At the end of that Press TV interview, it would appear that Karzai’s little snit over delaying the signing, is all about his handgroomed Prez candidate and Washington’s preferred puppet…! Now, in eating some crow, by thinking that we couldn’t possibly have bought off the entire Loya Jirga, I was sorely mistaken…

Loya Jirga Head Rejects Karzai Demand to Delay U.S. Pact Signing

Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s demand to delay the signing of a security pact with the U.S. until after April’s presidential vote is unacceptable and will harm the country, the head of a council of tribal elders said.

Karzai has “no right” to delay the signing of the accord that would pave the way for a continued American presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014, Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, chairman of the loya jirga council called by the president, said yesterday.

“Every demand of Mr. Karzai and ours have been practiced and accepted by them,” Mojaddedi told reporters in front of the council’s compound in Kabul.

…After that, the agreement would have to be signed by both countries before it’s ratified by Afghanistan’s parliament and signed into law by Karzai, according to two U.S. officials who briefed reporters Nov. 21 on condition of not being identified discussing the process.

Karzai’s public show of toughness is a throwback to his stance ahead of a 2011 loya jirga to consider the U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement, said Jawid Kohistani, a Kabul-based political and security analyst. The legally binding agreement was signed in 2012.

The president’s speech ahead of the council that year was similarly combative, Kohistani said. Karzai then backed down and signed after that loya jirga gave him “political cover.”

“It will be interesting to see if he now allows himself to be persuaded by the council and moderates his tone, as he did then.”

Anthony Cordesman wrote a very sober analysis of what’s at stake…

Just the Beginning: Afghanistan Troop Deal Prelude to Another Half Decade of War

The current debate over a bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan disguises far more serious challenges in the years to come. The BSA is a necessary first step in creating the conditions for United States troops to stay in Afghanistan and function there. But even if Afghan President Hamid Karzai can be persuaded to stop manipulating the issue in an effort to gain domestic political support, it is only a prelude to the real challenges the U.S. faces in staying in Afghanistan.

First, the United States must make hard choices as to how many U.S. troops it will keep in country, their role as advisors and enablers to the Afghan forces and how much money it is willing to pay to keep the Afghan forces combat capable. Senior U.S. officers have said it will take some 11,000 to 13,600 U.S. and allied troops to support Afghan military and police forces through at least 2016, and these estimates seem all too accurate given the problems in Afghan forces — particularly the police elements. It will also take some $3 billion to $5 billion in aid, although all of this aid does not have to come from the U.S.

The U.S. will also be advising forces that cannot now defeat the Taliban, Haqqani Network and other insurgents. They can only create a layered defense that may be able to secure most population centers and key lines of communication. U.S. combat forces will leave a nation very much at war, and the U.S. cannot predict how much aid and assistance Afghanistan will need…

Please read the entire article…! In other noteworthy Af/Pak news… The ruling parties in northwestern Pakistan have blocked the supply lines of US-led forces.

Moving along to the P5+1 negotiations…

Source Reveals Details of Possible Iran Deal

While intensive negotiations between Iran and the P 5+1 continue in late hours of fourth day, an informed source who is in contact with the Iranian negotiating body revealed some details of the draft that the negotiators from seven countries are working on to Nasim.

According to the draft received by Nasim the US will accept to release $8.5-10 billion of Iranian assets.

The P5+1 also agreed with some sanction reliefs on exporting auto parts, gold and precious metals and aircraft spare parts to Iran. A few banks are also will be excluded form the financial sanctions to handle certain transactions to the country.

In return Iran will accepts suspending 20% uranium enrichment for a period of six months and agrees to neutralize its stockpile and uranium enrichment in Iran will be limited to 5%. Iran has enough fuel to inject in the Tehran research reactor to produce medicine for more than 800,000 cancer patient for next 6 months.

During the period Iran will refrain from production, installation and activation of new centrifuges and construction activities in Arak reactor will be suspended.

Iran will provide IAEI access to its nuclear facilities beyond Nuclear Proliferation Safeguards and is committed to resolve the remaining issues in the talks with the IAEA.

The source who spoke to Nasim on condition of anonymity, the prolongation of the talks is due to the hard debates for choosing proper phrases of “suspending enrichment” and “pacing Arak progress”. the two phrases are point of most important differences between Iran and two member(US&F)of the P5+1 to finalize the blueprint of the draft.

According to the source Iran trying to include phrases which endorse Iran’s right of enrichment ‘in a way, either explicit or implicit’

As the Times of Israel reported earlier…


Israeli source: Iran deal is done, all that remains is the fine print

World powers in marathon talks throughout Saturday; Iranian FM reportedly shouts at Kerry for reneging on understandings

All the terms of a deal between world powers and Iran on the country’s controversial nuclear program have been agreed upon, and all that remains is to draft the fine print of the agreement, a senior Israeli official said Saturday night.

The source, quoted by Israel’s Army Radio, was basing the assessment on conversations held by several Israeli officials with members of some of the P5+1 delegations that, on Saturday, spent a fourth consecutive day negotiating the deal in Geneva. The source estimated that the accord would be signed within days.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, for his part, was quoted late Saturday as saying that 98 percent of the deal was done, but that the final 2% was the most difficult.

Israel’s Channel 2 News, which reported Araghchi’s comments, also said Saturday’s talks in Geneva had been marked by several occasions on which Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shouted at US Secretary of State John Kerry and accused him of reneging on the terms of previously agreed aspects of the interim deal. “You keep changing your positions,” Zarif reportedly shouted at Kerry.

Kerry wouldn’t flip-flop, would he…? Now, the VOA is reporting that a deal has been reached…

Report: Iran Nuclear Deal Reached in Geneva

Iran and six world powers have reached an agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief, several delegations in the talks said on Sunday.

“We have reached an agreement,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced on his Twitter feed. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also confirmed the deal.

No details of the agreement reached were immediately available.

Iran had said on Saturday it cannot accept any agreement with six major powers that does not recognize what it describes as its right to enrich uranium, a demand the United States and its European allies have repeatedly rejected.

We shall see…! Nuclear Rights and the P5+1 Talks with Iran

Update:White House Releases Iran Deal Fact Sheet

Moving along to other notable events happening in the MENA…

BREAKING: Egypt withdraws own ambassador, expels Turkish ambassador

Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Saturday it had asked the Turkish ambassador to leave the country, according state-run news agency MENA.

Badr Abdel-Atti, spokesperson of the foregin ministry, said that Egypt has also withdrawn its Ambassador AbdelRahman Fahmy from Turkey and lessened its diplomatic presence there. Abel-Atti said in a press conference on Saturday that the decision came after an accumulation of stances that the Turkish government has taken lately like the prime minister’s call to release deposed Mohamed Morsy from prison and Turkey’s hosting of numerous Brotherhood conferences.

The ministry said in a statement that Egypt had declared the Turkish ambassador persona non grata.

Col. Lang posted his thoughts on Erdogan and Turkey, today…

Turkey’s Growing Isolation

Erdogan is upset because the cause of his Islamist brothers has been dealt a crippling blow in Egypt. He is truly a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” and the cloth is now threadbare enough to see the Middle Ages underneath his business suit.

His policy in Syria has been one of complete alignment with the Islamist rebels. He has alienated the new government in Egypt. He has weakened the Turkish Army for the purpose of strengthening his hold on power. Turkey’s long standing friendly relationship with Israel is at an end.

Turkey’s cities look modern? Yes, but there are many modern buildings in Saudi Arabia as well. pl

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia looking to provide Egypt with $1.45bn assistance package.

One last update, inside of Egypt…

Egypt gives police new powers

Egypt’s interim rulers gave police on Thursday the power to enter university campuses to quell protests without seeking prior permission, after a student was killed in clashes.

Students who support the new military-installed authorities and those who oppose it have clashed regularly in Cairo and elsewhere since the army ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi on 3 July.

The military-installed cabinet said police may now enter campuses “without seeking permissions in case of threats and to confront protests that could harm students”.

Previously, police had to obtain permission from the prosecutor general or university authorities before entering campuses or dormitories to deal with demonstrators or fighting.

In wrapping up, this is the only practical solution to the I/P…