News

    Sharm el-Sheikh Conference on Iraq Offers US Interaction with Countries in the Region

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The recent international conference on Iraq held in Sharm el-Sheikh was the biggest and most inclusive diplomatic push to end that nation’s security crisis since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.  During an unannounced visit to Baghdad earlier this week, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney says he pressed Iraqi leaders to make progress on pending security and political issues.  Vice President Cheney is also visiting Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan to garner their support in helping to stabilize Iraq.

    According to many analysts, the U.S.-Syrian meeting on the sidelines of the Sharm el-Sheikh conference was a long anticipated breakthrough.  Syria’s Ambassador to Washington described Secretary Rice’s meeting with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem as “significant.”  Speaking with host Judith Latham of VOA News Now’s International Press Club, Nadia Bilbassy, senior diplomatic correspondent for Al-Arabiya television, says that’s the way the Arab World sees it, too.  She says Secretary Rice told the Syrians that Washington wants Damascus to do more to seal its borders and stop foreign fighters from entering Iraq.  Syria’s Ambassador to Washington later described the high-level meeting as a “tipping point” in U.S.- Syrian bilateral relations.  Ms. Bilbassy says it seems to signal a “change in attitude … regarding the two pariah states” – Syria and Iran – that the United States had refused to talk to.

    Gerard Baker, U.S. editor of The Times of London, says that people in Britain also see the meeting as a breakthrough, even though “they don’t expect anything much to come of it.”  Mr. Baker says the British are “pretty pessimistic” about Iraq.  There is, however, a belief that Washington should talk with countries in the region, whatever it may think of their policies regarding Iraq.

    Although no high-level meeting took place between Secretary Rice and her Iranian counterpart at Sharm el-Sheikh, her chief coordinator for Iraq and America’s Ambassador to Iraq did meet with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for a few minutes.  People in the Arab World see that as promising, according to Nadia Bilbassy, and there is an “understanding in the region that Iranian influence has to be halted.”

    Iranian journalist Ali-Reza Nourizadeh, who directs the Center for Arab-Iranian Studies in London, says he faults the Iranian Foreign Minster for using an entertainer’s red dress as a “pretext” to leave a diplomatic dinner early.  And in that way, he could avoid speaking with the U.S. Secretary of States.  But Mr. Nourizadeh says Iranians were not fooled because they had earlier seen President Ahmadinejad sitting with the Emir of Qatar, watching dances during opening ceremonies of the Asian Games in Doha.  Unfortunately, he says Iran lost an important opportunity.  Mr. Nourizadeh also says that not addressing the stabilization of Iraq makes no practical sense because Iran certainly does not want to see Iraq fall apart, which would in fact be a “nightmare” scenario for Tehran.

    On the other hand, Nadia Bilbassy says Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s promise to accelerate political reforms, to reconcile ethnic groups, and to disband and disarm all militias was greeted with much “skepticism” in the Arab World.  British journalist Gerard Baker says people in Britain do not find the Iraqi Prime Minister’s promise of reform and national reconciliation credible either.  The view in Washington is that success in Iraq depends largely on the “political will” of the Prime Minister and it remains to be seen whether benchmarks for progress on the political front will be met.

    To listen to all of the comments, click on the audio link above

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora