Sunday, May 25, 2008

Countdown Iran

I have previously laid out the extensive case for at least a limited attack upon Iran's Qod's force, if not a full attack both against the Qod's force and to end Iran's march towards a nuclear arsenal. That argument includes as one of many justifications that Iran has been conducting a deadly proxy war in Iraq with the intent of "Lebanizing" that country, as Ambassador Crocker put it several weeks ago. That justification just became stronger with the release of a British report posted below showing that the years of violence in Basra were driven by Iran. Suffice it to say, the Brits are upset. And from at least one article in the Telegraph today, they seem more than ready to support a U.S. attack on Iran.


This from the Telegraph:

Iran has been the covert instigator of thousands of the attacks against British troops in southern Iraq for at least four years.

It is, without doubt, responsible for the deaths and serious injuries of many British personnel, who have been attempting to contain the violence in southern Iraq.

The Islamic state's malignant involvement in its neighbour's internal strife escalated dramatically in April 2004 following the first uprising across Iraq by disaffected Shia militiamen.

As Iraq descended into murderous anarchy, Iran began channelling vast amounts of cash and weaponry to the burgeoning insurgency. Tehran, it seemed, was happy to fund any Shia militia group, providing it attacked the British and Americans, and therefore further destabilised Iraq.

The chaos that ensued allowed Iran to manoeuvre itself into the position of regional power broker, and fed Tehran's determination to become a nuclear power.

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards Force, known as the al-Quds, which is believed to be beyond the control of the central government, supported the Jaish al-Mahdi, or Mahdi Army, the Shia militia created by Moqtada al-Sadr, and the Badr Brigades - two groups whose hatred for the coalition was matched only by that for each other.

The cash was used to pay recruits – mainly young, unemployed and ill-educated Shia men from the slums of Baghdad and Basra – who were only too willing to take up arms against a force they regarded as occupiers rather than liberators.

It is also widely believed that the al-Quds perfected the improvised explosive devices (IED) which, in just a few short months, went from being rudimentary and unreliable to highly sophisticated lethal weapons capable of firing multiple projectiles and penetrating the armour of American and British tanks.

The IED, with its highly advanced infra-red triggering devices, became the weapon of choice for the insurgents and the technology was soon being passed to the Sunni and al-Qa'eda groups in Baghdad, who shared the same enemy, despite being locked in their own internal conflict.

As the American and British body counts increased so did the rhetoric from London and Washington. Both governments warned Iran to stay out of Iraq's affairs but each accusation was met with persistent denial by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose stock response became "where is the proof?"

But with a named British officer stating in a military report what many in the Army have suspected for years – Iran's direct involvement in the deaths of British troops – the question now is what does this mean for the Islamic Republic?

Even if the British Government wanted to exact some form of military revenge from Iran it is doubtful whether it has the capability. A one-off air strike would do little apart from enraging the pro-Iranian militias operating in southern Iraq.

Instead, it will add to the growing weight of evidence being accumulated by MI6 and the CIA that will one day be used to justify a limited but precise US-led attack against Tehran if it continues to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran's nuclear ambitions are completely unacceptable to both America and Britain, who now regard Iran's nuclear strategy as a one of the most dangerous threats, second only to Islamic terrorism, facing the West.

It has long been rumoured, but always officially denied that, given the right circumstances, Britain would support a limited air campaign against Iran's nuclear installations, such as the one launched by Israel in 1981 against the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor.

Although Britain is unlikely to take part in the attack itself, it would offer some form of support, such as in-flight refuelling or allowing the RAF's Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft to be used.

Iran has been playing a dangerous game for too long. If it continues to do so it is highly likely the West will act – and with some justification, the relations of Britain's dead soldiers might say. . . .

Read the article. I suspect that if we are going to see an attack on Iran, it will occur in the June/July time frame.

One note on the above article. At one point, the author states: "Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards Force, known as the al-Quds, which is believed to be beyond the control of the central government, supported the Jaish al-Mahdi, or Mahdi Army, the Shia militia created by Moqtada al-Sadr, and the Badr Brigades - two groups whose hatred for the coalition was matched only by that for each other." Everything about this paragraph is problematic. The Oods force is one branch of the IRGC - the two are not the same thing. The IRGC is not outside the control of the central government. It reports directly to the Supreme Guide, Ali Khamenei. Both the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades were creations of Iran. The Badr Brigades are the military arm of the SICI, an organization whose loyalties now run to the Iraqi government. As far as I know, the Badr Brigades have not been involved in any of the anti-U.S. or anti-government activity that is the hallmark of the Mahdi Army.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Hi GW,
And all the best on Memorial Day.

The Brits FAILED in Basra because the Labour government pulled most of their forces out precipitously and few troops that remained were constrained by rules of engagement that had them fighting a very limited defensive war.

And they made no effort whatsoever to control the situation,leaving the people of Basra in the hands of folks like these.

They ended up retreating to a fortified redoubt conveniently near the airport and were hunkered down until the Americans and the Iraqi Army came in to take care of the bad guys.

At the time,the Telegraph quoted an unnamed British officer as saying that he and his men were ashamed to see the Americans and the Iraqis doing the job they should have been doing.I agree with him.

The Brits let us down in Iraq,just as they let us down in the Persian Gulf when they pulled their navy out after a few sailors were kidnapped by Iran.

Sir Winston would have hurled.

In retrospect, unless there are some major changes over there we might just be better off without their support in anything serious that calls for something beyond good wishes.

I dislike being negative but I've just about written them off as an ally.

All Best,