Sometimes you have to wonder if we’re not living in a perpetual twilight zone.
The US and Israeli governments incessantly berate Syria and Iran for being destabilizing influences in the Middle East region and wanting to undermine Israel, but every time they offer to talk peace (even without conditions) Washington says no. In 2003, Iran offered the grand bargain that essentially met every demand from Washington, including entering into peace talks with Israel, which was rejected.
It was a proposal from Iran for a broad dialogue with the United States, and the fax suggested everything was on the table — including full cooperation on nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups.
Our Christian friends in Washington only appreciate the dark side when there are bombs involved.
“But as soon as it got to the White House, and as soon as it got to the Vice-President’s office, the old mantra of ‘We don’t talk to evil’… reasserted itself.”
Why is it that we are constantly reminded that they are committed to diplomacy?
Even as American officials reluctantly agreed last month to include Syrian representatives in multiparty talks on Iraqi security issues, the Bush administration continues to block Israel from resuming negotiations with Syria over its security concerns. In 2003, President Bashar al-Assad offered to resume peace talks with Israel where they had left off three years earlier, but Israel, backed by the Bush administration, refused. Assad eventually agreed to reenter peace negotiations without preconditions, but even these overtures were rejected.
This is what the US Secretary of state regards as diplomacy, at least as recently as February.
Indeed, when Israeli officials asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about pursuing exploratory talks with Syria, her answer, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was, “don’t even think about it.”
Perhaps the failing surge in Iraq has forced Washington to become more pragmatic. Condi has just met with Syria’s foreign minister and greeted the Iranian minister in Egypt. While this does not mean the two countries have been removed from Washington’s cross hairs, one can only hope that by “all options are on the table”, they are not merely referring to which weapons they are considering using.