Speaking to Radio Islam International, Professor Scott Lucas, Editor at the news site, EA World View, sought to thrash out and assess some of the news stories making global headlines.
In relation to the possible restart of negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear programme, Prof Lucas pointed to sequencing as the main stumbling block: Will Iran first comply with the 2015 deal? Or, will the US be forced to revoke sanctions? Grey area scenarios are also being contemplated. Iran, Prof Lucas argued, is now willing to negotiate, but is only indirectly talking to the US. Tehran also wants assurances that the US won’t exit such a deal in future.
Meanwhile, in Poland and Belarus, Alexandra Lukashenko has been accused of enticing migration into the EU via Poland, as a means of threatening the bloc against passing sanctions on Minsk, for its repression of protests. Belarusian flights from the Middle East have doubled in the past month, and Lukashenko has even threatened to halt EU gas, which passes through Belarus, were sanctions to be passed. Many of these migrants have been violently dispersed by the 15 000 Polish troops stationed on the border. Further, climatically they are facing sub-zero temperatures, with little assistance. Lucas said, “some of these people were being beaten, many of them are at risk of the elements; at least eight have died as they’ve tried to cross the border in recent days.”
With the COP26 conference in its ending stages, many institutes and organisations have warned against rising temperatures and the need for a global agreement. Prof Lucas pointed to the phasing out of methane, which is 80 times more pollutant than carbon dioxide, as an important step. However, India, China and the US have not agreed to resolutions relating to reversing the damage of greenhouse gasses and deforestation. In addition, issues around the developing world are also interesting: South Africa, for example, will receive around $131 billion in financing to move away from coal as a means of energy generation. Prof Lucas said, “There are two questions here. The first is will you see the big countries like the US and China actually really make a move to join these pledges fully to get, not only to quote net zero, but to reverse the emissions that are destroying the planet? And secondly, well, what about the countries that we don’t talk about, that aren’t the biggest emitters, but that are important. Like South Africa, will they make a move themselves where they can have developing economies, but economies, which are linked to clean energy?”
Lastly, Prof Lucas pointed to the role of the Popular Mobilisation Forces in the attempted assassinations of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Khadhimi. This, Lucas argues, is mainly a result of their losses during the most recent election. Iran has recently dispatched the Quds force head to Iraq to caution these groups against such actions, which are close to Tehran. Many agree that this was a red-line.