Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Regional steps toward Iraqi success

The much anticipated regional conference hosted by the Iraqi government took place in Baghdad over the weekend. According to the Christian Science Monitor on Monday, there were two immediate outcomes. The conference enabled the Iraqi government to appear as legitimate in front of its neighbors and, according to the article, “heralded the Bush administration’s evolving conversion from unilateralism to hard-nosed diplomacy under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.”

Though officials at the conference continually blamed each other’s governments for the current situation in Iraq, working groups were also formed to tackle important issues, such as border security. “[The conference] has a lot of symbolic value for the Iraqis, because it puts them out there at least on the surface as in the driver’s seat of their own affairs in the region,” said Wayne White, a former State Department expert on Iraq.

Additional dialogue between Iran and the U.S., in part to discuss Iraq, is anticipated to take place as soon as next month. “Iran is looking for a strategic opening to be treated as an equal player in the region,” said Mohammed Hadi Semati, a Tehran University professor who recently worked for various Washington think tanks. Additionally, Semati noted that the U.S. “feels its pressure on Iran has worked, and so is in a better position, and Iran feels it has significant influence in Iraq.”

A larger, second, ministerial-level regional conference is planned for upcoming weeks.

For the full article, click here.


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