Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Iran is the problem

Any doubt as to the validity of the raid the US did on the Iranian “consulate” in Irbil should be tempered by what we’ve been finding in other areas.  It’s pretty obvious and plain that Iran is supporting Sunni and Shiite insurgencies all over the place. 

Intelligence has indicated that the Iranians taken in the raids, as well as the Baghdad raid last month, are members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the Qods Force.

      Evidence the Iranians were helping the Sunni insurgency was also uncovered in the Baghdad raid. An intelligence official told the New York Sun that the Baghdad Qods Forces agents were "working with individuals affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunnah... We found plans for attacks, phone numbers affiliated with Sunni bad guys, a lot of things that filled in the blanks on what these guys are up to." Irbil is in the Kurdish North, where there are no Shia death squads. The only organization fighting the Iraqi government in this region is Ansar al-Islam, the al-Qaeda founded and funded terrorist group.

Bush has been pretty forward on the issue, calling Iran and Syria out as instigators of the instability in Iraq, and he’s right.  Hopefully this raid and subsequent actions over the coming weeks will serve to not only cripple Iranian meddling, but also let Iran know that we’re not messing around and will take them to account for their actions.

I wonder, at this stage of the game, if attacking Iran isn't inevitable.  If we get a Republican Hawk in the White House in 2008, I think it's a certainty.  But the main thing that's causing instability in Iraq is not that we have troops there, or even that we've been doing a poor job trying to manage the transition and prevent insurgents from killing people.  The real problem is the sectarian tension, and the Iranian effort to get that tension to boil over.  Iran MUST be stopped before things in the Middle East will ever become truly "manageable."


Mike Jenkins said...

" If we get a Republican Hawk in the White House in 2008, I think it's a certainty."

We can't wait that long-- Iran is on course to have a nuke within maybe 6 months, tops. They've already mastered the uranium enrichment cycle, and they have the centrifuges to just spin the uranium long enough to enrich it to nuclear weapons-grade. Plus, Iran is getting technical assistance-- and possibly even nuclear devices themselves-- from North Korea, which might make their first nuclear test only about 2-3 months away. Once that happens, it's curtains for Israel and any prospect of the US helping to bring democracy and moderation to the region. As you say: "Iran MUST be stopped before things in the Middle East will ever become truly "manageable.""

I agree totally, and that's why we can't wait for the very uncertain results of the 2008 election and all the attendant political messes. We can't wait for 2008 at all, with all the associated politicking and distractions.

The US and/or Israel should be launching tough, targeted air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities and their supporting networks, backed by naval support and even some ground troops (esp. Special Forces), within the next 6 months. This would shut down Iran's nuclear program, halt assistance to Hezbollah and provide quite obvious "instructions" to Iran, never to mess with the US or Israel again.

Far too many fools in the media wring their hands and whine about how unpleasant a war with Iran would be. Well, war with Hitler would've been unpleasant around the time of the Munich Agreement, and so Neville Chamberlain opted for appeasement-- same thing that Condoleezza Rice and others are doing now with Iran. This led to a much more awful war later on, when the threat could've been dealt with, much less painfully, earlier on.

Iran doesn't have a powerful military, and despite all the rhetoric, Iran doesn't have the capacity to hurt us in the Gulf or in Iraq. Our Patriot missiles would easily deter any Iranian naval/air/missile attack, and in Iraq, the Iranian proxies can't do anything to us. Moqtada al-Sadr tried to take the US on before, twice, and we slaughtered the Mahdi Army. We'd do it again if Iran incites them to attack. Even the price of oil wouldn't be all that adversely affected-- our Mideast allies, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, have enough extra oil capacity to help us out and make up for the shortfall in the Iranian oil. We'll be fine.

The only way Iran can hurt us in Iraq is if we fail to confront them, which they're doing now-- providing weapons and material support to the Mahdi Army and other insurgents to kill US soldiers, painfully and over months, with the shaped-charge roadside bombs and mortars. If we hit Iran hard, that threat disappears.

Also, the Mamoud Ahmedejad regime in Iran has nothing to do with the Iran threat. Even if Ahmedejad goes, Iran will still be extremely dangerous-- the theocratic rulers have the power there anyway, not the President, and Iran's nuclear program and support for Hezbollah and other terrorists predate Ahmedejad.

There is IOW no alternative to striking Iran and shutting down their nuclear program and terrorist support, and soon-- within the next 6 months. The Iranians aren't stupid, they're busily accumulating missiles, ground-to-air rockets, tanks, artillery and ships designed to block the Strait of Hormuz. The longer the USA and Israel dawdle, make stupid attempts at appeasement and wait to fight Iran, to go and get this done with, the more difficult and bloody the coming conflict will be for both sides. Better to do it sooner rather than later.

Kat said...

After reading this post, and the previous comment, I find myself wondering, as I have been for a while, whether increasing troop numbers in Iraq (while I think that's necessary for the reasons stated by the President) might not also be a precursor to the kind of action that Mike is suggesting. The more troops we have in the area, the more troops we have available for addressing such problems as Iran's nuclear ambitions.

BTW, Richard, when are you going to switch over to new Blogger, so that people can subscribe to the comments feed?