Which “Enemy” Does Bush Mean? Iran Seems Ever More Likely… - 04.07.2006

President Bush today reiterated his resolve to remain in Iraq, if necessary. According to the AFP, he also agreed to increase the troop presence inside Iraq, if America’s commanders there saw fit to do so.

According to the AFP:

“If he says he needs more troops, he’ll get them. And if he says he can live with fewer troops because the Iraqis are prepared to take the fight, that’s the way it’s going to be,” Bush said.

The US president said he understood and even welcomed debate on whether US troops should be pulled out of Iraq.

Yet “during the Vietnam War there was a lot of politicization of the military decisions. That’s not going to be the case under my administration,” Bush insisted.

A premature pullout “would be a huge mistake,” he said, arguing that “would embolden the enemy,” Bush said.

“”Pulling out before the mission is complete would send a terrible signal to the United States military,” he added.

This news, combined with the Marines recent assurance that,

“To our own surprise, we are able to sustain this tempo, we think, probably indefinitely,” Magnus told reporters. “We can sustain 20-25,000 in Iraq indefinitely,” he added.

leads me to begin wondering, just who the “enemy” Bush is worried about “emboldening” may be.

Furthermore, the ongoing and increasing rhetoric against Iran’s influence in Iraq is also alarming. According to a statement from US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad late last month,

Iran is publicly professing its support for Iraq’s stalemated political process while its military and intelligence services back outlawed militias and insurgent groups.

Also, President Bush and Defense Secretary Donal Rumsfeld have both alleged that Iran is secretly supplying groups in Iraq with materials for producing improvised-explosive-devices or IEDs. When these statements were released, the press jumped to the quick, and ignorant, conclusion that President Bush and the Defense Secretary were suggesting Iran is supplying Iraq’s intransigent Resistance and Insurgency forces.

This is a laughable contention and, more than anything, typifies the extreme lack of insight much of the press have regarding the political history between Iraq and Iran. Although it is not unknown for Iran to support Sunni groups(there are rumors that they are offering to match whatever aid western nations withdraw from the new Hamas-led Palestinian government), as well as historically engaged in policies reflective of the “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” doctine, there is a long history, tracing back well over five hundred years to wars between the Persian Empire and various empires who have controlled the area of Iraq, ranging from the Abbasids to the Ottomans.

What is conceivable, and runs directly in line with the increasing rhetoric against Iran’s influence in Iraq, is that the Bush administration believes, or perhaps has evidence, that Iran has been engaged in causing or supporting black ops inside Iraq. Many of the worst terrorist attacks during the occupation have never been claimed.

The press, continuing to show their unwillingness or incapability of fully investigating the news, have continuously reprinted the statements of officials of the Iraqi government, who continuously accuse Al Qaeda for various attacks. Yet the press fail to seek the empirical evidence to support such claims while simultaneously failing to mention there is apparently no evidence for the claims.

One of the most recent examples is the Samarra shrine bombing, for which no one has yet claimed responsibility, is blamed on Al Qaeda by virtually every government official or expert, in the face of a total lack of empirical evidence.

The only evidence presented was that by the Agence France Presse through an interview with Jassem Mohammed Jaafar,

Construction Minister Jassem Mohammed Jaafar said Friday, adding that the placing of the explosives must have taken at least 12 hours.

“According to initial reports, the bombing was technically well conceived and could only have been carried out by specialists,”

“holes were dug into the mausoleum’s four main pillars and packed with explosives.”

“Then the charges were connected together and linked to another charge placed just under the dome. The wires were then linked to a detonator which was triggered at a distance,”

The Needlenose blog has some interesting discussion about the bombing, with a particularly intriguing version of the story about Atwaar Bahjat.

I would not go so far as to suggest that Iran was directly complicit in this bombing or other unclaimed bombings of mosques and other areas. However, according to the good ambassador Khalilzad,

“Our judgment is that training and supplying, direct or indirect, takes place, and that there is also provision of financial resources to people, to militias, and that there is presence of people associated with Revolutionary Guard and with MOIS,” the Afghan-born Khalilzad said, referring to Iran’s main military force and its Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

Let’s not forget, the Revolutionary Guard trained the members of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, in order to export Iran’s Islamic Revolution to its neighbor Iraq. Furthermore they trained and equipped the Badr Militia as the armed wing of SCIRI’s revolution exporting efforts.

This same militia was provided carte blanche over security in southern Iraq by the British forces after the invasion, as detailed here in the Times Online:

Following the end of the conflict in Iraq, the Coalition Provision Authority sought to reintegrate militia members into civil society,” Mr Reid said. “This process included members of the Badr organisation, formerly known as the Badr Corps, among others.


Sunnis have accused the Badr organisation of torturing prisoners, a claim rejected by the Shia-dominated Government.

Finally, an article published on the 5th by ADN Kronos International-an Italian news agency-alleges:

Shiite sources in Baghdad say the men are all on the payroll of the Iranian intelligence services. They note that the six broke ranks with their own faction in the recent leadership vote, and voted against Adel Abdel Mahdi, the designated candidate of SCIRI. This allowed the one-vote victory of Jaafari as prime ministerial candidate.

They also endeavor to explain something of the background of Iraq’s militia:

Nourizadeh, in Baghdad to follow negotiations between Tehran and Washington over the protacted Iraqi crisis, due to start Saturday, recalls that all six deputies accused of working for Iranian intelligence have in the past been part of the al-Badr militias.

Armed Shiite militias were born in Iran in the mid 1990s and are condisdered a brainchild of the Pasdaran or Revolutionary Guards.

These militias crossed the border into Iraq some months after Saddam Hussein was toppled and have made no secret of their ties to Iran which for years was responsible for their training.

Taken separately, all of these elements could be misunderstood or looked at from a seemingly coincidental angle. Taken together, I feel it almost certainly suggests that the President’s statements are not always what they seem.

The next time President Bush suggests that a premature pullout “would be a huge mistake,” and “would embolden the enemy,” consider the possibility that the assumption by the press and most experts that he means Al Qaeda and Iraq’s intransigent Resistance, is not necessarily the proper conclusion.

Iran remembers well the eight years of insult and injury during its war through the eighties, and quite likely remembers as well the hundreds of years of conflict with its neighbor Iraq.

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