Thursday, November 24, 2005

Peace Talks in Cairo don't include US: "The United States has so far been hostile at worst and lukewarm at best in regard to a critical peace initiative by the League of Arab States. A major conference held in Cairo this weekend provided the spectrum of Iraq’s political class with an opportunity to engage in a give-and-take about a negotiated end to the war in Iraq. During the three-day conference, which ended Monday, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani made an offer to start talks with the armed Iraqi fighters. 'If those who call themselves the Iraqi resistance desired to contact me, I would welcome them,” said Talabani."

"The fact that the United States is not trumpeting the importance of the Cairo peace talks, and the fact that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other top-level officials did not attend it, are failures of diplomacy. Not only did scores of Iraqi political leaders travel to Cairo to talk face to face in a manner that could not have happened in Baghdad, but the meeting was also attended by heads of state, including Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and by the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran. After three days of talks, the attendees decided to convene a full-fledged peace conference in Cairo in late February or early March.

"The significance of the meeting is that it brought together Shiite and Kurdish officials with leaders of various Sunni factions, including some of those with close ties to the Iraqi resistance. Waiting in the wings were people representing a spectrum of groups currently battling the U.S. occupation. According to Aiham al-Sammarae, who served in Iraq’s 2003-2004 interim government, several leaders of insurgent groups went to Cairo to participate on the fringes of the meeting. Opposition from Iraq’s main Shiite parties made it impossible for them to attend the conference itself, but that may be the next step. In a surprising statement after the conference, the attendees condemned terrorism but added that “resistance is a legitimate right of all peoples.” "

"The conference drew strong support from Russia, from the European Union, whose chief foreign affairs official, Javier Solana, helped organize it, and from the United Nations. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan also helped organize the meeting and sent Ashraf Qazi, his special representative, to the conference itself. The broad support from virtually all of the international community made the cool reception from the United States even more glaring."

The future of Iraq is being decided in Cairo and the US is not even present. We havent seen a superpower looking this helpless since the future of Easten Europe was being decided while hundreds of Red Army tanks were parked uselessly and impotently in Warsaw pact bases. In fact it is worse: American force are being shot up on a daily basis with the consent of the parties to the peace talks to which the US is not even a partner. If the US doesnt stitch together in short order some sort of 'declare victory and come home' policy it is facing the mother of all humiliations - defeat and expulsion from the Middle East with scorn and contempt. In fact that outcome and perception might already be impossible to avoid.

No comments: