Michael Ledeen, who is one of the most significant Likudnik operatives still influencing American foreign policy (primarily because he hasn’t yet been completely discredited, like Perle, Wolfowitz, and Feith,) was “invited” to write an article for PajamasMedia last week. (By “invited” I mean they were instructed to prepare room for a minor policy and attack paper from him.) And Mr Ledeen did not fail.
Now that Phase I of the Yinon Strategy has been accomplished, Phase II must be taken in hand, and it must be done quickly because the basic weakness of the entire Strategy has been exposed for the world to see. Iraq lies in chaos, a seemingly unresolvable mass of seething murder, sectarian strife, and brutality. Now, on to Iran!!!!
As with all neocon and Likudnik policy writings, this stage is premised upon a lie, and buttressed with non-facts and unsupported allegations.
This one takes off from one of the Big Stories on Thursday, with ABC News telling us that “Iranian Weapons Arm Iraqi Militia.” It says that American officials in Iraq now have “smoking gun” evidence that our troops are being targeted with Iranian-made weapons, which have been provided by the Iranian Government to Shi’ite killers, notably the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al Sadr.
That’s big news: a breakthrough, in fact. Up until this article, so far as I know, no American official was willing to blame the Iranian regime for the lethal equipment. They acknowledged that Iranian-made stuff was in Iraq, but they always gave the regime some wiggle room.
No more. They’ve now blamed the regime…for an act of war against the United States.
Before commenting on this, let’s take a look at the article Mr Ledeen is sourcing from:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2006 — U.S. officials say they have found smoking-gun evidence of Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq: brand-new weapons fresh from Iranian factories. According to a senior defense official, coalition forces have recently seized Iranian-made weapons and munitions that bear manufacturing dates in 2006.
This suggests, say the sources, that the material is going directly from Iranian factories to Shia militias, rather than taking a roundabout path through the black market. "There is no way this could be done without (Iranian) government approval," says a senior official.
The first thought a cynical man might have is that the Bu$h malAdministration wouldn’t have a foreign policy if it were not for “unnamed government sources.” Isn’t anybody in this government willing to allow his name to be put to propaganda so as to lend it a smidgen of credibility?
The point about 2006 manufacturing dates is supposed to be especially damning, I suppose. After all, when the USG sells military equipment to foreign governments, arms dealers, and paramilitary groups to further its foreign policy goals it only sells 20 year old stuff. This would prove that our hearts are good, and the Iranians are evil. Of course the Iranians are supplying Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. They’re co-religionists and they’re fighting a civil war based on religious grounds.
There is a good point made in the ABC news story though:
Iranian-made munitions found in Iraq include advanced IEDs designed to pierce armor and anti-tank weapons. U.S. intelligence believes the weapons have been supplied to Iraq's growing Shia militias from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is also believed to be training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran.
How dastardly of these Iranians to be supplying weaponry to their friends in order to have their friends attrite the army pledged to destroy Iran as part of the “axis of evil.”
I suppose interjecting that the Iranian shaped charge weapons wouldn’t be a factor if we weren’t in Iraq, is pointless. That’s talking about yesterday’s news. After all, if you get bitten trying to kiss a rattlesnake it’s obviously the rattlesnake’s fault.
In the battles in Fallujah and Hilla a couple of years ago, the Marines and Special Forces units discovered abundant evidence of the Iranian role, including photographs—taken in Syria—showing Iraq terrorists alongside Syrian and Iranian spooks, notably from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. They also found phone lists, computer files, and handwritten materials of Iranian provenance. How do I know this? I spent time with one of the interpreters who personally translated the stuff. And then I confirmed it with some military people.
It is truly outrageous that these Iranians are advising other Shiites in Iraq about how to fight to get their country back. How dare they?
On CNN’s News Night Jim Clancy spoke with Col Sam Gardiner, USAF (Ret) ON April 14, 2006 about possible military confrontation with Iran. Just prior to this cut, they discussed just how many Iranian military sites would have to be struck in an air campaign. (The list is far more extensive than we have been told.) The entire transcript is available here.
CLANCY: Well, Colonel Gardiner, from what you're saying, it would seem like military men, then, might be cautioning, don't go ahead with this. But what are the signs that are out there right now? Is there any evidence of any movement in that direction?
GARDINER: Sure. Actually, Jim, I would say -- and this may shock some -- I think the decision has been made and military operations are under way.
GARDINER: And let me say this -- I'm saying this carefully. First of all, Sy Hersh said in that article which was...
CLANCY: Yes, but that's one unnamed source.
GARDINER: Let me check that. Not unnamed source as not being valid.
The way "The New Yorker" does it, if somebody tells Sy Hersh something, somebody else in the magazine calls them and says, "Did you tell Sy Hersh that?" That's one point.
The secretary [sic] point is, the Iranians have been saying American military troops are in there, have been saying it for almost a year. I was in Berlin two weeks ago, sat next to the ambassador, the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA. And I said, "Hey, I hear you're accusing Americans of being in there operating with some of the units that have shot up revolution guard units."
He said, quite frankly, "Yes, we know they are. We've captured some of the units, and they've confessed to working with the Americans."
The evidence is mounting that that decision has already been made, and I don't know that the other part of that has been completed, that there has been any congressional approval to do this.
My view of the plan is, there is this period in which some kinds of ground troops will operate inside Iran, and then what we're talking about is the second part, which is this air strike.
CLANCY: All right. You lay this whole scenario, but there are still a lot of caution flags that one would see out here.
GARDINER: Sure. True.
CLANCY: If they do decide on a military option...
CLANCY: ... what's the realistic chance of success? What's your -- your prognosis for that kind of reaction here?
GARDINER: Yes. Let me give you two answers to that. First of all, the chance of getting the facilities and setting back the program, I think the chances go from maybe two years to actually accelerating the program. You know, we could cause them to redouble their efforts. That's on one side.
The other side is this sort of horizontal escalation by the Iranians.
My assessment is -- and it's because of regime problems at home -- that if we strike, they're likely to want to blame Israel. Now that's -- because that sells well at home.
Blaming Israel means that there's a chance that we could see Hezbollah, Hamas targeting Israel. We could very easily see this thing escalate into a broader Middle East war, particularly when you add Muslim rage.
A cautious man might wonder whether Mr Ledeen, in his lust to reduce Iran to the internal chaos that is now seen in Iraq, has considered the consequences of his ideological imperatives.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 — The White House said Friday that President Bush would meet next week with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of one of the most powerful Shiite parties in Iraq, the latest step in a burst of new administration attempts to try different approaches to bolstering the fragile Iraqi government.
Mr. Hakim heads a party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, that is closely tied to Iran, so much so that just a few years ago, Washington shunned it. The party, usually referred to by its acronym, Sciri, was founded in Iran and its armed wing, the Badr Brigade, fought against Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
Is Mr Ledeen aware that Mr Bu$h is now entering into discussions with an Iranian-backed cleric/politician?
UPDATE: Oooops. Mr Ledeen loses another rung in his ladder:
CUSTER: The Shia are trying to move Sunnis out of mixed neighborhoods to turn some neighborhoods into more Shia-based neighborhoods. The Sunnis are resisting, the Sunnis are then coming back at the Shia.
STARR: U.S. military intelligence believes Iran is playing a significant, but perhaps not decisive role in supporting Shia militias and death squads. Custer says the largest Shia militia, Muqtada al- Sadr's Madhi army, now has an Iranian controlled element inside Iraq. U.S. officials say members of the Madhi Army have trained both in Iran and Lebanon. Custer thinks Sadr's recent move to pull his crucial support from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki may backfire.
CUSTER: He faces quite a strain there because the network of patronage that he acquires from that is a great deal of his power. So we question how long he can do that.
STARR: But it is the revenge society of Iraq that Custer is focused on. Iran, he says, is not the central issue.
CUSTER: If I could snap my fingers and move Iran out of the picture it wouldn't change -- it wouldn't end the conflict. It wouldn't drastically change the conflict. It's not decisive.
A tip of the too-small Kevlar helmet to The Agoinst for help with this article.