- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kissinger on Iran

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger took a shot at the Obama administration’s effort to curb Iran’s nuclear program on Wednesday, saying he does not believe new sanctions aimed at Tehran will produce results.

“I don’t think that these sanctions will achieve the objectives,” Mr. Kissinger said during a luncheon address hosted by the Nixon Center.

The long-anticipated United Nations sanctions effort, led by the United States and announced Tuesday by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, may “harass” the Iranians, Mr. Kissinger said. But he indicated they are unlikely to force Iran into ending violations of International Atomic Energy Agency controls on its uranium-enrichment program.

Mr. Kissinger said he does not fault the Obama team for trying to engage Iran and noted that negotiations in general succeed when the parties are able to come to terms, if there are consequences for one side not agreeing, or a combination of the two is involved.

However, the Obama administration appears to be using sanctions as an end goal, rather than combining them with other forms of pressure, he said.

The current administration policies for dealing with the Iranian nuclear program ultimately could be “a waste of time” if Iran continues uncontrolled nuclear efforts, he said.

“I don’t think American military action at this point is a course that I would recommend,” he said, noting that there are other ways of isolating Iran that would be effective.

On efforts to pressure North Korea into disarming its nuclear program, Mr. Kissinger said six-party talks have not succeeded because the North Koreans have been “selling the same thing two or three times” to the U.S. and other nations involved in the talks. The result is a bad precedent for U.S.-led efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons, he said.

Petraeus and A.W. Karzai

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command, who oversees all U.S. forces in Afghanistan, met recently Ahmad Wali Karzai, the controversial half-brother of Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, and a major power broker in strategic Kandahar province.

Army Col. Eric Gunhus, a spokesman for Gen. Petraeus, said the meeting took place at the military’s regional command-south headquarters.

“Ahmad Wali Karzai is the leader of the local Kandahar Council and as such it was an official visit,” Col. Gunhus said, noting that the four-star general also met local leaders, district leaders and the regional government.

According to a former official from the region, CIA officials in Afghanistan also reportedly met with Ahmad Wali Karzai, who has been linked by U.S. officials to corruption in the region. The meetings highlight a key political problem for the allied forces in seeking popular support in efforts to defeat the Taliban.

“In Kandahar, the core of the problem is Wali Karzai,” the former official said.

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