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Sunday, April 06, 2008


The recent attempt by Nouri al-Maliki to take on Moqtada al-Sadr has demonstrated two points; first, Maliki has no real powerbase without US support, and secondly, even with US support, al-Sadr has the ability to take on the Iraqi puppet government and the US in a guerrilla war with recruits joining any future insurgency that al-Sadr leads actually coming from the US-trained Iraqi police and army while others simply refuse to fight against the insurgents. One wonders how many Iraq government soldiers and police would have been willing to die for the American cause had push really come to shove, especially considering that most Iraqi army soldiers and police are only there because there is no other work and being part of the Iraqi puppet government forces provides a living as well as an opportunity to join in the insurgency against the US when the appropriate moment arrives.

Naturally, the neocon spin on recent events has been fairly predictable with one of their most prolific propagandists, Frederick Kagan, writing in the neocon comic, the Weekly Standard, on Wednesday that, “The Sadrists and Special Groups failed to set Iraq alight despite their efforts--Iraqi forces kept the Five Cities area (Najaf, Karbala, Hillah, Diwaniyah, and Kut) under control with very little Coalition assistance; Iraqi and Coalition forces kept Baghdad under control.“

This is the sort of complete nonsense and plain lies that one has come to expect from the neocons whenever things don’t go their way. It hasn’t occurred to the neocons that al-Sadr was merely testing the waters. Contrary to Kagan’s assertion that the Iraqi forces had everything under control, they were actually rapidly losing control to the point where they had to call in US and British airpower and, at the same time as losing control, were also losing men to al-Sadr’s Mahdi army.

The Mahdi army leader has proved that he can take on the US in a guerrilla war but it is clear that this will only happen if the US attacks Iran. Iran does not wish to invite the US to attack them and, for this reason, have asked al-Sadr to put a stop to the fighting and have negotiated a settlement with al-Maliki to not arrest al-Sadr’s Mahdi army militiamen.

However, it seems this may be only a temporary truce as al-Sadr prepares for a renewed showdown with the US and Iraq government.

But the big issue is not so much al-Sadr’s ability to take on the US and the Iraqi puppet government but the support al-Sadr is clearly receiving from Iran whose influence on Iraqi affairs is so obviously beginning to acutely annoy the Americans. As well as being able to demonstrate that they have the ability to actually stop and start major fighting in Iraq, they are also supplying increasingly both arms and training to Iraqi Shiite militias of both factions within the Iraqi Shiite grouping, al-Sadr and the Mahdi militia and al-Hakim leader of the al-Badr militia who, while still having their differences, have called a truce with each other in order to confront their common enemy, the US.

The question now is; has Iran’s influence in Iraq become intolerable for the US? For years the US and Israel have been accusing Iran of building a nuclear weapon, or at least having a nuclear weapons plan. This has been used as propaganda to get western public opinion to support an attack on Iran that would, they hope, lead to regime change. Unfortunately for the warmongers in the US administration and Israel, the world doesn’t seem to be biting – especially after all the lies they told in order to get the world to support a war against Iraq and especially since the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, has been unable to find any evidence to support Israeli and US claims about Irans nuclear weapons.

While Israel wanted the US to attack Iran so that Israel could then deal with Hizbollah and Hamas, the US was hesitant to be seen attacking Iran just because Israel wanted them to, something they had already been accused of when attacking Iraq. But now that Iran is clearly wielding so much influence in Iraq which is in direct conflict with US interests there, it may well be that the US now feels free to attack Iran in order to effect regime change while at the same time avoiding being accused of doing Israel’s bidding. It is no coincidence that anti-Iranian propaganda in the Israeli press seems to have dropped off a little of late as the emphasis on Iran moves from its influence on Hamas and Hizbollah which affects Israel, to Iran’s influence on Iraq which affects the US.

It seems the final confrontation may be closer than we realise if the US insist that Iran’s influence in Iraq is no longer tolerable.


Anonymous said...

While it is possible that Iran arms, trains and advices Shias in Iraq, and who could really blame them, there is however no proper proof of this.
E.g., the diplomatic influence/facility to mediate between the two shi'ite factions in Iraq does not necessarily mean that Iran is also arming them. The/this recent agreement possibly/probably reached with diplomatic help from Iran, made imminent sense for all those concerned about not wanting to see Iraq parceled/divided up into three or four weak regions following from a civil war -something which Israel does desire.
Despite the provocative posturing displayed by Ahmadinejad, he must be absolutely scared shitless of American military power/aggression and certainly does not want to provoke or give them an easy excuse to bomb Iran.

Damian Lataan said...

True, there is little prima facie evidence to show that Iran is arming and training the Shiite insurgents in Iraq, however, the circumstantial evidence is very compelling even if one only wonders who else could be arming and training them. The fact is; neither the Iranians nor the insurgents are going to admit their involvement with each other. As you suggest, Ahmadinejad, who, incidentally, I don’t think is at all ‘scared shitless’ of American power, is, nonetheless, being careful not to directly provoke an attack on Iran. Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric is just that, intended for the Iranian masses, in much the same way as the US and Israeli propagandise most that what he says for the benefit of the Western masses who they are trying to convince into supporting an attack on Iran.

Paulbe said...

Another thing Sadr has done is to bring the Resistance out into the open as a qasi-military opposition power, with him as its Head of State. I don't think the Americans really understand just what this means. People will now rally around Sadr. The Resistance is no longer a hit-run affair, and is now more dangerous to the US fools than ever. If Iran is covertly assisting them, then so Iran should. Iran has no interest in hostile powers (Israel and its American puppet) sitting on its borders.

Greg Bacon said...

Both Frederick Kagan and his wife, Kimberly, have been writing editorials and appearing on talk shows to blab about how peaceful things are in Iraq and since they are so, then by gosh, it's time to bomb Iran to hell and gone.

This family is nothing more than Israeli fifth columnist's, who are again trying to lie America into fighting another of Israel's "existential" enemies, Iran.

Here's some info on that lowly bunch of war pigs, from Source Watch

Kagan "authored the so-called 'real Iraq Study Group' report as the AEI's 'hawkish' rival to the ISG report of James Baker and Lee H. Hamilton in December 2006. The AEI report, titled Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq, was released on January 5, 2007, and Kagan was said to have won-over the ear of President George W. Bush." [2][3]

Kagan was a signatory to the January 28, 2005, Project for the New American Century letter to Congress calling for "Increasing U.S. Ground Forces" in Iraq. He was also a signatory to a September 20, 2001, "open letter" in which the PNAC urged President Bush "that the war on terrorism include the removal of Iraqi president Saddam Hussain [sic] 'even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the [ 9/11 ] attack.'" [4]

Kagan is the brother to foreign policy analyst Robert Kagan, "also a scholar," who was a "founding member of the Project for the New American Century. With fellow PNAC founder Bill Kristol, Robert wrote the [January 30,] 1998 New York Times article 'Bombing Iraq isn't Enough' that asserted: [5]

"If Mr. Clinton is serious about protecting us and our allies from Iraqi biological and chemical weapons, he will order ground forces to the gulf. Four heavy divisions and two airborne divisions are available for deployment. The President should act, and Congress should support him in the only policy that can succeed."

Kagan is the son of Donald Kagan, who is a professor at Yale and a fellow at the Hudson Institute. Frederick, Robert, who is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, and their father Donald are "all signatories to the neoconservative Project for the New American Century manifesto titled Rebuilding America's Defenses (2000)." [6]

As for the neocon/zionist project to get the war against Iran started, the upcoming testimony by General "BETRAYUS" this week will show how far advanced the Iranian war plans are, as depicted in this article in the UK Telegraph

British fear US commander is beating the drum for Iran strikes

By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:53am BST 05/04/2008

British officials gave warning yesterday that America's commander in Iraq will declare that Iran is waging war against the US-backed Baghdad government.

A strong statement from General David Petraeus about Iran's intervention in Iraq could set the stage for a US attack on Iranian military facilities, according to a Whitehall assessment. In closely watched testimony in Washington next week, Gen Petraeus will state that the Iranian threat has risen as Tehran has supplied and directed attacks by militia fighters against the Iraqi state and its US allies.

The outbreak of Iraq's worst violence in 18 months last week with fighting in Basra and the daily bombardment of the Green Zone diplomatic enclave, demonstrated that although the Sunni Muslim insurgency is dramatically diminished, Shia forces remain in a strong position to destabilise the country.

"Petraeus is going to go very hard on Iran as the source of attacks on the American effort in Iraq," a British official said. "Iran is waging a war in Iraq. The idea that America can't fight a war on two fronts is wrong, there can be airstrikes and other moves," he said.

Anonymous said...

Boy, I sure hope the US does attack Iran. The US military has proven itself totally incapable of handling two small wars against untrained guerillas with nothing but small arms. Taking on Iran would be an overextension of historic proportions and would completely destroy the US military machine. Since the US military, and their Israeli masters, are the number one impediment to peace in the world, their complete destruction would be a boon to mankind.

Anonymous said...

The US has run hundreds of simulations of attacking Iran, and lost them all. They also run a huge online game where they can let children come up with innovative strategies, but no use. What changed the equation was adding hundreds of nukes to the simulation. Then the US wins. Every time.
Since this discovery the laws concerning nuclear bomb use for the US army have changed (a couple years back), so lower level commanders are able to use nukes in response to battlefield situations. If I remember right there are 5 reasons listed that justify the use of nukes in the battlefield, last of which was ending the conflict quickly in terms favourable to the US.
A micro nuclear device was tested in Syria a couple of months back (according to Israeli newspapers, in the joint Israeli American mission the Americans fired the missile because Israel did not want the possible blow back.) so they just might be serious.

emotion said...

I know that you don't post my comments but I think you should read this article and reconsider your calculations on Iraq. I do this because I think that your blog is pretty good on other issues. Constructive criticism if you may...

"Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi Qumi, took the unusual step of expressing strong support for the government’s position and described Mr. Sadr’s fighters as outlaws."

"The party that Iran and the United States are backing, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, is a bitter rival of Mr. Sadr’s political movement and has managed to play to the interests of both countries."

Damian Lataan said...

Emotion, you shouldn't take too much of what mainstream media papers like the NYT tells you at face value. You should also appreciate that nationstates like to play little games with each other in order to avoid getting into too much conflict - especially when one nationstate is militarily more powerful than another. One says things that endeavours to placate the bully boy on the block. Iran, with total disregard to what the NYT tells you, supports al-Sadr, Syria, Hizbollah and Hamas and, indeed, anyone else that wants to take a poke at the US. They even support groups that, when not fighting their common enemy, fight each other. However, what Iran is not going to do is tell the world that this is their position. It's called diplomacy; it goes hand in hand with propaganda and rhetoric and generally has very little to do with the geopolitical reality of what is really going on.

emotion said...

My english is not as good as yours but I will try to answer anyways.

I think that your view on Iran is too rigid. Yes Iran supports Hezballah and Hamas and has an alliance with Syria but the situation in Iraq is way more complex than lets say Lebanon or Palestine. In Lebanon Iran has no other choice than to support Hezballah. That also applies on Hamas. And the interests of these parties diverge a lot with the Iraian interests.

In Iraq though, the situation is in many ways different. There are a lot of different shiite parties for Iran to influence and control. The Badr brigades are the most iranian influenced because of its history. They have very strong bonds to Iranian military and secret services. They are literary sectarian anti-arabs and 100% pro Iran and pro America. They are with no doubt fighting Sadr with Maliki. Their spokesperson appeared on al-Jazeera and called JAM for outlaws exactly like Maliki, Iran and US does. And why would Hakim send the commander of the Badr Brigades to Iran to negotiate truce with Sadr if there weren't any fighting? read:

"Hadi al-Ameri, the commander of the Badr Corps and a leading member of ISCI, traveled over the weekend to Iran’s religious
capital of Qom to negotiate the truce with Sadr that resulted in a shaky ceasefire in Basra.

Maliki, his faction of the ruling Islamic Dawa party, and ISCI intended to crush Sadr in Basra for reasons both political and

Sadr on the other hand is an arab nationalist whos party has no direct history with Iran. His father was against the Iranian influence on Iraqi ayatollahs. Sadr has always been against the americans and sectarian killings (even though JAM are a part of it) and he has told Khemenei not to interfere in Iraqi politics (according to himself). Sadr is against the partition of Iraq wich would give Iran total control over the south, Hakim isn't. This and many other reasons are behind this attempt to liquidate the Sadr movement.
The US interests in this campaign is to weaken the Sadr movement and to sow fitna not just between Sunni and Shia but also intrasectarian.

Iran may be anti-US in general but one has to always bear in mind that enemies aren't constant, only interests are. And if the interests of these enemies paradoxically converge in Iraq they will become friends temporarily. Remember that USA, Israel AND Iran gain from instability and partition of Iraq. Their fighting on Iraqi ground is not about Iraqi freedom for anyone but rather about who can control and dominate the caos the most.

Damian Lataan said...

Emotion, the ins and outs of internal Islamic politics in the Middle East is indeed extremely complex but you should not let that distract you from the reality that they all share a common enemy and, perhaps more importantly, that enemy, the US and Israel and to a lesser extent their allies, see Iran and those that they support as an enmy that they are determined to beat. It is that that unites the forces of Iran and their allies. The foibles of Islamic politics is of little interest to the Americans and Israelis except inasmuch that they may occasionally exploit differences for propaganda or tactic purposes.