May 29, 2007

Now Sit Back And Let Peace Roll Across The Globe

The United States has held its first diplomatic contacts with Iran in over 27 years -- since the time the Iranians overran our embassy in Teheran and held our embassy staff hostage for 444 days. The meeting at the ambassadorial level came as a result of demands from the Iraqi government and the proponents of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, which claimed that official contacts between the two nations would improve the security of the new democratic state in Iraq:

The United States and Iran held rare face-to-face talks in Baghdad on Monday, adhering to an agenda that focused strictly on the war in Iraq and on ways the two bitter adversaries could help improve conditions here.

The meeting between Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker of the United States and Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qumi of Iran — held in the offices of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki — produced no agreements nor a promise of a follow-up meeting between the nations, participants said. ...

He said he “laid out before the Iranians a number of our direct, specific concerns about their behavior in Iraq.” The United States has repeatedly accused Iran of meddlesome activities in Iraq, including training Shiite militiamen and shipping highly lethal weaponry into Iraq for use in attacks by Shiite and Sunni Arab militants against American troops.

Mr. Crocker said he told his Iranian counterpart that those activities “needed to cease.”

“We all are pretty much in the same place in terms of declaratory policy,” he said. “The problem lies, in our view, with the Iranians not bringing their behavior on the ground into line with their own policy.”

I don't think that talking with the Iranians does much harm, except to the extent that it sends a bad signal to the democracy activists within its borders. By focusing the talks exclusively on Iraqi security concerns, it helps to keep the talks from appearing to endorse the reign of the mullahs. Those pushing to end that reign from within might note the subtleties of the diplomatic dance and not conclude that the US has resigned itself to dealing with the theocrats currently oppressing the Iranian people.

The talks won't do any good, however, while the Iranians see Iraqi chaos in their best interests. They want to see American troops tied up in Iraq and battling insurgencies and al-Qaeda terrorists there. It gives the mullahs a handy excuse for exercising even more power over their own people, and it creates the kind of political instability in the region that becomes a force multiplier for their own terrorist proxy groups.

Iran does not fund Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad for the purpose of creating stability, after all. They want to destabilize the entire region, dominated by Sunnis, and either replace them with Shi'ite leadership or weaken them until they fall under Iranian hegemony by default. The only power in the region capable of opposing the Iranian mullahs in that strategy is the United States, and they want us either tied down in Iraq or forced out of the region altogether.

Diplomacy has its place, but the effort has to be reciprocated. As Michelle Malkin notes, the Iranians have made clear their view of reciprocity by indicting three Americans in Iran for espionage:

Iran has formally charged two Iranian- American academics currently in jail in Tehran with espionage.

A judiciary official said a third Iranian-American, Nazi Azima, who works for Radio Free Europe, faced the same allegations but had not been arrested. ...

Kian Tajbaksh is also a well-known academic and social scientist who had carried out some work for the Open Society Institute of George Soros - an organisation Iran says was trying to instigate a "velvet revolution" to topple the clerical regime.

Three Americans who wanted to help expedite this dialogue now face death or long prison sentences for pursuing the ISG's suggested diplomacy. That appears to be a more concrete answer than any provided by the weekend meeting.


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Comments (14)

Posted by TomB | May 29, 2007 8:48 AM

Isn't it time to actually bomb one, or two supply depots and training facilities for the infiltrators in Iran. Would be a nice supplement to the recent talks. Just a thought…

Posted by LarryD | May 29, 2007 9:39 AM

Ugh, sounds too much like McNamara's escalation policy. To quote Yoda: "There is no 'try'. Either do or do not."

Posted by lexhamfox | May 29, 2007 9:41 AM

Contact with Iran seemed to work in immediate aftermath of 9-11 Afghanistan where the Iranians played a key role in facilitating contacts with key anti-Taliban factions within Afghanistan and Iran. Karzai and his government were products of that cooperation. The Iranians want to stall any action by the US to attack or invade from Iraq and it may suit them to weaken the US in Iraq but They have no interest in seeing Iraq descend into chaos or spark a wider was with Sunni Gulf nations. It is worth remembering that there are a number of Iranians being held without any charge by the US in Iraq. Their detention does not warrant the kidnapping of civilians, however. There seems to be a fierce battle between Rice and Cheney aver the right way to handle the Iranians and for now the President is following Rice's advice and allowing some limited contact where interests intersect.

Posted by Nate | May 29, 2007 10:18 AM

As I recall Bush said diplomacy with Iran was a bad idea until we were in a position of strength. Are we now in a position of strength? It sure doesn't feel like it to me.

Posted by patrick neid | May 29, 2007 10:36 AM

our talking to iran is akin to israel talking to hamas. despite its touchy feel good sentiments it has zero value in real terms. iran is no different than hamas. hamas's reason to exist, as expressed in their constitution, is the destruction of the jewish state. (killing all the jews is dessert)

so, tell me you daydreamers of detente, how successful have israeli conversations with hamas been over the years? could you speak up, i can't hear you. what we should be doing is executing all these terror leaders until there are none left--even if it takes decades.

Posted by NahnCee | May 29, 2007 2:28 PM

The thought occurs to wonder if Mr. Bush is merely dotting i’s and crossing t’s preparatory to lowering the boom on the mullahs. If you’ll remember back to 2003, he did the whole song and dance with the UN and the Security Council before going into Iraq. In other words, he gave Saddam every chance to save himself before lowering the boom and starting the Iraq war (or continuing it, as the case may be).

I see this opening of dialogue with Iran as being very much the same thing, so that *after* we have nuked them into the pre-Stone Age (since they’re already barely civilized) Mr. Bush can say he literally tried *everything* to convince Iran to cooperate. The fact that they haven’t and won’t back down merely underlines that he had, literally, no other option but bombing the hell out of them.

I just wish he’d be as stern with the Mexicans as I think he’s going to be with the Iranians.

Posted by Randy | May 29, 2007 4:58 PM

"If you’ll remember back to 2003, he did the whole song and dance with the UN and the Security Council before going into Iraq. In other words, he gave Saddam every chance to save himself before lowering the boom and starting the Iraq war (or continuing it, as the case may be). "

That's one of the most breathtaking examples of right-wing revisionist history I've seen in a long time.

Posted by Count to 10 | May 29, 2007 5:02 PM

"That's one of the most breathtaking examples of right-wing revisionist history I've seen in a long time."

...which is one of the predictable left-wing revisionist histories we've been seing for a long time.

Posted by NahnCee | May 29, 2007 6:39 PM

That's one of the most breathtaking examples of right-wing revisionist history I've seen in a long time.

show me how it's wrong, smart-ass.

Posted by The Mechanical Eye | May 29, 2007 7:22 PM

...he gave Saddam every chance to save himself before lowering the boom and starting the Iraq war

...because we gave Saddam every chance to give us the WMDs he didn't have to the UN inspectors we didn't believe in.

It really was all Saddam's fault


Posted by krm [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 29, 2007 7:53 PM

Of course, when appeasement is shown to fail, the appeasers' reaction is to push to appease harder and furher ans faster. Its their nature.

Posted by gil | May 29, 2007 8:51 PM

Iran is like any other Nation on earth. It has friends, enemies, and INTERESTS.

Iran knows that the Bush Administration badly miscalculated the aftermath of the invasion. Iran also knows that either way they have the best hand. Stay or go, talk or not talk Iran still wins. Bush and his so called policies took care of that, the moment he invaded Iraq on false pretences, and compunded the problem with 4 years and counting of utter incompetence.

They are not afraid of an invasion... Again Bush took care of that by invading the wrong country at the wrong time. They are not afraid of an attack to their Nuclear Facilities because they dispersed them a long time ago, and because the retaliation would be to stop Western Economies on it's tracks with 150.00 Dllr a barrel of oil, not to mention turn Iraq into hell on earth with our troops trapped in the middle.

So why do we talk to them dear Conservatives, you ask?

Because Bush empowered them and now we don't have a choice, when before we had. So what is Iran's interest in talking to us??? See what they can get in concessions (Nuclear Program) in return for them beeing "nice" and not messing up Iraq even more.

You see dear Republicans in the end is not what you can do with our Army, but what you can do with your policies. It was a given from day one that our Army would prevail in the invasion. But Bush's policies turned victory into a quagmire by failing to recognize that the region was not ready for Democracy, that Democracy is not given at the point of a gun, and most importantly that the unintended consecuence was to give to Iran, Iraq served on a silver platter.... You see Republicans, you don't win with powerful Armies, you win with powerful brains that give you the wisdom to attack......... OR NOT.

By the way, Bush and his Administration were warned and forwarned privately, and publicaly of the consecuences of invading Iraq. They were warned by all the Arab Sunni nations, by the EU, by the entire world. And they said "We know better"..... Turns out they did not.

You can Republicans, continue to dress up a disfunctional, incoherent, illogical, and down right stupid policy in Iraq with patriotic speeches where the words like "victory" "Democratic defeatists" "Deadlines are a surrender", "cut and run" etc. etc............ But in the end you never had a plan, you never had a policy, and you never gave us victory...... That is unless you consider that hot air, insults and asking for more time, and more time, and still more time with no results to show, for the lost time is the way to win a war..... or credibility.

Sadly no, Republicans it's not, And It's about high time you wake up and for once confront reality.

Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 30, 2007 12:30 AM

I think what we're doing in Iraq is different from any war ever fought before. Therefore, when I see liberal moonbats throwing words like "victory", "defeat" and a misspelled "disfunctional" around, that tells me the persons writing those words are still thinking (if you could call it that) INSIDE the box.

We're making it up as we go in Iraq. It's never been done that way before, which is why no one has yet been able to define exactly what "victory" will consist of.

We were warned by all the typical warners not to go in there. And you liberals want us to act, behave and react according to what Chirac, Kofi, Pelosi, Kennedy, Schroeder and Zapatero think is best for the United States of America to do?!?

Just exactly how suicidal are you democrats, any way?

Posted by gil | May 30, 2007 4:01 PM

Answer to Nahncee.

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was this guy called Nah by his friends. Excellent speller, but not very good in the common sence department as his friends constantly were telling him.

Nevertheless, one good day he decided that he needed a new house and set up to build himself one, never mind the fact that he already had one. First thing he did was to draw a "good" blue print of the house. Look frieds Nah said excited, I will build a 3,000 sq/ft house with the foundation of a 2.000 sq/ft home to save money!!!

His friends were shocked. You can't do that Nah, it will not work they said. Don't do it!!!
But at this Nah responded "You can't think outside the box as I can" . " I am building a house as it has never been done before.... And you have to make it as you go, which is why no one has yet been able to define exactly when I will victoriously finish it"

Nah friends just looked at him in amazement
wandering if he was having a nervous brake down, and shook their heads when Nah added " Besides you are just a bunch of tyipical warners and you want me to act, behave, and react like some darn Architect or Engenieer would"

So Nah just ignored every one and went on his happy way to build his dream home. Needless to say the house does not look to good these days, but Nah is a firm believer in the power of going at problmes with the help of the Force. The roof is caving in, the side wall just fell apart, the plumbing is a mess, and the electricity works only half the time. But Nah still calls his friends "warners", and Nah still believes that some how his house is going to turn out right.

Last his friend saw him, he was up to his eye balls in mud (plumbing collapsed) mumbling something about thinking outside the box, and how his house was going to be different.

It was. Indeed it was.