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Iran, U.S. maneuvering over Iraq scenario

TEHRAN, Aug. 8 (Mehr News Agency) -- Unexpected changes could undermine the Iran-U.S. negotiations that recently began.

The United States had felt compelled to depend on the success of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government and to negotiate with and give concessions to its archenemy Iran to achieve that goal, but with the recent changes in Iraq's political landscape, the U.S. might change tack.

However, the Iran-U.S. negotiations on Iraq entered a new phase with the establishment of a trilateral security committee.

Yet, it seems that Iran is now the party most concerned about solving Iraq's problems and making progress in the Iran-U.S.-Iraq negotiations, while it appears that the U.S. camp only wants to kill time.

Al-Maliki's government is now facing the crisis created by the resignation of six Sunni ministers from the Iraqi National Accord, which has made the U.S. take a more cautious approach.

Certain Arab countries immediately welcomed the destabilization of al-Maliki's cabinet. In the meantime, the U.S. has offered an unprecedented arms deal to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other Arab countries worth $60 billion. Putting these pieces of the puzzle together, possible scenarios for Iraq and the region come to view.

With this turn of events, the U.S. no longer feels it needs to trust al-Maliki with the golden key of Iraqi security.

So it seems that the delay in making the trilateral security committee operational is part of the U.S. strategy.

The U.S. believes it is possible that a government in line with Western and Arab policies will take power in Iraq in the near future so that Iraq's problems can be solved in a more favorable way and without any need to negotiate with Iran.

Of course, the U.S. is currently studying possible scenarios and weighing its options. If al-Maliki's government survives and succeeds in solving its legitimacy problem, the U.S. will abandon this strategy.

Thus, Iran must take every eventuality into consideration.

Al-Maliki's government is currently calling on Iran to continue negotiations with the U.S. and has adopted a moderate, balanced, and constructive position.

However, if a new government is established in Iraq, it will almost certainly not be as moderate and friendly as al-Maliki's.

It might begin making accusations against Iran, in line with the policies of the U.S. and Arab countries of the region.

The fall of al-Maliki's government and its replacement by a Sunni government would shatter the illusion of solidarity between the Shias and the United States -- an illusion that has been haunting many Iraqi political players since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

If this happened, a massive propaganda campaign would probably be launched against Iran by the Iraqi government, the U.S., and certain Arab countries, which would provide a golden opportunity for Iran's rivals and enemies to isolate the country.

Of course, if the al-Maliki government survives, the process of Iran-U.S. negotiations should be accelerated and the trilateral security committee should be activated.

Clearly, the fate of the al-Maliki government and the Iran-U.S. negotiations are intertwined.

(Aug. 8 Tehran Times Opinion Column)





... Payvand News - 8/8/07 ... --

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