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Not 'if' but 'where'
by Thanos Kalamidas
2006-11-20 09:49:45
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So this was it. After all these announcements, mails and blackmails, threats and words, it all came down to if we should talk with Iran and Syria or not. Tony Blair began by talking about it before his visit to the Middle East, but it seems that it made everybody start thinking. So, where is the answer because it is not 'what' anymore? 'Where' are Teheran and Damascus ready to talk and will Washington D.C. be sat at the same table?

Witnesses and history recall that when the British PM, Neville Chamberlain, came back from Germany days before the beginning of WWII, he was living the best day of his life. While waving the paper with his and Hitler's signature, he was feeling the like the man that saved the earth. He had secured peace. It took only days for WWII to start and he died knowing that it was the worst day of his life. He had been mislead to believe that he had signed a peace treaty, when the only thing he had done was give Hitler more time to prepare his war machine.

A few years later, Hitler did exactly the same to Stalin with only one difference, which later proved substantial; Stalin needed the same time to prepare his war machine. Today, who is Chamberlain, who is Hitler and who is Stalin? I doubt that Tony Blair wants to be remembered as Chamberlain. From the other side, the Middle East has nothing to do with a Europe of the last mid-century. The Middle East of today is a mixture of local and international politics, interests in oil and gold, bargains and blackmails, secrets and lies, words and signs, most of all, it is a place where nobody trusts nobody; actually, it is just like the markets described in Casablanca, a Middle Eastern marketplace.

Moshe Dyan has said, "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." Does that apply to the President of Syria Hafiz Asad and the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? They both think that they are presidents, but of what? Democracies? One was elected by his father and the other by a theocratic dictatorship, elected by a public that had to choose between him and…hell! Even Hitler was more democratically elected!

And the other side of the hill? Just one word, Washington D.C., but which Washington D.C.? George W. Bush's Washington or the Democrats' Washington? Is there going to be any difference between those two? Tony Blair is out of question from the minute he became another wheel in the huge American truck. Europe is probably still numb and trying to keep a distance between their guilt towards the Israelis, the traditional friendship and interests with the Arabs and the need to keep the superpower happy. So we are back to Washington D.C.

So that's it, the question should never be 'if we should talk with Syria and Iran', but 'where are they going to talk?'

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