Sunday, December 09, 2007

Absent from Annapolis

Tom Friedman notes:
One of the most telling but little-noted ironies of the U.S.-sponsored peace summit in Annapolis, Md., was who on the Arab side didn’t attend. Syria, a country we barely talk to, was there. Saudi Arabia, which never meets with Israelis, was there. No, the two no-shows were the two Arab countries liberated by U.S. troops from the grip of Saddam Hussein: Iraq and Kuwait.

That’s right — Iraq and Kuwait, the two Arab countries hosting the most U.S. troops, and the two Arab countries with probably the most active elected Parliaments, were both absent.
Friedman doesn't draw any profound conclusions from this — only that Arab countries have lots of internal divisions, which must be healed before any sort of lasting peace is likely in the Middle East.

What strikes me is that he noticed this at all. Noticing an absence or a non-event is much harder than noticing an event. I'm sure the administration didn't point it out. I wonder whether he noticed it himself or if someone else told him about it. Either way, good for Tom Friedman for making this observation public.

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