Sunday, September 03, 2006

What's the Policy? James Baker offers assurances; Rumsfeld says "No appeasement"

The Baghdad/London based daily Azzaman said on Saturday Sept 2 that James Baker was in Baghdad talking to the senior Sunni officials in the Iraqi government. That much Reuters said too. What Azzaman added, and no one seemed to pick up on, was that Baker came bearing a message from Bush to the tribal chiefs and other Iraqi leaders not currently part of the political process, the gist of which was to offer assurances "to all parties" in exchange for serious efforts to stop the violence. In other words, Azzaman's point was that Baker appeared to be trying to re-start or give a legup to PM Maliki's national reconciliation project, currently stymied on issues including the "timetable for withdrawal" issue, and also Sunni groups' demands for "recognition of the national resistance," something the US had adamantly opposed.

If, as it appears, Baker is trying to promote this delicate process of negotiation and assurances (actually the Azzaman journalist uses the word tatmiinaat, which my Hans Wehr dictionary translates with "appeasement" [!] among other words), then surely it is noteworthy that at the same time we have Defence Secretary Rumsfeld shouting "No appeasement!" It is hard to know what to make of this. Is one position an actual policy and the other a smokescreen? Or are the neocons and Rumsfeld on one side of this and the adults on the other side, with Junior on the sidelines letting them battle it out?


Post a Comment

<< Home