Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

To: DoctorZIn; Eala; nuconvert; Defender2; southland; XHogPilot; AdmSmith; freedom44; seamole; Valin; ..
Iran: Iraq’s Duplicitous Puppeteer

Men's Daily News
April 20, 2004
Tom Marzullo

‘The situation in Iraq worsens every day!’ chirp the assorted media pundits whose smartly crafted doom and gloom sells more advertising, increasing the revenues of an industry that seems more intent upon creating more fresh carrion to feed upon than objectively investigating and reporting the facts.
In this work they have ample company…

Take for instance the reporting of the Iranian news agency, Mehr News, whose recent story claims the US has a policy of "committing systematic sexual abuse against Iraqi civilians" and even celebrates its atrocities on the internet.

In the Islamist world in the Middle-East, where grinding illiteracy is the norm and serves to tighten the grip of the ruling zealots on the people, these stories heighten and focus the anger created by the hopeless misery that helps to imprison them. That focus must be the eternal scapegoat so that, even with their diminished understanding of the world around them, they do not look within their own borders… for that path can lead to rebellion. But a bit more on that issue a little later on…

On the ground in Iraq there are really different two wars being fought… one with the Sunni Baathists and the other with Iran via proxies.

Here is the Baathist situation in a nutshell: In Fallujah and indeed along the entire Euphrates river valley, the hard core of opposition is based on the Baathist army remnants. This is due to the fact that the Euphrates river valley was never cleared by US or Coalition forces a year ago and this created the relatively unmolested sanctuary where the Baathist Sunni regrouped and gathered munitions and arms from the stockpiles where they had cached them earlier. They have apparently designed their insurgency along the lines of strong points (such as Fallujah)... But the force they are using is comprised of former army veterans already in country. So, being insufficiently ruthless has once again come back to haunt us and now we have to do that job all over again. There is something to be said for doings things right the first time around.

The second front would seem to be from the rebellious Shiia in southern Iraq if you believe what you are routinely fed by much of the press. But, the Muqtada Al-Sadr's forces have appeared within a suspiciously short time and from a segment of the Iraqi population that was routinely denied much in the way of military training by the Baathists out of fear of creating a working core for a Shiia rebellion.

So, just where did al-Sadr’s disciplined and well-equipped little army come from then?

According to the London-based newspaper, Al-Sharq al-Awsat they came from Iran. Iran has created three new training camps along the Iraqi border specifically to train a few thousand Islamist Shiia volunteers. Out of a population of millions, this is not properly indicative of what has been termed a ‘popular uprising.’

The al-Hayat newspaper describes the ongoing Iranian efforts to support and supply any and all anti-coalition groups in Iraq.

When you consider that Iran was the safe-haven for Shiia exiles from Baathist Iraq for decades, that these were given military training and formed into units against the time that they could be sent back to fight in Iraq, it begins to clarify the Iranian end-game. As Saddam and the U.S. were considered as equal enemies by the Mullahs, so his being deposed has in no way changed the operational plans. These previously built forces, along with the Iranian Pasdaran have already been infiltrated into Iraq along the northern border with Iran and have conducted successful assassinations against the Iraqi Governing Council.

The typical guiding principle in the Middle East is to speak of one course of action while actually working another (and frequently opposing) course of action. The Iranian offer to mediate in Iraq should be viewed through this lens and it shows that they are getting much better at learning how to manipulate the western media as well. This due both their persistence in climbing the learning curve and to the agendas that a large portion of the western media is both consistent and persistent in the pursuit of… that is in fact an anti-US bias. There are numerous reasons for this, but suffice it to say that they are really a moot point for our enemies as they will use whatever advantages are placed within their reach. So, the western media fulfills their typical role in what Lenin described as ‘useful fools.’

This is why the media has swallowed the story of Iran-as-mediator whole without any qualms. To do otherwise would spoil their projections as the US/UK as closet imperialists and that is a far too dearly-held prejudice to give up without blatant serial aggression on the part of the Iranians.

About the only thing the pundits have unknowingly gotten right in their comparisons of Iraq with Vietnam, is that Iran is attempting to reprise the role of the North Vietnamese as an inviolable base of operations from which to conquer its neighbor.

But here the simile falls apart, because unlike the unified and ethnically homogeneous North Vietnamese, Iran is a seething cauldron of discontent brought upon by the mismanagement and repression of the Islamist Mullahs. Personal accounts from Iran describe weekly protests in the major cities that are put down with much bloodshed by police. Within Iran, the Revolutionary Guards (what passes for the Mullah’s pit-bulls) have been checkmated so far by the Iranian military. The segments within the young that brought the Mullahs to power in 1979 have been targeted for repression and special attention by the secret police and meetings of more than five have been banned.

Now add in the resentment of educated Iranian women who were raised in relative freedom and now find themselves barred from their professions, while their daughters are given in marriage like trinkets to elderly, well-connected religious zealots.

The Mullahs in Iran know that they must contain rebellion at home while exporting it to Iraq… This is their not-so-secret Achilles’ heel.

Now that a broader view of Iraq and Iran has been laid before you, imagine the changes on the geo-political stage should Iran’s Mullahs be cast out…

It would boggle the Islamist world and so is worthy of pursuing with vigor.

Tom Marzullo

Tom Marzullo is a columnist/physicist/educator who is a former US Army Special Forces combat soldier and US Navy Submariner with special operations experience in both services. He was the leader of the Internet-based effort by Special Forces veterans that debunked the false CNN/TIME magazine nerve gas story, 'Tailwind' and has provided testimony before the US Senate on military and intelligence matters. He resides in Colorado.
11 posted on 04/20/2004 5:26:27 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
Shadows of Tehran over Iraq

The Christian Science Monitor
April 19th 2004
By Scott Peterson

Iran's five-day effort in Najaf raises concerns for US over how much pull Iran possesses.

BAGHDAD – The Iranian diplomats left Iraq empty handed. But even the failure of a five-day Iranian effort to defuse a standoff between a firebrand Shiite cleric and US forces lets Washington know that Tehran isn't just a spectator. Iran's controversial intervention is raising anew questions about Iranian influence among the Shiite majority in Iraq, and how long the shadow of the Islamic republic extends over US plans for Iraq's future.

In recent days, senior US military and civilian officials have repeatedly cast Iran - which President Bush calls part of an "axis of evil" - as a secret backer of the anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army. While Tehran has kept its distance, some Iranian hard-liners support Mr. Sadr's strident anti-US message. A CPA adviser and other experts say that Iran is setting up its own networks of sympathizers in Iraq, but that it has not played a direct role in the attacks on the US-led coalition forces.

Iran's ties with Sadr - a fiery nationalist, whose desire to confront the American occupation is at odds with the more established, moderate Shiite forces that Tehran has backed for years - are also less than smooth.

"I am sure the Iranians are not behind the current unrest. No one has produced any evidence Iran is behind that," says a Western CPA adviser in southern Iraq, who asked not to be identified. "Of the people we arrested in the south, none are Iranian agents."

"Iran would try to be quite cautious about any support [for Sadr]. They don't want the Americans to attack or invade Iran, which they know could happen if they are seen to be behind attacks on US forces," says the CPA adviser. "It would not make sense to target coalition forces. That is a high-risk strategy."

Some leading Iraqis agree. "Who is the genius who created the mess in the south so that Iran, our biggest security threat, was invited to come in and help?" asks Ghazi al-Yawar, a ranking Sunni tribal leader, and member of the US-appointed Iraq Governing Council. He answers by blaming the US and Council alike for "mishandling" the Sadr situation.

Iraq's Shiite Arab majority share religious kinship with ethnic Persian Iran, and hundreds of thousands of Iranian pilgrims have swept into Karbala and Najaf to visit sacred shrines in the past year.

The Iranian government under reform-minded President Mohammad Khatami has kept a careful distance from Sadr, and has helped ensure calm in Shiite areas of Iraq. But some key hardliners in Iran openly side with Sadr - and his mentor is a hard-line Iranian ayatollah. Iran's former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, chair of the powerful Expediency Council, declared the Mahdi army to be "heroic." America is a "wounded monster" in Iraq, whose defeat would provide a "valuable lesson," Mr. Rafsanjani said at Friday prayers 10 days ago. "We have small accounts with the Americans which we must settle one day and bring the issue to a close."

Experts say Iran has been actively setting up "networks" in Iraq to be made ready to destabilize things in case of any US action against Iran. "The Iranians want to be in a position to meddle. They will gather intelligence, maybe collect weapons, to exploit a situation if America were to attack them," says the CPA adviser. "If you are Iranian, it would be sensible to create networks."

The US standoff with Sadr stems from an arrest warrant issued for the cleric over the murder of a moderate rival in Najaf a year ago, the arrest of his top aide, and closure of his newspaper. As violent clashes erupted across southern Iraq, the US vowed to "capture or kill" the cleric.

A 2,500-strong US force last week encircled Najaf and Sadr's base at nearby Kufa. Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, who commands a broad following, has warned Sadr not to bring his fight into the holy cities. Still, on Thursday, Mr. Sistani issued a fatwa that US troops entering Karbala or Najaf would be crossing a "red line."

Sadr speaking at Friday prayers in Kufa, flatly refused to disband the Mahdi army under any circumstance - a key US demand.

Into this maelstrom stepped the Iran mediation effort last week, led by Foreign Ministry envoy Hossein Sadegi. The visit was overshadowed by the death of an Iranian diplomat, who was gunned down in his car on Thursday, as the delegation arrived.

The Iran team met a US diplomat, in a rare face-to-face session, and numerous Iraqi officials and clerics. A planned meeting with Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf never took place; Sadr was not on the schedule.

"We had a firm message for the Iranians across the board ... to be constructive, not destructive," said CPA spokesman Dan Senor. "There is no role for the Iranians, from our perspective, in the Sadr situation [which] should be resolved by Iraqis."

"There is no doubt, bad or good, Iran has some influence in Iraq," counters Davoud Hermidas Bavand, a professor with Iran's official Center for Political and International Studies in Tehran. He says Iran has been "accommodating" of US interests. "If [America] is faced with ever increasing difficulties, they will look for a scapegoat."

US officials have long suggested that Sadr receives direct support from Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Lebanon's Hizbullah. One London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper quoted what it called a Revolutionary Guard source who described three military camps on the Iran-Iraq border for up to 1,200Mahdi army recruits.

Sadr's theological link to Iran is clear: he follows hard-line Iranian Ayatollah Kazem al-Haeri, who was appointed successor to his popular father, killed by Baathists in 1999.

But experts say the al-Haeri-Sadr link is overblown. "I don't think Moqtada Sadr is taking directions from [Iran's religious center] Qom or Tehran. I think he is independent from Iran," writes David Patel, a political scientist at Stanford University, who has been conducting research in southern Iraq. "If the Iranian hardliners wanted to back a player in Iraq, it would be one of the large SCIRI/Badr [Shiite exile groups once based in Iran] offices, not Moqtada Sadr."

Even Sadr's mentor in Iran called for Iraqis to "observe patience."
12 posted on 04/20/2004 8:54:18 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson