Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, center, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during an official meeting in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006. A photo of Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Khomeini, hangs on the wall.
Iran on Wednesday touted its weekend summit with the Iraqi and Syrian presidents, moving to secure a larger role in the region just as President Bush prepares to head to the Mideast for meetings on reducing American involvement in Iraq.
The Iranian parliamentary speaker, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, told the official Islamic Republic News Agency that Saturday’s summit in Tehran is designed to bring Iran,
Syria and Iraq closer together. “We hope the summit will boost relations between the three countries,” he said.
Iranian analyst Ahmad Bakhshayesh said the government has more specific aims.
“Iran wants to increase its influence in Iraq,” said Bakhshayesh, a professor of political science at Allameh University in Tehran. “It also wants to support the government in Iraq so it can stand on its own feet after the United States has withdrawn its forces.”
The editorial writer in the conservative Kayhan newspaper went further, writing in Wednesday’s edition that the summit would “shake the U.S. president” as he faces strong disapproval of his war strategy.
Victor Davis Hanson has it RIGHT with So Close, so Far: no, no, no….
But why would either Damascus or Teheran wish to talk? The answer is plain. The former wants to profess to cool it a bit in destabilizing Iraq in exchange for us turning a blind eye in Lebanon; the latter wants to act like stopping the sending of agents of our destruction into Iraq in exchange for cooling our rhetoric about their bomb. What we would be doing in essence by â€œdialoguingâ€ is saying to both the democracies in Lebanon and Israel, â€œSorry, but we have to find a way out of Iraq, and these fascists will promise to turn away from us if they can turn on you.â€
All this is dressed up with realist â€œmaturityâ€ and â€œconcernâ€ but it would be consistent with those who brought us Iran-Contra, aid to both Iran and Iraq in their war, stopping before Baghdad, hugs with the House of Saud that paid money to those who killed Americans, and on and on. If Syria and Iran can be assured of a truce, that we wonâ€™t destabilize them at home or stop their adventurism abroad, then they might let us save face in Iraq. That they would ever honor such a deal is absurd, that we would ever believe they would is worse than absurd.
For five long years many of us have praised this administrationâ€™s constancy and idealism, in removing the Taliban and Saddam, and then staying on to do the hard, the easily caricatured work of democratization. The liberal hawks have long bailed. The paleos have turned venomous in their criticism. Many of the neo-cons have sought escape by blaming the flawed occupation for ruining their supposedly perfect three-week take-down of Saddam. But there are millions of us still out there who, Jacksonian in spirit, close ranks and will support our troops wherever they are. But we simply cannot ask Americans to die in Anbar province while talking to the Iranians and Syrians who are doing their best through surrogates in killing them.
And the President should make THIS CRYSTAL CLEAR to Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki when they meet in Jordan.