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."