A last-minute decision by the United Nations to invite -- and then disinvite -- Iran to this week's widely-anticipated Syrian peace conference threatened to unravel the entire diplomatic effort on Monday. The invitation, delivered by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, exposed a rare fault line between Ban and Secretary of State John Kerry, two close allies who have been working together for months.
The diplomatic standoff began Sunday after Ban announced that he had extended a series of last-minute invitations to countries, including Iran, to attend the opening of the talks. "I believe the expanded international presence on that day will be an important and useful show of solidarity in advance of the hard work that the Syrian Government and opposition delegations will begin two days late in Geneva," Ban told reporters in New York.
A very embarrassing about-face.