From Senior State Department Official, Department of State: I just would make one note that the Iranian role continues to be incredibly pernicious , and I was very struck, myself, at the acknowledgement by the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps about 10 days ago that they do have boots on the ground in Syria. And I loved how the foreign ministry the next day said, “What the Revolutionary Guard Corps commander meant to say was.” But I think we indeed do know they have boots on the ground – a little bit of transparency from Tehran. . . .
[Y]ou know our concerns about the Iranian overflights. And we have seen the announcement – the announcement that they will randomly compel Iranian aircraft to come down and be searched. When the Turks did that some months ago, they found all kinds of weaponry, including mortars and assault rifles on a so-called civilian airplane. So we think that’s a good step if the Iraqis actually implement it.
Iraq has an interest in a rapid, peaceful political transition in Syria, as do the other countries meeting tomorrow. And so it’s natural to bring them into the discussions and to try to get them to work with the rest of us more to ensure that that peaceful political transition goes forward sooner not later.
Excerpts from background briefing previewing the ad hoc Ministerial Meeting on Syria. (photo: EPA)