Iran Takes the Lead

November 22, 2006

The Associated Press learned Monday that Iranian President Ahmadinejad had invited his counterparts in Syria and Iraq for a summit to discuss ending violence in Iraq. On Tuesday, Syria and Iraq completely restored diplomatic relations after years of severed ties. With this restoration of ties, the Syrian govenment has accepted that US troops will stay in Iraq as long as the country requires them.

It is clear that some sort of meeting will be taking place this weekend between the Iraqi and Iranian leadership, and instead of applauding the effort the White House is being cautious and saying that Iran and Syria must back up their discourse with real actions.

It is also clear that if the hypothetical three-way summit takes place, it will be a major political victory for Iran. The idea of Iran and Syria working to restore stability to Iraq has been around for several weeks, with British Prime Minister Blair favoring it. However, no one has said yes to the plan, citing the need for change in Iran and Syria. With the meeting taking place, Iran would take the lead in establishing the framework of its (and Syria’s) participation in the new Iraq. This is crucial, because the framework would be pre-set without US or British influence and it would be difficult for the US or Britain to assert themselves.

Tuesday’s diplomatic agreement between Syria and Iraq was the first step in making the three-way summit a reality. The next significant step will be taken on Sunday when Ahmadinejad meets with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in Tehran to discuss the eventuality of the summit and its details.


2 Responses to “Iran Takes the Lead”

  1. […] It is not in the interests of Iran or Syria to have an unstable Lebanon. Syria has spent years bringing stability back to the country — its presence there was initially a welcome one both by Lebanon and the US — and after withdrawing its troops last year, it has no interest in going back to avert a civil war. Furthermore, Iran and Syria now have an opportunity to play key regional roles in Iraq. Tony Blair of Britain has talked of bringing in the two states to bring stability back to Iraq, a plan which may be supported by the Iraq Study Group, commissioned by President Bush. Iran has, in fact, already taken the lead in playing a role in Iraq by proposing a three-way summit between Iraq, Syria and Iran. […]

  2. […] This is yet another diplomatic step on the part of Iran to avert UN Security Council sanctions against it. Iran is slowly gearing up to play a bigger regional role; this weekend Iran’s President Ahmadinejad will be meeting with his Iraqi counterpart President Talabani to discuss three-way cooperation between Iran, Syria and Iraq in bringing stability back to war-torn Iraq. […]

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