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Talks scheduled with Iran and Syria
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another critical step toward success in Iraq (on the diplomatic front) and straight out of the ISG report. And yes, this is a reversal by the Administration:
The United States agreed yesterday to join high-level talks with Iran and Syria on the future of Iraq, an abrupt shift in policy that opens the door to diplomatic dealings the White House had shunned in recent months despite mounting criticism.

The move was announced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in testimony on Capitol Hill, after Iraq said it had invited neighboring states, the United States and other nations to a pair of regional conferences.

"I would note that the Iraqi government has invited all of its neighbors, including Syria and Iran, to attend both of these regional meetings," Rice told the Senate Appropriations Committee. "We hope that all governments will seize this opportunity to improve the relations with Iraq and to work for peace and stability in the region."

The first meeting, at the ambassadorial level, will be held next month. Then Rice will sit down at the table with the foreign ministers from Damascus and Tehran at a second meeting in April elsewhere in the region, possibly in Istanbul.
So Dems, what say you? Can you support this?

The complaint has been a 'wrong direction' in Iraq and the claim has been the "people have spoken" and the administration should heed their voice. This has been one of those complaints by Dems ... we need to "talk" with the regional players, both friendly and not so friendly. Here it is. Will we hear further complaints or will Democrats actually get behind this effort and support it?

Or are Dems so tied to the "Iraq is lost and we need to get out of there" that they'll criticize this as well?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Communication with Iran and Syria is necessary in pretty much any disengagement currently advocated by Democrats (and some Republicans). Because of the refugee crisis that could result from disengagement (a crisis that would affect Iran and Syria most of all) it is beneficial to talk to Iran and Syria about the best way to disengage from the region since our interests in keeping the Iraq civil war contained and unlikely to draw in neighboring countries is of mutual concern. I think Democrats are cautiously optimistic about this development. I heard Lee Hamilton on the radio this morning expressing similar sentiments.
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
A couple of days ago, Carl Levin said that the Democrats wanted to go after Syria and Iran for their interference in Iraq, so my guess is that he knew this was coming and was inoculating himself against having to support an administration position Democrats had currently called for. If Bush were to take a Democratic campaign plank and endorse it verbatim, I suspect that the Democrats would disavow it a day later.
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
You are attacking a straw man. I, for one, have long argued for engaging Syria and Iran who do not want a regional war as a way to disengage from Iraq without leaving it in complete chaos. Of course, calling that a victory would be a bit silly, since clearly we did not achieve policy goals and the result will end up hurting our position in the region. But it definitely might be possible to disengage without absolute disaster. That’s hardly success — it’s a face saving peace with honor moment, much like Nixon had in 1973 when he similarly engaged China and the USSR to help engineer an exit from Vietnam.
Written By: Scott Erb
This good news, at last Bush is doing something about Iran & Syria.
Written By: unaha-closp
My main reservation here is whether either Syria or Iran will negotiate in good faith. There are some circumstances in which I can make a believable argument for Syria doing so in the immediate future. There are no circumstances in the immediate future short of a dissolution of the current Iranian government in which I can posit Iran negotiating in anything -resembling- good faith. And the willingness to speak in good faith is the sine qua non for any possible talks.
Written By: Lysenko
URL: http://
I’m no Democrat but I am part of the ’Iraq is lost and we need to get out of there’ crowd who will criticize talking with Iran and Syria.

what’s the point of talking unless (1) Iran and Syria don’t know that they’re pissing us off, (2) they don’t know what they’re doing that is pissing us off, (3) they don’t know what they have to do to stop pissing us off, or (4) they don’t know what we’ll do if they don’t stop pissing us off?

with the exception of 4 (does anyone know what, if anything, Bush will do if Iran and Syria don’t stop helping kill Americans?), what exactly is talking supposed to accomplish?

Mcq: am I reading too much into your words to think that Bush is doing this because ’the people have spoken’ and because the Democrats want him talking with our enemies and not because he thinks it will do any good... and that you’re applauding him for that?

Badger: who’s disengaging? bush isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Lysenko: what is there to negotiate, in good faith or otherwise? Just how many Americans they can help kill before we get angry? how many nukes they can use before we get angry?

unaha-closp: talking isn’t doing something about Iran and Syria. we have two choices: we can try to buy their ’cooperation’ or we can try to force their cooperation. while using force (military or otherwise) may not be a sure thing, ought we be able to agree that trying to buy off Iran and Syria is a non-starter?
Written By: steve
URL: http://
I’m no Democrat but I am part of the ’Iraq is lost and we need to get out of there’ crowd who will criticize talking with Iran and Syria.

what’s the point of talking unless (1) Iran and Syria don’t know that they’re pissing us off, (2) they don’t know what they’re doing that is pissing us off, (3) they don’t know what they have to do to stop pissing us off, or (4) they don’t know what we’ll do if they don’t stop pissing us off?
We’re pissing them off, they are pissing us off. So you talk. You may not settle it, you may not reach agreements, but it would be silly to say "unless they do exactly what we want we won’t talk to them." Don’t confuse talk and negotiation with capitulation. You can talk and decide that the discussions have gone nowhere and then end the conversation.

And IF they are supporting insurgents who are killing Americans (and we’re likely doing special Ops in both countries, so it cuts both ways), then that’s more reason to talk. We’re not in a position to simply make demands; Iran knows that.
Written By: Scott Erb
So, Scott, you have some evidence of American Special Operations units conducting military operations inside Iran -right now- and killing IRGC soldiers as well as civilians? Or is this a "Well, it stands to reason" assertion? In other words, something you’re simply pulling out of thin air in an attempt to establish a false equivalency between US and Iranian actions.
Written By: Lysenko
URL: http://
...we have two choices
A choice that has been waiting on a decision for 3 years, such amazing indecisiveness. Even though I share your view that it is making the wrong choice to enter into concessions, I could be wrong. My joy is that something that has a chance of working (however small) is being attempted at long last.
Written By: unaha-closp

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