US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the Middle East. According to the report from Doha by Bloomberg’s Indira Lakshmanan, published in the Australian Financial Review, 16 February 2010, she is visiting Qatar and Saudi Arabia to build support for pressuring Iran and for urging the Palestinians to return to peace talks with Israel.
In regard to the first of these objectives, she was urged by the Qatari Prime Minister to engage in direct dialogue with Iran, in response to which:
Mrs Clinton replied that Mr Obama made numerous overtures last year to engage Iran, with scant results.
“Engagement has to be a two-way street”, she said. “It cannot be done alone in a room talking to yourself.”
What Mrs Clinton neglected to mention was the long history of US meddling in the internal affairs of Iran, and in particular the Bush Administration’s policy of encouraging ethnic separatist groups – covert action carried out by proxy, in the case of the Baluch, through Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate or, I.S.I., and in the case of the Kurds by the C.I.A. in cooperation with Israel’s Mossad (see Meddling in Iran). It is by no means clear that the Obama Administration has abandoned these policies. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asserted not in a speech delivered in the Kurdish city of Bijar on 12 May 2009. If the policy of encouraging ethnic separatism has been abandoned, the US should come right out and say so, if it is serious about engaging with the Iranian leadership.
There are three possible explanations for Mrs Clinton’s failure to mention this important matter, none of which does her much credit: she is wilfully misleading her various audiences; she doesn’t know what is going on; or she doesn’t see the connection.
On the question of pressuring the Palestinians to return to peace (sic.) talks with Israel, why is it that the US pressure is always on the Palestinians rather than on the people who have stolen their land?