If Baker fails in his effort to push the Bush administration toward direct talks with Iran, then we will know that Cheney is still driving this ship.
Some evidence in this regard:
Vice President Cheney, among others in the White House, is prepared to fight the recommendation about Iran and Syria. “He’s against engagement with Iran and Syria, and he’s very serious about waging policy battles when he disagrees,” one official said.
And Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker:
The main Middle East expert on the Vice-President’s staff is David Wurmser, a neoconservative who was a strident advocate for the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Like many in Washington, Wurmser “believes that, so far, there’s been no price tag on Iran for its nuclear efforts and for its continuing agitation and intervention inside Iraq,” the consultant said. But, unlike those in the Administration who are calling for limited strikes, Wurmser and others in Cheney’s office “want to end the regime,” the consultant said. “They argue that there can be no settlement of the Iraq war without regime change in Iran.”
I have written at length about Wurmser in my ZNet article “Beyond Incompetence.”
Nevertheless, given Cheney’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia I think the more useful ZNet essay for this moment may be “The Devil Wears Persian,” in which I describe the July 2006 Israeli military action in Lebanon as “Act II” of the Bush revolution.
If so, then we may be in fore Act II, Scene 2. Scene 1 didn’t exactly play out according to Right Zionist plans, although as I noted at the time (here and here) they were quick to blame the failures on the Olmert government.
Since that time, Olmert has changed the composition of his government, adding Avigdor Lieberman–leader of the right wing Yisrael Beiteinu Party and formerly an aide to Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu–to his coalition and handing responsibility for Iran policy to the hardliner.
Now comes the New York Times headline that Hezbollah has been training the Shiite Sadrist Mahdi Army in Iraq.
Hold on to your hats, folks.