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Showing posts from November 26, 2013

U.S. backs Japan as China tensions soar over air zone


The United States on Monday joined ally Japan in vowing not to recognize China’s declaration of an air defense zone over much of the East China Sea, a move that has sharply escalated tensions.

China and Japan each summoned the other’s ambassador after Beijing said Saturday it had established an Air Defense Identification Zone—which would require aircraft to obey its orders—over an area that includes islands administered by Japan.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has vowed no compromise on sovereignty issues, called on China to “restrain itself” over the move, which put Tokyo’s conservative government in rare unison with South Korea and Taiwan.

“I am strongly concerned as it is a profoundly dangerous act that may cause unintended consequences,” Abe told the Diet.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has vowed to defend Japan and said that the islands—known as the Senkakus in Japanese and the Diaoyus in Chinese—fall under the US security treaty with its ally, whi…

Japanese airlines say they will obey China's air zone rules


Japanese airlines on Tuesday said they would follow rules set by China when it declared an air control zone over the East China Sea, even as Tokyo said they should ignore them.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) said that since Sunday it has been submitting flight plans to Chinese authorities for any plane that was due to pass through the area. Its affiliate Peach Aviation said it was doing the same “for now”.

The announcements came after former flag carrier Japan Airlines said it was complying with demands Beijing set out on Saturday when it said it had established an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) where all aircraft were required to obey its orders.

The zone covers the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus, where ships and aircraft from the two countries already shadow each other in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

“We have taken the measures in line with international regulations,” an ANA spokesman said. “Safety is our top priority. We have to av…

Israelis, Saudis and the Iranian Agreement

By George Friedman

A deal between Iran and the P-5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) was reached Saturday night. The Iranians agreed to certain limitations on their nuclear program while the P-5+1 agreed to remove certain economic sanctions. The next negotiation, scheduled for six months from now depending on both sides' adherence to the current agreement, will seek a more permanent resolution. The key players in this were the United States and Iran. The mere fact that the U.S. secretary of state would meet openly with the Iranian foreign minister would have been difficult to imagine a few months ago, and unthinkable at the beginning of the Islamic republic.

The U.S. goal is to eliminate Iran's nuclear weapons before they are built, without the United States having to take military action to eliminate them. While it is commonly assumed that the United States could eliminate the Iranian nuclear program at will with airstrikes, as with most …

Ukraine's Balance Between the EU and Russia

Pro-European lawmakers hold the EU and Ukrainian flags in the Ukrainian parliament on Nov. 22. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)


Ukraine's decision to halt the process for signing landmark political and economic agreements with the European Union has caught the Europeans and much of the media by surprise, but the move fits within Stratfor's ongoing analysis of the issue. At root is Ukraine's geopolitical imperative to balance between the European Union and Russia, without getting too close to one or the other. The same fundamental forces that drove Ukraine's decision on the EU agreements will temper any future compromise or settlement with Russia.


A week before Ukraine's Nov. 21 decision to freeze negotiations with Brussels, we noted, "Kiev has so far attempted to balance both sides [the European Union and Russia] without committing too firmly to either. The time for Ukraine to make a concrete decision is approaching, however, and recent devel…

Geopolitical Calendar: Week of Nov. 25, 2013


Editor's Note: The following is an internal Stratfor document listing significant meetings and events planned for the next week. Stratfor analysts use this to stay informed of the activities and travel of world leaders and to guide their areas of focus for the week.

Nov. 25: Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Pope Francis in Rome.
Nov. 26: Germany's Christian Democratic Union, Christian Social Union and Social Democratic Party hope to conclude coalition negotiations.
Nov. 26: Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta in Trieste.
Nov. 26-27: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will visit Romania to attend the summit between China and Central and Eastern European countries.
Nov. 27: The Italian Senate is expected to vote on the expulsion of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from the parliament.
Nov. 28-29: The Eastern Partnership Summit will take place in Vilnius. It brings together leaders from the European…

Next Steps for the U.S.-Iran Deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran after talks in Geneva on Nov. 24. ARASH KHAMOOSHI/AFP/Getty Images

What was unthinkable for many people over many years happened in the early hours of Nov. 24 in Geneva: The United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran struck a deal. After a decadelong struggle, the two reached an accord that seeks to ensure that Iran's nuclear program remains a civilian one. It is a preliminary deal, and both sides face months of work to batten down domestic opposition, build convincing mechanisms to assure compliance and unthread complicated global sanctions.

That is the easy part. More difficult will be the process to reshape bilateral relations while virtually every regional player in the Middle East seeks ways to cope with an Iran that is no longer geopolitically encumbered.

The foreign ministers of Iran and the six Western powers that constitute the so-called P-5+1 Group clinched a six-month deal that begins the curtail…