Tuesday, November 21, 2006



There were a lot of wild predictions in early 2003 about how the world, and the United States in particular, would be better off once Saddam Hussein was removed from power in Iraq. But even those vehemently against the war dared to suggest that regime change in iraq would result in a new alliance between Iran, Syria and Iraq.

But that is exactly the reality now unfolding.

From the Associated Press :
Iran has invited the Iraqi and Syrian presidents to Tehran for a weekend summit with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to hash out ways to cooperate in curbing the runaway violence that has taken Iraq to the verge of civil war and threatens to spread through the region, four key lawmakers told The Associated Press on Monday.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has accepted the invitation and will fly to the Iranian capital Saturday, a close parliamentary associate said.

Iran is flexing its muscles in a chaotic Middle East, following the recent Israel-Lebanon 34 day war. Syria and Lebanon are already clearly under the influence of the Iranian regime. Claims that Iran is funneling fighters and weapons into Iraq refuse to die down.

The "three-way" summit is further proof of just how much influence Iran and Syria is having in shaping the future of the Middle East, now the United States is widely percieved as rushing to find a way to pull its troops out of Iraq.
Both Iran and Syria are seen as key players in Iraq. Syria is widely believed to have done little to stop foreign fighters and al-Qaida in Iraq recruits from crossing its border to join Sunni insurgents in Iraq. It also has provided refuge for many top members of Saddam Hussein's former leadership and political corps, which is thought to have organized arms and funding for the insurgents.

The Sunni insurgency, since it sprang to life in late summer 2003, has been responsible for most of the U.S. deaths in Iraq.

Iran is deeply involved in training, funding and arming the two major Shiite militias in Iraq, where Tehran has deep historic ties to the current Shiite political leadership. Many Iraqi Shiites spent years in Iranian exile during Saddam's decades in power in Baghdad. One militia, the Badr Brigade, was trained in Iran by the Revolutionary Guard.

The much vaulted 'Iraq Study Group' initiated by US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, is expected to recommend that Iran and Syria be brought into the fold to end the 'War On Iraq'. Some see the Iranian weekend conference as key players in the Middle East getting in first, so it doesn't appear as though the US is directing Iran and Syria and Iraq talks.

Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will use the summit to show the world that he is a 'man of peace', helping to clear up the American mess in his neighbourhood. The summit is also likely to boost the credibility of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and do much to repair the frosty relationship between Syria and the current president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani.

Incredibly, the summit is also expected to pave the way for a return of full diplomatic ties between Syria, Iraq and Iran, a result of the chaos of the Iraq War not predicted in detail by the pro-war or anti-war think tanks. Sryia and Iraq were all but warring enemies for much of the past 24 years, since Syria backed Iran after Iraq attacked Iran, backed unofficially by the United States, in the early 1980s.

From the UK Guardian :
Iran already has close relations with the Iraqi government. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawa party, as well as the largest Iraqi Shia party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, were based in Iran in exile during the Saddam Hussein era.

US officials have repeatedly accused Syria of allowing former Ba'athist insurgents as well as al-Qaida sympathisers to pass into Iraq from Syria. The Iraqi Ba'athists are said to have training camps in Syria - a charge that Syria denies. It says it cannot control its long, largely desert border with Iraq but has improved security patrols in response to US requests.

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