Monday, June 27, 2011

Ahmadinejad seizes on America's retreat at 'anti-terror' conference

Iran seeks to impress leaders of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

By Robert Fisk

"....Messieurs Ahmadinejad of Iran, Karzai of Afghanistan and Zardari of Pakistan – all jolly presidents sharing the stage with Talabani of Iraq, Rahmon of Tajikistan and (speak it in hushed tones), that elderly wanted man, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan – spent time discussing how all would react when the West ends its adventure in the graveyard of Empires.

Ironies were legion.....

...Even Iran's Supreme Leader, whose wisdom is greeted with Vatican-like adherence here, seems to have concluded that the US plans to abandon its eastern neighbour. Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei thought the Americans would be gone "within three years". But the vast US airbase in Kandahar, like those at Bagram and elsewhere, look like much longer-term projects; so do the giant US military "lily-pads" (the expression of that extraordinary military strategist D Rumsfeld, Esq) in Iraq.

President Talabani, undoubtedly the largest of the leading delegates in sheer physical size, chose not to dwell on this subject.....

Confronted by the fatal word "Syria", Mr Saleh plunged into a crowd, shouting over his shoulder the words: "I think Syria will be..." And that was all we heard. Safe to say he believes that Iran's ally, President Bashar al-Assad, will soldier through his present little difficulties (1,400 dead, uprisings in almost every city, near-civil war in the north of Syria) with little to worry about.

My guess is that a shrewd country like Iran – if it is preparing for a life without the Americans in Afghanistan – must also be planning for a life without the Assads in Damascus."

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