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Saturday, August 06, 20051123382700

Barnett v. Cole on Iranian Involvement in Anti-Iraqi Terrorism

"Al-Zawahiri, Bush and Aljazeera," by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, 5 August 2005, http://www.juancole.com/2005/08/fool-me-once-shame-on-you-fool-me-cant.html.

"Tehran has the veto over peace in Iraq ...," by Thomas Barnet, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 6 August 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002120.html.

Dr. Thomas Barnett seems to accept claims that Iran is supporting anti-Shia terrorists in Iraq...

I said in the Feb issue of Esquire, I say it again:

Some Bombs Used in Iraq Are Made in Iran, U.S. Says

By ERIC SCHMITT

Published: August 6, 2005

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 - Many of the new, more sophisticated roadside bombs used to attack American and government forces in Iraq have been designed in Iran and shipped in from there, United States military and intelligence officials said Friday, raising the prospect of increased foreign help for Iraqi insurgents.

American commanders say the deadlier bombs could become more common as insurgent bomb makers learn the techniques to make the weapons themselves in Iraq.

But just as troubling is that the spread of the new weapons seems to suggest a new and unusual area of cooperation between Iranian Shiites and Iraqi Sunnis to drive American forces out - a possibility that the commanders said they could make little sense of given the increasing violence between the sects in Iraq ...


You can say this is not good. I say it's as good as we choose to make it.


... while Dr. Juan Cole is skeptical

Do you notice how Hizbullah (Hezbollah), which is Shiite, is in southern Lebanon, way over in the west of the map, on the Mediterranean? Do you notice how northeastern Iran (also Shiite) is way over to the east of the map, near the Caspian sea? Do you notice how there isn't any way to get from Lebanon to Iran except through Syria and then Turkey? Do you notice how there isn't any way to get from Lebanon to Iraq except via Syria or Syria-and-Jordan? (You could fly, but if the Lebanese government is permitting air transport of 500 pound bombs out of Beirut, we have other problems than just some Iraqi arms smuggling).

Do you notice how there are 250,000 tons of missing munitions in Iraq, such that it is not necessary for the Baath military intelligence to import very many from elsewhere?

Do you notice how the US military has not captured any Lebanese Hizbullah in the company of Sunni guerrillas in Iraq? Do you notice how only the Baathist ex-Minister of the Interior, Falah al-Naqib, an appointee of CIA asset Iyad Allawi, ever alleged that he had captured Lebanese Hizbullah in Iraq? (Do you notice how Allawi's Minister of Defense, Baathist Hazem Shaalan, charged that Iran was Iraq's number one enemy when he was briefly in power last year?)

Do you notice how there are two, count them, two, Iraqi organizations called "Hezbollah" (which just means "party of God") and how Americans frequently are confused and think these are the Lebanese party, which they are not?

Do you notice how the US military has not captured any Iranians in the Sunni Arab provinces of Anbar, Salahuddin, etc.? (Occasionally Iranian pilgrims have been captured in Shiite areas, where they threw in with Shiite militants.)

Do you notice how the US military has captured lots of Sunni Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians, Sudanese, etc.?

Do you notice how the Sunni guerrillas talk nasty about the Shiites and blow them up and slit their throats? Do you notice how some people are depending on you not to know that radical Shiites and extremist Sunnis don't like each other?


Apparently, so is the Iraqi Government

medium_jaafarikhatami.jpg
Iraq's Prime Minister, Iran's President


Iraq's defence minister, on a landmark visit to Iran, called Thursday for reconciliation between the two neighbours and former arch-foes and pledged not to allow Iraqi soil to be used for attacks against the Islamic republic.

"We have come here to turn a painful page and to open another," Saadun al-Dulaimi said at a press conference with Iranian counterpart Ali Shamkhani.

"I have come to Iran to ask forgiveness for what Saddam Hussein has done," he said, referring to Saddam's attack on Iran in 1980 that sparked a bitter eight-year war and led to hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Dulaimi pledged that the two sides would begin military and anti-terrorist cooperation, but nevertheless asserted it was too soon for US and other foriegn troops to pull out of his country.

Iran is concerned about the US military presence on its borders and has repeatedly called for their withdrawal, but Dulaimi asserted that "given the present situation, if foreign forces leave Iraq there will be nothing but chaos and more trouble."

"Iraq will not be a source of insecurity and instability for any of its neighbors. Nobody can use its soil to attack Iraq's neighbors," Dulaimi insisted, in response to Iranian concerns over a possible American attack.

Tensions between Iran and the US are high over Washington's claims the clerical regime here is seeking to arm itself with nuclear weapons. Tehran has also been accused of backing Iraqi insurgents and Palestinian militants.

Shamkhani announced the formation of joint committees for military cooperation, the fight against terrorism, clearing minefields and investigating the missing soldiers from the 1980-1988 between Iran and Saddam's Iraq.

The military committee is aimed at "equipping the Iraqi army ... to create an independent and self-sufficient Iraqi army", he said.

Comments

Cole is right there question left unanswered with regard to Iran's purported aid to Sunni militants, however, there are also many reasons for thinking that they might. First, Iran is now surrounded by the US on its eastern and western borders. The US and EU are putting pressure on Iran to do away with its nuclear weapon's programme and have refused to take military action off the table to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. This means that it is in Iran's interest to keep the US busy in Iraq to ensure that it does not have neither the will power, or the resources to invade in the near future. The longer we are in Iraq, following this premise, and the bloodier the conflict is, the less Americans will have the stomach for a Persian adventure. Don't underestimate Iran.

That said, as Barnett has argued countless times, the only way to defeat the theocratic government in Iran is to bring it in from the cold and reconnect it to globalization. We reel in Iran and China, India and Russia follow. I've posted on this in my blog, which has been blogged on by Tom.

Posted by: nykrindc | Friday, October 21, 2005

New Yorker in DC,

Congratulations on being cited by Barnett!

You're right that Iran may want to delay us. But actively attacking US troops could easily have the opposite effect. We are in Iraq because we are trying to build a nation retarded by a dictatorship -- but civil institutions in Iran are much stronger. The need for a US-led SysAdmin would be much less in Persia than Mesopotamia.

More likely is that the Iranians are trying to have as many dogs in the fight as possible, so they can win for losing.

Last, Iran's encirclement is much worse than just two bordres (http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/06/14/encircled_iranians_wanting_to_breathe_free.html)

Thanks for the comment!

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, October 21, 2005

Thanks. I'm still a little star struck.

You're right that Iran may want to delay us. But actively attacking US troops could easily have the opposite effect.

We can't attack them if we don't have proof (at least not after Iraq we'd be lucky if anyone believes anything we say anymore).

We are in Iraq because we are trying to build a nation retarded by a dictatorship -- but civil institutions in Iran are much stronger. The need for a US-led SysAdmin would be much less in Persia than Mesopotamia.

Yes, that is why Barnett's position, which I mostly agree with, is that we kill the theocracy with connectivity, not the Leviathan and Sys Admin forces. Remember, there is more than one way to shrink the Gap.

Last, Iran's encirclement is much worse than just two bordres

True enough, but you can't tell me they aren't worried about the fact that they have almost 200,000 American troops a hair's breath away.

Posted by: NYkrindc | Friday, October 21, 2005

"We can't attack them if we don't have proof"

I'm not sure what this means. We can support an Israeli attack or or other proxies (http://www.cominganarchy.com/archives/2005/04/18/ethnic-unrest-in-iran/) without making a case to anyone. Ditto for "unilateral" airstrikes.

"Remember, there is more than one way to shrink the Gap. "

True. Connectivity may kill. But so do iron bombs.

Both are tools for Victory.

"True enough, but you can't tell me they aren't worried about the fact that they have almost 200,000 American troops a hair's breath away."

Agreed. And with a man like Bush leading those men.... what would be rational actions?

Probably to ally interests with those men. Trade Syria for the Bomb (http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/02/23/le_grande_syria_for_le_grande_bomb.html), "sharing" Iraq with America... And that is what's happening.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, October 21, 2005

True. Connectivity may kill. But so do iron bombs.

Agreed. But as you stated earlier civil institutions in Iran are much stronger. Why waste valuable resources on Iran, when we can get our way with connectivity just the same. In any case, we will need those resources as we continue the big bang in the Muslim world and move on to other areas where we need to desperately shrink the Gap.

Trade Syria for the Bomb

Can't trade Syria for the bomb, if Syria decides to give us everything we want without Iran.

"sharing" Iraq with America... And that is what's happening.

Can't share what you don't control. Iran may have its politicians in office, but not for long. Most reports say Shiite Iraqis are disenchanted with SCIRI and Dawa, that's why Sistani has banned the use of his name or that of any other cleric as campaign tools in the next election. It remains to be seen how strong a following SCIRI and Dawa will have without Sistani.

Israeli attack or or other proxies

Way to light the fuse on a bigger powder keg than the one we are dealing with. Can't use others because to paraphrase Barnett, everyone else in the MidEast operates under Tehran's shadow.

Posted by: NYkrindc | Saturday, October 22, 2005

"Why waste valuable resources on Iran"

Agreed. Why waste valuable diplomatic resources when a solution can come so cheap?

The lesson is that it's a multivariable optimization scenario. Neither war nor peace can be excluded as possibilities.

"Can't trade Syria for the bomb, if Syria decides to give us everything we want without Iran. "

But Iran has a veto, from friends in Syria's establishment to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran could make us fight. But Tehran is not doing that.

"Most reports say Shiite Iraqis are disenchanted with SCIRI and Dawa'

Hmmm... I haven't heard this.. And certainly it is doubtful. SCIRI and Dawa are much broader than the individual's they have in government. And don't confuse Shia disenchangment with American-enforced pacifism in the face of terrorism with SCIRI/Dawa policies.

" that's why Sistani has banned the use of his name or that of any other cleric as campaign tools in the next election."

IIRC that ban happened before the first election.

It didn't mean anything then, it probably still means nothing now.

"It remains to be seen how strong a following SCIRI and Dawa will have without Sistani. "

Doubtless large, neither are native Iraq parties (SCIRI has ties to Tehran, Dawa to London), yet both survived with strong infrastructure through the Saddam years.

"Way to light the fuse on a bigger powder keg than the one we are dealing with."

Appeasement of the "Arab street" was chucked pretty early in the GWOT. And happily, the "Arab Street" doesn't exist anyway, the cries of State/CIA Orientalists notwithstanding...

"Can't use others because to paraphrase Barnett, everyone else in the MidEast operates under Tehran's shadow."

Of course, and that is pretty natural. But it doesn't have to be this Tehran.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, October 22, 2005

---Agreed. Why waste valuable diplomatic resources when a solution can come so cheap?---

You think having to go into a country with an army and security structure, not to mention population, and size larger than Iraq is cheap? We couldn't handle Iraq and at least 70% of the population there had everything to gain from our arrival. We still don't have the capability to process failed states, or the ability to nation-create, or rebuild as Iraq has so plainly demonstrated. I'm confident we will succeed in Iraq, because although we haven't done much right, the people in Iraq have shown a willingness to thrive. That, and the fact that we have the best army in the world that can adapt to changing circumstances if only the politicians and neocons let them do so. But nation-creating, or nation-rebuilding, is by any measure anything but cheap.

---But Iran has a veto, from friends in Syria's establishment to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran could make us fight. But Tehran is not doing that.---


friends in Syria's establishment? I think they'd choose survival over allegiance to Iran.

---Hmmm... I haven't heard this.. ---

http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2005/08/southwhere-to.html

I can't find the link to the news articles on SCIRI and Dawa losing popular support because most Shiites no longer want ideologues in power but rather technocrats who can work to save the country. The only reference I found was this on IRAQ THE MODEL. I will continue looking and direct you to them when I find them.

---Appeasement of the "Arab street" was chucked pretty early in the GWOT. ---

How is fighting only where you need to (Iraq) rather than allowing things to get worse, as in a regional war, appeasement? We have the best trained army in the world, but even we can't take over the middle east and maintain order to build a new future for it alone. If Iraq demonstrated anything, is the fact that while we know how to win the war, we have much to learn about keeping the peace.

---that ban happened before the first election.---

Actually, he didn't say much about it during the first election. This time however, he has made it clear that neither SCIRI nor Dawa represent him. Hence Shiites are free to choose who to support.

---But it doesn't have to be this Tehran.----

In a few years it won't we if we engage it right now. Connectivity will make them change, because to accept globalization is to accept change (i.e. China). In a few years, it won't be "this Tehran."

Posted by: nykrindc | Saturday, October 22, 2005

"You think having to go into a country with an army and security structure, not to mention population, and size larger than Iraq is cheap?"

Yes, because their army wouldn't be too relevant. Iran is a secular nation with an out-of-touch theocratic dictatorship. Our goal would be to destroy the clerical elements of the regime and the upper-tier of the army.

"We couldn't handle Iraq and at least 70% of the population there had everything to gain from our arrival."

But not necessarily from our staying, which wouldn't be an issue in Iran.

"We still don't have the capability to process failed states,"

Indeed, but Iran isn't failed, so a side-issue.

"I'm confident we will succeed in Iraq, because although we haven't done much right, the people in Iraq have shown a willingness to thrive."

In spite of our fratricidal coddling of a violent and rejectionist minority.

"That, and the fact that we have the best army in the world that can adapt to changing circumstances if only the politicians and neocons let them do so."

Neocons are a seperate category from politicians? Interesting.

"But nation-creating, or nation-rebuilding, is by any measure anything but cheap.""

Agreed.

"friends in Syria's establishment? I think they'd choose survival over allegiance to Iran. "

True. Which, if Iran was interested in being an ally, wouldn't be a choice they would have to make.

"I can't find the link to the news articles on SCIRI and Dawa losing popular support because most Shiites no longer want ideologues in power but rather technocrats who can work to save the country."

It's an odd society which reacts to violence and depredation through a desire for technocrats. The normal human reaction is to become more ideoligical and times in trouble.

"How is fighting only where you need to (Iraq) rather than allowing things to get worse, as in a regional war, appeasement?"

I never argued the reverse, so I have no idea.

"We have the best trained army in the world, but even we can't take over the middle east and maintain order to build a new future for it alone. If Iraq demonstrated anything, is the fact that while we know how to win the war, we have much to learn about keeping the peace."

Agreed. Our military's avoided MOOTW/SysAdministration like spit, so it's not surprising we do them both like spit.

'You want it bad, you get it bad'

"In a few years it won't we if we engage it right now. Connectivity will make them change, because to accept globalization is to accept change (i.e. China). In a few years, it won't be "this Tehran.""

True. We can win with time. We can win with bombs. Both could work. Both are options.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, October 22, 2005

---Yes, because their army wouldn't be too relevant. Iran is a secular nation with an out-of-touch theocratic dictatorship.---

--- But not necessarily from our staying, which wouldn't be an issue in Iran.---

Actually, they are extremely relevant. Iran’s security apparatus is likely as committed to the revolution as the theocratic ideologues in the government. In any case, taking over or defeating Iran militarily will not be an easy venture. Add to Pat Lang’s list also China, India and Russia’s interests in Tehran and the future looks bleaker by the minute.

--- Indeed, but Iran isn't failed, so a side-issue.---

It will be once we go Shock and Awe and Roll all over them. Not a contradiction with the above. I don’t doubt we can defeat the Iranians, I just doubt we can win the peace.

--- It's an odd society which reacts to violence and depredation through a desire for technocrats.---

It happens in societies tired of the violence and the bloodshed, tired of the ideologues and looking for a way out.

---- Then I respond with this "How is fighting only where you need to (Iraq) rather than allowing things to get worse, as in a regional war, appeasement?"

I never argued the reverse, so I have no idea.-------

This is where it started, above is where I respond to your appeasement comment.

Me in response to you: "Way to light the fuse on a bigger powder keg than the one we are dealing with."

You respond to me: Appeasement of the "Arab street" was chucked pretty early in the GWOT.


--- True. We can win with time. We can win with bombs. Both could work. Both are options.---

Agreed. I just think the theocracy in Iran is ripe for connectivity to kill it.

Posted by: nykrindc | Monday, October 24, 2005

"Actually, they are extremely relevant. Iran’s security apparatus is likely as committed to the revolution as the theocratic ideologues in the government. In any case, taking over or defeating Iran militarily will not be an easy venture."

Your confusing several issues here. The top security services of course can be expected to remain loyal -- that's why they must be killed if we attack. But that doesn't mean the regular military is loyal to the Ayatollahan version of Iran over a more democratic one.

Second, our core competency is air and naval warfare. As long as we restrict the bulk of our operations to that, the war is very doable.

"Add to Pat Lang’s list also China, India and Russia’s interests in Tehran and the future looks bleaker by the minute. "

Why?

"It will be once we go Shock and Awe and Roll all over them. Not a contradiction with the above. I don’t doubt we can defeat the Iranians, I just doubt we can win the peace."

Of course we wouldn't. The Iranian people will, because they will be the ones on the ground. Iran has a developed state and culture, and there is no reason either would have to be particularly targeted.

"It [a desire for technocrats] happens in societies tired of the violence and the bloodshed, tired of the ideologues and looking for a way out."

The same arguments were made at the beginning of this war - "The Iraqi people are tired of conflict; They will great us with rose petals; &c." The same blind humanitarian optimism.

"This is where it started, above is where I respond to your appeasement comment."

Here you are arguing for rhetorical points, not substance.

"Agreed. I just think the theocracy in Iran is ripe for connectivity to kill it."

I agree. But remember that you wrote "Yes, that is why Barnett's position, which I mostly agree with, is that we kill the theocracy with connectivity, not the Leviathan and Sys Admin forces." But also: "here is more than one way to shrink the Gap." So with respect to Iran, is there only one way --- or two?

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, October 24, 2005

----"But that doesn't mean the regular military is loyal to the Ayatollahan version of Iran over a more democratic one."----

Traditionally the military is always more committed to the values of the government than the average population, so they cannot be discounted.

---"Second, our core competency is air and naval warfare. As long as we restrict the bulk of our operations to that, the war is very doable."---

You discount Iranian Nationalism too easily. As you said, Iraqis were not expected to fight for Hussein because his was a minority government ruling over an oppressed minority, but the people are all Iranians. Yes the mullahs and hardcore elements rule over the more secular Shiite population, but at the end of the day they are all Iranians.

---"Why?" On my comments on India, China and Russia---

Because they have too many interests in the region, particularly China which depends on Iranian energy imports and would see any possible curtailment of that energy flow as a threat to its national security. Same goes with India, who sees itself as Iran's natural mentor. As Barnett puts it "Iran is the gateway for bringing both India and China into the mix. Both countries have recently cut huge oil and gas deals with Tehran. You know you want India and China to feel secure about their energy flow, and you know Iran's simply too big a player on both counts for either country to pass up." Meaning, the only way we can kill the theocracy in Iran, while preserving Chinese and Indian interests is to kill it with connectivity. We get the ball running by reconnecting Iran to the Core.


---"The same arguments were made at the beginning of this war"---


---"Of course we wouldn't. The Iranian people will, because they will be the ones on the ground. Iran has a developed state and culture, and there is no reason either would have to be particularly targeted."----

Talk about arguing against yourself. I was thinking the same exact thing, as I read your prediction for how a future Iranian adventure would turn out! (i.e. ---"The same blind humanitarian optimism.---)

---"So with respect to Iran, is there only one way --- or two?"---

Never argued there was only one way, just that there was a better way to do it than the one you propose.

Posted by: nykrindc | Monday, October 31, 2005

Khatami is not pres any more . it turned inot ahmadinejad in june 05

Posted by: an iranian | Monday, February 12, 2007

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