We still have not learned the art of Middle Eastern Diplomacy

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Iranians release British sailors

During the Iraq war, amid all the tragi-comedy of Comical Ali and the daily briefings which got further and further from any sense of reality, most of us overlooked something which should have been the key to our Middle Eastern future. It was something very simple: every day Saddam Hussein could take his pick of any one of his ministers able to give a briefing in English. Neither Britain nor the USA was able to put up a single minister or military leader who could brief Al Jazeera or any part of the Arab press in Arabic.