LikeIWasSayin‘s last post is about the buzz around the interview with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. More specifically, about this:

“He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington,” Zebari said. “However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open.”

According to Zebari, Obama would have made the request during his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

A spokeswoman for the Obama camp denied but at the same time confirmed:

“Barack Obama has never urged a delay in negotiations, nor has he urged a delay in immediately beginning a responsible drawdown of our combat brigades. […] Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a “Strategic Framework Agreement” governing the future of US forces until after President George W. Bush leaves office.”

“LikeIWasSayin” continues:

I find it hard to believe that an American presidential candidate would seek to derail Iraqi security negotiations for his own political gain, but then again, some people will do anything to gain power.

Which reminded me of the “October Surprise conspiracy“.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter was running against Reagan and negotiating with Ayatollah Khomeini for te release of 52 Americans held hostage in Tehran. Then, so the story says, members of the Reagan campaign conspired with Iran to delay the release until after the presidential election. In exchange, US would supply weapons and unfreeze Iranian money held by the US government.

The hostages were released the day of Reagan’s inauguration, twenty minutes after his inaugural address.

Ten years later, while playing golf with George H.W. Bush in Palm Springs, Ronald Reagan told reporters about the hostage crisis that he had “tried some things the other way”. When pressed he added details remained “classified”.

(In the book “Guests of the Ayatollah“, Bowden argues Reagan had prepared a secret special-team operation to re-attempt the rescue with massive use of force in the first days of office. The information would have leaked, and Iranians decided to release the hostages beforehand.)