Powell Says, “We got plenty” from Syria in Talks

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'."

M.J. Rosenberg on Obama

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.

Comments (58)


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51. Gibran said:

Thanks 3antar for the Daniel Pipes article link. The conclusion of the article clearly reinforces the belief shared by major faiths: The devil’s rise will be spectacular and so will be his demise. I don’t believe any amount of taqqiyya (dissimilution) will save him this time.

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February 13th, 2007, 4:16 pm

 

52. Atassi said:

Ford Prefect
Welcome back. We missed your excellent writing and analyses..

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February 13th, 2007, 4:23 pm

 

53. ugarit said:

Akbar Palace said:

AP quotes me “The mental midget facilitated the suicide bombers into Iraq. There was no such thing in Iraq prior to the mental midgets aggression.”

AP says: “I see. So prior to Bush, there were no innocent people being killed.”

I say> I said no such thing. Of course there were innocent people dying.

AP says> “Moreover Bush is “facilitating” suicide bombers in Iraq. He’s arming them with semtex? He’s paying for their materials? He’s lifting their swords to decapitate their victims?”

I say> You need to look up what facilitate means. It means “to make easier or less difficult”. Bush has clearly made it far easier for the carnage to start by any side. There were no suicide bombers in Iraq prior to the US aggression. There were now American soldiers dying by Iraqi IEDs.

AP quotes Ugarit: “You do know, I hope, that Bush is responsible for directly or indirectly killing nearly as many Iraqis that Saddam had killed in decades.”

AP says: “Iraqi Death Count (an anti-war website dedicated to counting the dead in Iraq due to the war there), shows a good estimate to the number of civilian casualties. They are FAR LESS than the number of deaths Saddam caused by stifling his opposition and and quelling unrest. The 300,000 found in mass graves are just one indication.”

I say> It’s interesting that you quote that one and not the more reliable source. I’ll leave that as homework for you to find. Let me know if you need help with that. Oh by the way the US has facilitated a refugee problem of about 2 million Iraqis. Good job America. Bravo for your humanity and kindness.

AP quotes me: “If he truely cared about Democracy and freedom and dignity he would be after Israel and Saudi Arabia for their apartheid regimes.”

AP claims: Just FYI and Jimmah Carter’s, there is no “Apartheid Regime” in Israel. “Apartheid” is a nicely loaded word to hit the Zionist Hoodlums over the head with, but it would NOT pertain to any reality, definition, or otherwise. Keep trying…

I say> It is loaded with reality and facts. Even anti-South African Apartheid activists say Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza is an apartheid system.

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February 13th, 2007, 4:34 pm

 

54. norman said:

Israel does not want a negotiated peace with the Palestinians ,Israel wants the Palestinian to axcept the peace that it likes : the Palestinians stay in the cities while Israel controls the roads around the cities and between them in adition to the farm land ,the Palestinians will provide cheap labor for Israel ,the Palestinian authority will be the jailer for these Palestinians.I wonder if the Israelies will axcept the same deal .

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February 13th, 2007, 4:58 pm

 

55. ausamaa said:

You know guys,I have been watching the news intensively during the last four, say five, years, as I am sure all of you have, and as of lately I have really become encouraged that something good may come out this mess which Mr. Bush has got himself and the world into. That good thing is an awakening of the American people. I beleive the Iraq war and its aftershocks. The frustration that engulfed all of us. The fall of the legendary myths people held about invincible superpowers and mini-superpowers. The growing realization that row force, used in Iraq, against Taliban, or against Lebanon or in the West Bank and Gaza, can acheive nothing on its own, or by its own. The American public seems to be in fury. So, to a lesser degree, is the Israeli public. They have been cheated and misled, I beleive they realise. And they want to change. The neo-cons have overdone it, it seems. And nobody is buying anymore. And, I think people are afraid now of what their leaders may do. They realise that those leaders have gotten them in a very bad spot. And that the worse is yet to come.They are afraid of Bush really going for it against Iran. And when people are afraid of what their leaders might do, that is when they force the leaders to stop doing what they are doing in their name. And the leaders, Mr. Bush especially, seem to be feeling those fears. And he may be sensing that things are getting out of his hands. What with Russia and China And maybe, just maybe, realising that staying the course is not a choice. You can sense such hesitation in the way the Administration is handling North Korea. And you can sense it in their allowing the Saudi King broker a deal between Hamas and Fateh. And you can sense it in the reduced itchiness to go to war against Iran. Yes, the threats and the bravado is still there, but I think the worse is behind us. You can sense it in American politicians’, and American military men, public remarks about the Israeli lobby and about Israel. A sense of realism. Victory can be intoxicating,and misleading. But not being able to achieve it can be frustrating, and it also can send you sole-searching. And that is where mainstream America is right now. Which is something new to us who have been watching America, and what America is and how America looks through its media for decades. And now, things look different. A lot. You can tune in to NBC and sense a whole nation refusing what is done in its name. And wanting to change. And maybe, that change is good for us as well. Maybe it is good for Arabs who want change and want peace and democracy; but who can not achieve it on their own. Definitly not when they are faced with row military power. Yes. For some reason I feel that change is coming. Not where President Bush wanted it to happen, but from where President Bush stands. And I think that is the key to any meaningfull overall change. Many of us may have given up on President Bush, I know. But not many can give up on the American people. The post September 11 American people. I hope I am right. A bit of realism arising from total chaos – where we exactly are- is not too much to hope for. Or is it, yet?

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February 13th, 2007, 5:17 pm

 

56. Akbar Palace said:

Ausamma makes a prediction:

“You can tune in to NBC and sense a whole nation refusing what is done in its name. And wanting to change….But not many can give up on the American people. The post September 11 American people. I hope I am right.”

Ausamma –

Would you like to make a wager as to who the next US President will be? Republican or Democrat?

As far as “change” is concerned, I’ll wager a “moderate” amount of baksheesh that our next president will be a Republican. I hope this is the change you’re looking for. If Lebanon is any indication, we aren’t quite “post 9-11” yet…

Norman’s 2 cents:

“Israel does not want a negotiated peace with the Palestinians ,Israel wants the Palestinian to axcept the peace that it likes…”

Actually the parties DID negotiate peace and came a lot closer to an agreement than you care to admit…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taba_summit

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February 13th, 2007, 5:34 pm

 

57. majedkhaldoun said:

“but I think the worse is behind us”,I hope so, but I happen to believe the opposite,the source of evil in the arab world is still there,and the arab leaders still the same,nothing changed

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February 13th, 2007, 5:46 pm

 

58. 3antar said:

I think Norman was implying that what was labeled as negotiation wasn’t and came close but failed because it was a peace imposed rather than negotiated. so yeah, your right. came close, not close enough for those reasons though. ts ts ts

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February 13th, 2007, 5:58 pm

 

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