For a long time, the Iraqi government tried to stay out of the civil war going on just across their border in Syria, but as the battle lingers, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has announced he wants to see a negotiated settlement.
To that end, Iraq is pushing a two-stage plan that would bring both sides together for talks on an inclusive political transition that would end the fighting. They are urging UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to push the plan as well, and given his apparent lack of any better ideas, it seems the plan may have currency by default.
The US, for its part, doesn’t seem to be on board for the talks, and instead is pledging tens of millions of dollars in additional funding for the rebel fighters, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton adding that they have been in talks with Syrian rebel figures on “strategy.”
Russia, for its part, was critical of the US move, saying that throwing money at the rebels is just prolonging the war and deepening the tensions. They too urged a comprehensive ceasefire and talks, but so long as the cash keeps flowing from the West, the rebels seem to have plenty of enthusiasm.