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If BushCo refuses to participate in diplomacy, somebody should and that somebody is Speaker Pelosi. Of course, Bush is very upset that someone upstaged him in the Middle East (not hard to do) and made him look bad (he does that all by himself) by getting things done.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
President Bush is nettled that Pelosi is playing at Mideast negotiator, if, indeed, her visit to Damascus goes that far. Yet, her scheduled meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, an established troublemaker in Lebanon, Iraq and Israel, is a useful counterweight to the White House’s record of diplomatic neglect and malpractice in the region.
She has paid the customary visit to Israel to pledge U.S. support and gone to a memorial in Lebanon to a leader believed assassinated with Syrian help. These are the usual stops for an American politician.
But because she is third in line to the president in the U.S. government, a visit to outcast Syria carries risks. Pelosi is unimpressed with the White House posture of ignoring Assad until he comes begging. Far better, she indicates, to talk face-to-face about his support for Iraqi car-bombers or missiles for Hezbollah fighters on Israel’s northern border.
And guess who is providing diplomatic help with Britian in an attempt to gain freedom for the captured sailors and marines? Syria.
More indications emerged today of the role Syria is playing in the diplomacy. The Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, told the newspaper Al-Anba that the situation needed “quiet diplomacy”, which Syria was involved in. Syria has long been the Arab country closest to Iran, a non-Arab state.