G8 Summit: Syria, North Korea, Iran
What was the objective of the G8 summit and to what extent are the decisions made in this meeting strategic?
With regard to the significance of the G8 summit in general and its role in international developments from a strategic point of view, it must be said that the eight industrial powers plus the powers which enjoy superior military capabilities are the decision-makers in this group. Therefore, the G8 summit, the most recent meeting of which was held with the foreign ministers in order to prepare the ground for the summit of heads of state, is very important. Many of the events which take place in the world are discussed in this summit and the military, economic, and political powers of the world exchange their views about them.
What were the issues discussed in this meeting?
Three issues were discussed in this summit:
1. The issue of Syria which has reached a deadlock and has perhaps become uncontrollable.
2. The issue of North Korea which is now very critical.
3. The issue of Iran’s nuclear dossier and negotiations between the two parties.
William Hague has demanded that new decisions be made with regard to the issue of Syria. What conclusions did the powerful economic countries reach regarding the Syrian crisis in this meeting?
With regard to the developments in Syria, it must be mentioned that as William Hague, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, has stated, the issue of Syria has become very complicated and the western countries and their allies, like Turkey and the Arab countries, which had hoped that the developments in this country would lead to the downfall of the Syrian regime, are now very disappointed. They have even reached the conclusion that in this regard the intervention of NATO forces and military forces of the western countries, as had happened in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, will not succeed and that it may complicate matters and create more threats for the security of the world and the region. From the beginning, some countries believed that the downfall of Bashar Assad’s government could lead to fundamentalism and terrorism in the region, which the West would not have allowed in the past. But today, with the expansion of terrorist activities and the activities of fundamentalists who have come to Syria from all over the world and even from the European countries (and recently the al-Nehza party has announced that it is a member of al-Qaeda), it has become obvious to the West that unilateral support of the Syrian opposition would strengthen fundamentalism and terrorism.
Hasn’t this same fear of fundamentalism tied the hands of the western countries in solving the problem?
It is true that the Free Syrian Army and the fundamentalists are two separate groups and are separately fighting against the government of Bashar Assad, but considering the power and potential of al-Qaeda, naturally, when the Syrian regime is overthrown, the winning card will be in the hands of the terrorist groups. Thus, not only Syria but also neighboring countries including Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq will be faced with this crisis and Israel is also concerned that its borders will seriously be threatened. I believe that one of the reasons why the Europeans and the Americans are patient is that they prioritize Israel’s view which is against the strengthening of the fundamentalists in the region and along Israel’s borders, which would threaten their security.
North Korea has been the second issue of discussion. Are their concerns about repeated threats made by North Korea serious?
The issue of North Korea has become very sensitive and it is true that the western and Pacific countries, like Japan and South Korea, are somehow used to North Korea’s threats, but this time, threats made against the embassies, the evacuation order of foreigners from North Korea and South Korea, and the movement of missiles are all indicative of the high risk of this issue. This means that there is the possibility that North Korea has felt threatened and intends to deal the first blow, particularly that the new North Korean leader is young and unknown to the West and the neighboring countries.
On the other hand, the US and the West know that North Korea does not observe international laws but that it listens to Beijing. North Korea is informed about the views of China and analyzes them and then takes measures. It also pays attention to Moscow’s views. Therefore, in this meeting, the western countries knew that the Chinese could, to some extent, control North Korea. And this is a winning card in the hands of China to use whenever they feel pressured. Today, the West always talks about the power of China and there have been proposals to transfer a part of the power from the Middle East to this region. They have, thus, reached the conclusion that, in the G8 meeting, they should ask countries like China and Russia, which have close relations with North Korea, to control this country.
Have there been any decisions made with regard to Iran’s nuclear issue or the sanctions?
The third issue is Iran’s nuclear dossier. This matter has also reached a critical point. On one hand, there were serious talks in Almaty which were different from the previous ones. It is true that they did not reach a tangible outcome, but both parties have proposed new ideas. None of the parties has accused the other party of killing time and the analysis is that part of the reason behind the lack of any concrete result in Almaty-2 is related to Iran’s elections. Iran cannot make any decisions two months before the election and the other party has comprehended that, stating that these negotiations must be solved in the second half of the year 2013, i.e. when the new government in Iran has come to power.
On the other hand, this issue has reached a sensitive point and the sanctions will be intensified. The new proposal of the US Congress has directed the attention of the big powers like Russia, China, and the western countries toward Iran’s nuclear issue. Iran and these powers have all reached the conclusion that this problem must be solved.
These three significant issues were discussed in the G8 meeting this time, whereas in the previous ones economic issues had mainly been proposed.