US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, has apparently been tasked by President Bush to open a diplomatic channel with the government of Iran over the future of Iraq. This was first reported in an interview Khalilzad gave to Newsweek magazine a couple of days ago. To do this, Khalilzad is supposed to begin talks with Iran’s top diplomat in Baghdad, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi.
Not only is Kazemi-Qomi (no relation to this blogger) a top commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, but he allegedly answers to Sardar Qasim Suleimani, head of Qarargah Quds—the ‘terrorist’ arm of the RG. In late February 2003, while attending the Salahuddin (Iraqi Kurdistan) conference, Khalilzad was overheard telling an Iraqi opposition leader that Suleimani had recently tried to kill him in Afghanistan.
Kazemi-Qomi: able diplomat and professional assassin?
Kazemi-Qomi had previously served as liaison between the RG and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, as well as Consul-General in Herat, Afghanistan. The Coalition Provisional Authority under Bremer tried to expel Kazemi-Qomi in April 2004 over charges of espionage.
I wonder if Kazemi-Qomi had anything to do with the alleged attempt on Khalilzad’s head? Life’s ironic, huh? One day you’re trying to kill a guy, and the next he’s trying to be your best friend.
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, rebuffed Bush’s offer for dialogue today.