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Iran Allegedly Sends 5000 Troops Into Northern Iraq

Is the "State Department...encouraging too [!] strong an Iranian role"?

Jared Israel comments on an article from the Financial Times
[Posted 20 February 2003]

*Our thanks to Beatrice W. for the Financial Times article*

=========================================================

Below we have re-posted an article from the Financial Times.

This article reports an alleged incursion into Northern Iraq by 5000 Iranian-backed troops.

The troops are said to be part of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI. SCIRI is led by Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim.

Regarding SCIRI, a study of the Iraqi opposition produced by the Congressional Research Service states:

[Start Excerpt From Iraq Report]

SCIRI was set up in 1982 to increase Iranian control over Shiite opposition groups in Iraq and the Persian Gulf states. Its leader, Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim, was the late Ayatollah Khomeini's choice to head an Islamic Republic of Iraq.

Hakim and his family, most notably his brother Abd al-Aziz, were leaders of the Da'wa (Islamic Call) Party, which allegedly was responsible for a May 1985 attempted assassination of the Amir of Kuwait and the December 1983 attacks on the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait.

Members of the Hizballah organization in Lebanon that held U.S. hostages in that country during the 1980s often linked release of the Americans to the release of 17 Da'wa Party prisoners held by Kuwait for those offenses.

SCIRI has about 5,000 fighters organized into a "Badr Corps" (named after a major battle in early Islam)...Iran's Revolutionary Guard which is politically aligned with Iran's hard line civilian officials reportedly continues to provide the Badr Corps with weapons and other assistance. [1]

[End Excerpt From Iraq Report]

The Financial Times article tells us that:

"[The SCIRI leader,] Ayatollah Hakim, based in Tehran since 1980, should not be viewed as an Iranian puppet under Tehran's tight control, US and Iranian officials say."

He shouldn't?

=========================================================

Regime shuffle?

=========================================================

One might wonder how seriously to take a denial by unnamed Iranian and US officials that Iran controls SCIRI. Wouldn't the Iranians have a motive to lie? And mightn't US officials have such a motive as well? According to the Financial Times:

"Analysts say the Bush administration is not speaking with one voice over Iran, with Pentagon hawks concerned the State Department is encouraging too strong an Iranian role."

Note that the alleged dispute between the Pentagon and State is not over whether Iran should play a role, but how much.

If SCIRI is a tool of Fundamentalist forces in Iran - and this seems likely - and if the US Establishment means for these forces to play a big role in post-Hussein Iraq, then US officials would certainly have reason to deny that SCIRI is a tool of Iran.

After all, how enthusiastic would the public be for a "regime change" if our leaders said they meant to depose the unappetizing Mr. Hussein and replace him with the equally unappetizing Ayatollahs? [1A]

I would not take the claim that there is in fact a dispute too seriously. Someone is always saying the State Department and Pentagon are fighting. Yet they seem to unite in the end. I think our exalted leaders spread such tales deliberately. In this time of smoke and mirrors, our leaders know that if they present an image of disunity, it will give everyone something to root for.

=========================================================

What happened to the last Big Fight?

=========================================================

In the past, we were told that the motor force behind the break-up of Yugoslavia was a US-German dispute. We were told this dispute had a profound economic basis, and so on. And yet, when NATO marched into Kosovo in June of 1999, the US and Germany were united. Under US leadership, of course.

Thus I for one am dubious about the recent ridiculously public fight between the US and Germany over whether to attack Iraq. (By the way, note that it is almost March, the much-proclaimed cutoff date for launching an attack, and the US still has not done so. Food for thought...)

=========================================================

Is the U.S.-German 'split' a soap?

=========================================================

The US and Germany quarrel in public. But in the quietly decisive areas of the Balkans and Afghanistan it appears that man and wife get along tolerably well.

For example, Afghanistan is very important to the U.S.

In a development which appears to be a matter of some pride to Germany and Holland, those two countries took command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan:

[Start Excerpt from The Independent]

...The command was handed over by Turkey's Maj-Gen Hilmi Akin Zorlu during a ceremony at a secondary school in the capital. Dignitaries present included Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President; Peter Struck, the German Defence Minister and Benk Korthals, the Dutch Defence Minister. "For the first time, Nato capabilities are being employed in Afghanistan - perhaps an initial step to an extended Nato responsibility for this country," Mr Struck said, referring to the Dutch and German membership of Nato.

Mr Struck has already proposed that Nato take command in Afghanistan after the joint German-Dutch administration ends in six months. But France says it is concerned that such a move could provoke further resentment in an already tense atmosphere...

In December 2002, Germany doubled to 2,500 its contingent in the peacekeeping force and extended its participation by a year. The Turkish contingent, now about 1,400, is likely to be reduced to 160 men. Eventually, the peacekeepers' duties are to be taken over by a newly created Afghan police force, but that is not likely to happen for several years.

The Karzai government and the United Nations have called for an expansion of the force's role outside Kabul. Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan Foreign Minister, said his government would like to see the force's mandate extended beyond 2003.

-- The Independent, February 11, 2003

[End Excerpt from The Independent]

Note that the U.S.-controlled Karzai government is calling for "an expansion of the [ISAF's] role outside Kabul." So, the US is asking the ISAF to play a bigger role at precisely the moment that Germany is given command! Does this sound like the behavior of two countries in the midst of a quarrel?

Nor does the much-declared US-German split appear to be hindering the practical functioning of NATO. The following article states that France is out of the loop, but isn't France often out of the loop?

[Start quote from Associated Press]

[My emphasis - J.I.]

(Brussels, Belgium-AP) -- NATO's secretary general says the alliance will move quickly to help defend Turkey against a possible attack from Iraq.

NATO has approved sending missiles, radar-equipped aircraft and chemical-biological response units to Turkey, which neighbors Iraq....

The U-S had been pushing for NATO military planning since mid-January, but France, Germany and Belgium had blocked any action.

A NATO defense committee that doesn't include France broke the stalemate by approving the start of military planning.

[End quote from Associated Press]

The supposed German resistance to the U.S. has endeared Germany to many who oppose a possible war against Iraq. These people may conclude that in its new role, commanding Western forces in Afghanistan, Germany will bring relief to that tortured land. However, before you reach that conclusion, read our articles about the hell created by German and Dutch troops who occupied the town of Orahovac in Kosovo. These articles will give you pause... [2]

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Since when does the US propose a war?

=========================================================

Perhaps the talk of a US/German split is intended for public consumption. Does that suggestion seem odd? Well, there are a number of odd things about the preparation for this much-proposed war.

For example, since when does the US leadership engage in a year and a half of highly public debate about whether to go to war? Consider former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee's account of the deceit that launched the escalation of the Vietnam War:

[Start Excerpt from Ben Bradlee]

"In case the Vietnam years have blurred in your minds, or even disappeared from your screens, may I remind you that this so-called Battle of Tonkin Gulf was the sole basis of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which was the entire justification for the United States' war against Vietnam. This non-event happened on August 4, 1964. President Johnson went on television that very night to ask the country to support a Congressional resolution. The resolution went to Congress the next day. Two days later it was approved unanimously by the House and 88-2 by the Senate.

"The 'facts' behind this critically important resolution were quite simply wrong. Misinformation? Disinformation? Deceit? Whatever! Lies.
--To read more of what Bradlee said, go to
http://emperors-clothes.com/letters/wrong.htm#1

[End Excerpt from Ben Bradlee]

Or consider the bombing of Serbia. A fake massacre was staged in Racak, followed by fake negotiations at Rambouillet intended to provide public 'evidence' that the Serbs were intransigent. Then, bang! They bombed. Ten weeks after Racak. No hand wringing. No media debate. No fights with allies. [3]

Serbia and Vietnam are no accidents. Read the text of the famous Pentagon document called 'Northwoods' and our analysis of it. [4]

This internal Pentagon discussion piece makes it eminently clear that in the view of top Pentagon brass, the crucial question in preparing for war is to win the public relations argument and then attack. Yet with Iraq we see no smoking gun to neutralize opposition. Instead, month after month of weak argument, which is a gift to opponents.

Yes, staging a phony fight with Germany would be odd, but other things about the way Washington is preparing for this proposed war are odd, starting with the fact that it is...proposed.

=========================================================

Meanwhile, Back at State...

=========================================================

I would suggest taking the claim that the Pentagon and State Department are split over how much to use Iran with a grain of salt. At one time we were told that the Pentagon was hawkish and the State Department was dovish. Now we are told the State Department wants to give the Iranians a bigger role than the Pentagon. Does wanting to give Islamic Fundamentalists a bigger role make one dovish?

Could whoever spins these yarns please be consistent?

Let's ignore the tale of a split and cut to the chase: the Financial Times' assertion that the State Department is planning a big role for the Iranian Islamic Fundamentalists in Iraq.

The Financial Time doesn't name their source, so their report is only an assertion. But it is an assertion worth contemplating. It is consistent with our own take on what the endlessly threatened attack on Iraq is really about: not fighting Islamic Fundamentalism but. quite the contrary, increasing its strength in the so-called Third World. [5]

Is there other evidence that behind the pretense of going after Iraq to fight terrorism the US is in fact pursuing what could be called an 'Iranian strategy'? Yes, there is other evidence, and I shall present more in the future.

Here's the Financial Times article.

-- Jared Israel

***

Iran-backed Forces Add to US Challenge
By Guy Dinmore in Washington
Financial Times
Published: February 18 2003 20:36 | Last Updated: February 18 2003 20:36

The movement into northern Iraq of Iraqi Shia opposition forces backed by Iran underlines the growing complexity of the task facing the US as it plans its military overthrow of the Baghdad regime and tries to shape a future government to replace it.

The 5,000-strong force said by Iranian officials to have taken up a position about 15 miles inside northern Iraq is there to counter any threat from Saddam Hussein's army and allies. But it also represents a foothold for the jostling of positions, military and political, once the Iraqi regime has gone.

Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, a Shia Muslim Arab who heads the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), regards southern Iraq as his stronghold. Dozens of his relatives have been killed or imprisoned by the Baghdad regime, many after the failed 1991 uprising that was encouraged but then abandoned by the US.

The movement of some of his forces hundreds of miles from southern Iran into northern Iraq appears to have come as a surprise to the US administration, which has been engaged in talks with Sciri, as one of several Iraqi opposition groups, for some years. However, Ayatollah Hakim, based in Tehran since 1980, should not be viewed as an Iranian puppet under Tehran's tight control, US and Iranian officials say.

But Ayatollah Hakim and Jalal Talabani, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), whose party controls that area of north-east Iraq now hosting Sciri troops, have long spoken of their military alliance. They have a common interest in containing Ansar al-Islam - an extremist Sunni group suspected of al-Qaeda links that holds a mountainous enclave next to PUK territory - as well as the People's Mujahideen Organisation, the Baghdad-backed Iranian opposition force. Iranian sources say the US administration privately told Ayatollah Hakim that his role in a democratic Iraqi government would be supported by the US, but that his small army should not intervene during the US invasion.

The US is concerned that advances by Kurdish forces in the north and the Shia in their southern stronghold could lead to widescale ethnic bloodletting directed against the Sunni minority.

Turkish troops are already in northern Iraq, but the US wants them, too, to stay out of the fighting. Turkey is concerned about the potential for large movements of refugees, about the status of the Turkoman minority in Iraq and any move by the Kurdish parties to set up an independent or quasi-independent state, especially if they should control the oil-rich region of Kirkuk.

Analysts say the Bush administration is not speaking with one voice over Iran, with Pentagon hawks concerned the State Department is encouraging too strong an Iranian role.

http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=Story
FT&cid=1045510848273&p=1012571727088

(C) Financial Times, 18 February 2003, Reprinted for Educational Use Only

***

[Footnotes Follow The Appeal]

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Footnotes and Further Reading

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[1] Iraq: U.S. Efforts to Change the Regime Update January 8, 2003 By Kenneth Katzman Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division Congressional Research Service * Library of Congress Order Code RL31339
http://www.usembassy.at/en/download/pdf/iraq_regimechange.pdf 
[Note added 5-15-2010: The above link is now dead, but the Congressional Research Service report can be found, permanently archived on Emperor's Clothes, at http://tenc.net/archive/onsciri.pdf and is also posted at http://www.fas.org/man/crs/RL31339.pdf

[1A] Regarding Mr. Hussein, see, "A Los Angeles Reader Asks: Are you For or Against Saddam Hussein? Are you For or Against the Proposed war?" at
http://emperors-clothes.com/letters/shussein.htm 

[2] 'How NATO Brought Hell To A Kosovo Town'
by Jared Israel
http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/savethe-a.htm  
and

 'Women of Orahovac Answer the Colonel'
http://emperors-clothes.com/interviews/trouw.htm 

The Dutch NATO colonel in charge of creating the nightmare in the Kosovo town of Orahovac presents NATO's side. Three women from Orahovac answer the Colonel.

[3] Immediately following the alleged Racak massacre, evidence was brought forth that made it obvious this was a hoax. For example, reporters from the French newspapers, Le Monde and Figaro, both hostile to Serbia, had been invited to accompany the Yugoslav forces that captured Racak - and they had witnessed everything. Yet they said there was no massacre. See, 'Racak - the Impossible Massacre,' at
http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/Johnstone/racakhoax.htm 

[4] For the Northwoods document and analysis, see,
"Northwoods: A Plan for Terror to Justify War," at
http://emperors-clothes.com/images/north-int.htm 

[5] Here are some articles discussing the evidence that the major Western powers have sponsored Islamic terrorism:

* 'Washington's Backing of Afghan Terrorists: Deliberate Policy'
By Steve Coll,
Reprinted from Washington Post, 19 July 1992
http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/anatomy.htm 

* 'Dutch Report: US Sponsored Foreign Islamic Fundamentalists in Bosnia'
By Richard J Aldrich
Comments by Jared Israel
http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/used.htm 

* 'Bush & the Media Cover Up the Jihad Schoolbook Scandal'
By Jared Israel
http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/jihad.htm 
If the US is in Central Asia to fight Islamic fundamentalist terror, how come the US is shipping millions of Islamic fundamentalist textbooks into Afghanistan

* 'A Conversation with Ambassador Borislav Milosevic, Slobodan's Brother'
http://emperors-clothes.com/news/borislav.htm 
Conversation between Borislav Milosevic and Emperor's Clothes editor Jared Israel. Covers many topics including Mr. Israel's theory that the West uses Islamism both to attack and control various populations, and also as an acceptable opponent.

Note added April 27, 2004 - For more on what lies behind the Iraq war, see Jared Israel's series, "How the Lies of Scott Ritter Reveal the Strategic Goals of the Bizarre Iraq War"
Part 1 is posted at http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/ritter.htm


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