Live from Baghdad… With Koop!

Bush Might Never Tell You, But Iran Rules the Roost

March 12, 2007 — Baghdad ( EXCLUSIVE) —  I drove in Baghdad the other night from Kuwait with little or no trouble — except that I received a speeding ticket from one of the new Iraqi traffic police who was riding a pretty small pink Vespa motor scooter.  I could have outrun him, but a simple $5.00 bill “paid the ticket” anyway.

Not being a pansy, I checked into a cheap hotel that was not in the Green Zone.  I like to go native.  It’s difficult, however, when you are blonde with blue eyes — even though I was wearing local dress.  I don’t think I fooled anybody, but then again, I am neither Sunni nor Shi'a, so I knew I could roam freely in my Gucci sandals.

I have traveled to Baghdad to witness the historical (or hysterical) meeting between United States and Iranian officials who met publicly in Iraq this weekend.

The problem to be resolved: making sure the Sunni minority can protect itself against the Shi'a majority now in control of Iraq.

I was also scheduled to have dinner with Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi. I call him Hash.  We go back a long time by Iraqi standards — two days.

At any rate, it turned out that Hash had flown the coop (pardon the pun) and jetted off to Iran for a tête-à-tête with Iranian fist vice president Parvis Davoudi.  I have also met him at my cousin’s home and picked up his nickname as well; Dave. 

So I was out of luck and pretty upset — but luckily, Hash telephoned very late after his meeting with Dave and filled me in.

So here’s an exclusive for you:

Hash is a Sunni.  Now, remember: most of the Iranians in power now are Shi'a.  That’s not good, at least for Hash and his friends.

At the American-Iranian meeting the day before Hash left, it was agreed that Iran would meet with someone from the Iraqi Sunni community and try to work something out to soothe the Sunnis as Iraq attempts to put together a new framework with Iran.  The United States representatives in Baghdad are also very unhappy with the Shi-a-on-Shi'a coziness between Baghdad and Tehran, so it insisted that the Sunnis get a fair deal from Iran as well. How we in the U.S. can insist on anything from Iran is tough to understand — but it sounds good.

Hence Hash, takes off to see Dave and a few other Iranian officials. 

I didn’t envy him — having gone begging to the most powerful nation in the Middle East aside from Israel.

What struck me though was that given his family background he is definitely not talking to Iran as simply another Iraqi official.  Instead he is there as a Sunni representative.

Weird is not the exact word to describe this — but I will settle for creepy.

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