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February 15, 2008

Walking In Vs. Sneaking In
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

I was at an event recently with Ray Takeyh, who made an excellent point about the American position inside Iraq as opposed to the Iranian position.  When, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans a trip to Iraq, he announces it and even lays out an itinerary

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will travel to Iraq next month in the first such visit by a leader of the Islamic Republic, Iraqi officials said Thursday, adding that Iran had postponed a fourth round of talks with the United States to discuss Iraq's security.

Invited by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Ahmadinejad is scheduled to arrive March 2 for a visit of two to three days to discuss bilateral relations, the officials said. He will also meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki…

Ahmadinejad is scheduled to visit the southern Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, Dabbagh said. Among other issues, the two neighbors are slated to discuss joint projects, mostly along their 900-mile-long border, including electricity stations and oil fields, Dabbagh said.

When is the last time President Bush, Secretary Gates, or Secretary Rice made an announced trip to Iraq?  I don’t know if any U.S. Cabinet level official has done something like that since 2004 or ever?  The last time the President was there in September, the trip was shrouded in secrecy.  And when Gates was there earlier this week it was for a “surprise visit.”  The security measures for any visit from a U.S. Cabinet level official to Iraq are intense.  Meanwhile, Iranian government officials just don’t need nearly the same level of security.

This juxtaposition says something profound about the relative influence of Iran and the United States inside Iraq.


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You're right to point this out, Ilan Goldenberg. I would just add that in the past the Iraqis have shown a willingness to forge ahead with agreements with the Iranians, some even pertaining to sensitive issues such as Iraq's internal security. It must also be admitted that Ahmadinejad is demonstrating a level of personal courage in undertaking this trip, into what is in many ways an adverse foreign war zone.

If your point is the US should start arming terrorists to attack visiting dignitaries in the same manner as Iran, I have to disagree with your profound perspective.

This juxtaposition says something profound about the relative influence of Iran and the United States inside Iraq.

I can't identify the profound point. The juxtaposition just seems to point to something rather obvious about the difference between a country that is occupying and bombing substantial parts of Iraq, imprisoning thousands of Iraqis, and continuing to fight a war there on a daily basis, and a neighboring country that is not occupying or bombing Iraq, or fighting there in any substantial amount.

The U.S. is providing weapons to all sorts of people in Iraq, with which they may assassinate their enemies or do most anything they please.

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