TITLE

Separate Ways

AUTHOR(S)
Lake, Eli J.
PUB. DATE
April 2003
SOURCE
New Republic;4/21/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 15/16, p20
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In the first weekend of the war in Iraq, a little-noticed statement from the U.S. State Department promised that the U.S. still took "the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran very seriously." The Middle East hands at Foggy Bottom crafted the phrase after the Iranians accused the U.S. of firing missiles into Iran's Abadan oil refinery. It turned out the missiles were Iraqi, but State still used the occasion to send Tehran a message: You're not next. The public statement echoed private communications that had been taking place in recent months in Geneva between the U.S. envoy to the Iraqi opposition, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Iranian diplomats. In these talks, Khalilzad reportedly emphasized to the Iranians that the U.S. believed they could be valuable assets in the Iraq war. But State miscalculated. Three weeks into the war, it's apparent the Iranians have every intention of sabotaging both America's battle plans and its efforts to rebuild Iraq. Iran, in fact, has been welcoming anyone who fought the coalition forces with open arms. Yet, despite Iran's clear actions, the administration of U.S. President George w. Bush administration has failed to develop a clear response. In his meetings with the Iranian diplomats, Khalilzad hoped to cement Iran's neutrality in the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Khalilzad wanted to secure promises that Tehran would not flood Iraq with agents to stir up trouble for American troops or open Iran's borders to fleeing Iraqi fighters and other people American forces would want to detain. In exchange for this help, Khalilzad promised to include Iranian-backed Iraqi groups in the government that replaces Saddam Hussein and to pursue better relations with Tehran once the campaign with Iraq is over. To demonstrate America's willingness to work with Iranian-supported Iraqi exiles, the United States even offered to train the Badr Brigade, an Iranian-based group of Iraqi Shia known for their Islamist sympathies.
ACCESSION #
9535832

 

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