"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Friday, April 25, 2008

Is something afoot

I'm no expert on the Middle East but there are some interesting things that appear to be happening

1) Syria/Israel : Israel and Syria Hint at Progress on Golan Heights Deal - New York Times

Syria is close to Iran, is there something stirring?

2) Iraq: Top Sunni Bloc Is Set to Rejoin Cabinet in Iraq - New York Times

"Even though Mr. Maliki’s American-backed offensive against elements of the Mahdi Army has frequently stalled and has led to bitter complaints of civilian casualties, the Sunni leaders said that the government had done enough to address their concerns that they had decided to end their boycott."

Where does Iran fit in here?

Will there be breakthroughs or measurable progress?
Will there be some sort of a deal, more than one deal?

Are things happening behind the scenes between the US and Iran?

What might the implications be for the Presidential Election?

Interesting snippet: MICHAEL BURLEIGH � Iraq and Finland
"This may sound like one of those Eng Lit couplings: Conrad and Fleming. In fact, as President Bush recently acknowledged, the US needs Iran to leave Iraq in a long-term stable condition. It is currently Iran that is not turning up to the offer of meetings. One scenario I’ve heard about is the Finnish solution. At the end of WWII, the US and USSR agreed that while Finland would be a democracy based on liberal capitalism, it would not join NATO and major decisions would be subject to Soviet veto. Although the prospect seems unlikely, Iran is terrified of a revival of Sunni dominance and a renewal of the war which cost a million Iranian dead in the 1980s. The US is also adamant that Iraq’s oil will not fall under Iranian suasion. One solution is therefore for Iraq to become a latterday Finland. Independent, but incapable of menacing its neighbours. That would also assuage Saudi fears about a Shia dominated northern neighbour. Incidentally, last week Bush expressly ruled out the idea of bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, claiming that this problem had to be resolved with diplomacy."

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