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May 31, 2007

The Iranian Connection In Iraq

Topics: Iran

Christian at Defense Tech reminds us that just three days after the "groundbreaking" talks between Iranian officials and U.S. diplomats on Iraqi security, "coalition forces" and Iraqi troops nabbed a few more bad guys tied to the Iranian support network for the insurgency...and al Qaeda. While noting that there may still be some naysayers that strongly dispute the Iranian connection with Iraq and see it as impossible for a Shiite government to collaborate with the Sunni AQ movement, at the very least, when more "smoking gun" evidence does present itself, the U.S. can't be accused of ignoring the threat:

From MNFI:
Iraqi and Coalition Forces detained two individuals in Sadr City during the first raid. They are believed to be members of the secret cell terrorist network known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, from Iran to Iraq, as well as bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training.

Intelligence reports indicate one of the targeted individuals detained during the operation is suspected of providing facilitation and logistic support for trafficking weapons used in operations against Coalition Forces.

In a separate raid in Khanaqin, Coalition Forces captured a suspected liaison to al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders, who assists in the movement of information and documents from al-Qaeda in Iraq leadership in Baghdad to al-Qaeda senior leaders in Iran.

And at today's briefing with coalition commander, Gen. Ray Odierno, there was no flexibility on the claim of Iranian support of the violence:

"We still see interference by Iran here in Iraq...they are shipping weapons, money and supplying training" for insurgents in Iran.
Meanwhile, dangerous dialogue continues in Iraq, with the prevailing wisdom of the "newly-chastened Bush administration" believing that dialogue with Iran "will somehow transform the situation in Iraq for the better," and the prevailing wisdom in Tehran being rather different, that the talks merely provide another opportunity to humiliate the United States and underline our inability to stop the Iranian quest for regional dominance.
In case anyone didn't get the memo, the Iranian government charged three Iranian-Americans with spying the day after this grand dialogue convened in Baghdad. As noted by the Washington Post, "The three individuals charged are prominent Washington scholar Haleh Esfandiari, social scientist Kian Tajbakhsh of the New York-based Open Society Institute, and correspondent Parnaz Azima of U.S.-funded Radio Farda."

None of them, needless to say, is an actual spy. But grabbing hostages has by now become a well-entrenched tradition in Iran--one proven to work over the years in bringing the West to its knees, whether through the seizure of the U.S. Embassy personnel in 1979, numerous Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980's, or the more recent detention of British sailors in the Persian Gulf.

To make this "up yours" a little more explicit, Ali Larijani, the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator, told the world's press that he "rejected the possibility of Iran suspending its uranium enrichment program." This, coming on the eve of talks between Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, will hardly improve the atmosphere for negotiations.

The only people who could possibly be surprised by the Iranian attitude are the architects of the Iraq Study Group report and other conveyors of wishful thinking in Washington. Naturally, their response will be that we should make even more concessions to Iran to overcome their "suspicions" about American behavior.

What this rather naïve reasoning ignores are the big benefits that many in the Iranian leadership, especially in the Revolutionary Guard Corps, derive from the continuing Iranian policy of isolation and hostility. Not only does enmity with the West help to maintain their justification for a theocratic dictatorship, but, as Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace explains in this interview, it also helps well-connected Iranians to profit by looting the economy.

In further evidence that Iran is sending weapons to Syria for destinations in Iraq and and Lebanon, if this report is to believed, Turkish authorities have seized weapons hidden on a Syria-bound train from Iran after Kurdish separatist fighters derailed it with a bomb. Although the Turkish authorities believe this particular train load of arms was destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon via Syria, it demonstrates the export of Iranian weapons to Iraq and Lebanon, and surely elsewhere as well, to ferment violence in region.

Posted by Richard at May 31, 2007 10:47 PM



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