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1980s
25 Jan 09,, 17:10
Cant see this happening at all, but worth a read.


Iran, U.S.: Obama and the Potential for Cooperation in Afghanistan
January 23, 2009 | 1210 GMT

Summary

Several of the Obama administrationís top foreign policy agenda items significantly raise the potential for the United States and Iran to work together in Afghanistan. These priorities include reducing the U.S. military presence in Iraq, diplomatic engagement with Iran, and the search for alternatives to the increasingly insecure NATO supply routes to Afghanistan that traverse Pakistan.

Analysis

Engaging Iran diplomatically is high on new U.S. President Barack Obamaís foreign policy agenda. Tehran also hopes for change with Obama administration after some seven years of limited dealings with the Bush presidency. And Afghanistan could become a place where U.S.-Iranian cooperation flourishes.

One key issue that could facilitate improved bilateral relations is the two countriesí common interests in Afghanistan. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) chief Gen. David Petraeus noted this during a Jan. 8 talk in Washington, saying that Iran ďdoesnít want to see Ö extremists running Afghanistan again any more than other folks do.Ē Critically for the United States, Iran could help solve the supply chain problem the United States and its NATO allies have been facing amid the growing insecurity in Pakistan.

In his previous position as top U.S. commander in Iraq, Petraeus played a key role in U.S.-Iranian dealings, which led to the greatly improved security situation in Iraq. The potential for fruitful U.S.-Iranian dealings and the security gains made thus far in Iraq have reached the point where there are indications from within the U.S. military that a substantial drawdown in Iraq could occur more rapidly than expected. This will not be possible without continued improvement in U.S.-Iranian negotiations, however.

Though Iraq remains the focal point of Iranian foreign policy efforts, it is hardly Tehranís only interest abroad. Any settlement between the United States and Iran will involve an understanding regarding Iranian interests in the Levant and elsewhere in the mostly Arab Middle East, regarding Tehranís controversial nuclear program and regarding Afghanistan. Tehran essentially wants the United States to recognize the Islamic republic as the major player in the region.

Iran views its sphere of influence as including not only the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant and the eastern rim of North Africa, but also Central Asia, the Caucasus and South Asia. Iranís ability to project power in Central Asia and the Caucasus is quite limited, however, relative to regional rivals Turkey and ó more significantly ó Russia. South Asia, by contrast, is more fertile terrain for Iranian interests.

Although ethnicity and sect serve as roadblocks to Iranian regional ambitions in the Middle East (Iran is Persian and Shiite while most Muslim countries in the Middle East are largely Arab and Sunni), ethnicity and sect work in Tehranís favor in Afghanistan, with which Iran shares a 582-mile border. Some 30 percent of Afghans are Tajiks, another branch of the Persian ethnicity. And even though ethnically Afghanistan is majority Pashtun, the lingua franca of Afghanistan is Dari (a variant of the Persian language). Finally, 16 percent of Afghans are Shia.

These factors allow Iran almost to rival Pakistani influence in Afghanistan. In fact, when Afghanistan was ruled by the pro-Pakistani Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001, the Iranians (in concert with Russians and the Indians) supported the Tajik-dominated Northern Alliance opposition. In 1999, Iran almost went to war with the Taliban after the killings of several Iranian diplomats in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

The Taliban and their transnational jihadist allies still constitute a threat to Iran, and remain an obstacle to Tehranís ability to consolidate its influence in Afghanistan. This explains Tehranís willingness to cooperate in the U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban from power after 9/11. Just as Iranís allies in Iraq would later work with the United States to forge a post-Baathist Iraq, Iranian proxies in Afghanistan worked with Washington to shape a post-Taliban Afghanistan. Though the exact shape of its cooperation remains unclear, Iran also provided direct logistical support for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.

To halt the Talibanís effort to stage a comeback, Washington will soon embark on a military surge in Afghanistan while simultaneously mounting a political offensive much like the one it used to undercut the Iraqi insurgency. This will create an opening for another round of U.S.-Iranian cooperation, one that could prove much more substantial than the previous rounds.

As in 2001, the United States will once again need Iranian assistance in pulling together a coalition that can serve to block Taliban ambitions in Afghanistan. And the Iranians have something of critical importance to the United States that they can offer in the short term: the shortest overland route for shipping supplies to Western forces in Afghanistan.

With the principal Western supply routes to Afghanistan, which pass through Pakistan, becoming increasingly insecure because of a raging jihadist insurgency in Pakistan, Washington has intensified its efforts to lock down alternative and/or supplementary routes through Central Asia. The situation is so critical that Washington even appears willing to make concessions to a resurgent Russia to secure a supply chain to Afghanistan for Western forces passing through either Russian territory or the Russian sphere of influence. (Compared to the Iranian and Pakistani routes, these are long, complex and expensive supply lines.)

A much simpler alternative to traversing the former Soviet Union would be to ship material for U.S. and NATO forces to the Iranian port of Chahbahar. Supplies could be offloaded there and transferred to trucks running on a northbound highway connected to the southwestern Afghan town of Zaranj. Zaranj is connected by road to the Afghan town of Delaram by the Indian armyís engineering corps in a major highway project that was only recently completed. Like Zaranj, Delaram is in Nimroz province, and is connected to the ring road that links the major Afghan cities. If an arrangement can be worked out between the United States and Iran, Western forces could thus reduce their dependence on the main routes through Pakistan and perhaps avoid the logistical and geopolitical costs of having to go transport supplies through Central Asia.

The United States clearly could greatly benefit from Iranian cooperation in Afghanistan. The extent to which the two sides can work together, however, is contingent on the level of improvement in U.S.-Iranian bilateral relations ó and on Washingtonís ability to balance the interests of the multiple regional players who have a stake in Afghanistan.

http://www.stratfor.com/memberships/130914/analysis/20090122_iran_u_s_obama_and_potential_cooperation_ afghanistan

LetsTalk
28 Jan 09,, 04:10
Cant see this happening at all, but worth a read.

I don't either. Especially if Iran continues with their nuclear ambitions.

Aryajet
28 Jan 09,, 15:44
Ahmadneedsajob demands that Obama should apologize to Iran. No kidding:biggrin:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7855444.stm

Dreadnought
28 Jan 09,, 16:42
:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: One must wonder exactly what planet this man takes his thinking from. I'd apologise to him with say a 30-80 kiloton nuclear warhead. I cant wait to see him fall from power which he knows is coming if the Iranian people really pay attention to his tripe.

Aryajet
28 Jan 09,, 18:34
:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: One must wonder exactly what planet this man takes his thinking from. I'd apologise to him with say a 30-80 kiloton nuclear warhead. I cant wait to see him fall from power which he knows is coming if the Iranian people really pay attention to his tripe.
Too much fire power will be wasted. A single 12.7 mm out of a M82A1 will be sufficient.:biggrin::biggrin:

LadyLawyer
02 Feb 09,, 07:03
It would have been smart on our part. Russia was already making moves to undermine us in Afghanistan at the end of the Bush administration through the SCO. We can either pull Iran in or Russia can.....which is better?

Mercenary
03 Feb 09,, 18:12
India has finished construction of a highway linking an Iranian port of chhabar to Afghanistan as an alternate means of supply-route for the NATO forces...US would do good to build up good ties with Iran now that Pak seems to be headed towards disaster..and Us needs another "ally" in the region..

Johnny W
04 Feb 09,, 01:11
India has finished construction of a highway linking an Iranian port of chhabar to Afghanistan as an alternate means of supply-route for the NATO forces...US would do good to build up good ties with Iran now that Pak seems to be headed towards disaster..and Us needs another "ally" in the region..

I don't see that happening anytime soon. I will be happy if we can ensure that they are not building nukes. Anything beyond that is years down the road.

Mercenary
04 Feb 09,, 18:42
I don't see that happening anytime soon. I will be happy if we can ensure that they are not building nukes. Anything beyond that is years down the road.

Its either now or never... The entire region is slowly falling to russian influence.. USA's foothold in Pak is now slippery at best... so its either "Hi Iran"...or "Bye Bye Afghanistan" and the same goes for any chance of setting up shop in central Asia

n21
09 Feb 09,, 15:22
I don't see that happening anytime soon. I will be happy if we can ensure that they are not building nukes. Anything beyond that is years down the road.

An recent news about this topic of using Iran as a transit point.


NATO would not oppose individual member nations making deals with Iran to supply their forces in Afghanistan as an alternative to using increasingly risky routes from Pakistan, the allianceís top military commander said Monday.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,487445,00.html

Iran could easily transport "non-lethal" stuff to the "Afghan government". Given that UAE has extensive business links with Iran, an Dubai company can easily provide "transportation services" to the Afghan nation.

India has also invested in the port of Chabbar along with this road link b/w Afghanistan and Iran.The returns being Indian goods destined to Afghanistan are given priority clearance.

US has lot of proxies in the region who can provide alternative to Pakistan.

Dreadnought
09 Feb 09,, 17:19
IMO it wouldnt pay the U.S. to enter talks with Iran so long as Achmedinijad is still in power nor any other hardliners. He has competition in the election as of now and more the likely the U.S. will wait and see until after the elections the course of action they think is best. And that is also provided nothing happens to his competition.

astralis
09 Feb 09,, 17:50
dreadnought,


IMO it wouldnt pay the U.S. to enter talks with Iran so long as Achmedinijad is still in power nor any other hardliners. He has competition in the election as of now and more the likely the U.S. will wait and see until after the elections the course of action they think is best. And that is also provided nothing happens to his competition.

you're looking at the wrong players. a-jad, and for that matter khatami (the reformist), have little power over foreign policy. that is up to the ayatollahs.

what they CAN do is change the tones at the margins. a reformer can nudge the ayatollahs toward a direction, and depending on the popular support of that direction the ayatollahs will sit up, take notice, and make a decision...one way or another. the ayatollahs haven't really had to make that decision yet.

Dreadnought
09 Feb 09,, 17:58
dreadnought,



you're looking at the wrong players. a-jad, and for that matter khatami (the reformist), have little power over foreign policy. that is up to the ayatollahs.

what they CAN do is change the tones at the margins. a reformer can nudge the ayatollahs toward a direction, and depending on the popular support of that direction the ayatollahs will sit up, take notice, and make a decision...one way or another. the ayatollahs haven't really had to make that decision yet.

Agreed, More or less what I was pointing too. I know the president dont make the policy without the Ayatollahs support but its about time that somebody gives this bunch a new direction away from Israel and towards relations that make it better for all concerned.

Merlin
06 Mar 09,, 06:39
This is happening. Clinton is extending an invitation to Iran to join the proposed Afghan talks.

US to invite Iran to Afghan talks (http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/03/20093602055818590.html)


Mar 6, 2009 (Aljazeera) Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has said Iran will be invited to a proposed international conference on the future of Afghanistan.

Clinton suggested the meeting at a gathering of Nato foreign ministers in Brussels on Thursday.

She said the conference involving "all the stakeholders and interested parties" should take place by the end of the month.

Clinton emphasised that all of Afghanistan's neighbours would be asked to attend the conference.

"If we move forward with such a meeting, it is expected that Iran would be invited as a neighbour of Afghanistan," Clinton told a news conference in Brussels. ....

In a sharp turnaround from the previous US administration, Barack Obama, the US president, has said he wants to talk to Iran on a range of issues and the conference invitation would be the start of a diplomatic outreach to Tehran. ...

Yusuf
06 Mar 09,, 09:01
If developing ties with Iran is to do with finding an alternative route to A-stan then India is the best bet for US. It can use Indian services to transport goods to A-stan via Chhabar. Wonder if it can be done overtly though. I dont know if India requires permission from Iran every time its goods land there or is it a free passage?

The other headache is the recent news of Iran arming the Taliban which is of greater concern.
All in all, there has to be some compromise sooner or later. America did that with Pakistan when it needed it during the Soviet invasion. It did not mind it developing nukes then. Iran must be given more carrots and got on board with the mainstream world. If it gets higher stakes in international pie then it might abandon its nuke program.

Merlin
06 Mar 09,, 13:06
This below is Reuter's answer to the question why. Click into the link below for the full text.

Q+A: Why does U.S. want Iran's help on Afghanistan? (http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE5251W120090306)


Mar 6, 2009 (Reuters) - The United States intends to invite Iran to an international conference on Afghanistan later this month, the first overture from the Obama administration toward Tehran.

WHY IS THE UNITED STATES REACHING OUT TO IRAN?

The United States and Iran have been at odds since the 1979 Islamic revolution toppled the U.S.-backed shah.

Top of U.S. worries about Iran is the suspicion Tehran is using its nuclear energy program as a cover for building an atomic bomb. Washington is also concerned by Tehran's backing for radical Islamist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

But the United States and Iran share common interests in Afghanistan and if they first work on issues where they might be able to agree, they can then build up trust to move on to thornier problems such as the nuclear dispute.

WHAT DO THE TWO SIDES HAVE IN COMMON ON AFGHANISTAN?

The United States and Shi'ite Iran share a common dislike for the hardline Sunni Taliban.

Iran nearly went to war with Taliban-ruled Afghanistan in 1998 and Tehran armed Afghan Northern Alliance factions against the austere Islamist movement. Neither Iran nor the United States want to see the Taliban back in power again.

The United States and Iran also want to see an end to opium and heroin production in Afghanistan; Washington because it helps fund the Taliban and Tehran because the drugs are smuggled across the border and feed the habits of up to 2 million Iranians.

More than 3,500 Iranian security personnel have been killed fighting drug smugglers since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

Both sides have an interest in ensuring a stable Afghanistan.

Trade between Iran and Afghanistan is booming along an Iranian-built road to the western Afghan city of Herat. Afghanistan has just opened an Indian-built road from the Iranian border linking the main Afghan highway to Iranian ports.

More trade will help Iran but can also bring more prosperity to help stabilize Afghanistan. ....
....

Merlin
07 Mar 09,, 10:46
Iran's response to US's invitation to join the Afghan conference is not negative. The government's spokesman said it is considering it, see below.

Iran to mull US Afghan invitation (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7929916.stm)


7 Mar 2009 [BBC] Iran would consider a US invitation to a conference on Afghanistan later this month, a government spokesman has said.

Tehran declared that it was ready to review any approach from Western powers, as it would offer any help to its eastern neighbour. ...

Deltacamelately
09 Mar 09,, 14:23
I remember commenting somewhere that the Daleram project wasn't for show. It has significant implications on any future supply chain to AStan.

Merlin
26 Mar 09,, 17:00
Iran's response to US's invitation to join the Afghan conference is not negative. The government's spokesman said it is considering it, see below.
Iran has accepted the invitation.

Iran accepts US Afghan invitation (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7965529.stm)


26Mar 2009 [BBC] Iran has confirmed it will attend a US-backed international conference on the future of Afghanistan next week. ...

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as delegates from more than 80 countries are due to attend next Tuesday's meeting....

n21
28 Mar 09,, 11:56
I remember commenting somewhere that the Daleram project wasn't for show. It has significant implications on any future supply chain to AStan.

India has not just built the road,it also invested in the Chabbar port.
Indian goods leaving for Afghanistan have prority access at the port

Mercenary
29 Mar 09,, 16:14
US needs a new ally in the region..Iran perfectly fits the bill ..... if the talks go well and chhabahar becomes a definite possibility as a NATO accessible port... Pak can look forward to co-ordinated ground assault into NWFP and balochistan by the NATO troops with afghan support and if Pak knows whats good for them it'll cooperate.. the wild wild west there doing no good to anyone ...

Merlin
18 Apr 09,, 10:14
This is about Iran and not about Afghan cooperation.

China asks Iran to grasp the favorable chance and resume the talks with world powers to resolve the nuclear issue.

Premier Wen hopes Iran 'grasps' chance (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-04/18/content_7690753.htm)


Apr 18, 2009 [ChinaDaily] SANYA, Hainan -- Premier Wen Jiabao said Friday that China expects Iran to "grasp the current favorable opportunity" and resume talks with world powers as soon as possible to resolve the standoff over the nuclear issue.

Wen made the remarks while meeting Iran's First Vice-President Parviz Davoudi, who is leading a high-level delegation to attend the 2009 Boao Forum for Asia.
The meeting came two days after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent the clearest message yet for the settlement of Iran's disputed nuclear issue and warmer ties with Washington by announcing Teheran will offer a new package for negotiations.

The offer came just a day after Washington spoke of new strategies to address Iran's nuclear program. US President Barack Obama's government has sought direct dialogue with Iran - in sharp contrast to the Bush administration's tough talk.

China, the US, Russia, Britain, France and Germany decided earlier this month to invite Iran back to the negotiation table.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded immediately on Wednesday, saying the US welcomed dialogue with Iran.

Experts feel the moves indicate that two long-time adversaries are seeking to ease a nearly three-decade-old diplomatic standoff.

"The Chinese government hopes the relevant sides involved (in the Iranian nuclear issue) grasp the current favorable opportunity, show positive gestures and resume negotiations as soon as possible," reads the news release on the talks, issued by the Foreign Ministry.

To that effect, China would like to continue its constructive role, Wen said. ...