“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Iran and US talk. Not a duel, but hardly a love fest.

U.S., Iran trade barbs in direct talks

March 10, 2007, 4:37PM
The Associated Press

BAGHDAD — In their first direct talks since the Iraq war began, U.S. and Iranian envoys traded harsh words and blamed each other for the country's crisis Saturday at a one-day international conference that some hoped would help end their 27-year diplomatic freeze.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki opened the conference with an appeal for all participants to help ease his country's plight and prevent the violent conflict here from spilling over into the entire Middle East.

But the conference underscored the wide gulf between American and Iranian views over the nature of the crisis and the ways to end it.

During the talks, U.S. envoy David Satterfield pointed to his briefcase which he said contained documents proving Iran was arming Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq.

"Your accusations are merely a cover for your failures in Iraq," Iran's chief envoy Abbas Araghchi shot back, according to an official familiar to the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, only said that American delegates exchanged views with the Iranians "directly and in the presence of others" during talks, which he described as "constructive and businesslike."

But Labid Abbawi, a senior Iraqi Foreign Ministry official who attended the meeting, confirmed that an argument broke out between the Iranian and American envoys. He would not elaborate...

The participants at the talks included all of Iraq's neighbors — Iran, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait — as well as the U.S., Russia, France, Britain, China, Bahrain, Egypt, the U.N., the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Arab League.

At a news conference after the meeting, Araghchi restated Tehran's demands for a clear timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces, which he insisted had made Iraq a magnet for extremists from across the Muslim world.

"For the sake of peace and stability in Iraq ... we need a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces," said Araghchi, Iran's deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs.

"Violence in Iraq is good for no country in the region," he said. "Security of Iraq is our security and stability in Iraq is a necessity for peace and security in the region."...

Reza Amiri, a senior official at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, dismissed American claims that Tehran was destabilizing Iraq by arming Shiite militias. The U.S. military has insisted that Iranian weapons, including a new generation of powerful roadside bombs, have killed more than 170 U.S. and coalition troops here since mid-2004.

"They're lying because it is just not true," Amiri told the AP. "Iraq's borders with Iran are the most secure of Iraqi borders. The Iraqi government has not even once said Iran is interfering in its affairs."

But Amiri said Saturday's conference was "very positive" because "everyone promised to cooperate with each other and to control the borders."

The delegates proposed an "expanded" follow-up meeting, which could include the G-8 nations and others, in Istanbul, Turkey, next month. Iraqi officials, however, say they will urge that the next meeting take place again in Baghdad.

For Iran, opening more direct contacts with Washington could help promote their shared interests in preventing full-scale war between Sunnis and Shiites. Iran has influence among Shiite political parties with ties to militias.

"Security of Iraq is our security and stability in Iraq is a necessity for peace and security in the region," Araghchi said at the news conference.

The Baghdad talks come as the U.S. administration has toughened its rhetoric on Iran and flexed its muscles at the U.N. over Tehran's disputed nuclear program. The tough talk has been accompanied by the arrival of two U.S. carrier battle groups near the Iranian shores in the Persian Gulf.

Iranians increasingly fear that a U.S. attack is imminent despite American insistence to the contrary.

more here

Associated Press Writer Brian Murphy contributed to the story.


  1. See, I thought so, the Iranians are sure it's the presence of US troops that are causing all the ruckus in Iraq.

    They did not even have to go to the meeting, for that position to be clear.

    At what did the Syrians have to say about Iraqi border security?

    For that matter what does Mexico have to say, I know they patrol their southern border. What's up in the north?

    Mr Bush and his Team, they think the neighbors are responsible for border security, both in Iraq and the US. Such good neighbors are hard to find, as they are discovering, both at home and abroad.

    Speaking of broads, that Icelandic gal's got legs that go up and make an ass of themselves.

  2. Implicitly, I believe, Tigerhawk poses the question: Will the display of more T & A make the ME a better place?

    Serious Inquiries Only

  3. DR,

    re: Speaking of broads, that Icelandic gal's got legs that go up and make an ass of themselves.

    That is something needing additional study, DR.

  4. Just for doug,
    from the La La Land Times

    A spot check by federal agents has identified 59 street gang members in Southern California jails who are illegal immigrants subject to deportation, sparking a debate about the role of border enforcement in the region's battle against violent gangs.

    The initial identification of deportable gang members came during a first-of-its-kind screening of a portion of jail inmates last month.

    The review will continue, and officials expect during the first year to identify 700 to 800 gang members who are illegal immigrants, according to Jim Hayes, director of the Los Angeles field office for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    The results so far have some officials convinced that border enforcement needs to be a big part of combating the gang problem.

    "We play a vital role with respect to foreign nationals who are in gangs here," Hayes said.

    The focus on immigration status comes as the city of Los Angeles is calling on federal agencies to help it crack down in response to last year's 15.7% increase in gang crime.

    Some say it also shows the need for agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department, to loosen policies that generally prohibit officers from asking about the immigration status of anyone they question.

    "It helps to show that cooperation between the LAPD and immigration officials should help reduce gang violence" if a suspect is ultimately deported, said Paul Orfanedes, litigation director for Judicial Watch.

    The Washington, D.C.-based group has sued the LAPD to overturn Special Order 40, the rule that prohibits officers from asking about immigration status, arguing that the department is required to enforce all laws.

    The policy has been loosened slightly, allowing gang officers to ask about the immigration status of suspects only when they recognize them as having been previously deported.

    As recently as last week, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rejected the argument that eliminating Special Order 40 would help in the battle against gangs.

  5. National Socialists

    Hitler was never a "Right winger"

    A vegan artist at heart was Hitler, not a conservative at all. Trying to build a Utopia, he was.

    Surprised a life time of spinning propaganda confused you, as much as the uneducated Masses.

  6. Then again Adolf surrounded himself with homosexuals. They were his "closest" closet associates in the 30's.

    Typical of a Socialist leftist artist from Vienna.

  7. rufus,

    From March 2006 - Fashion in Beirut & Lingerie on the slopes

    Do Scroll Down

  8. Crisis Looms in Mortgages

    Investment manias are nothing new, of course. But the demise of this one has been broadly viewed as troubling, as it involves the nation’s $6.5 trillion mortgage securities market, which is larger even than the United States treasury market.

    “The regulators are trying to figure out how to work around it, but the Hill is going to be in for one big surprise,” said Josh Rosner, a managing director at Graham-Fisher & Company, an independent investment research firm in New York, and an expert on mortgage securities. “This is far more dramatic than what led to Sarbanes-Oxley,” he added, referring to the legislation that followed the WorldCom and Enron scandals, “both in conflicts and in terms of absolute economic impact.”

    "Stated Income"
    Mortgages requiring little or no documentation became known colloquially as “liar loans.”
    An April 2006 report by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute, a consulting concern in Reston, Va., analyzed 100 loans in which the borrowers merely stated their incomes, and then looked at documents those borrowers had filed with the I.R.S.
    The resulting differences were significant: in 90 percent of loans, borrowers overstated their incomes 5 percent or more.
    But in almost 60 percent of cases, borrowers inflated their incomes by more than half.

  9. More of those legs makin' their way north to an ass. not just in Iceland, it seems

  10. No Win ROEs on the Homefront:

    "Some say it also shows the need for agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department, to loosen policies that generally prohibit officers from asking about the immigration status of anyone they question."

    Great edifices of Bullshit are built upon the denial of the importance of that one.
    We can't do this, cause we can't do that, and the reason we cannot do that is...
    Thus the Problem is "Beyond Solution" and we just have to learn to live with it.

    ...Just as the War is unwinnable in any realistic time frame, thus we "must" live to learn that the long war must go on.

  11. May just prove, doug, how much of the economy really is "off the books", not that all those folk were fibbin'

    I've got one High School buddy, the guy has not even filed for 24 years. The Federals are catchin' up to him, finally. I advised he should cash out of his $750,000 Paradise Valley home and be movin' to Costa Rica, but he believes he'll slide by.

    Me, I think he'll be goin' to prison, but some folks think I'm a pessimist.
    I just think the guy is a prime example of who the people in the Government earning $32,000 per year hate the most, with cause.

  12. 'Rat,
    You remind me that a couple of guys I went to high school with spent some time in the Brig over the savings and loan debacle.

    Hoping my nephew that's a VP with New Century isn't facing that.
    Afraid he may be liquidating some of his newly acquired assets, however. Haven't heard from my sister yet ...he just got her a new car.
    All "good" things...

  13. Rufus,
    You'll be recalling how when you got it you figured you wouldn't use it much, now you'll feel like you can't live w/o it.

  14. I think that was one of the original reason for the the "Stated Income" loans, 'Rat.

    I bet over time tho, esp in a market like SoCal, a bunch of people started using them to leverage themselves to the moon in a "can't lose" investment environment.
    Instant Millions.

  15. re: mortgage crisis

    I've been predicting this since 2003. Most recessions result from an excess of easy credit and the bad loans that ensue. The 2001-02 downturn was an exception (Greenspan's overaggressive interest rate increases and 9/11 induced it, instead). This one will ultimately be laid at the feet of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but there are many others in the industy whose lust for short term profits (or more specifically, annual performance bonuses), and lack of skin in the game led them to overextend credit to unworthy borrowers. When I saw a private banker attempt to buy a $500,000 second home in the FL panhandle, I knew it wouldn't be long before these chickens came home to roost.

  16. There's enough drool here at the Bar today to make a couple of drinks.