Monday, December 25, 2006

A "Clarifying Moment" or Further Murk?

The US has detained some Iranians in Iraq. In fact, American forces both stopped an Iranian embassy car to take two of Iran's diplomats into custody, and also entered al-Hakim‘s compound to remove several others Iranians.

According to the NYT’s report, the diplomats were released, but the others - including some Iraqis — are still being held:

The predawn raid on Mr. Hakim’s compound, on the east side of the Tigris, was perhaps the most startling part of the American operation. The arrests were made inside the house of Hadi al-Ameri, the chairman of the Iraqi Parliament’s security committee and leader of the Badr Organization, the armed wing of Mr. Hakim’s political party.

Many Shiite political groups are now suspected of having ties to Iran, and Sciri [al-Hakim’s group- ed. ] is no exception. Senior party leaders lived in exile in Iran for years plotting the overthrow of Mr. Hussein. Some married Iranians and raised their children there.

Mr. Hakim has emerged as the central Iraqi Shiite who is backing a new bloc made up of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds that would isolate more radical politicians. Americans back the new bloc, and Mr. Hakim traveled to Washington earlier this month to discuss its formation with Mr. Bush. It was not clear how the arrests, embarrassing to Mr. Hakim, would affect those political efforts.

It would appear that the Americans are attempting to hold the Shi’ite Iraqi government’s feet to the fire. There is on-going concern that the Sunnis will be particularly vulnerable in the coming era of Iraq’s theocratic democratic rule.

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That’s how it appears, but who knows for sure? An “unnamed” American claimed:

“It’s our position that the Iraqis have to seize this opportunity to sort out with the Iranians just what kind of behavior they are going to tolerate,” the official said, declining to speak on the record because the details of the raid and investigation were not yet public. “They are going to have to confront the evidence that the Iranians are deeply involved in some of the acts of violence.”

I think he means that Iraq is going to have to be public and up-front about the incursion of Iranian insurgents into the country, insurgents tasked with killing Iraq’s American “guests.” With the arrest of people it suspects of targeting Americans, the militarily has thrown down the gauntlet.

Let’s see if anyone picks it up. So far, Iran is uncharacteristically mum - considering these events started on Thursday, that silence in itself is interesting.

Thanks to Larwyn


-== mist ==- said...

You can ask just about any Iraqi out here and they will quickly tell you that their govt. is almost 100% controlled by Iranian interests.

This is not some random event. This was directly related to the US attempt to oust as many Sunnis as possible from any leadership position because the US mistakenly believed that minority Sunni oppression of Shia populations was the main cause of suffering going on.

Take for instance, Abdel Aziz Al Hakim. One of the firs things he recommended was that Iraq pay reparations to Iran for all the damage that Iraq caused in the Iraq/Iran war. He is a snake and a bastard. It is not surprising in the least that he would be involved in this incident.

Or, take Ibrahim Jaffari, a man who was more Iranian than Iraqi. He made no attempt to hide his opinion on the subject. So great was the outcry they replaced him..... with his sidekick Maliki who is nearly as bad, but at least smart enough to say political things in public.

So, unless the US begins pursuing major Shia targets including everyone's favorite Muqqie Sadr, I won't be all that impressed by our intervention in Govt. affairs

Scott said...

Diana West wrote a column in which she asked the question 'what is 'success' in Iraq? It is a good question.

The Bush/Rice goal of a Switzerland on the Euphrates while noble seems to have slipped from our grasp if it had ever been possible.

The situation has become incredibly complex. We have rumblings of a Turkish incursion in to Iraq's Kurdish north said to be on for the spring. We have the strange resignation of the Saudi
ambassador Turki al Faisal from his
post in Washington.And then we have Iran and its drive to become the dominant player in the region.

We used to want this back in the Shah's day. Iran is the regional superpower and,face it, the Shia in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and Lebanon have legitimate complaints over the division of power and wealth in their societies.

Yet I am not clever enough to see a
way out of our predicament. We want
stability but I fear that is not in
the cards. This region is going to explode and we had better get ready for the consequences when it does.

If we don't get cracking on alternative energy supplies, building our petroleum reserves and military forces up we are going to be caught with our pants
around our ankles when these family
run oil kingdoms come undone.

al fin said...

The US will not really be serious about the future of Iraq until Sadr is removed from existence, and his militia scattered to the four winds.

By allowing the culture of religious murder and oppression to continue, the US shows it is not serious.

The US is already being labeled as the great murderer. The Lancet of all journals has exaggerated the death toll in Iraq by at least a factor of 10. That gives the US a lot of wiggle room for killing religious militia members.

In for a penny, in for a pound.

What is "Occupation" said...

as i posted at belomt..

the games are starting, pass the pork rinds, it's going to be an interesting ride...

Papa Ray said...

Who's got the most money?

Iran or the Kingdom?

Russian hardware up against American hardware, with a little Chinese thrown in the mix.

The Saudi Air Force could wipe out the Persian Air Force with enough bombs and missiles left over to destroy their Air Defense system.

But the Kingdom only has a few thousand in it's land forces. While the Persians have over a million.

Race for the treasure, while being bombed would cut the odds down, but would not stop the Persians.

Which side do we take? Which oil fields do we protect?

Who tell's Israel to but out...and will they?

Who will the Ruskies help...and how much?

Who tells the Turks to stay out of Iraq, and enforces it?

What happens when the Persians mate nukes to their missiles...will they use them?

Interesting questions for Presidents, Dictators, Think Tanks and bloggers.

Get them quart jars down, Mary Sue.

Papa Ray

Vol-in-Law said...

"Russian hardware up against American hardware, with a little Chinese thrown in the mix."

Hm - What is a sword, compared to the man who wields it?

I certainly wouldn't bet on the Saudis in a Saudu-Iran conflict. The Saudis have no significant land forces, and judging by previous conflicts it's unlikely they have more than a few skilled pilots. I doubt the Iranians have much of an air force, the Saudis might conceivably win air supremacy, but without US intervention air power would be largely irrelevant to this fight - you don't win a war with fighter planes. The Iranians have few tanks, but what they do have is motivated soldiers. If Iraq at its height couldn't defeat a weaker Iran, I'd think Saudi Arabia has no chance.