Sputnik – Tehran has condemned the upcoming meeting, scheduled to take place in Warsaw in mid-February, branding it a “desperate anti-Iran circus.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s bid to give new life to the faltering anti-Iranian momentum among Washington’s allies is setting up to fail before it starts, Israeli journalist Zvi Bar’el suggests.
Commenting on the upcoming 13-14 February summit in the Polish capital, where the US is hoping to gather the leaders of “more than 70 countries”, including all EU members, Israel and Washington’s Arab allies, the Haaretz contributor argued that “it’s not clear what the conference is meant to achieve,” since the Trump administration has already withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, while “efforts to persuade the European Union to follow suit have failed.”
“Usually, such a conference is convened prior to some diplomatic or military move. But this time, it seems to be an effort to maintain the anti-Iranian momentum, given that threats and pressure haven’t persuaded Iran either to reopen the nuclear deal or negotiate a separate deal on its ballistic missile program.”
Saudi-Qatari Spat (and a Lot More) Left Undealt With
Just as significantly, Bar’el noted that Marine Corps Gen. (ret) Anthony Zinni, the US envoy tasked with ironing out the diplomatic dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, resigned earlier this month, citing regional leaders’ “unwillingness” to “agree to a viable mediation effort that we offered to conduct or assist in implementing.”
Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been locked in an “Arab Cold War” since the wave of colour revolutions rocking the Middle East since the early 2010s, with tensions escalating in 2017 after Riyadh and its UAE, Bahraini and Egyptian allies broke off diplomatic relations with Doha and launched a blockade against the tiny country.
The dispute halted progress on the Middle East Strategic Alliance, or “Arab NATO”, a proposed US-led coalition of Arab states against Iran.
Israel, Ba’rel noted, may be “predictably happy” about the upcoming Warsaw conference, “especially since it may give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a chance to be photographed shaking hands with Arab leaders…Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine this conference persuading the rival Arab states to take practical steps against Iran,” he indicated.
Ultimately, the observer suggested that the problem for President Trump’s policy against Iran is that it requires a series of highly unlikely events to take place. Riyadh and Doha would have to reconcile, Baghdad would need to reduce its ties with Tehran, Lebanon would have to reduce Hezbollah’s influence on government decision-making, Saudi Arabia would need to be persuaded to end its war in Yemen, and Ankara would have to be convinced to cut its ties with the Iranians.
“So far, each of these tasks has proven impossible, and accomplishing all of them would evidently require replacing all the Arab states’ leaders,” Ba’rel stressed.