International conference in Baghdad begins tomorrow

PM al-Maliki has invited representative of all governments in the region (and the U.S.) to meet and try to hash things out. Story here. The U.S. has declared itself open to one-on-one sidebar talks with Syria and Iran during the conference, so long as such talks are limited to the security and future of Iraq.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of squabbling going on between the Shi’a-dominated government and the Sunni-dominated neighbors to Iraq’s west, as to what role the Sunni will play in Iraq, etc.

(With all this going on, why is Bush in Brazil instead of Baghdad? Never mind . . .)

Any chance this conference will produce anything, well, productive?

Probably there is some sort of ‘done deal’ already in place.

The BBC WorldWide Service has been yakking about Syria and Iran helping out in Iraq for some time.

In business you don’t go into a serious meeting without having stitched things up with ‘the opposition’ beforehand - diplomacy is rigged for quiet discussions.

This one is almost funny, ir such things can ever be funny.

Why would we have separate conversations with Iran and Syria about the security and future of Iraq in the middle of a conference about the security and future of Iraq?

But the Iranian ambassador says there are no one-on-one talks between Iran and the U.S. going on at the conference.

Well, it looks like they decided to have direct U.S.-Iran talks after all. But they quickly degenerated into a blame war. Don’t suppose we could have hoped for anything better . . .

Translation: someone has been unofficially authorized to release that.

Hmm… sounds like someone has been having a few side meetings, indirectly or maybe privately.

This sort of stuff reminds me of what a veterinarian said about introducing a new cat - it was: ‘shove them all in the bathroom smothered in sardines or tuna’

I once went for a job with the UK Diplomatic Corps, my interviewer and I both decided within three minutes that I was unsuitable, we then spent a pleasant two hours bitching about how things were wrong.

It is not that difficult to let a number of them ‘go native’, they are a better channel of communication than these ar/se sniffing sessions.