Why diplomacy on Iraq isn't possible

Rice explains that seeking help from Iran and Syria could lead to extortion of the United States.

By Tim Grieve
Published January 11, 2007 3:48PM (EST)

Not exactly a show of strength: Condoleezza Rice just told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the United States can't engage in Iraq-related diplomacy with Syria and Iran -- as the Iraq Study Group said it should -- because the United States might become a victim of "extortion" if it did.

Rice's explanation: If the United States were to start talking with the Iranians and the Syrians, they would inevitably want to discuss Iran's nuclear program and Syria's role in Lebanon, respectively. Those kinds of discussions, Rice said, represent a "price we cannot pay" for progress in Iraq.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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