Skip to comments.Rice warns Iran after US nabs Iranians in Iraq
Posted on 01/11/2007 7:19:29 PM PST by mdittmar
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran that the United States won't "stand idly by" if Tehran tries to disrupt Washington's renewed effort to stabilize Iraq.
Speaking hours after US troops detained six Iranians in a raid in northern Iraq, Rice said Washington was determined to crack down on Iran's "regional aggression."
Rice declined to comment specifically on the operation in the northern city of Arbil, which came shortly after President George W. Bush announced a new US strategy to end the violence in Iraq that included stepped up moves to counter Iranian and Syrian involvement in the country.
In a spate of television interviews and testimony in Congress to defend the new Bush plan for Iraq, Rice declined repeatedly to rule out US military action against Iran -- accused by the administration of supporting anti-US insurgents and Shiite radicals in Iraq and of trying to develop nuclear weapons.
"I don't want to speculate on what operations the United States may be engaged in, but you will see that the United States is not going to simply stand idly by and let these activities continue," she said in one interview.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have soared since Bush in 2002 branded Iran part of an "axis of evil" alongside Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Last year, Washington pushed successfully for UN sanctions against Iran in a bid to halt its uranium enrichment program, which the US says is aimed at producing nuclear weapons while Iranians say they only want to make atomic energy.
In Wednesday's speech, Bush fed fears of possible US military strikes on Iran by announcing the deployment of an additional aircraft carrier group to the Gulf and the supply of Patriot anti-missile systems to nearby allies.
"We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq," he said.
Rice defended the Gulf military deployments as needed to assure US allies they "have the defense capacity that they need against a growing Iranian military buildup."
She also said Bush in his speech was referring to taking action against Iranian and Syrian operatives inside Iraq.
"Obviously, the president isn't going to rule anything out to protect our troops, but the plan is to take down these networks in Iraq," she said.
Democratic Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a fierce critic of the Iraq war, warned Rice that Congress -- controlled by the opposition since November elections -- would intervene if Bush turned his sights on Iran.
"I believe the present authorization granted the president to use force in Iraq does not cover (Iran) and he does need congressional authority" to order military strikes against that country, he said.
In her testimony, Rice also reaffirmed the Bush administration's refusal to open a dialogue with Iran on stabilizing Iraq, as strongly recommended last year by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group and many foreign policy experts.
She said the Iranians would seek in any such talks to obtain concessions in the standoff over its nuclear program in exchange for help in Iraq.
"That's not diplomacy, that's extortion," she said.
Bush critics jumped on the latest Iraq measures as signs of a looming new conflict with Iran.
Bush "appears to be setting the stage for a wider war in the region," said Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich. "Isn't one war enough for this president?"
"The worst possible scenario in this crisis is the breakout of an armed confrontation between Washington and Tehran, said Abdulaziz Sager, chairman of the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center, adding that such action would "have serious security ramifications for the region".
US military officials meanwhile confirmed that six Iranians were arrested in Arbil on suspicion of "activities targeting Iraq and coalition forces".
Last month US forces detained two Iranian nationals suspected of weapons smuggling in Baghdad, but they were later released.
this gets gooder and gooder.
I like Bush's attitude. Too bad the rubes won't support it.
This speaks volumes. Biden and his buddies are more than willing to aid and abet the enemy... politics are more important to them than winning.
They dont need the Dems to trash the policy. Sen Chuck Hagel did their job for them. He sounded as low as any Democrat senator. Oh his radio show John Gibson asked is there any more pompous condescending senator than Chuck Hagel??
"Democratic Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a fierce critic of the Iraq war, warned Rice that Congress -- controlled by the opposition since November elections -- would intervene if Bush turned his sights on Iran."
Sit down and shut up!
If Iran is poking us in the eye, we should kick their butt!
And YOU, aren't going to do anything to get in the way!
I've never seen him propose anything.
All he does is snipe at the White House.
If I read this correctly, the good congressman seems to be suggesting that President Bush derives some sort of demonic pleasure from waging campaigns of aggression against Middle Eastern countries. The Iraq War "isn't enough." Only a "wider war" will do.
Presumably, the mullahs in Iran are blameless in this whole matter. Or if they actually do deserve some small portion of the blame, it really doesn't matter, since the "negotiations" with Tehran are, well, going swimmingly.
One has to wonder: Is Congressman Kucinich just playing to his loony-left base? Or does he actually believe what his rhetoric implies, i.e. that George Bush (and, by extension, America) is The True Threat To World Peace?
"On his radio show John Gibson asked is there any more pompous condescending senator than Chuck Hagel??"
I just love John Gibson. Also love his spiky new haircut. Sure beats his prior "werewolf" look. Before, John and Judge Nepalitano were vying for the Count Dracula look. Nepalitano (or is it Napalitano) now holds the title to himself.
"Chuck Hagel is an ugly little man."
I find him loathesome myself. Have to turn the channel when he comes on.
I'm with you 100%! The guy has more than a few loose screws.
Agree. Hagel is a complete disgrace.
It's nice to see that the Democrats finally admit that they are "opposition" to the United States. We've known all along that they weren't on our country's side, but they are now admitting as much.
There were, we called 'em Tories, and sent them packing to Canada when the shooting was done. Sometimes we tarred and feathered them to speed them on their way.
The Army and the Marines are stretched, but the Navy and Air Force are raring to go
Because he knows that his words are not literally true, that we no longer need masses of men to do maximum violence on our enemies. And I am not talking about nukes.
Now, is President Bush's "surge" responsible for this decline...or is it because we caught the Iranian head of Al Quds brigade in Baghdad...or is it because the Iraqis hung Saddam Hussein?
Alternatively, is it because of a combination of some or all of the above?
But what isn't in question is that there has been a dramatic, unreported improvement in the environment in Iraq.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.