Tuesday, May 29, 2007
From LGF, this morning:
BAGHDAD - The United States and Iran broke a 27-year diplomatic freeze Monday with a four-hour meeting about Iraqi security. The American envoy said there was broad policy agreement, but that Iran must stop arming and financing militants who are attacking U.S. and Iraqi forces.Charles Johnson sees that as being pretty grim, and I have to agree. Are we really negotiating with the world's top terror-supporting regime, one that is actively killing American soldiers in the field, and talking with them about turning Iraqi security over to them?
Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi told The Associated Press that the two sides would meet again in less than a month.
. . .
The talks in the Green Zone offices of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were the first formal and scheduled meeting between Iranian and American government officials since the United States broke diplomatic relations with Tehran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the seizure of the U.S. Embassy.
An AP reporter who witnessed the opening of the session said Crocker and Kazemi shook hands. ...
Speaking later at a news conference in the Iranian Embassy, Kazemi said: "We don’t take the American accusations seriously."
Crocker declined to detail what Kazemi had said in the session, but the Iranian diplomat — formerly a top official in the elite Revolutionary Guards Quds Force — said he had offered to train and equip the Iraqi army and police to create "a new military and security structure" for Iraq.
Kazemi said U.S. efforts to rebuild those forces were inadequate to handle the chaos in Iraq, for which he said Washington bore sole responsibility. He said he also offered to provide what assistance Iran could in rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure, which he said had been "demolished by the American invaders."
I'm tempted to wonder if this is the same sort of "negotiation" that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had with Bashar Assad in Syria. But no, this had to be authorized and official. The U.S. was represented by our current Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and it took place in the offices of Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki. It's hard to imagine a more official meeting than that.
Then again, just a week ago, ABC was crowing about this:
Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report:
The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.
The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.
To me, these two stories are mutually exclusive. What gives?
Is one intended to be a feint to distract from the other? (And, if so, in what direction?) Or has the Bush Administration thrown in the towel, after yet another top-secret program is splashed across the headlines, and decided to work from Pelosi's playbook?
Mr. Johnson is buying the latter scenario, wondering if the President is "simply getting tired". I very much hope he's wrong about that. As Margaret Thatcher famously told President Bush's father in 1990, this is no time to go wobbly.
UPDATE: Joining Charles Johnson in the pessimistic outlook is Scott Johnson of Powerline:
I would love to know what the Bush administration has in mind for the mullahs' nuclear program. My guess is runs more along the lines of a whimper than a bang.I'd love to know too.
Cox & Forkum aren't happy either: