How to read this Khalilzad opening to Iran in todays news?
In an interview with The Associated Press in the U.S. Embassy Annex in Baghdad, Khalilzad said talks with Iran about Iraq could not have taken place earlier because the United States did not want to leave anyone under the impression that Iran and the United States “got together to decide the government in Iraq.”
“But we have said publicly, and that remains our position, we’d be prepared to consider talking with them once the government of national unity is formed,” he said. He declined to specify how talks might begin, saying only, “There are channels for communicating.”…
There have been reports that a prior effort by Khalilzad to open a dialogue with Iran in March of this year met with opposition from within the administration. The source of that opposition–and its meaning–remains unclear.
One might have supposed that the opposition to a dialogue with Iran came from hawks who favor regime change over dialogue with the incumbent regime. Khalilzad’s official explanation for prior hesitation to open such a dialogue–that the US didn’t want to leave anyone with the impression that the US and Iran “got together to decide the government of Iraq”–sends a very, very different message.
Who might get the impression that the US and Iran were carving up the region for their mutual benefit? Well, the Iraqi population for starters. And/or the Sunni Arab regimes who fear that the US tilt to Shiite Iraq is part of a broader tilt away from Sunni Arab regional domination.
Does this mean that now the US is now prepared to more openly facilitate a regional alliance between Iraqi and Iranian Shiites? Does anyone believe that those most afraid of such an alliance (Saudis, Egyptians, Jordanians, etc.) will be comforted by the fact that the US and Iran did not formally get together to decide the government of Iraq?