Thursday, November 01, 2007

How Everything is Interconnected ...

Secretary Rice's trip to Turkey-and the likely reception she will receive--is the clearest signal to date that our attempts to "compartmentalize" the problems of the Middle East, to deal with each crisis and issue as if it could stand alone, is breaking down.

Some of the interconnections:

--Turkey shares a "community of interest" in minimizing Kurdish separatism with Syria and Iran--at a time when the United States is hoping to further isolate Tehran and Damascus. Meanwhile, Iraq is now asking for Iranian assistance in finding a soution with Turkey.

--cross-border security arrangements for any final settement between the Israelis and the Palestinians would rest largely on the assumption that they could and would be enforced. As I noted yesterday, problems in Northern Iraq undermine further any remaining confidence that outside powers--the U.S., NATO or some other international force--would be prepared to enforce border security as part of a peace deal.

--having made what Iran's president believes about the Holocaust--rather than simply focusing on Iran's concrete actions--part of the case for increasing pressure on Tehran, the whole question of the Armenian genocide resolution--which is simply postponed, not resolved-remains on the table.

--Russian statements for Turkey to show restraint serve Moscow's interests, because if Turkey does engage in a cross-border operation without any significant penalty from the United States, the Russian claim of a usable precedent for possible actions in the Caucasus is raised.

The old spiritual based on the image of the bones of the skeleton joining together in the Book of Ezekiel--the leg bone is connected to the thigh bone, and so on, is an apt metaphor to consider.

Nick, you might also want to look at the dynamics of Saudi and Iranian involvement to try and find workable solutions. Don't think Riyadh is too happy with US efforts in recent days.
Interesting the thought that policy toward Iran was a driving factor in getting the Armenian resolution to a vote in the committee--haven't seen much public discussion of this.
"Interesting the thought that policy toward Iran was a driving factor in getting the Armenian resolution to a vote in the committee" - tha's no what nick means, he means the armenian genocide resolution as a leverage against the turks not to go into iraq, if i understand it correctly.
there were two factors, i think--resolution as leverage against turkey but also for some of the democrats who propsoed engagement with iran being told by neocons you can't talk to someone who denies holocaust and can't sacrifice principle to get a deal with iran
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