Peace In The Middle East?

Yeah, right. But Peter Zeihan has a stimulating essay in Stratfor nonetheless. He believes that a deal between Israel and Syria may be looming, with Israel ceding much of Lebanon to Damascus in return for Syria neutering Hezbollah. But his most interesting analysis is of the U.S.-Iran relationship:

Iran is involved in negotiations far more complex and profound than anything that currently occupies Israel and Syria. Tehran and Washington are attempting to forge an understanding about the future of Iraq. The United States wants an Iraq sufficiently strong to restore the balance of power in the Persian Gulf and thus prevent any Iranian military incursion into the oil fields of the Arabian Peninsula. Iran wants an Iraq that is sufficiently weak that it will never again be able to launch an attack on Persia. Such unflinching national interests are proving difficult to reconcile, but do not confuse “difficult” with “impossible” the positions are not mutually exclusive. After all, while both want influence, neither demands domination. Remarkable progress has been made during the past six months.

The two sides have cooperated in bringing down violence in Iraq, now at its lowest level since the aftermath of the 2003 invasion itself. Washington and Tehran also have attacked the problems of rogue Shiite militias from both ends, most notably with the neutering of Muqtada al-Sadr and his militia, the Medhi Army. Meanwhile, that ever-enlarging pot of Sunni Arab oil money has been just as active in Baghdad in drawing various groups to the table as it has been in Damascus. Thus, while the U.S.-Iranian understanding is not final, formal or imminent, it is taking shape with remarkable speed.

There is obviously a pragmatic deal to be made with Iran. Who could best make it: Obama or McCain?