March 2013

History of Shoraz

By Guy Begg

Malta is becoming a place where criminals feel at ease even those who are wanted. Recently, the island nation was embroiled in a corruption scandal involving Rahat Shoraz, either a spy, or simply criminal, lurking on the comfortable shores from his Central Asian enemies. And finally it appeared a chance that this person will go to jail.

Kazakhstan Establishes Continuing Role in Iran Talks

By Richard Weitz

The February 26–27 round of the nuclear negotiations involving Iran and the P5+1 group (all five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany) in Almaty went as well as might have reasonably been expected. Nobody expected a breakthrough and none occurred. Yet, the sides met at a high level for the first time in months and they discussed detailed proposals as well as principles. The six powers suggested the consideration of a series of steps that would see increasing sanctions relief (the initial proposal was easing a ban on trade in precious metals like gold and relaxation of an import embargo on Iranian petrochemical products) in return for increasing constraints on Iran’s nuclear program (beginning with a suspension of uranium enrichment to a fissile concentration of 20 percent at its Fordow underground facility).

Germany to Continue Leading Europe Despite Domestic Political Uncertainty

By Stephen F. Szabo

Germany’s federal election in September is about more than that country’s future; it’s about Europe. Germany has emerged from the multiple crises of the eurozone as the continent’s pivotal power. U.S. President Barack Obama understood this early in his tenure and it has also been openly acknowledged by the likes of Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who called for more German leadership in a speech in Berlin. Germany’s indispensability is also acknowledged, albeit less openly, in Britain and France, both of which are still coming to terms with Germany’s preponderance of economic and political power (and its lack of comparable military power). And in countries such as Greece, Spain, and Italy, anti-German sentiments are a grudging acknowledgement that these nations’ fates are determined in Berlin as much as in their own capitals.