Iraq again called a disaster

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 at 05:30 PM

At least one retired U.S. General has long ago called our adventure in Iraq a disaster. Now Kofi Annan says that Middle Eastern leaders generally consider it a disaster, and one which is destabilizing the region:

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Wednesday that most leaders in the Middle East believe the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath "a real disaster" for the region.

Annan said many leaders believed the United States should stay until Iraq improves, while others, such as Iran, said the United States should leave immediately. That means that the United States has found itself in the difficult position where "it cannot stay and it cannot leave."

"Most of the leaders I spoke to felt the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath has been a real disaster for them," Annan said. "They believe it has destabilized the region."

Annan returned from a two-week trip to the Middle East late last week. His main goal was to get leaders to support a Security Council resolution imposing a cease-fire in Lebanon, but he said he discussed other issues such as Iraq with the leaders he met.

Iran offered to help the United States leave but did not go into details, Annan said. He would not give his own thoughts on whether he believed the United States should leave Iraq yet.

"The timing has to be optimum and it has to be arranged in such a way that it does not lead to even greater disruption or violence in the region," he said.

Not at all surprising is the quick denial of disaster status by Tony Snow.

One pretty undeniable consequence of this misadventure is the growing bond between Iran and the official Iraqi government.  Now Iran, during a visit by the Iraqi Prime Minister, is positioning itself on the high ground that the U.S. has so much trouble maintaining in Iraq.  The report today says:

Iran on Wednesday condemned "terrorist acts" in Iraq and said it supported the Baghdad government's efforts to end the violence, as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki wrapped up his first official visit to Tehran.

"Iran condemns terrorist acts in Iraq and gives its complete support to the Iraqi government and people in their fight against terrorism and criminal activity," a joint statement said, the IRNA agency reported.

Maliki on his two-day visit won a pledge from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Tehran's help in restoring security to its insurgency-plagued neighbour and also held talks with supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

'Part of the problem'

The United States had reacted warily to Iran's pledge on Tuesday of unequivocal support in restoring security to Iraq, accusing Tehran of being "part of the problem" in the war-wracked country.

The Islamic republic has emerged as one of the strongest allies of the Shi'ite-dominated government in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein, but has also drawn criticism for allegedly aiding Shi'ite militants.

The US military in August accused Iranian forces of training and providing weapons to Shi'ite extremists in Iraq in order to carry out violent attacks in the war-torn country.

Shi'ites form a majority in Iraq, and their ascendancy has given the government in overwhelmingly Shi'ite Iran an increased say in the affairs of its neighbour - although Tehran vehemently denies the US charges of interference.

This is so unlikely to come out any way that the people who instigated it would like it to come out.  And at what a cost.