According to the London Telegraph, the American ambassador to Iraq received administration authorization to review border status with the hard-line Iranian government in an attempt to stabilize the long eastern border between Iraq and Iran. Zalmany Khalilzad will also discuss supressing the Iraqi insurgency and stopping the flow of explosives and weapons from the Islamic Republic, which seems as futile as asking Saddam to remove his army from Kuwait was in 1990:
The American initiative, a further indication that the secretary of state Condoleezza Rice’s more moderate diplomacy has replaced the hardline foreign policy of Mr Bush’s first term, follows another recent shift of tactics towards Iran.
For the first time, America is offering active support to European and Russian officials in their efforts to end the deadlock with Iran over its nuclear programme, after previously adopting a hands-off approach – to the alarm of prominent neo-conservatives who back regime change in Iran.
They believe that given Iran’s track record of duplicity in international negotiations, talks will be futile and interpreted as a sign of American weakness.
Unless the talks are just a sop to European tendernesses, it’s difficult to understand this exercise in terms of any real or perceived benefits. The Iranians stoke the insurgencies because they want to make it difficult for American troops to stay in the area, and they understandably want to influence Iraqi development towards their own model of government for their own security purposes. They fought a long, brutal war with Iraq two decades ago and don’t want another. They also don’t want 160,000 American troops on their border for any reason whatsoever. And those are just the rational reasons.
The new Ahmadinejad regime has taken the mask off of the nature of Iranian rule as implemented by the Guardian Council. Their explicit goals are to wipe out Israel, and afterwards come after the United States. Ahmadinejad held a forum on those topics just a couple of months ago and has steadfastly refused to back down from its implications. We could have issued a diplomatic ultimatum on those points alone, had we desired it and had we any kind of diplomatic contact with Teheran now.
Why should Khalilzad get involved in direct negotiations with such a regime? The only result will be a general perception that we have softened our stance on Ahmadinejad and the mullahcracy for which he fronts. If the Iraqis want to negotiate border issues, then they should do so — but with their eyes open about the nature of their counterparts. We should refuse to recognize the criminal rule of both Ahmadinejad and his GC enablers and tell the Iranians through the press to either fix their border problems or be prepared to suffer serious consequences. That’s as much “dialogue” as we need with the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism.