Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: Awakening Councils Demand Expulsion of Iranian Ambassador

23 April 2008

Awakening Councils Demand Expulsion of Iranian Ambassador

awakening-patrol.jpg
Awakening units go out on patrol

Here's a story I didn't see in the English-language press:

The “awakening councils” in al-Anbar have demanded the expulsion of the Iranian Ambassador, saying that he and al-Qaeda had coordinated attacks against them in the governate.
It's hard to tell exactly what's going on here. The idea that there is extensive cooperation between Iran and al-Qaeda is ridiculous. Members of al-Qaeda believe that Iran's Shiite leaders are heretics, and Iran is much more vulnerable than the United States to attacks by al-Qaeda and other Sunni terrorist organizations. Al-Qaeda is thought to be behind numerous bombings near Iran's border with Pakistan. Iranian officials would have to assume that any materials or training given to al-Qaeda would one day be used against Iran.

So, have the leaders of the Awakening Councils become convinced by American officials that Iran is helping al-Qaeda? Or are Council leaders pretending to be convinced, in order to justify their calls for the ambassador's expulsion? Sunni leaders have been concerned about Iranian influence on the Iraqi government for quite some time, but it would be impolitic to accuse Prime Minister Maliki of being an Iranian puppet at a time when the US is aiding both the Maliki government and the Awakening Councils.

In any case, one has to wonder whether the Awakening leaders have been goaded by their American sponsors into accusing the Iranian government of aiding al-Qaeda, as part of the ongoing American effort to force a confrontation with Iran. Because if that's not the case, then it would appear that Awakening Councils are trying to pit the Americans against the Iraqi government in an effort to force the government to cede more autonomy to the Councils. If that's the case, they've picked a good time to make their play. Muqtada al-Sadr is perilously close to starting an all-out revolt against the Iraqi government and the American occupiers. If he does, and if the Awakening Councils re-join the insurgency, then Iraq will be right back to where it was in the summer of 2007: in total chaos, with gun battles, and car bombs erupting every day, all over the country.

And just in time for the American election.

(cross posted at appletree and Liberal Avenger)

3 Comments:

Anonymous bluey said...

There's a hell of lot you won't find in western media...ONE HELL OF A LOT!

11:49 pm  
Anonymous R J Adams said...

You're absolutely right. The idea of Iran aiding al Qaeda in an idealistic sense is nothing short of preposterous. However, it's not inconceivable for Iran to consider al Qaeda temporarily of use to them, and possibly supply them through a third party, with the intention of hitting the Americans. Iran's primary aim is to drive the US out of Iraq by whatever means available. This is a defensive, as well as offensive, move. US forces on Iran's border must be very unsettling, though I believe it unlikely Hassan Kazemi-Qomi is 'coordinating' attacks with al Qaeda.

As you state, it's hard to figure what's behind these stories, such is the tangled web of propaganda woven by all parties. One thing is certain: the so-called "Awakening Councils" have latched onto the Americans as being their only hope of power in a Shia-dominated Iraq. The Mehdi Army is supported by Iran. Al Sadr has taken refuge in that country. All-in-all, an interesting plot: Shia Iraq and Iran muscle up to Sunni Iraq and the US, with al Qaeda loose in the middle. The scenario doesn't bear too much consideration. But then, Iraq is a powder keg just waiting for the match. That much is sure. The only uncertainty is whose match, and when?

2:37 am  
Anonymous gordo said...

RJ--

It's conceivable that Iran provides limited --VERY limited-- aid to al-Qaeda in Iraq as a way of making things difficult on the US. Similarly, there have been credible reports of the US providing limited aid to Sunni extremists in Iran. But these are not people that either side would aid in any significant way, as they could turn on either Iran or the US at any moment.

Also, let's remember that of all the major factions in Iraq, the one that is closest to Iran is also the one that is closest to the US: the ruling coalition of Nouri al-Maliki. Ironically, the anti-Sadr operations being undertaken by the US and the Iraqi government are driving Sadr into an uneasy alliance of convenience with Iran.

That's deliberate, and it's a tactic that the US used effectively throughout Latin America until the 1990s, and it goes like this:

1) Create a big bogeyman, like the Communism or Terrorism. Frame policy in terms of "Us vs. the Big Bogeyman." This big bogeyman will made indistinguishable in the public mind by a fearsome enemy, like the Soviet Union or al-Qaeda.

2) Designate minor bogeymen, like Red China, Communist Cuba, or present-day Iran, North Korea, or Syria. It's important to have a lot of these, as we'll see.

3) Anytime you want to attack a group, whether it's the Sandinistas or the Sadrists, you can justify it by identifying them with the big bogeyman. If that's not possible, just tie them to a little bogeyman, which will by extension make your target a part of the worldwide (fill in the blank) conspiracy.

4) If your target can't be plausibly tied to one of your bogeymen, persuade them to seek aid from a bogeyman by launching a series of violent attacks. Pretty soon, your target will begin accepting aid from one of your bogeymen, whether it's Sadr getting supplies from Iran or Daniel Ortega accepting Cuban military advisers.

5) Now you've got them. Now that your target is part of the worldwide (Communist/Terrorist/Other) conspiracy, you can justify any level of violence you choose to employ, including bombing residential neighborhoods, sponsoring death squads, and widening the war to include neutral countries.

So now that it looks like Sadr would easily win November's provincial elections in southern Iraq, the US is proceeding to step 5.

4:20 am  

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