Originally published in Sputnik News
MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — The Western countries and Russia need to join efforts to identify moderate opposition groups in Syria to fight the Islamic State (ISIL) jihadist group, former US ambassador to Syria Richard Murphy told Sputnik Saturday.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Syrian leader Bashar Assad agreed with possible Moscow’s support of Syrian opposition factions in case they exist and were ready to fight terrorists. Previously, the Western countries refused to help Russia to identify or establish contacts with Syria's "moderate" opposition.
"There is a clear need for intensive consultations between Russia and the United States and Europe to identify ‘moderate’ opposition groups for possible cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State and to work out the path to a transitional government in Syria," Murphy, who was US assistant secretary of state for Near East and South Asian affairs between 1983 and 1989, said.
AIC's Honorary Board Member Amb. Thomas Pickering recently addressed a large group of students at Hamilton College on the nuclear accord and US-Iran relations. Amb. Pickering is one of the nation's premier former diplomats and a strong supporter of improved US-Iran relations.
"There are many other questions in the region that are of interest to Iran and the United States," Amb. Pickering said. "Interestingly enough, the Iranians and the US are both in agreement fundamentally that Afghanistan should not be in hands of the Taliban government; that neither Iraq nor Syria should be taken over by the Islamic State. That is important because that provides the beginning of an ability to try to build with our foreign policy toward regional balance and stability, to help move in a secure way in a situation now fraught with difficulties and dangers."
By Arastoo Taslim, AIC Research Associate
During the “Arab Spring” of 2011, protests across Yemen called for President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s resignation. After 33 years in office, Saleh abdicated power in February 2012 to his vice president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, via a single candidate election. One of the groups both supporting the ouster of Saleh and rejecting his replacement were the Houthis.
In this policy paper, Arastoo Taslim describes the reality on the ground, the interests of the key stakeholders, and outlines policy prescriptions to help achieve stability and a negotiated settlement in Yemen.
Reviving Iran's Image
The common international image of Iran is that of a backward country supporting terrorism, seeking weapons of mass destruction and violating human rights. This image in turn has fueled anti-Americanism, which has provided one of the pretexts for the political and diplomatic conundrums of the Islamic Republic. However Iran is a historic nation, with rich culture and heritage while United States has been instrumental in building the modern world. This project aims to showcase the true face of the Iranian nation to the international community, including the United States.