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Posted by on Nov 28, 2006 in At TMV | 23 comments

Iran and Iraq


Dealing with the devil is seldom best

Iran’s Ubermullah Khamenei told Iraqi President Talibani that the reason for the Sectarian violence in Iraq is the presence of U.S. troops and that before-mentioned violence would end at the moment the U.S. withdraws its troops.

The first step to solve the security issue in Iraq is the exit of the occupiers from this country and leaving the security issues to the people-based Iraqi government,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by state television.

“Americans will absolutely not succeed in Iraq and the continuation of Iraq’s occupation is not a mouthful that Americans can swallow,” Khamenei said Tuesday during a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

“The main reason for the current situation in Iraq is the US policies that are being carried out by some intermediaries,” the Iranian leader said.

He put the blame for Iraq’s insecurity on “some US agents in the region who are mediators of these policies”.
[…]
“If the Iraqi government asks, Iran will not refrain from any action to establish stability and security in this country.”

“Americans will absolutely not succeed in Iraq and the continuation of Iraq’s occupation is not a mouthful that Americans can swallow,” Khamenei told him.

I would like to nominate this for ‘most idiotic quote of the month’.

It seems to me that Iraq’s leaders are turning more and more to Iran for ‘protection’, which effectively means that they want to please the Mullahs hoping that, once Iraq does what Iran wants, Iran will stop supporting terrorism in Iraq.

Ahh, the disgusting stench of blackmail…

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Copyright 2006 The Moderate Voice
  • I don’t grasp how this is idiotic. It seems to be true.

  • It is idiotic because the cause of the violence is, as I see it, not simply the presence of U.S. troops: it’s because Iran and terrorist organizations are actively trying to ruin the potential Iraq has / or perhaps better said had. The idiotic part is that the Ubermullah blames the U.S. for the Sectarian violence while Iran is encouraging it.

    If Iran would not meddle in Iraq, the situation would most likely be much, much better.

  • Rudi

    The violence in Iraq is due to the Iraqis themselves. The US, Iran and al-Qaeda are just the enablers. It is the same breakdown that happened in the forner Yugoslavia. The US just poured the gasoline on the embers…..

  • corvus

    Paul

    The coalitions failure to plan properly the post invasion is the main cause of Violence in Iraq. Failure to provide security created a power vacuum which shiite &Sunni tribes were all to eager to take advantage of. Blaming Iran is just a way of providing cover to those who failed in their job.

  • C Stanley

    corvus,
    I agree with your first statement:

    The coalitions failure to plan properly the post invasion is the main cause of Violence in Iraq.

    But that doesn’t mean that Iran trying to step in to fill the power vacuum isn’t a problem now. And it doesn’t mean that those who wish to point that out are strictly trying to shift blame from the coalition. In my mind, it’s that the coalition is at fault for poor planning which has now led to this situation.

  • Elrod

    I’m with Rudi here. The problem is internal to Iraq. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the US, Hezbollah, Jordan, Turkey, Gulf billionaires, Al Qaeda…all contribute their own piece to the Iraqi Civil War. But in the end, this is a struggle among and between Iraqis.

  • C.S.: rest assured, I agree with that, but the notion that simply withdrawing the troops automatically results in less violence is, in my opinion, absurd. Since the troops as such are not the problem, militias supported by foreign forces are the problem.

  • which only became a problem because of the poor planning by the Bush administration, I should add.

  • egrubs

    I think you’re phrasing the question wrong, MvdG.

    It’s not “Will removing troops immediately solve the problem?” but “Which stance should we expect Iran to take?”

    They want us gone. This advances that agenda. We may disagree, but it’s hardly idiotic.

  • C Stanley

    C.S.: rest assured, I agree with that, but the notion that simply withdrawing the troops automatically results in less violence is, in my opinion, absurd.

    MvdG, I agree. Personally I think that if the US and coalition forces withdraw quickly right now, Iran steps in and openly starts backing the Shiite militias to overthrow the Maliki govt. I think that the support is basically there now, but it’s being done more covertly and once our troops leave it becomes more open. The Sunnis will get slaughtered unless the Saudis or other regimes that are led by Sunnis decide to step in on that side and then it all blows up into a regional war.

    I also find that it doesn’t make sense to me on the one hand to say this is a civil war that is strictly between two internal factions but on the other hand to claim that the presence of the US troops is causing it. These two ideas seem fairly mutually exclusive to me. Either we, as occupiers, are the inciting cause of the violence (we’re not, IMO) or the violence is occurring because various factions want to control the country and will not acquiesce to the political process. In my view, our presence there now really is serving a purpose: to keep one side of the sectarian violence (call it civil war if you wish, I don’t think the semantics matter) from slaughtering the other side and in the process, keeping either of these factions from taking down the elected government. It is certainly debatable whether or not we can continue to keep that from happening, or at what cost we might be able to do so, but that is what I see our presence there now as accomplishing. If a political solution (to strengthen the elected government and give assurances to the Sunnis) can be crafted in a short enough time period for us to be able to keep either side’s militias from winning, then we would be able to exit in a way that still preserves some stability.

  • ES

    It seems to me that Iraq’s leaders are turning more and more to Iran for ‘protection’, which effectively means that they want to please the Mullahs hoping that, once Iraq does what Iran wants, Iran will stop supporting terrorism in Iraq.

    Iraq as a whole will not “turn� to Iran for “protection�. The insurgency is not clearly as you try to make it out to be – it is not the Shi’ites extremists v. the Iraqi government and their American masters. The problem with your vision is where the Kurds and Sunni Arabs will not follow what the Iranians want – especially those more violent groups bent on fighting the Coalition, Iraqi government officials, or Shi’ite militias. The Iraqi Shi’ites may look for help from brethren across the border, but that does not mean other religious, ethnic, and sectarian groups will follow their lead. In addition, the Iraqis were also clamoring for Saddam to come back to stop the looting and strife, at least until he was caught in his spider-hole.

    If Iran would not meddle in Iraq, the situation would most likely be much, much better.

    Why do you blame them? In regards to Afghanistan, the administration enabled the Iranians to use their influence to bring a short peace to the region. Soon afterwards they are thrown into the “Axis of Evil” group. Why should they enable a possible enemy to operate so close to them if they are to become the next target? You just cannot have it both ways – either have everyone have the ability to shape the region or actually do the job to get all the rewards. There is no middle ground.

  • Kevin H

    I had stated earlier that I thought Iran was trying to use reverse psychology on the US to get us to stay as long as possible to keep a relative peace for them. And I think it might fit here as well.

    The hard, ugly question is ‘does a ME regional war help or hurt American interests?’

  • C Stanley

    Kevin H,
    I think it’s a win win situation for Iran. Either we stay, which of course is a drain on US resources and continues to divide popular opinion here, or we leave and they are able to step in. I think they probably prefer the latter but if they drag it out and then get to that same end goal then that is all the better for them. I don’t think we can think of it in terms of “figure out what Iran wants and do the opposite”. The only way to NOT do what Tehran wants is to win the thing, but no one knows how to do that or maybe more accurately, we aren’t willing to do what it would take.

  • Elrod

    Iraq will only be peaceful when it bleeds itself out. The problem is political, but sadly there is no real political solution. The US did not “cause” the Iraqi Civil War, but it uncorked it in a way. Saddam’s regime could be seen as one long civil war anyway; how many hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shi’ites did he murder in order to keep power? That’s a state of civil war, if you ask me. Of course, now, there is no strong power able to dominate over the others. Instead, Iraq is like Lebanon, where every faction fights for itself. It will end only when this entire generation of Iraqis kills and maims itself. Then the smarter, younger, war-weary Iraqis of the next generation will reconcile as the Lebanese did in the 1990s. It will still be precarious as Lebanon is today. But the war will continue until the people tire of it. We are a LONG way away from the time when people decided that war is worse than avenging death.

  • C Stanley

    I think you have a good point, Elrod, but don’t you think that back in ’03 and ’04 there were signs that the political process was starting to work? Until the Samarra bombing…and ever since, I do think that outside instigators have rekindled the sectarian violence.

  • Rudi

    CS Those outside instigators were Iraqis who fled to Iran during the Saadam regime. Sadr is more of a Iraqis populist than a Iranian stooge. Bush 41 realized this mess and didn’t march to Baghdada. He also abandonned the Shia insurrgency against Saadam in 1991 because of their ties to Iran. The Communal War (heard this laugher on Fox News) is between Iraqis factions, even Shia are fighting each other in the South. Go to Globalsecurity web site to look at the Iraqis situation. Purple fingers didn’t make for a real Democracy.

  • Kevin H

    CS wrote:

    I think it’s a win win situation for Iran. Either we stay, which of course is a drain on US resources and continues to divide popular opinion here, or we leave and they are able to step in.

    They might THINK it is a win/win, but if they step in are poised for much more success than the US has seen? Iran is 90% Shia, while Iraq is more like 45% Shia. Any sectarian driven Shia theocracy is going to run into a lot of resistance from Sunnis and Kurds. If Iran tries openly to support only Shia movements within Iraq, I think that they would be opening themselves up to a world of hurt; both from opposing forces inside Iraq, and the added international scrutiny due to their aggressive behavior.

    That is why I ask if a reigional war might actually be good for US interests. I’m certain it would be a humanitarian disaster, but would it be worth it to maybe prevent Iran from getting a nuke? There are a lot of avenues to explore. For example would it hurt the US economy via oil prices, but is that a plus in terms of long-term evironmental impact?

  • SurgeJack

    I love how, in the picture, they’re clearly gesturing to argue the size of President Bush’s penis.

  • SurgeJack

    Also, Kevin, to correct you, that number in Iraq is more between 60-65 percent, perhaps more if their death squads have really been living up to the slogans.

  • Elrod

    C Stanley,
    My view is that much of the progress in 2003 and 2004 was chimerical. The real issue was the Shi’ites looking to gain power for the first time. I believe strongly that the Shi’ites responded to the Samarra bombing the way they did because they’d already solidified their hold on the government after the December 2005 elections. They had nothing to lose by striking back against the Sunnis now that they held the government. A civil war couldn’t derail their control over the government.

    I think Sistani’s calls for moderation were driven more by the desire for Shi’ite power than any larger reconciliation. Shi’ites – both moderate and radical – wanted to take over the government after Saddam. And they believed that elections were the best way to do it. I always saw the political process as the tool for Shi’ite ascendancy, not as the beginning of some wonderful multisectarian democracy.

    The Sunnis let it be known early on that they wanted nothing to do with this new democracy. They participated in the second and third election only after being promised that they could control the new constitution. That turned out to be either a mirage or irrelevant, as the constitution (especially with respect to federalism) has largely fallen off the agenda.

    I just never believed there was much hope for democracy in Iraq. There are too many old scores that Iraqis feel they must settle. This isn’t an “Arab” thing or a “Muslim” thing. It’s an Iraqi thing. Democracy may be possible after a long and bloody civil war shakes all this anger and hatred out. God knows how long that will be.

  • ES

    And you wonder why the Iranians are not playing nice?!?

    Sic Semper Tyrannis permalink

  • grognard

    I would also add something to what Elrod said, as the Iraq civil war goes on Israel is on the sidelines. The Arab world will be watching the battle for Iraq and the Shiites and Sunnis will be far more concerned with each other than the Palestinian problem. My question remains, will this war bring in the other regional powers? And will the strife between these two Muslim religions widen to other countries, like Pakistan or Lebanon?

  • Kim Ritter

    I think our government is afraid of a widening regional war, which would be catastrophic for a world dependent on the region for oil, as well as those in the affected countries of course. It could easily cause WWIII (though Newt seems to think its already started, LOL). That is why we are really stuck there-we have given up on democracy and now seek only stability of the country and the region. The neocons vision is dead.

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