US & UK Don’t See Eye-to-Eye

November 15, 2006

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has spoken out against the potentiality of directly talking to Iran and Syria. The plan, favored by Tony Blair, has been circulated in the last week or so; anticipation has been high as the world awaits the Iraq Study Group‘s verdict on a US exit strategy from Iraq.

Rice’s statements come among speculation that there is a divide developing between Britain and the US, two close allies in Iraq. The speculation has been so far-reaching that the White House even denied that their is a rift developing, by blaming reporters’ use of language in covering Blair’s meeting with the ISG.

When such speculation surfaces and when the White House takes the time to prepare a fact sheet explaining that there is no divide, chances are that there is some truth to the speculation. The question is how much truth.

What we do know is that Blair did address the idea of working with Iran and Syria yesterday. And, in consequence, Condoleeza Rice has said that Iran and Syria are not ready for direct talks. According to the US Secretary of State, Iran has not indicated a willingness to talk. Ms Rice disregarded Ahmadinejad’s readiness to talk to a “corrected” US. Syria, on the other hand, has once again been accused of causing trouble in Lebanon and insulting US allies.

The current differences are not significant yet, but may become so once the ISG delivers its report to President Bush. In the meantime, the US and Britain have time to come to an understanding. After all, Britain is the US’ closest ally in Iraq. And the US does not want to be left alone in the embattled region, once UK troops start to withdraw.


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