Jeffrey Calls Iran Out

Oh, the things that count as news at the end of August. Like Hillary Clinton’s long hair. She shares this multimedia spread with Meryl Streep and past incarnations of herself.

There is of course some work getting done this month too. James Jeffrey hit the ground running in Iraq. On Thursday, the ambassador said that Iran-backed Shia militias that responsible for one-quarter of American casualties in the war: “My own estimate, based just upon a gut feeling, is that up to a quarter of the American casualties and some of the more horrific incidents in which Americans were kidnapped . . . can be traced without doubt to these Iranian groups.” But, he said, all hope is not lost. Tehran isn’t as powerful as some may make it out to be, and Jeffrey doesn’t think Iran has had any “long-term impact” on the “development of politics and society here.”

Where’s Stephen Bosworth? Jimmy Carter seems to be stealing some of the special envoy for North Korea’s spotlight. When he landed in North Korea this week he was greeted by the North’s top nuclear envoys. And apparently (according to a state news agency) Carter was told that North Korea is committed to resuming the six-party talks: “Kim Yong Nam [the regime’s second in command] expressed the will of the DPRK government for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the resumption of the six-party talks.”

Back at home, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice was in an emergency Security Council meeting on Thursday about the rapes in eastern Congo. “We are horrified, and we are outraged,” Rice said after the meeting, adding, “It was a disturbing briefing, both for what we learned and what we don't know still.” One UN official said that the UN is “guilty of a conspiracy of silence.” The UN knew that Rwandan rebels had taken control of villages in the area but not that they were raping inhabitants. “These things happen all the time,” the UN official said, “Our colleagues are part of the problem.” The Security Council is trying to figure out exactly how it could have been possible for UN peacekeepers to be in the dark about what was going on.