US-led confab in Warsaw: A gamble doomed to failure
The City of Warsaw is hosting hostile anti-Iran meeting as part of US attempts to heap pressure on Tehran globally.
The Americans will be represented by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo but Vice-President Mike Pence and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will also attend.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the only head of government scheduled to attend, with the other states sending representatives at the ministerial or deputy ministerial level.
Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Monday that only 11 Middle East countries had confirmed their participation in the Warsaw Conference.
"Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Israel, Yemen, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman and the United Arab Emirates have confirmed that their delegations will be led by ministers. Egypt and Tunisia are likely to send vice-ministers," Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said.
Since withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal last year, the US administration has steadily ratcheted up pressure on Tehran and vowed to increase it until Iran halts what US officials describe as its “malign activities” throughout the Middle East and elsewhere.
Reminder to host/participants of anti-Iran conference: those who attended last US anti-Iran show are either dead, disgraced, or marginalized. And Iran is stronger than ever.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) 11 January 2019
Polish Govt can't wash the shame: while Iran saved Poles in WWII, it now hosts desperate anti-Iran circus. pic.twitter.com/iOOvhgtUsL
As part of its policy of maximum pressure, Washington in early November re-imposed what it called the harshest-ever sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Now Trump's administration hops to use Warsaw to expand its anti-Iran coalition.
Tehran has denounced the confab as “a circus” and summoned Poland’s envoy to protest Warsaw's hosting of the event.
After a lukewarm reception by invited parties, the United States said that the conference is not aimed at demonizing Iran and the angle of the conference focused on broader subjects of security in the region.
US deputy ambassador Jonathan Cohen told the Security Council that the conference in Warsaw on February 13-14 sponsored by the United States and Poland is also not aimed at discussing the merits of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal known as the JCPOA, which US President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018.
Key European powers will offer only limited participation in the hostile anti-Iran meeting to be co-hosted by the United States and Poland in Warsaw.
Despite retitling the agenda to focus on peace and security in the Middle East, European diplomats remain sceptical that figures such as Pompeo and the US vice-president, Mike Pence, will dial down their anti-Iran rhetoric at the summit.
Federica Mogherini, the EU external affairs chief, will boycott the event and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will be there but has said he primarily wants to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen - a war which his country is involved in.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is reportedly not attending, being replaced by a senior official in the Foreign Ministry. UK foreign affairs minister Jeremy Hunt has recently announced he would attend, while France representation at the ministerial level is still uncertain.
Other European countries will send lower-level delegates.
This new trend in US policy toward Iran is in line with prior unsuccessful attempts to form international coalitions against Iran. For instance, in February 2018 — three months prior to the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal — Trump hosted an unconventional meeting with the delegations of all UN Security Council members to highlight what he called Iran’s “destabilizing activities” in the region. That meeting did not appear to be as effective as expected, given the continued broad international support for the nuclear deal.
While the US seems determined to use Warsaw to expand its anti-Iran coalition beyond Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, experts doubt Washington will succeed.
Lack of participation at Middle East event reflects anger over US policy on Iran and Syria.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that the Warsaw meeting had fallen flat on its face before even getting off the ground.
“The Warsaw meeting was rendered doomed to failure before start,” he said. 101