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Irawi President to Iran for Talks with Iran, Syria

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Old November 20th, 2006, 06:42 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
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Default Irawi President to Iran for Talks with Iran, Syria

Looks like Iran is trying to upstage the U.S. in
holding joint talks.

Is Talibani showing independence from the U.S.?

Interesting. Wonder what Bush's reaction will be?

Any guesses?

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iran has invited the Iraqi and Syrian presidents
to Tehran for a weekend summit with Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, four key lawmakers told The Associated Press on Monday.

The goal is to hash out ways to cooperate in curbing the runaway
violence that has taken Iraq to the verge of civil war and threatens
to spread through the region

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has accepted the invitation and will
fly to the Iranian capital on Saturday, a close parliamentary
associate said.

The Iranian diplomatic gambit appeared designed to upstage expected
moves from Washington to include Syria and Iran in a wider regional
effort to control violence in Iraq.

More civilians have been killed in Iraq in the first 20 days of
November than in any other month since the AP began tracking the
figure in April 2005.

The Iranian move was also a display of its increasingly muscular role
in the Middle East, where it already has established deep influence
over Syria and Lebanon.

"All three countries intend to hold a three-way summit among Iraq,
Iran and Syria to discuss the security situation and the repercussions
for stability of the region," said Ali al-Adeeb, a lawmaker of Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawa Party and a close aide to the prime

Both Iran and Syria are seen as key players in Iraq.

Syria is widely believed to have done little to stop foreign fighters
and al Qaeda in Iraq recruits from crossing its border to join Sunni
insurgents in Iraq.

It also has provided refuge for many top members of Saddam Hussein's
former leadership and political corps, which is thought to have
organized arms and funding for the insurgents.

The Sunni insurgency, since it sprang to life in the late summer of
2003, has been responsible for the vast majority of U.S. deaths in

Iran is deeply involved in training, funding and arming the two major
Shiite militias in Iraq, where Tehran has deep historic ties to the
current Shiite political leadership.

Many Iraqi Shiites spent years in Iranian exile during Saddam's
decades in power in Baghdad. One militia, the Badr Brigade, was
trained in Iran by the Revolutionary Guard.

An Ahmadinejad spokesman said that Talabani's visit was scheduled
several weeks ago for late November to work on improving bilateral

Majid Yazdi told The Associated Press that he had no information on a
coming visit by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But Talabani confidants said the invitation was issued on Thursday by
Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazimi Qumi, who said Assad also would be in
Tehran for the talks with Ahmadinejad.

Al-Maliki met privately Monday with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid
Moallem, the highest level Syrian official to visit Iraq since the
2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein. Afterward, government spokesman Ali
Al-Dabagh told reporters the meeting was successful.

"There is a very strong Syrian desire to develop relations between the
two countries. Stability and security in Iraq means stability and
security in Syria and other countries in the region," Al-Dabagh said.

When Moallem arrived in Baghdad on Sunday, he called for a timetable
for the withdrawal of American forces to help end Iraq's sectarian


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