Iraqi leaders have been given the latest U.S. evidence of Iranian support for militias inside Iraq, and Baghdad will decide what to do about it, two senior Pentagon officials said Wednesday.
Marine Lt. Gen. John Sattler, director of strategy, plans and policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki possesses the evidence, which other officials said contradicts Tehran’s stated commitment to stop providing arms, weapons technology and training to Shiite militias inside Iraq.
"It’s in Prime Minister al-Maliki’s hands right now, the evidence as to whether or not he’s been lied to — bald-faced lied to — by the Iranian government," Sattler told a Pentagon news conference.
"The evidence inside Baghdad has been shared with the Iraqi leadership, and that’s where it stands right now," he added.
The Iraqi leaders are hoping to pressure Iran to stop aiding militias by presenting Tehran with the latest evidence, another senior defense official said. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, said it’s not clear whether the Iranians have agreed to meet to discuss the evidence. But the official said the Iraqis want to press the Iranians to stop.
CIA Director Michael Hayden said Wednesday that Iran’s policy is to help kill Americans in Iraq. Hayden made the statement in response to a student question while speaking at Kansas State University.
"It is my opinion, it is the policy of the Iranian government, approved to highest level of that government, to facilitate the killing of Americans in Iraq," Hayden said.
U.S. military officials have said its evidence that Iran is aiding Iraqi militias includes caches of weapons that have date stamps showing they were produced in Iran this year. The weapons include mortars, rockets, small arms, roadside bombs and armor-piercing explosives — known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs — that troops have discovered in recent months, according to another senior military official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the evidence has not yet been made public…
Iraq’s prime minister has sent a delegation to Tehran to tell Iranian officials to stop backing Shiite militias, Iraqi officials said on Thursday, underscoring Baghdad’s unease over the influence of its powerful neighbor.
The delegation from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s ruling United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) left for Tehran on Wednesday in the wake of further accusations from U.S. officials that newly made Iranian weapons have been found in Iraq…
The indications of an imminent attack the latest incident, the steady stream of accusations coming from the U.S. regarding Iranian influence in Iraq, the nuclear charade, etc. have suddenly taken a more ominous turn with the recent statement of America’s top military officer that the U.S. is weighing military action against Iran. The Washington Post reports:
"The nation’s top military officer said yesterday that the Pentagon is planning for ‘potential military courses of action’ as one of several options against Iran, criticizing what he called the Tehran government’s ‘increasingly lethal and malign influence’ in Iraq. Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a conflict with Iran would be ‘extremely stressing’ but not impossible for U.S. forces, pointing to reserve capabilities in the Navy and Air Force."
Speaking of malign influences: since when does an American military officer make foreign policy pronouncements, as if he were the president? It’s an indication of the advances militarism has made in what used to be a republic that no one has so much as blinked at the brazenness of such blatant Caesarism.
The reasons for the uptick in the rhetorical and physical assault on Iran by the Americans are entirely due to domestic politics, not anything occurring on the ground in the region…
Standing behind this developing pro-war Popular Front, the central factor in turning the U.S. toward a policy of confrontation rather than constructive engagement with Iran has been the Israel lobby. Since 1993, the Lobby has been demanding that the U.S. take a more aggressive approach to the mullahs of Tehran, and, with few exceptions, has been largely successful…
The Persian Gulf is more dangerous than ever. Will the U.S. and Iran go to war at sea?
If there’s a war between the United States and Iran, it may well start on the water. After all, it’s happened before. Twenty years ago American ships were under fire in the Persian Gulf, and mines laid by the mullahs’ men nearly sank a U.S. guided missile cruiser. In April 1988 the American and Iranian navies fought the biggest air-sea battle waged since World War II. By the time it was over, carrier-based U.S. attack planes had sunk the frigate Sahand and disabled the frigate Sabalan, the pride of the Iranian navy.
That’s why the comment by Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday about the brief deployment of a second U.S. aircraft carrier to the gulf was so terse and so telling. "I don’t see it as an escalation," Gates said. "I think it could be seen, though, as a reminder."
Gates would know. He was deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency back in 1988. He has seen firsthand the treacherous complexities, the bluff and the bloodshed, of war with Iran, whether fought in the shadows or on the high seas. And anyone who was out in the gulf at the time, as I was, can see similarities between then and now. But looking back at the last undeclared war with Iran, who is reminded of what, precisely? The challenge is to draw the right lessons…
But as tensions mount, so does the potential for tragic mistakes, including accidental escalation and widening war. This isn’t a prediction, of course. Just a reminder.
Though the balance of reason weighs against the US waging war on Iran, since when has the Bush administration appeared reasonable..