Iran to host summit with Iraq and Syria

This is like O.J. and A.C. inviting Fred Goldman to dinner:

The Iranian diplomatic gambit appeared designed to upstage expected moves from Washington to include Syria and Iran in a wider regional effort to clamp off violence in Iraq, where more civilians have been killed in the first 20 days of November than in any other month since the AP began tallying the figures in April 2005.

The Iranian move was also a display of its increasingly muscular role in the Middle East, where it already has established deep influence over Syria and Lebanon.

Khamenei is reportedly backing Rafsanjani, the crazy-but-not-that-crazy former president, for election to the Assembly of Experts next month to balance the influence of the really-really-crazies like Mesbah-Yazdi. If he’s that worried about the radicals, maybe he figures it’s time to dial things down a bit in Iraq. And if he can do it in a way that aggrandizes Iranian prestige, like initiating a summit, so much the better.

This figures into it too. If they’re going to make a power play in Beirut, they’ll want things relatively quiet for awhile on their other front.

It’s a slow news day so we end with a cartoon. Click the image to watch.