US is aiming to destroy what it first built
In early January, US forces in Iraq began to arrest Iranian men and charge them with inciting sectarian warfare in the already war-ravaged country.
In the northern city of Mosul ten days ago, US troops arrested three Iranians who had no identification papers.
Despite the irritating and obstreperous whining from the Baghdad government, the Bush administration pushed ahead with pursuing what it said were Iranian agents operating against Iraq and US interests in the country.
US media began to rail against Iranian influence in Iraqi affairs and finally shed light on what many Iraqis have been saying for three years – every level of Iraq’s government, security forces, defense and interior ministries and militia have been infiltrated by Iranian operatives.
Iranian opposition groups have said there are 32,000 Iranian operatives working in Iraq.
But this infiltration was directly due to US ignorance, intransigence and desperate need to pull in Iraqi allies for its invasion of Iraq as exemplified by its comfortable alliance with the Badr Brigades.
The Badr Brigades was originally a 10,000-man force inspired by Iranian spiritual leaders which received much support from the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini – the man who urged the storming of the US embassy in 1979. Badr served as the arm and might of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) which was birthed in Tehran.
Committed to the establishment of an Islamic Iraq, it has been equipped with heavy infantry, armor, artillery, anti-aircraft and commando units, which would remodel themselves in Iraqi society in the form of death squads.
A heavy mechanized division of these Iranian-Iraqi troops crossed into Iraq in February 2003, near the village of Darbandikhan and immediately put the Bush administration in a bind. On the one hand, the US and Israel were aggressively pursuing the containment of Iran’s nuclear program and on the other they were seeking Iranian agents in Iraq as allies.
SCIRI had proved reluctant to support any anti-Baathist conferences grouping various Iraqi exile opposition figures together. Bush administration officials mulled how to convince a heavily armed and fanatical Shia-led group to fill the gap in a post-Saddam political vacuum and maintain an alliance with the US military.
Concessions were made, primarily that the anti-mullah Mujahidi Khalq would be ostracized and blacklisted as a terrorist group (a major concession to SCIRI backer Iran) and that the Badr Brigades would be allowed to keep their weapons without US harassment.
Baqir Al-Hakim, leader of SCIRI returned to Iraq in early May 2003 in what many analysts saw as reminiscent of Khomeini s return to Iran in 1979.
In southern Iraq, the SCIRI leader said: Iraq must base its laws on Islamic strictures.
It boggles the mind how on the one hand the Bush administration wanted to pursue Islamic extremism around the world while allowing the holy-war-cum-democracy ethos of Qum’s mullahs to roost in Baghdad.
Nearly four years later, Baqir’s brother, Abdel Aziz Hakim is not only the most powerful man in Iraq but has famously managed to infiltrate the White House.
In what is perhaps the most astonishing, if not sheer stupid, act of diplomatic derriere-kissing, US President George W. Bush invited Hakim to the White House in early December to discuss how to pacify Iraq.
America’s Arab allies were too shocked to be livid. Private discussions I have had with Jordanian and Egyptian officials revealed that they simply could not comprehend what Bush was doing. The infiltration of Hakim into the White House was done with no prior consultation with US allies, Iraq’s neighbors.
Arab governments were now convinced that the US had lost Iraq. Entirely.
But should we really be surprised? The US administration in Iraq has long hailed a senile, if not slightly demented, Shia cleric by the name of Sistani as the man to bring peace in Iraq.
US media has called him a visionary and a statesman. But while falling heads over heels for this religious codger, US media failed to mention that Sistani is not Iraqi. He is Iranian.
And he has several times refused Iraqi citizenship by his brethren in the Iraqi government.
Period 1: 2003-2006, the US seeks an Iranian’s (Sistani) blessing.
Period 2: 2006-2007, the US seeks an Iranian’s (Hakim) blessing.
Period 3: 2007 – ?, the US is pursuing Iranian agents in Iraq?
What are Egyptians and Arabs to make of all this? Is this some horrible ruse lit under our beds in the stealth of night as Beirut and Gaza and Ramallah burn?
Let us add more confusion to this smorgasbord of rotting flesh simmering in our Middle Eastern cauldron.
On Thursday, Bush ordered US troops to kill or capture Iranian agents in Iraq (guess that means you cannot kill or capture them when they come to the White House).
This was followed by this brilliant analysis in the Washington Post: “Last fall, Bush gave the military secret authorization to kill or capture members of Iran s Revolutionary Guard, including members of a Guard unit known as the Quds Force, and any Iranian intelligence operatives suspected of arming or supporting Shiite (sic) militias in Iraq.
The policy is based on the theory that Tehran will back down from its nuclear ambitions if the United States hits it hard in Iraq and elsewhere, creating a sense of vulnerability among Iranian leaders.
Vulnerability among Iranian leaders, indeed.
Arab officials have revealed to me that there is a sense among regional allies (including the Israelis and Turks) that there are 150,000 American hostages in Iraq. They are called the US military and they are eyed by the Mehdi rabble (please do not refer to them as an army), Badr and other Iranian operatives.
There is also Lebanon, which is hostage to Hezbollah, Iran’s spiritual sister.If you ask me, it is US interests that are vulnerable, not the Iranians.
Yes, little wonder Pelosi could only flinch and pull on her ear during last week’s State of the Union address.