The Obama administration is expected to insist that the United Nations rescind its invitation to Iran to join talks over Syria’s future, the Wall Street Journal reports. Washington wants Iran to accept that dictator Bashar al-Assad will be replaced by a transitional government, which is the U.S. interpretation of an understanding reached in Geneva in 2012. However, the White House’s gestures of outrage are more theater than reality.
Even as Secretary of State John Kerry was celebrating the interim deal reached in November on Iran’s nuclear program, the news emerged that Iran had been admitted to talks elsewhere in Geneva on the future fate of Syria. Though the recent UN invitation to join negotiations has offered Iran a higher, official status in those talks, the move came as no surprise and is the logical outcome of last year’s deal on Syria’s chemical weapons.
The Obama administration has quietly acceded to the stability of the Iranian regime and its satellites in the region, while creating new opportunities for other outside powers, such as Russia, to assert its priorities in the region. The latest round of foot-stamping by the White House on Syria recalls, once again, satirist Douglas Adams’ image of “a man saying ‘And another thing’ twenty minutes after admitting he’d lost the argument.”