypt and Syria is vital in resolving the Middle East Conflict. President Putin, reiterated his proposal made during his visit to Israel and Egypt in 2005 about holding an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow later this year. Putin said the other three members of the Middle East "quartet" - the United States, the United Nations and the European Union - as well as "all the states concerned" would be invited to attend the conference.. Egypt and Russia enjoyed close ties until the 1970s when Egypt turned to the US which has since become its most strategic foreign partner, his policy is aimed at bolstering Russia 's political and economic relations with Egypt.


With the collapse of US led wars in Middle East, spoiling the US image as a great super power eager to lead the world on democratic and enlightened path, Russia seeks to reassert its influence in the region. The move to forge beneficial ties with all Arab nations was discerned right from 2005 when Putin visited Egypt en-route to Israel, with a striking statement that he would call for a Middle East Conference. But it took more years to ascertain the Moscow's Middle East Policy as part of its role in wider Asia where China and Japan are the giant economic players. Visit to Tel Aviv was seen as a deliberate attempt by Moscow to end the frozen relations with that state. Russia strongly oppose the Israeli invasions of Lebanon and Palestine.

Of complicated cirses in the region, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq figured prominently in the talks held by the Russian leader with Arab leaders. While Afghanistan is being looted and destroyed and the Afghans being massacred by the NATO forces, supported by several countries including Israel and India with funneling their resources, the US-Israel combine is fully focused on eliminating Palestine, Lebanon and Iran.Justifiably worried for their own security, Iran and its local friends -- Syria , Hizbullah and even Hamas -- have been attempting to challenge and contain American and Israeli power. If you hit us, they are saying, we will hit you back. This is legitimate and they have achieved some success, but they should not push their enterprise too far. They need to recognize that the Western world, too, has interests -- in the free flow of oil, for example, and in Lebanon's pluralistic system. A balance of power means respect for everyone's interests, not only one's own.


In much the same way, a lack of balance in West Asia has allowed America's ally, Israel , to maintain its cruel military occupation of Palestinian territories -- harass, oppress and kill their inhabitants, violate their human rights, destroy their homes and seize their land, and like the United States, arbitrarily hold in jail some 10,000 Palestinians, including women and children, in harsh conditions. The similar lack of (an Arab) counterweight has given the Jewish state the freedom to invade its weaker neighbor, Lebanon, no fewer than five times -- 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996 and 2006, killing thousands of people, and causing enormous material damage. The principle underlying these numerous aggressions is that American and Israeli security is all that matters, and has to be given precedence over everything else, even at the cost of the insecurity -- and worse -- of everyone else. The notion that international security is indivisible is simply not entertained by either nation.

On Iran, there have been intense diplomatic efforts between US and Russia in the recent past, particularly after the increased US naval presence in the region heightened tension. While the Gulf countries undoubtedly resist Iran 's nuclear foray, they also fear that any US military misadventure would wreak further havoc in the region. In this context, just as Russia can use its influence with Iran to insist on containing the nuclear program, it can also use its influence in the United Nations Security Council to block any unwarranted action. Both sides must use this opportunity to insist on 'sensible' policies from the US and Iran.

Russia's ties with Iran are extremely relevant at this juncture. While the estimated $800 million Bushehr nuclear power plant is being developed as part of a technical agreement with Moscow, there are plans to build and supply another two - possibly five - nuclear reactors, including a second one at Bushehr. In 2005, permanent members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which includes Russia, granted Iran 'observer' status. Further, Russia delivered Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran in December 2006 under an estimated $700 million contract signed a year earlier. US wants Russia to assume a leading role in convincing Tehran, the so-called 'axis of evil' and Syria that its higher and sustainable interests lie in consolidating Iran's standing exclusively within its borders, rather than extending its 'tentacles' to manipulate Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. Putin stresses the importance of UN for resolving all regional crises and that diplomatic solution should be opted and wars and war threat strategies be buried.

The West is keen that no one country in the West Asia, other than Israel,should possess nuclear weapons.When the story about Iraq possessing WMD has been exposed badly, now Iran is accused of threatening the world with its new nuclear weapons. They insist that there is a danger to the Middle East and world at large until Iran comes clean about its real intentions, all those supplying it with arms and extending nuclear cooperation must cease to do so. Going any further at this stage would only strengthen Iran's ambitions to dominate the Middle East even more.

However, by involving itself with the Iranian nuclear issue as a 'honest broker', Russia could also help the scenario in Iraq, where Iran's influence in the internal politics of the war-torn country is increasing every day, posing a threat to the unity of the country and throwing up the possibility of the conflict spilling over to the neighboring countries. Apart from economic interests, it is in this context that Putin is also visiting Jordan. Discussions surrounding regional stabilization plans are also likely to touch upon anti-terror cooperation in the face of common threats and challenges. While the Gulf countries have been largely successful in controlling the threat posed by extremists and militants, Moscow is still hotly pursuing Chechen rebels, who have had sympathizers and supporters in the Gulf.

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the United States as the world's sole superpower, wars, violence, and mass killings have proliferated to the extent that the world is now suffering from a condition of near anarchy, and nowhere more so than in the Greater Middle East. Much of the problem can be traced to America's unilateralism under the Presidency of George W. Bush, in what has been called America's "unipolar moment." In simple terms, it means that over the past six years the United States has been able to do what it pleases without restraint -- to invade, torture, kill and destroy, ignoring international laws and conventions.
The lack of a counter-weight has allowed the United States to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq, smashing those two societies, overthrowing their regimes, killing a great many people -- and then finding itself burdened with the responsibility, which it is plainly incapable of assuming, of rebuilding these shattered countries.

Besides the emergence of the United States as the world's sole superpower, wars, violence, and mass killings have proliferated to the extent that the world is now suffering from a condition of near anarchy, and nowhere more so than in the Greater Middle East. In addition, the United States is conducting a bullying campaign against Iran , pressing for international sanctions against it, seeking to undermine its banking system, depriving it of advanced technology, and even threatening it with war. The United States has also waged what it calls a global war on terror, trampling on the sovereignty of friend and foe alike, arresting suspects in large numbers, transporting them to secret jails where they have been tortured, or holding them without trial for years on end in deplorable detention centres .

The ball is in Moscow's as well as US. Engagement of both Arabs and Israel by USA and Russia is the only way to achieve a qualitative shift in the Middle East peace process by a developed partnership between the US and Russia, which Russia strives to achieve, despite the aggressive rhetoric. Most important, Russia's main concerns remain to revolve around the escalation between the US and Iran, not because it expects US military action, but because tension would lead to the deployment of advanced US missile systems near Russian borders, which Moscow perceives as a threat to Russian security.It depends on whether the USA is genuinely seeking a leading and positive role in the region; for just as the US administration should rid itself of the 'Cold War victory' complex and start thinking outside the box.
By-- Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal
Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi, India

Posted by: Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal | February 26, 2007 11:31 AM


Russian policy in the Middle East.


Russian diplomacy, focused on the Kremlin's balanced relations across the globe, moves ahead to consolidate its role in the Middle East, too. As the USA that has maintained the "identical views" with Israel over international issues, especially the Middle East crises is intolerably troubled in Gulf waters, Russia has come out openly to soothe the wounded pride of the Arabs caused by the war strategies of the US-led forces by its cooperative gestures and slamming the US foreign policy that has over years made world more insure and terribly dangerous. By continuing to pursue a balanced foreign policy, Presidemt Valdimir Putin took Russia from its chaotic existence in 1990 to new hights in economic, politicasl and militalry terms by 2004 when he completed his first term.

Putin administration's resolve to regain its "legitimate" control over the former Soviet republics, baring a couple of Central Asian states and Belarus, has not materialised as yet. In extention of Kremlin's drive to reach out to the Arab world, Putin has embarked on a historic mission of fruitful ties with some of them. On the contraty, some of them like Georgia and Ukraine have drifted to the Western side. Moscow's efforts to control them all by using enrgy diplomacy have not favored Kremlin significantly.

Putin's tour of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as Jordan, is the first in the history of diplomatic links between Russia and the Gulf region. "We are in a new level with the view to broaden political talks with Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain and strengthen economic-commercial cooperation with Saudi Arabia,'' Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said in January. Putin's tour of Saudi Arabia and Qatar , as well as Jordan, is the first in the history of diplomatic links between Russia and the Gulf region. "We are in a new level with the view to broaden political talks with Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain and strengthen economic-commercial cooperation with Saudi Arabia,'' Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said in January.

Among the three nations, Putin has achieved maximum success in Saudi Arabia , the oil giant of the world, while in Qatar, the gas giant of the world the proposal for OPEC for Gas regime, or Gas Cartel, was properly addressed. Europe imports nearly 44 per cent of its gas supplies from Russia, and the European Union leaders have said they would oppose Russian moves towards forming a cartel. Announcing Russia 's intent to play an independent role in the region, Mr. Putin has said Moscow is ready to host an international conference on West Asia . Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani has backed the proposal. Saudi-Russian ties got a phillip with large scale contracts were signed between them.Lending credence to its claim as a global champion of energy security, Russia extracted 9.236 million barrels per day (mbpd) of oil in June 2006 - 46,000 barrels more than Saudi Arabia - and its oil supply is expected to average 9.9 mbpd in 2007. As a result, Riyadh wants its own "energy dialogue" with Moscow , which has been facilitated in some way through the five-year oil-and-gas cooperation agreement signed during the landmark visit of Crown Prince Abdullah in 2003.

Addressing Saudi businessmen and financiers, Putin called on them to open Saudi banks in Russia. Putin also promised that Russia would help Saudi Arabia develop a national nuclear program as well as launching several Saudi satellites in addition to the seven already boosted into orbit by a Russian missile in 2005. Addressing Saudi businessmen and financiers, Putin called on them to open Saudi banks in Russia. Putin also promised that Russia would help Saudi Arabia develop a national nuclear program as well as launching several Saudi satellites in addition to the seven already boosted into orbit by a Russian missile in 2005.

Russia and Qatar have discussed establishing a mechanism to coordinate the supply of natural gas across the globe. In Qatar he held talks with Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and in Saudi Arabia, the first visit to the country by a Russian head of state, Mr Putin met Saudi King Abdullah. The BBC's Russian affairs analyst Steven Eke says that Mr Putin's tour of these pro-western Middle Eastern nations comes at a time when Moscow's disillusionment with the West is growing. Last weekend, at a prestigious European security conference, the Russian president launched a broadside against American foreign policy, accusing Washington of unilateralism.

Moscow and Doha are also engaged in intensifying bilateral energy cooperation, with Gazprom expressing interest in joint gas production and refining projects in Qatar. In other potential businesses, just as Russia is diversifying its arms clients beyond China and India - after losing out on the Syrian, Iraqi and Libyan markets - the Gulf countries too are looking for a basket of suppliers beyond the United States. Though Russia is the world's third largest weapons exporter after the United States and Great Britain , at $7.1 billion, Russia sold more weapons than the US in 2005.


Russian President is determined to transform Russia 's Cold-War image as a regional instigator and arms proliferator into one of a peacemaker and stabilizer. unity government and US-Israeli-Palestinian talks likely later this month, Russian and Saudi pressure to restart peace talks would serve well to provide momentum. Putin's advantage in West Asia is Russia's century long ties with Muslim nations in Middle East and Central Asia, the latter was a part of the USSR until 1991 when the might nation collapsed and disintegrated, The cooperative activities during his historic visit in mid February to Saudi Arabia, followed by Qatar and Jordan were in line with the wishes expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin for purposeful ties.


President Putin has launched a personal diplomatic campaign in the Middle East, while at the same time not hesitating to scold Washington for what he sees as its contribution to the prevailing insecurity and chaos all over the world. As a member of the Quartet of Middle East mediators comprises the EU, the UN, the US and Russia, his visit to West Asia assumes significance. Putin's Middle East tour glitteringly revealed the Moscow's intent for the region. Aiming at consolidating his personal ties with the Arab world, Putin completed his historic three-day visit to the Middle East on February 13, after visiting Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan. As a veto member of UNSC and one of the four sponsors of the peace "roadmap" that aims to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russia certainly plays its credible role in the Middle East peace process.

On the eve of his visit to Riyadh, Putin made a historical, confrontational speech in Munich in the presence of, among others, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, which some commentators said revived the spirit of Cold War now. Putin seems to be doing his best to have the Arab world on his side. This may be among the factors that explain Putin's address in Munich, in addition to his resentment of the NATO expansion to include East European nations and the exclusion of Russia, which sees itself as a primarily European rather than Asian nation. American commentators have interpreted Putin's speech as signaling a return to the Cold War. This is a mistake. Rather, it is a call for a healthier multi-polar international system, based on a balance of power and underpinned by a balance of deterrence, in which conflicts are resolved not exacerbated, in which the strong are contained, and the weak no longer live in fear.
But his criticism at this very important historical juncture does make sense. Message is loud and clear to the USA : Look, you can no longer take Russia and the rest of non-Western world for a ride.

Moscow sees the Middle East the most disturbed region of the globe now and the USA is the cause of it. There was a hue and cry when President Putin has launched a personal diplomatic campaign in the Middle East, while at the same time not hesitating to scold Washington for what he sees as its contribution to the prevailing insecurity and chaos. As a member of the Quartet of Middle East mediators comprises the EU, the UN, the US and Russia, his visit to West Asia assumes significance. Putin's Middle East tour glitteringly revealed the Moscow 's intent for the region. Putin's remarks at the security conference in Munich earlier this month provide important clues to Russia's new strategy of challenging American unilateralism. And the rhetoric does not mean any revival of Cold war in the earlier form.

Presumably, the rhetoric was meant to reiterate the Kremlin resolve to forge strong relations with West Asian nations against the wishes of the US. Some Middle East countries like Iran and Syria will no doubt be immensely reassured by Putin's remarks, but so will Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states who are eagerly seeking to diversify their international relations so as to reduce their dependence on a dangerously volatile United States. Putin's conclusion was the following: "I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. We must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue."

The Arabs as other Muslims profoundly worried by the way the United States appears to have lost its mind after 9/11, embarking on a world-wide campaign against real and imaginary enemies. Putin's tour coincided with the Palestinian peace process set in motion by the King's initiative to ensure a Unity government by Hamas and Fatah. That the Palestinian factions have just finished a round of talks in the holy city of Makkah on forming a Unity government. Seeing an opportunity to increase Russia's influence in the Middle East, Putin now wants feelings of animosity extinguished and past threats to be forgotten.

Syria wants to redeem its territories on Golan Heights it lost, when Israel with US support annexed them. Moscow has maintained strong economic ties with Syria.

Proactive role of Egypt and Syria is vital in resolving the Middle East Conflict. President Putin, reiterated his proposal made during his visit to Israel and Egypt in 2005 about holding an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow later this year. Putin said the other three members of the Middle East "quartet" - the United States, the United Nations and the European Union - as well as "all the states concerned" would be invited to attend the conference.. Egypt and Russia enjoyed close ties until the 1970s when Egypt turned to the US which has since become its most strategic foreign partner, his policy is aimed at bolstering Russia 's political and economic relations with Egypt.


With the collapse of US led wars in Middle East, spoiling the US image as a great super power eager to lead the world on democratic and enlightened path, Russia seeks to reassert its influence in the region. The move to forge beneficial ties with all Arab nations was discerned right from 2005 when Putin visited Egypt en-route to Israel, with a striking statement that he would call for a Middle East Conference. But it took more years to ascertain the Moscow's Middle East Policy as part of its role in wider Asia where China and Japan are the giant economic players. Visit to Tel Aviv was seen as a deliberate attempt by Moscow to end the frozen relations with that state. Russia strongly oppose the Israeli invasions of Lebanon and Palestine.

Of complicated cirses in the region, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq figured prominently in the talks held by the Russian leader with Arab leaders. While Afghanistan is being looted and destroyed and the Afghans being massacred by the NATO forces, supported by several countries including Israel and India with funneling their resources, the US-Israel combine is fully focused on eliminating Palestine, Lebanon and Iran.Justifiably worried for their own security, Iran and its local friends -- Syria , Hizbullah and even Hamas -- have been attempting to challenge and contain American and Israeli power. If you hit us, they are saying, we will hit you back. This is legitimate and they have achieved some success, but they should not push their enterprise too far. They need to recognize that the Western world, too, has interests -- in the free flow of oil, for example, and in Lebanon's pluralistic system. A balance of power means respect for everyone's interests, not only one's own.


In much the same way, a lack of balance in West Asia has allowed America's ally, Israel , to maintain its cruel military occupation of Palestinian territories -- harass, oppress and kill their inhabitants, violate their human rights, destroy their homes and seize their land, and like the United States, arbitrarily hold in jail some 10,000 Palestinians, including women and children, in harsh conditions. The similar lack of (an Arab) counterweight has given the Jewish state the freedom to invade its weaker neighbor, Lebanon, no fewer than five times -- 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996 and 2006, killing thousands of people, and causing enormous material damage. The principle underlying these numerous aggressions is that American and Israeli security is all that matters, and has to be given precedence over everything else, even at the cost of the insecurity -- and worse -- of everyone else. The notion that international security is indivisible is simply not entertained by either nation.

On Iran, there have been intense diplomatic efforts between US and Russia in the recent past, particularly after the increased US naval presence in the region heightened tension. While the Gulf countries undoubtedly resist Iran 's nuclear foray, they also fear that any US military misadventure would wreak further havoc in the region. In this context, just as Russia can use its influence with Iran to insist on containing the nuclear program, it can also use its influence in the United Nations Security Council to block any unwarranted action. Both sides must use this opportunity to insist on 'sensible' policies from the US and Iran.

Russia's ties with Iran are extremely relevant at this juncture. While the estimated $800 million Bushehr nuclear power plant is being developed as part of a technical agreement with Moscow, there are plans to build and supply another two - possibly five - nuclear reactors, including a second one at Bushehr. In 2005, permanent members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which includes Russia, granted Iran 'observer' status. Further, Russia delivered Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran in December 2006 under an estimated $700 million contract signed a year earlier. US wants Russia to assume a leading role in convincing Tehran, the so-called 'axis of evil' and Syria that its higher and sustainable interests lie in consolidating Iran's standing exclusively within its borders, rather than extending its 'tentacles' to manipulate Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. Putin stresses the importance of UN for resolving all regional crises and that diplomatic solution should be opted and wars and war threat strategies be buried.

The West is keen that no one country in the West Asia, other than Israel,should possess nuclear weapons.When the story about Iraq possessing WMD has been exposed badly, now Iran is accused of threatening the world with its new nuclear weapons. They insist that there is a danger to the Middle East and world at large until Iran comes clean about its real intentions, all those supplying it with arms and extending nuclear cooperation must cease to do so. Going any further at this stage would only strengthen Iran's ambitions to dominate the Middle East even more.

However, by involving itself with the Iranian nuclear issue as a 'honest broker', Russia could also help the scenario in Iraq, where Iran's influence in the internal politics of the war-torn country is increasing every day, posing a threat to the unity of the country and throwing up the possibility of the conflict spilling over to the neighboring countries. Apart from economic interests, it is in this context that Putin is also visiting Jordan. Discussions surrounding regional stabilization plans are also likely to touch upon anti-terror cooperation in the face of common threats and challenges. While the Gulf countries have been largely successful in controlling the threat posed by extremists and militants, Moscow is still hotly pursuing Chechen rebels, who have had sympathizers and supporters in the Gulf.

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the United States as the world's sole superpower, wars, violence, and mass killings have proliferated to the extent that the world is now suffering from a condition of near anarchy, and nowhere more so than in the Greater Middle East. Much of the problem can be traced to America's unilateralism under the Presidency of George W. Bush, in what has been called America's "unipolar moment." In simple terms, it means that over the past six years the United States has been able to do what it pleases without restraint -- to invade, torture, kill and destroy, ignoring international laws and conventions.
The lack of a counter-weight has allowed the United States to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq, smashing those two societies, overthrowing their regimes, killing a great many people -- and then finding itself burdened with the responsibility, which it is plainly incapable of assuming, of rebuilding these shattered countries.

Besides the emergence of the United States as the world's sole superpower, wars, violence, and mass killings have proliferated to the extent that the world is now suffering from a condition of near anarchy, and nowhere more so than in the Greater Middle East. In addition, the United States is conducting a bullying campaign against Iran , pressing for international sanctions against it, seeking to undermine its banking system, depriving it of advanced technology, and even threatening it with war. The United States has also waged what it calls a global war on terror, trampling on the sovereignty of friend and foe alike, arresting suspects in large numbers, transporting them to secret jails where they have been tortured, or holding them without trial for years on end in deplorable detention centres .

The ball is in Moscow's as well as US. Engagement of both Arabs and Israel by USA and Russia is the only way to achieve a qualitative shift in the Middle East peace process by a developed partnership between the US and Russia, which Russia strives to achieve, despite the aggressive rhetoric. Most important, Russia's main concerns remain to revolve around the escalation between the US and Iran, not because it expects US military action, but because tension would lead to the deployment of advanced US missile systems near Russian borders, which Moscow perceives as a threat to Russian security.It depends on whether the USA is genuinely seeking a leading and positive role in the region; for just as the US administration should rid itself of the 'Cold War victory' complex and start thinking outside the box.

Posted by: Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal | February 26, 2007 11:28 AM


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