Sitting down with Iran & Syria


The Bush administration has reversed a long-standing policy and will sit down with representatives of Iran and Syria to discuss the future of Iraq.

The face-saving explanation is that the meetings will take place as part of a conference organized and run by Iraq with lots of other participants from the region, the U.N. Security Council and the G-8 group of industrialized democracies.

The Bush administration’s policy had been that it wouldn’t meet with either Iran or Syria until Tehran abandoned its uranium-enrichment program and Damascus ended its support for extremists in Lebanon and Iraq. And the administration says those strictures still apply to any bilateral, face-to-face talks on issues other than Iraq.

The first round of talks will be in March at the ambassadorial level, with top State Department envoys filling in. The United States hasn’t had diplomatic relations with Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979. And although we have diplomatic relations with Syria, there is no ambassador in Damascus, as a sign of displeasure with the regime.

In April, foreign ministers, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, are to meet. The dynamics of that second, higher-level gathering will tell much about Iraq’s prospects.

It shouldn’t have taken this long for a regional conference on stabilizing Iraq, ending the violence and getting its economy, especially the oil industry, rolling again. Doing so had been one of the key recommendations of the Iraq Study Group in December, but the White House had appeared to brush it off.

The conference won’t succeed until the regional parties, including Russia, can be made to realize that a stable, prosperous Iraq is in their own best economic and diplomatic interests. In any case, it’s worth a try, and it’s not like there are a whole lot of other ideas out there.


  1. Ray

    Hopefully Rice will be more candid with her counterparts than she has been with the american people. Then maybe some progress will be made towards an equitable aggreement that will end this carnage and forstall escalation of Bush’s aggression.

  2. Many have urged President Bush to negotiate with Iran, he complies a little, and there is almost silence, and I found no praise.

    In Fuluja in October 04, an Iraqi go-between arranged a cease fire with commandeers in the field. Iraqis cheered what they thought was the end of the war. John Kerry had a commercial about terrorists hiding in Fuluja and Bush demanded that al Sadr be turned over for arrest. Had the Western peace movement joined the Iraqi’s in cheering maybe the cease-fire would have held.

    It’s like a Greek Tragedy with Bush assigned the role of ogre. When he urged people not to deface Muslim businesses, humbly visited a mosque, went out of his way to include Muslims in the face-based initiative no one noticed. No one even noticed that then Secretary of State Powell and the President were a helpful go-between, when nuclear India and Pakistan were slipping toward war.

    As far a giant conspiracies we celebrate every 9/l1, that some passengers tried to seize the controls. Why don’t we also celebrate that bin Laden didn’t do nearly the economic damage to the country that he thought he would? Or that he didn’t kill the top defense leaders he thought attacking the Pentagon would accomplish.. If that was really because the plane happened to strike mostly a small section that was being reconstructed for fortification that should also be celebrated. Otherwise there is no reason the government could not have returned sections of seized pictures suggested that the recipients get a court order if they wanted the parts revealing construction secrets. Rather than a world run by massive conspiracies, it’s one bid Three Stooges flick except people really get hurt. I with there was some way of stopping Bush from being assigned the role of ogre.

    I wrote numerous articles mostly published in local neighborhood papers. I wish the major papers would allow such an article. 215-563-2866 22 S 22nd St Apt 305 Phila PA 19103

  3. You wish there was some way to stop Bush from being assigned the role of ogre??? You must be kidding. Time to pinch yourself, you are day-dreaming. Bush is not just an orge, he is about the world’s top radioactive substance. NOBODY with relf-respect will touch this monstrous nightmare. IMPEACH THE BUSH/CHENEY JUNTA. NOW.

  4. JimZ

    Dale I agree that it shouldn’t have taken this long but…

    “The conference won’t succeed until the regional parties, including Russia, can be made to realize that a stable, prosperous Iraq is in their own best economic and diplomatic interests”

    Dale, I just have to ask you, DO YOU ACTUALLY THINK RUSSIA DOESN’T KNOW THIS?

    When has Russia ever said it doesn’t want a stable Iraq?

    You state this as if Russia must have their head buried in the sand somewhere. I think ALL the surrounding countries realize this. It’s BushCo that doesn’t give a damn; they just want Iraq’s oil and permanent military bases. Stability to them is secondary. The region was more stable BEFORE WE ATTACKED IRAQ!

  5. This is absolutely a Greek tragedy in the making with Bush’s own Greek Chorus of neoconservatives adding emotion to the drama.

    We need to keep on top of this story and hope it can work for peace.

  6. RLewis

    I don’t know how the ‘decider’ managed to get over Himself long enough for this to happen, but it is about time! One saving grace – the ‘decider’ Himself will not be there in person to further evidence the denigration of education (or common sense) and the English language in the USA.


    “I shall never forgive the Republican Party for foisting this arrogant imbecile upon the world.” Paraphrased from unknown writer.