Posted by Joshua on Monday, February 12th, 2007
Powell tells Newsweek in Blowup? America’s Hidden War With Iran: "We got plenty" from [Syria]. This is a reference to his trips to Syria in 2003 and 2004 as well as talks with Iranians. "I don't like the administration saying, 'Powell went, Armitage went … and [they] got nothing.' We got plenty," he says. "You can't negotiate when you tell the other side, 'Give us what a negotiation would produce before the negotiations start'."
Here is the passage from a must-read story on Iran, which explains how Washington has consistantly missed opportunities to help itself in Iraq. By being ideologically opposed to dealing with Iran, this administration has ensured that Iran moved right and refused help to the US. The same is true of Syria. Here is the Powell quote in full.
Powell, for one, thinks Bush simply wasn't prepared to deal with a regime he thought should not be in power. As secretary of State he met fierce resistance to any diplomatic overtures to Iran and its ally Syria. "My position in the remaining year and a half was that we ought to find ways to restart talks with Iran," he says of the end of his term. "But there was a reluctance on the part of the president to do that." The former secretary of State angrily rejects the administration's characterization of efforts by him and his top aides to deal with Tehran and Damascus as failures. "I don't like the administration saying, 'Powell went, Armitage went … and [they] got nothing.' We got plenty," he says. "You can't negotiate when you tell the other side, 'Give us what a negotiation would produce before the negotiations start'." (Thanks Ehsani for sending this along.)
Here is a second passage about Iran arming Iraqi militias. This appraisal probably fits Syria just as well as it fits Iran.
What's scant is hard evidence that the weapons are provided by the Iranian government, rather than arms dealers or rogue Revolutionary Guard elements. "Iranian lethal support for select groups of Iraqi Shia militants clearly intensifies the conflict in Iraq," says the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. But the most that can be said with certainty is that Tehran is failing to stop the traffic. The Iranians themselves admit they're not trying as hard as they could. "I can give you my word that we don't give IEDs to the Mahdi Army," says an Iranian intelligence official who asked not to be named because secrecy is his business. "But if you asked me if we could control our borders better if we wanted to, I would say: 'Yes, if we knew that the Americans would not use Iraq as a base to attack Iran'."
For those who wondered if Sen. Obama would speak out on controversial issues, risking campaign funds, we have our answer.
Obama, on Sixty Minutes tonight, was asked if he would negotiate with Syria and Iran. His answer; "I would."
No saber rattling. No boilerplate rhetoric about how bad Ahmedenijad or Assad is. No BS.
He has thus differentiated himself from Edwards and Clinton on the biggest threat America faces (the threat of war with Iran).
For those who do not follow the politics of the Middle East closely, let me tell you that Obama's statement was courageous and will cost him with the DLC-Neocon wing of the Democratic party. But he did it anyway. He simply endorsed a position that is right for America, right for Israel, and right for the entire world.