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Iran is shaping Iraq's future!

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  • Iran is shaping Iraq's future!

    ""Our cooperation with Iran is very good. One can argue that Iran has cooperated with us more than any other neighbor, Chalabi told the Iranian Student News Agency in December, according to the online newsletter Stratfor."

    What Iran Wants In Iraq

    By David Ignatius
    Friday, February 27, 2004; Page A23


    Iran's crucial role in shaping the future of Iraq was conveyed in a subtle threat made this week by the country's key power broker, former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

    The United States is "stuck in the mud in Iraq, and they know that if Iran wanted to, it could make their problems even worse," Rafsanjani said in an interview with the Tehran daily Kayhan. He coyly opened the door to a Washington-Tehran dialogue about Iraq and other issues, saying, "For me, talking is not a problem."

    The hard-line mullahs in Tehran are sitting pretty these days: America has toppled their historical foe, Saddam Hussein, and is struggling with a nasty postwar insurgency. Meanwhile, an Iranian-born Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, has emerged as the dominant figure in the new Iraq.

    Sistani this month forced U.S. occupation czar L. Paul Bremer to abandon his plan for regional caucuses to select a transitional government. The cleric said yesterday he would accept an interim government if elections were held by the end of this year. But his statement cautioned that the interim government shouldn't make "binding" decisions, which could prevent it from approving a future U.S. military role in Iraq -- as American officials had hoped.

    The Iranian mullahs have consolidated political control at home, too. Determined to crush opposition, they simply vetoed reform candidates from running in the recent parliamentary elections. It was a naked power grab, and it worked.

    Anyone in the White House who imagines that the Iranians are running scared because more than 100,000 U.S. troops are bivouacked next door hasn't been reading the papers. From Iran's standpoint, the United States is pinned down and vulnerable. And because of Tehran's overt and covert influence among Iraq's Shiite majority, the mullahs may actually be in a position to shape the terms and timing of America's departure.

    "To have America in a difficult but not impossible situation in Iraq is good for Iran," says Olivier Roy, a French professor who is a leading analyst of Iranian affairs. "They are absolutely convinced that America will not try for a regime change in Iran now. They think it's too late for that."

    Tehran wants to keep the pot boiling in Iraq rather than allow a smooth transition to a pro-Western democracy. "They don't want to see a strong Iraq return, even if it's headed by Shiite Muslims," explains Roy, whose new book, "Globalized Islam," will be published this year.

    Iran has an array of tools to influence Iraq. Revolutionary Guards and Iranian intelligence officers have been operating in Iraq for years, and they have deep and durable networks. If nothing else, these Iranian agents can get tens of thousands of Iraqi Shiites on the streets to protest the U.S. occupation.

    The hotheaded young Iraqi mullah Moqtada Sadr is also useful to Tehran. U.S. officials had hoped to break the back of Sadr's movement with a crackdown on his followers late last year. They were even thinking of arresting him for complicity in the murder of pro-Western Shiite cleric Abdel Majid Khoei, who was killed in Najaf on April 10. But the arrest hasn't happened, perhaps because of fears it would upset Iraqi Shiites.

    A more benign friend of Tehran is Iraqi opposition leader Ahmed Chalabi, who serves on the Governing Council and has allied himself in recent weeks with Sistani. Though he has long been the Pentagon's favorite Iraqi politician, Chalabi has cultivated good relations with Tehran, visiting there before and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Indeed, some of the Shiite militiamen Chalabi brought with him to Iraq last April are said to have been trained in Iran.

    "Our cooperation with Iran is very good. One can argue that Iran has cooperated with us more than any other neighbor," Chalabi told the Iranian Student News Agency in December, according to the online newsletter Stratfor.

    Finally, there is the bearded figure of Ayatollah Sistani. His Web site, at www.sistani.org, certainly is focused on religious issues, rather than politics. The site answers questions on everything from sex to gambling. (For his explicit advice, consult the site.) Sistani's supporters stress that his "quietist" version of Shiite Islam is the opposite of the Iranian model of clerical rule.

    By successfully defying Bremer, Sistani is now Iraq's key political personality. Western liberals fear he will create a Shiite-dominated Iraq that imposes sharia, or religious, law and curtails human rights. The main check on this consolidation of Iraqi Shiite power, strange as it sounds, may be Tehran.

    For now, the Iranians don't seem to have an interest in a stable Iraq, no matter who leads it. But as Rafsanjani's comment suggests, they may be ready to bargain.

    [email protected]


    (Partly based on this Iraqi-Shiite-Iran connection, I started posting my opposition to "Bush's War" early last year.)

    If, indeed, the above scenario unfolds, does it change anyone's support for the Bush team's Iraqi invasion and nation-building efforts?

    Yes, no, and why?
    Norman Chad, syndicated columnist: “Sports radio, reflecting our sinking culture, spends entire days advising managers and coaches, berating managers and coaches, firing managers and coaches and searching the countryside for better middle relievers. If they just redirected their energy toward, say, crosswalk-signal maintenance, America would be 2 percent more livable.”

    "The best argument against democracy," someone (Churchill?) said, "is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

  • #2
    If, indeed, the above scenario unfolds, does it change anyone's support for the Bush team's Iraqi invasion and nation-building efforts?
    If you believe (leaving aside for the moment whether it was right to do so or not) that invading Iraq was necessary to our own safety, then that consideration trumps all others, including the difficulties that would follow such an invasion.

    So if that's your point of view, it really doesn't matter how fucked up it gets, since it had to be done either way.

    Comment


    • #3
      Our Safety!

      WMD??????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????
      ?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????

      Thanks Reggie!
      Norman Chad, syndicated columnist: “Sports radio, reflecting our sinking culture, spends entire days advising managers and coaches, berating managers and coaches, firing managers and coaches and searching the countryside for better middle relievers. If they just redirected their energy toward, say, crosswalk-signal maintenance, America would be 2 percent more livable.”

      "The best argument against democracy," someone (Churchill?) said, "is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

      Comment


      • #4
        I think it is very clear that invading Iraq was not necessary for our safety. The Office of Special Plans allowed the neo-cons to use 9/11 to fulfill their predetermination to oust Saddam.

        By the way, Sistani is Iranian by birth.

        Moe
        The Dude abides.

        Comment


        • #5
          (leaving aside for the moment whether it was right to do so or not)
          I knew typing that would be a waste of time....

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ReggieCleveland@Feb 27 2004, 12:44 PM
            (leaving aside for the moment whether it was right to do so or not)
            I knew typing that would be a waste of time....
            I think it is very clear that invading Iraq was not necessary for our safety.

            What about this statement is ambiguous, Reg?

            Moe
            The Dude abides.

            Comment


            • #7
              Refer back to the original question. To answer it, you have to go back to the decision AT THE TIME to invade.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ReggieCleveland@Feb 27 2004, 12:49 PM
                Refer back to the original question. To answer it, you have to go back to the decision AT THE TIME to invade.
                I didn't want to invade at the time. Blix had found squat. Powell said Saddam didn't represent a threat to even his neighbors.

                You can cite the resolution, but, as I've said, this was a shameful abdication by Congress of their consitutional duty - even if the administration put it up just prior to the mid-terms.

                Moe
                The Dude abides.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Great. Delightul. But that's not what Nick was asking.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Moe_Szyslak+Feb 27 2004, 12:46 PM-->
                    QUOTE(Moe_Szyslak @ Feb 27 2004, 12:46 PM)

                  • #11
                    Your opinion. I'm not alone in mine.

                    Moe
                    The Dude abides.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by ReggieCleveland@Feb 27 2004, 12:44 PM
                      (leaving aside for the moment whether it was right to do so or not)
                      I knew typing that would be a waste of time....
                      It's all about WMD Reg.

                      Bush drew the line in the sand on the WMD issue. Now he has to live with it.

                      The American public and the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and children are paying the price and the American taxpayer and economy are footing the bill.

                      The U.S. voter will remind Dubya of this in November.
                      Sponsor of Alex Pieterangelo.

                      ..."I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." George Best

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        The American public and the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and children are paying the price and the American taxpayer and economy are footing the bill.
                        Who did you have in mind to protect our interests?
                        Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by lazydaze@Feb 27 2004, 01:06 PM
                          The American public and the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and children are paying the price and the American taxpayer and economy are footing the bill.
                          Who did you have in mind to protect our interests?
                          The American President.

                          But I didn't realize he would place the interest of his corporate buddies and the oil companies above the interest of the American Public.

                          WMD's my ass.
                          Sponsor of Alex Pieterangelo.

                          ..."I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." George Best

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by hkyfan+Feb 27 2004, 01:09 PM-->
                            QUOTE(hkyfan @ Feb 27 2004, 01:09 PM)
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