— The Erimtan Angle —

And the ongoing TWAT (or The War Against Terror) has now led to a most unexpected and unprecedented development: “President Barack Obama’s administration is trying to open channels of communication with Iran regarding the war on ISIS. Amid revelations that Obama sent a letter to Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last month pointing out the countries’ shared interest in beating ISIS, a senior U.S. official and a Western diplomat tell CNN that Washington has gone through the Iraqis to communicate with Iran. The conversations do not include taking joint military action against ISIS targets, the sources said, but are seen as necessary to avert conflict in U.S. and Iranian operations”, as reported by CNN.[1]

CNN’s Elise Labott and Jim Sciutto report further that “Senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer wouldn’t address specific outreach efforts in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, but said: “We work very closely with the Iraqis and the Iraqis have a relationship with the Iranians.” The discussions through the Iraqis are informal and conducted on a case-by-case basis via the Iraqi military, the sources said. The channels have become necessary, the U.S. military official said, because the United States and Iran are now operating in the same spaces. As a result, “accommodations must be made indirectly,” this official said. This includes airspace management, so U.S. and Iranian forces do not conflict while carrying out military operations in the same airspace, CNN was told. The revelation of the communications channel comes even as the military and administration continue to insist it is not cooperating with the Iranians on strategy or intelligence”.[2]

Still, the U.S. Army as well as the White House deny that any kind of rapprochement between Washington and Tehran is taking place at the moment, referring to Obama’s letter to the Supreme Leader as “private correspondence”.[3]  But, the Wall Street Journal‘s Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee disclose that the “October letter marked at least the fourth time Mr. Obama has written Iran’s most powerful political and religious leader since taking office in 2009 and pledging to engage with Tehran’s Islamist government”.[4]  In other words, Obama has penned four if not more letters to the leader of one of Washington’s adversaries during the past months. How the Great Satan’s epistles were received by the Supreme Leader remains an open guess . . . Solomon and Lee, for their part, opine that the “correspondence underscores that Mr. Obama views Iran as important—whether in a potentially constructive or negative role—to his emerging military and diplomatic campaign to push [the] Islamic State from the territories it has gained over the past six months”.[5]  In a more then ironic twist of fate, Obama now appears to seek the help of Assad’s main ally in the fight against the West’s new bogeyman, the Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his cohorts of Jihadists. Solomon and Lee continue that “Mr. Obama’s letter also sought to assuage Iran’s concerns about the future of its close ally, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, according to another person briefed on the letter. It states that the U.S.’s military operations inside Syria aren’t targeted at Mr. Assad or his security forces”.[6]

In October, Ayatollah Khamenei declared that “Shias and Sunnis shouldn’t help the enemy by desecrating their sanctities and provoking one another’s sentiments”. The Englsih-language Iranian broadcaster Press TV explains that ‘Ayatollah Khamenei has said that efforts by the US and its allies against ISIL [better known as ISIS or the Islamic State] are not genuine and that groups like ISIL and al-Qaeda were created to confront Iran and deal with the wave of Islamic awakening in the Middle East and Africa. The Leader has said the US-led coalition is using ISIL as a tool to create divisions among Muslims, calling on Shia and Sunni Muslims not to get involved in any move that will play into enemies’ hands’.[7]

[1] Elise Labott and Jim Sciutto, “U.S. opens channels with Iran over ISIS” CNN (06 November 2014). http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/06/politics/obama-iran-isis-letter/.

[2] Elise Labott and Jim Sciutto, “U.S. opens channels with Iran over ISIS”.

[3] Elise Labott and Jim Sciutto, “U.S. opens channels with Iran over ISIS”.

[4] Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee, “Obama Wrote Secret Letter to Iran’s Khamenei About Fighting Islamic State” Wall Street Journal (06 November 2014). http://online.wsj.com/articles/obama-wrote-secret-letter-to-irans-khamenei-about-fighting-islamic-state-1415295291.

[5] Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee, “Obama Wrote Secret Letter to Iran’s Khamenei About Fighting Islamic State”.

[6] Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee, “Obama Wrote Secret Letter to Iran’s Khamenei About Fighting Islamic State”.

[7] “Obama sent letter to Leader to seek cooperation in fight against ISIL: WSJ” Press TV (07 November 2014). http://www.presstv.com/detail/2014/11/06/385056/obama-sent-letter-to-iran-on-isil-wsj/.

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