Monday, November 5, 2007

Duff diplomacy

The US secretary of state's dash around the Middle East has failed to patch up a foreign policy in tatters.

By Simon Tisdall
The Guardian

"Condoleezza Rice keeps pretty chirpy, but it was a gloomy weekend for US power and interests in the Middle East. Every way she looked during a flying visit to the region, hopes of progress turned to dust in her hands. From Pakistan to the occupied Palestinian territories, there is a sense of imminent unravelling born of misjudgment and long-term neglect.....

This rather obvious effort to downplay expectations suggested the Bush administration, after largely ignoring the Palestinian issue for six years, was losing confidence in its own project.

As if this display of duff diplomacy were not enough, Ms Rice also found time for a row with Walid al-Moallem, Syria's foreign minister, on the Istanbul sidelines. The US, she said, would not tolerate outside interference in Lebanon's delayed presidential election.

Neither would Syria, Mr al-Moallem waspishly retorted. "Condoleezza Rice speaks about Lebanon as if it is an American state," said Syria's state-run Tishrin newspaper......."

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