Good grief. My head is spinning over this bit of news out of the Middle East.
Iraq’s crisis — with Sunni Muslims seeking to overthrow the Shiite government in Baghdad — has prompted the possibility of the United States working (get ready for this one!) the Islamic Republic of Iran to find a possible diplomatic solution.
How does that saying go, the one about “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”?
The Sunnis want their country back. They ran Iraq for decades under the ham-handed rule of Saddam Hussein. The United States invaded in March 2003, overthrew Saddam, who then was hanged.
Iraq then elected a Shiite government, friendlier to next-door neighbor Iran.
The Sunnis now have erupted, vowing to retake Iraq. Iran doesn’t want that, of course. It fought a bloody war to a stalemate against Saddam Hussein’s forces in the 1980s. The Shiites in Tehran oppose vigorously any idea that the Sunnis would take control in Baghdad.
Oh, and then there’s little issue of Iran despising the “Great Satan,” which in Tehran is also known as the United States of America. We’ve had no bilateral relations with Iran since those “students” overran our embassy in November 1979 and held those Americans captive for 444 days.
But in this instance, there might be some mutual advantage in seeking to stop the Sunni advance in Iraq. The Iranians want the Sunnis to fail, as does the United States, which has a serious stake in preserving the government it helped form in Iraq.
Should the United States reach out to its current enemy, Iran, in trying to broker a deal that ends the crisis in Iraq?
Yes, but only if the Iranians can be held to the tightest terms possible to ensure that they deal in good faith. Is that possible? Give it a try to make that call.