A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
February 3, 2010 Peace Talks? Iran Update-
At the annual Herzliya Conference Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will begin in the next few weeks. According to Netanyahu, those negotiations will begin unconditionally. It's not clear if there has been a breakthrough or not. Time will tell. In the meantime, a war of words has gone back and forth between Israel and Syria about a possible future war. It is not clear what is behind the war of words at the moment- there is some fear that with Iran having its back to the wall over its atomic program and sanctions threats, it might order Hezbollah to start a war with Israel in order to redirect the world's attention from Iran's nuclear program.
In Iran a number of contradictory currents are taking place. On one hand the Iranians launched a ballistic missile today capable of placing a small bomb into orbit. That ability will give them the ability to launch an intercontinental missile against any target in the world. The Iranians have been making steady and rapid progress in their program for development of long range missiles.
In the meantime, President Ahmedinejad is reported to have stated yesterday that Iran is willing to accept the Atomic Energys plan to recycle its uranium. That offer is considered by many as just another attempt to delay sanctions. When asked today about the statement, White House deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton stated today: Well, some of these reports have been pretty fragmentary, in the sense, that we havent seen the whole transcript and everything that he has said. But if those comments indicate some sort of change in position for Iran, then President Ahmadinejad should let the IAEA know.
As all this has been happening despite the government's decision to start hanging protestors. The opposition is not backing down and planning another large demonstration next week.
While the world has not been watching, Saudi Arabia has been waging war on a separtist Yemini Shiite movement. The Saudis have killed 3,000 ofthe follower of the Cushi, in the past few months. Today the Cushis, some of whom had moved into the border areas of Iran, announced that they would surrender. They agreed to withdraw from any areas of Saudi Arabia they were in and to enact an immediate unilateral ceasefire. To the Saudis, this was a proxy war against Iran and they fought it with all their might.