Holding Hands In Tehran
Yes, that's a picture of the Iraqi Prime Minister and Iran's President. Holding hands. They look as if they're singing Nat King Cole: "There's a smile on my face! For the whole human race! Why it's almost...like being...in love!"
Zoey & Me of Cat in the Bag found the picture at The Fat Lady Sings, which posted it on August 9th. Didn't see it, or hear about the visit? Neither did anyone else who doesn't rely on Al-Jazeera for their Mid-East news.
So. Questions. What exactly was the PM of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, doing in Tehran two weeks ago? Coming only 2 days after US and Iranian officials held "frank exchanges" in Baghdad, why would he want "stability talks" with Iran? And why is Maliki visiting Syria today, where Damascus called on him to set a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq? Why is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's President (the guy smiling like a prom queen in the picture above) planning on visiting Iraq? When the President of Afghanistan's Poppy Flower Trade Association (PFTA), Hamid Kharzai, visited the US at about the same time Maliki was in Tehran, why did he describe Iran as "a helper and a solution" on CNN? He then went home to greet the Iranian President in Kabul, who gave him US$250 million in aid for a water plant, dental college, and medical equipment.
Bush's stinging, Zeus-like response to Karzai was: "I would be very cautious about whether the Iranian influence in Afghanistan is a positive force." Pardon me while I don a filthy London Fog trench coat for my Columbo routine: I'm confused. Gosh. I hate to be a bother, but...what with being a Sole Superpower and all, I thought maybe it meant...you didn't have to take this kind of guff?
I realize you folks who read this blog don't need Columbo to connect the dots for you, but I was genuinely surprised to see all these developments unfold in a two-week time period. They point to a wall which is hidden from our view, which has glowing writing on it. I'll close with this quote from another news article:
After departing from Kabul, Mr Ahmadinejad was due to fly to Turkmenistan before going on to Kyrgyzstan to attend a summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a body created by Russia and China to address regional security threats, foster economic integration and counter US influence in central Asia.Iran is going to become a full-fledged member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. It's an anti-NATO club whose membership looks like this:
Iran has observer status with the organisation but is trying to form closer links. Mr Ahmadinejad is expected to meet the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and Hu Jintao, the president of China, at the meeting.
An attack on Iran (put off by the Whack House until early 2008, according to a source) will mean retaliation from Russia and China. One would hope for some restraint, but Pootie just sent the nuke-packing long-range Tupolev-95 bombers back on patrol. They buzzed Scotland and Guam, and fighters were scrambled in each case. Feeling a bit chilly in here. Maybe the trench coat wasn't such a bad idea.