Friday, May 25, 2007

Who's in charge?

M K Bhadrakumar at the Asia Times provides an excellent analysis of the current situation between Iran and the US, and what that means for the upcoming talks about stabilizing Iraq. So far, he says, things don't look too good:
First, Washington has adopted an inexplicably obdurate stance over the detention of five Iranian diplomats who were kidnapped by US forces in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil in January. Their continued detention is illogical insofar as their kidnapping itself has turned out to be a fiasco, a case of mistaken identity. The US has turned down the Iranian request for consular access to the detainees, sought through the International Committee of the Red Cross.
As one would suspect, the arrest and accusations against Haleh Esfandiari by Tehran can be linked to the Iranian hostages in Iraq. As far as I can tell, this linkage is never made in the US press, while all the academics file on stage to voice their outrage and protest the innocence of Esfandiari, the idea that some sort of quid pro quo is going on is never mentioned.

But for all the bluster and blather that the US puts forward, the facts on the ground remain unchanged:
The talks on Iraq may have become a sideshow. Iran rightly estimates that the United States' Iraq quagmire is after all not going to vanish. With just two days to go, Tehran had yet to name its diplomat to sit across the table from Crocker.
Perhaps another reason the Iranians have not named the diplomat is that they don't know who they'll be talking to, in the sense that they don't know who is in charge of US foreign policy. Reports of a half-crazed VP trying to block the good Condi from actually negotiating are surfacing, and Feckless Leader seems as confused as ever, as badger says:
Who would be so idiotic as to assign foreign policy in one place to the Secretary of State and policy in a nearby place to her rival the Vice-president? And I would say the answer is that it is someone who would be idiotic enough to approve of the Cheney-Bandar scheme, then later, perhaps during a lucid spell, decide to let the rival group have it shut down.
Badger's post focused on the current flair up in Lebanon, and the reporting that the AlQaeda type group involved has been funded by the US and the Saudis at the instigation of Cheney. Add that to the Iranian confusion and the still blocked North Korea talks and we see a administration that shows no sign of knowing what they are doing.

But let's face it, so far, when push has come to shove, Feckless Leader has always backed Cheney.


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