Apr 27 2008

Iran Put On Notice That It Risks Military Response From US For Proxy War In Iraq

Published by at 8:48 pm under All General Discussions,Iran,Iraq,Sadr/Mahdi Army

Updated Below

Evidence must be mounting that Iranians are involved with the Madhi Army in a proxy war within Iraq because the tension is ratcheting up with no one backing down. The US, clearly fed up with Iranian weapons and trained fighters attacking American and Iraqi forces, apparently has put Tehran on notice of that a military response is in the works – a notice Tehran will probably not heed:

America’s top military officer has ratcheted up the pressure on Iran by issuing an unusual public warning that the Pentagon is planning for “potential military courses of action”.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, blamed the Iranian government and Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for its “increasingly lethal and malign influence” in Iraq. He said conflict with Iran would be “extremely stressing” for America’s overstretched forces, but added: “It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability.”

Mullen said he was increasingly concerned about Iran’s growing involvement in supplying munitions and training to rebel Shi’ite militias and “killing American and coalition soldiers in Iraq”.

I have made this point before, but it bears repeating. Iran can be bombed into oblivion and there is no need for our forces to occupy Iran or fund any rebuilding for their acts of war on the US and our ally Iraq. Iraq needed to be rebuilt because it was our decision to liberate it from Saddam Hussein. But self defense is a different matter than preemptive attacks. Iran has declared war on the US before, and now it has been caught red handed shipping weapons hot off the production line into Iraq in about the same time that we can ship new weapons from the US to Iraq. These are not smuggled weapons – they are being shipped as rapidly as possible.

As I suspected there is more evidence coming to the fore as US and Iraq forces roll up the Mahdi thugs. It seems Iraq has papers and maybe even some Iranians themselves as evidence of the Persian proxy war on its Arab neighbor:

Iraqi army spokesman Major General Qasim Atta told a news conference in Baghdad that 712 rockets and mortars had been fired in Baghdad in recent weeks, and claimed most of them were Iranian-made.

“We have found many Iranian-made weapons — Katyusha and Grad rockets, and smart roadside bombs and smart bombs. We have also seized some documents and identified some people,” Atta said, without elaborating.

US military spokesman Rear Admiral Patrick Driscoll said there was little doubt that most of those firing rockets in Sadr City had been trained in Iran.

“Anyone carrying a weapon that is provided (by Iran) or… is using (weapons) which are Iranian-based tend to be those who are trained in Iran on those weapons,” he told AFP.

“We know they are Special Groups when they run out to launch their rockets and mortars,” Driscoll said, adding that these groups generally comprise members of the Mahdi Army militia of hardline Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who are ignoring his orders to lay down their arms.

“The Iranians continue to train Iraqis and finance their networks and over time that is going to build,” Driscoll told reporters.

More here on Iranian weapons in Iraq. If we respond militarily with Iran (and I think it is only a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’) the evidence we have will come out in droves, and may be doing so right now. Iran and Sadr are ignoring all the peaceful exit ramps being offered – which tells me they want confrontation.

Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has rejected conditions set by Iraq’s prime minister for stopping the military crackdown against his Mahdi Army militia.

An al-Sadr spokesman accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of wanting to resolve the problem by force instead of dialogue.

The conditions to end the fighting was for the Mahdi’s to lay down their arms. They think confrontation will impact the presidential elections. It probably will, but not in the manner they think it might. Iraqis are the ones heading this battle – we simply provide support. The Iraqi street is not rising up in alliance with Sadr, they are quietly praying for Maliki to establish order and drive the Mahdi thugs out. Something important is now surrounded in Sadr City – it just is not a place worth dying over. But the Mahdi are fighting hard for the Baghdad slum while they barely put up a fight for Basra, the 2nd largest city in Iraq. What is so important about Sadr City? Is it an Iranian force hiding out in Baghdad? Something is there.

Things will be coming to a head very soon. Iraq is decimating the Mahdi – whose pleas for help from the UN, Red Cross, Shiite Arabs in Iraq and the liberal SurrenderMedia have not stopped Maliki from dismantling Sadr’s forces, which were clearly overrated.

Update: The Mahdi thugs keep dying in droves as their weak and pathetic attempts to take on the US and Iraqi forces underscore the fact they are not capable – on the surface – to mount much of a threat:

The biggest clash in the day-long battles came at dusk on Sunday when “a large group of criminals engaging with small-arms fire” attacked a security force checkpoint, a US military statement said.

“US soldiers used 120 mm fire from M1A12 Abrams tanks and small-arms fire to kill … 22 criminals, forcing remaining enemy forces present to retreat,” the military said.

Abbas Abdul Hussein, a resident of Sadr City who witnessed the attack, said it had come at the height of the sandstorm.

“The militiamen took advantage of the storm. They knew there were no helicopters watching them, so they attacked US troops near the checkpoint,” said Hussein.

Pathetic. What is even more embarrassing to watch is the demand by the thugs who started this conflict by lobbing rockets and missiles at the Iraq government complex in the Green Zone is the liberal ‘let’s talk, not fight’ claptrap:

Sadr’s group rejected Maliki’s conditions for an end to the fighting late on Sunday.

“We say the crisis can be resolved by objective dialogue,” Obeidi said.

Pure BS for the simpletons on the left to lap up. These criminals have had a peaceful exit ready for them, the minute they disarm their heavy weapons (not the handguns or rifles). We now have a simple and affective idiot test – anyone who believes they can talk to these thugs while they are armed and shooting is clearly an idiot.

So I ask again, why are these militants fighting to the end for the Sadr City slum? Look at the difference in the Mahdi actions in the key port city of Basra against what is happening in Sadr City:

After a month of fighting, the Mahdi Army has disappeared from the streets of Basra, the largest city in the south. The army and police are everywhere, and people are providing information on where Mahdi Army personnel are hiding out, and the locations of their weapons caches. Up north, in the Sadr City section of east Baghdad, the Mahdi Army is still fighting hard. But the army and police have the upper hand, and are pushing the Shia militiamen back block by block.

What are the possible options that would cause the Mahdi to fight to the death? One option is key leaders are present who cannot be caught or the cause is crippled. That would suggest Iranian commanders might be present.

The dozen or so factions of the Mahdi Army vary in their loyalty to Sadr, or to political solutions. Several of the Mahdi Army factions are basically criminal gangs masquerading as religious zealots. Sadr denies he is a pawn of Iran, but as Mahdi Army houses are captured, more Iranian weapons and equipment show up, as well as religious propaganda from Iran. Iraqi president Maliki has told Sadr that the offensive would halt if the Mahdi Army surrenders all its weapons, stops attacking, or trying to infiltrate (by joining) the security forces, and hands over members wanted for crimes. So far, Sadr refuses, probably because many of his followers would turn on him if he tried. But Sadr also realizes that the Iraqi soldiers and police are capable, eventually, of grinding the Mahdi Army into nothingness. Another month or so of fighting and the Mahdi Army will be no more.

But there is another option worth considering. There could be very important weapons caches or finances hidden there. People and money can be replaced so I have my doubts on that front – but it is plausible. But if I had to open up the trade space to any option one thing that is hard to acquire and may be worth fighting for is one or more WMDs. I have no idea if this is the case, just wild speculation at this point. This could be all the result of religious zealotry. But for some reason the Mahdi don’t want to let go of the slums of Sadr City, and were willing to cede the important city of Basra to hold Sadr City. Strange set of priorities there.

Update: This is interesting breaking news:

Iraqi police say gunmen have assassinated a local commander of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the southern city of Basra.
A police official says Ali Ghalib, a commander of al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army in the Hakimiya neighborhood in central Basra, was gunned down by gunmen on a motorcycle as he was driving on Monday.

Are the Iranians assassinating potential witnesses?

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Iran Put On Notice That It Risks Military Response From US For Proxy War In Iraq”

  1. Frogg says:

    Let’s hope this turn out to be true:

    —————————————
    April 27, 2008

    Britons kidnapped in Iraq are ‘held by Iran

    ’Uzi Mahnaimi and Michael Smith

    Five British hostages who were kidnapped in Iraq almost a year ago are being held inside Iran by Revolutionary Guards, according to two separate sources in the Middle East and London.

    The hostages were handed over to the Revolutionary Guards by their Iraqi kidnappers last November, the sources believe. One of the sources said they were being held in the western Iranian city of Hamadan.

    If confirmed, the involvement of Revolutionary Guards would be seen as evidence that senior figures in the Iranian government had backed the decision to hold them in the country.

    However, British officials said that while there had been rumours that the five were in Iran, they had seen no evidence to support the idea.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3822830.ece

  2. Frogg says:

    Oops, meant to say, “Let’s hope this doesn’t turn out to to true” in the above post (typo error).

  3. ivehadit says:

    The thing is, Iran does not want Iraq to “arm up”. They fear a stable Iraq will attack Iran ala 1988. So are these arms going to those that side with Iran? Iran is obviously trying to provoke the US. Is that because of the election in November?

    All the talk is about Israel wanting to get Iran out of the picture before November in case McCain doesn’t win.And Iran should be willingly negotiating with us NOW as they can’t afford the possibility of a Jimmy Carter redux. And what is Russia’s involvement in all of this?…..

    All I know is this: George W. Bush will do the right thing.

  4. VinceP1974 says:

    It’s about time Iran is put in its place.

    This should have happened YEARS ago. Many thousands more people will die because of this delay.

  5. ivehadit says:

    Or is Iran trying to help take out Sadr as was predicted they would do, now that he is a “maverick”…

  6. RobinSolana says:

    The firmness that Maliki is showing in going after Sadrs malitias seems an unusual and very positive development. This is a best outcome. There have been many possible paths that are far worse than this. And there are many questions. How do the British fit into this. It seems to me that it was “time to take on Sadr” finally. It would be good to review all the hard and deadly work that lead up to this chance for a better future for Iraq and Iraqis.

  7. robert verdi says:

    The 800 pound gorrilla in the room, and the one democrats do not want to talk about is the fact that Iran is fighting a proxy war against the US government. Its amusing to watch people scream how the war increased Iranian influence, but when it comes to concrete examples of Iranian influence like weapons they pretened it foesn’t exist or its exaggerated. Needless to say those weapons have killed 100′s of Iraqi and US soldiers. And the Democrat answer? Engage them because thats what the people who brought us the Beirut embassy bombing really understand.

  8. WWS says:

    re: the assasination of Ali Ghalib today most likely just represents the downside of running an oppressive religious thugocracy – nothing lasts forever, and once your power is gone…. well, as they say, paybacks are a real beeyotch.

    It’s an entertaining mind exercise to try and imagine who would have had a motive to kill him – yes, it could have been the Iranians. But it also could have been one of Maliki’s allies, doing some after the fact cleanup duty. It could have been someone else in the Mahdi Army who felt this Ali Ghalib didn’t do his share in the fighting, and was skating free. Or could have been the Mahdi who was always mad that he pulled toilet duty. Could even have been just Omar the tentmaker who’s always wanted revenge for his sister getting whacked a couple years ago. The list is endless for a guy like this.

    A life isn’t worth living when there’s that many people who want you dead. And that’s the position all of these Mahdi commanders and subcommanders are going to find themselves in as their power is stripped away.

  9. VinceP1974 says:

    The thing that disturbs me the most is that the Democrats spend no effort to learn how their own behavior is evaulated by the Iranians.

  10. crosspatch says:

    “Are the Iranians assassinating potential witnesses?”

    They are probably purging anyone who might be more loyal to Sadr than to Iran.

    Thanks again, Jimmy Carter. You didn’t need to support the Shah or the monarchy in general, but you certainly didn’t need to run away from Iran either and allow these people to gain power. You could have stayed engaged and worked for the establishment of democratic institutions. Carter’s running away from Iran has caused an immense amount of death and destruction around the world including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The Russians would not have invaded Afghanistan with a powerful US ally in Iran right next door. Our flight from that country allowed Russia to move in and has stoked Islamist movements around the globe.

    Carter gave the Islamists their first win in Iran. Reagan gave them their second one in Afghanistan and Clinton gave them their third in Somalia.

  11. Mata says:

    Ivehadit, Sadr has *always* been a maverick. He’s always looked for a short cut to power, and hoped that OIF would act as a coup d’eta to catipult him to the top… sans the religious authority. His respect and support comes from his locals, plu a number of highly disgruntled militants.

    He is, however, a cockroach under Sistani’s sandals.

  12. crosspatch says:

    Sadr is to Iraq something like what Kennedy’s are in the US. They are a well-respected family who had a pair of individuals with that name who did good things and were loved by the people. Sadr is riding on their name to gain the benefit of the doubt among the people.

    But he doesn’t have the credentials his father and his father-in-law had, which is why he is in Ayatollah school in Qom, Iran. Once he gains those credentials, look for the battle over Iraq’s religious centers to begin in earnest. The Ayatollahs in Iran are going to want to control the Shiite areas of Iraq something fierce. Those are the most holy sites in Shiia Islam and the Iranian Ayatollahs are going to want to control them.

  13. crosspatch says:

    A timely article on this topic, AJ.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/2923498

    BAGHDAD — One of the most powerful men in Iraq isn’t an Iraqi government official, a militia leader, a senior cleric or a top U.S. military commander or diplomat.

    Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani commands the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, an elite paramilitary and espionage organization whose mission is to expand Iran’s influence in the Middle East .

    As Tehran’s point man on Iraq , he funnels military and financial support to various Iraqi factions, frustrating U.S. attempts to build a pro-Western democracy on the rubble of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.

    According to Iraqi and American officials, Suleimani has ensured the elections of pro-Iranian politicians, met frequently with senior Iraqi leaders and backed Shiite elements in the Iraqi security forces that are accused of torturing and killing minority Sunni Muslims.

    Read the whole thing … it’s pretty interesting but I have no way of knowing if it is true or not.

  14. AJStrata says:

    CP, yeah I have that one open in my browser ready to be included in the next Sadr-Iraq post.