Foreign Ministers of Neighboring Countries Meet in Damascus
The six neighbors of Iraq (with the addition of Egypt) met in Damascus over the weekend, and issued a joint statement condemning terror attacks against civilians and NGOs. They also asked that a timeline be announced for the return of sovereignty to the Iraqi people. Turkey had wanted to put in an explicit warning about the Marxist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) using northern Iraq as a guerrilla base against Turkey, and Iran wanted to prohibit any anti-Iran activities by the terrorist group, Mujahidin-i Khalq Organization, which Saddam had hosted in eastern Iraq. The other neighbors, however, declined to allow the PKK and the MKO to be named explicitly.
The Mujahidin-i Khalq, which has murdered hundreds of Iranians in terrorist attacks, has been defended by prominent rightwing figure Daniel Pipes, whom President Bush recently appointed to the US Institute for Peace. Tehran may fear a Neoconservative/MKO alliance with Iraq as a springboard for further terrorism against Iran.