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We noted tomorrow's regional security conference in Baghdad a few days ago.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Sunday that countries invited to the Baghdad meeting of Iraq's neighbors, including Iran, as well as the US and other UN Security Council permanent members plus Egypt and Bahrain, will attend the regional and international meeting on Iraq.The story hasn't gotten much attention in the U.S. (it's one of those non-military signs of progress that would make certain members of congress look rather, ahem, obstructionist in their current actions.)
But the NY Times found a way to spin the story and declare failure today:
U.S. and Iran May Steal the Show at Iraq’s Security MeetingSo they'll be able to excoriate the administration should the two countries fail to kiss and make up.
WASHINGTON, March 8 — On Saturday, Iraq will convene its “neighbors” meeting in Baghdad, which is supposed to be about Iraqi security.
But the big question everyone is asking is this: Will the United States and Iran finally end more than a quarter century of communicating primarily through emissaries, and talk directly to each other?
“If we are approached over orange juice by the Syrians or the Iranians to discuss an Iraq-related issue that is germane to this topic — a stable, secure, peaceful, democratic Iraq — we are not going to turn and walk away,” David Satterfield, the State Department’s special adviser on Iraq, said Thursday.
Critics of the administration say that given the grave issues at stake, that stance may be too aloof. “How immature is it that we have to pretend for American domestic political reasons that we’re going to get cooties from the Iranians unless they go to the bathroom first and wash their hands?” said an exasperated George Perkovich, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Are we a major power or not?”
Trouble is, Iran has already said "no"...
"Meeting with Americans on the sidelines of the Baghdad conference is not on the agenda of Iran, for the time being," said Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, in his weekly news briefing.That's not in the NY Times report, of course. It was in the first link above.
Even Reuter's has a better report then the Times, and offers at least a sense of the significance of the event:
Speaking on the eve of an unprecedented Baghdad conference, Abdul Azziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq's most powerful leaders, said the meeting should boost the transition to elected government.Meanwhile, the LA Times says
"We call on the regional and international countries to support Iraq because we believe it will reflect positively on international and regional peace," Hakim told tens of thousands of black-clad Shi'ite pilgrims in the holy city of Kerbala.
"We want every country participating in this meeting to enhance the achievements made in Iraq in the last four years."
Persistent violence has marred efforts to establish a stable and democratic government since U.S.-led troops invaded Iraq in March 2003 and toppled Saddam Hussein.
U.S. And Iran Have Been Talking, Quietly
The White House insists that the United States won't talk directly with Iran until Tehran suspends its nuclear program. But U.S. officials have been discreetly meeting their Iranian counterparts one-on-one for more than a decade, often under the auspices of the United Nations.
Your construction makes me wonder what the Olg Grey Hag or the Lost Times thinks of our 'quiet' conversation with the missing Iranian defense official. Wouldn't it be nice if we could have a few other 'quiet' conservations? On to victory...Posted by Carlos at March 10, 2007 12:13 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(1) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)