Sunday, March 11, 2007

But will there be cake?

Full text of the evite:
Host: Condoleezza Rice
Location: ?, Baghdad
Dr. Condoleezza Rice is pleased to invite you to a Neighbors Meeting!
Official Statement:
The United States and the Iraqi government are launching a new diplomatic initiative to invite Iran and Syria to a "neighbors meeting" on stabilizing Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday. "We hope that all governments seize this opportunity to improve their relations with Iraq and to work for peace and stability in the region"..."I am pleased to announce that we are also supporting the Iraqis in a new diplomatic offensive: to build greater support, both within the region and beyond, for peace and prosperity in Iraq," Rice said, adding that U.S. and Iraqi officials agree that success in Iraq "requires the positive support of Iraq's neighbors."
(Associated Press, 2:29 p.m. ET Feb 27, 2007)
Join Dr. Rice for a productive day of smiling and waving [to] her adoring fans in the State Dept. press corps. Hope ya can make it!
Love, Condi.
While her would love to join in the festivities, he must send his regrets. He wants you to rest assured, however, that there will be cake! *wink* Oh yes, there will be cake.
Did I remember to wink? Sorry, these contact lenses are killing me!
So Condi got her wish: the "Neighbors Meeting" came and went on Saturday. And yes, Iran and Syria were represented at the meeting table.What on earth did they discuss?
And did they have cake? I have to know!
Do me a favour: think back to the 1980s for a moment. Consider the following Time magazine piece from November 1986, at the height of the Iran-Contra scandal:
The tale sounded really too bizarre to be believed. The U.S. conniving at arms shipments to Iran? Sending a secret mission to palaver with the mullahs? Trying to keep the whole thing from Congress and most of the U.S. Government? And all over Iran, of all places! The country that held Americans hostage for 444 days beginning in 1979, the land whose fanatical leader, Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini, has never ceased to denounce America as the "Great Satan," the state widely suspected to this very day of fomenting terrorist attacks against Americans.

Yet there is no question that it happened. Initially in the perhaps illusory hope of gaining influence with a post-Khomeini government in Iran, but eventually also as an inducement for Iranian help in winning freedom for U.S. hostages held by Muslim zealots in Lebanon, the Reagan Administration approved clandestine shipments of military equipment -- ammunition, spare parts for tanks and jet fighters -- to Iran through Israel.

As long as the deep secret was kept -- even from most of the U.S. intelligence community -- the maneuver in one sense worked. Iran apparently leaned on Lebanese terrorists to set free three American hostages, the latest of whom, David Jacobsen, flew home to the U.S. last week for a Rose Garden meeting with Ronald Reagan. But once the broad outlines of the incredible story became known, the consequences were dire. The Administration appeared to have violated at least the spirit, and possibly the letter, of a long succession of U.S. laws that are intended to stop any arms transfers, direct ( or indirect, to Iran. Washington looked to be sabotaging its own efforts to organize a worldwide embargo against arms sales to Iran, and hypocritically flouting its incessant admonitions to friends and allies not to negotiate with terrorists for the release of their captives.

[...] In a speech to the Iranian parliament last Tuesday, [the speaker of the Iranian parliament] Rafsanjani confirmed [US National Security Adviser] McFarlane's visit but added some wildly improbable embellishments. According to Rafsanjani, McFarlane and four unnamed American companions arrived in Tehran with Irish passports and posing as the flight crew of a plane carrying military equipment that Iran had purchased from international arms dealers. They brought with them, said Rafsanjani, gifts of a Bible autographed by President Reagan, a cake shaped like a key intended to symbolize an opening to better relations between the U.S. and Iran, and an unspecified number of Colt pistols to be distributed to Iranian officials. Rafsanjani insisted that he ordered the Americans kept under virtual house arrest in their hotel rooms, refused to let them see anyone and expelled them from Iran after five days. They were furious, Rafsanjani reported. He quoted McFarlane as saying, "You are nuts. We have come to solve your problems, but this is how you treat us. If I went to Russia to buy furs, Gorbachev would come to see me three times a day."
Of course, Ollie North strongly denied the use of cake at the meetings with the Iranians, but this "key cake" story has become so ingrained in Iran-Contra lore that it's hard to shake it off as purely apocryphal.
Alas, we may never find the "smoking spatula."

{picnic/reunion theme provided by; Condi boots pic provided by skdadl}


Blogger skdadl said...

"The smoking spatula" -- ha ha ha!

The evite is brilliant, GDKitty. And yes: we need news. I wonder how long it will be before we find out somehow what happened.

3/11/2007 7:22 AM  

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