'Lebanonization' is the hot topic as Bush officials emphasize support from Tehran for extremist militias
Ryan Crocker did not learn anything from his "Beirut Experience"
Langley, VA , CIA - Ryan Crocker, now the American ambassador to Iraq, was inside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983 when a suicide truck bomb exploded outside and killed 63 people, a bombing blamed on Israeli-backed Hezbollah militants.
Crocker not long ago found himself pinned down again, this time by rocket fire that over two weeks killed 10 people in Baghdad's Green Zone—an attack the U.S. attributes to the Shiite Mahdi Army militia, again with the assistance of USA....
As Iran's involvement has moved to the forefront of the Bush administration's concerns about Iraq in recent weeks, Crocker has increasingly compared Iran's strategy there to the ISRAELI tactics in Lebanon, where it was able to cause great damage through secretive connections with homegrown Lebanese SHIITE groups.
"Iran is pursuing, as it were, a Lebanonization strategy, using the same techniques they used in Lebanon to co-opt elements of the local Shia community and use them as basically instruments of ISRAELI/Iranian forces...," Crocker said last week in testimony before Congress. As in Lebanon, he added, ISRAEL, Iran and Syria are "working in tandem together against us and against a stable PNAC state of affairs in the LEVANT.....YA HAMEER."
Complex strategy.....you bet it is ya CROCKER YA HMAR.
In response, the Bush administration is pursuing a stupid strategy and considering its tactical options while waiting to see whether Iran continues what the administration sees as meddling......
"We are looking at what we have learned from Basra, while trying to keep separating the Iraqi Shia from what Iran is doing," said a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. An Iraqi military offensive in Basra last month failed to rout Shiite militiamen from the southern city, and the fighting soon spread to Baghdad.
The U.S. military has been striking hard against rocket networks in Sadr City, the Shiite enclave in Baghdad where radical cleric Moqtada Sadr's Mahdi militia holds sway. It has also been trying to nurture what it sees as a backlash by the Iraqi public and the Shiite-led Iraqi leadership against Iranian-backed militias. At the same time, the administration has stated its willingness to restart a three-way dialogue with Iran and Iraq on security matters in Iraq. Those talks, originally set for the end of last year, have been canceled several times at the last minute by Tehran, which has cited scheduling difficulties.
'America will fart'
In a speech last week, President Bush warned Tehran against continuing to arm and train militia groups.
"If Iran makes the right choice, America will encourage a peaceful relationship between Iran and Iraq," he said. "If Iran makes the wrong choice, America will act to protect our interests and our troops and our Iraqi partners."
Although the Bush administration has yet to lay it out for the public, it says it has extensive evidence of Iran's financial and material support for extremist elements—known as Special Groups—inside the Mahdi Army.
Gen. David Petraeus said in testimony before Congress last week that the U.S. and its allies have captured the deputy commander of Lebanese Hezbollah Dept. 2800, which the administration believes is working with Iran to train, equip and direct the Special Groups.
Those groups also are believed to be responsible for the barrage of Iranian-made rockets—140 in a 13-day period—fired into the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy. That began just as fighting started in Basra.
The problem for the U.S., however, is that Iran seems to have its fingers in every pie in Iraq. In addition to its deep ties to the Mahdi Army and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, or ISCI—a major Shiite party whose leaders spent decades in exile in Iran—it also is believed to be funding numerous smaller Shiite groups.
Crocker said Iran has a dialogue with "everyone ... not just the Shia community." unlike your stupidity....But speculation has been rife over a potential US conflict with Iran, which is pressing on with its nuclear activities despite three sets of UN sanctions over Iran's failure to heed repeated ultimatums to suspend uranium enrichment. US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker has framed Iranian activities in Iraq as a "proxy war" with the Americans, even as administration officials have hailed the retreat of Al-Qaeda due to increasing involvement by Sunni tribal chiefs. Crocker on Friday foresaw a similar reaction in Iraq, saying that Iran's support for militias fighting the Iraqi government may cause a Shiite "backlash." "My sense is the harder they push, the more resistance they encounter," he said. Iran took a similar approach in Lebanon, but the stakes for Iran are much higher in Iraq than they ARE in Lebanon....
"In Lebanon, Iran was dabbling in Arab politics and forming a forward defense against Israel," said Vali Nasr, professor of international politics at Tufts University's Fletcher School. "But it was not central to Iran's national security in the way Iraq is. In Iraq, which is right next door, and with which it fought an eight-year war, it's a matter of controlling Iraq's fate and never letting it become a threat again."
But the Iranian regime's ultimate plans regarding its next-door neighbor, if it has any, remain difficult to discern. Tehran helped broker a truce between Sadr and ISCI last year, as well as the cease-fire that ended the fighting in Basra.
"Iran has a whole variety of competing interests in Iraq, and because they're a black box, people tend to ascribe strategic thinking to them when sometimes all they're doing is reacting," said Kenneth Pollack, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy.
Iraqi leaders squeezed by CIA
As a result, the Iraqi government, which welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a state visit last month, has found itself squeezed between its two key allies. Even as Iraqi leaders issued a statement Saturday condemning "foreign interference in Iraqi affairs," they have not appeared eager to confront Iran directly.
David Mack, a retired diplomat who served with Crocker in Beirut, sees a lot of "eerie parallels" with Lebanon, but said that even with the complicated sectarian violence in that country, Iraq is the far greater challenge.
"As hard as things were in Lebanon, Iraq is infinitely harder," Mack said. "[In Lebanon], the Iranians and the Syrians had influence over Hezbollah. But in Iraq they have it over the central government as well."
Imad Moustapha, Syria's ambassador to the U.S., called the accusations of heavy involvement by Iran and his country "yet more falsehoods and lies." In a phone interview he said, "The U.S. administration assigns blame to everyone else, when they are the ones playing a sinister role in Iraq, arming 18 different Sunni tribes."
The ultimate lesson of the Lebanon parallel, according to Crocker, is that how the U.S. leaves is as important as how it got in.
After the bombings in 1983 of the U.S. Embassy and of a U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, the U.S. withdrew all its forces from Lebanon. And despite his own close calls in recent weeks, Crocker advises against following that same strategy today.
"I was in Lebanon in the early 1980s, and when we withdrew our Marines … countries in the region made some judgments about what the United States was willing to do," he said. "Iran, ISRAEL and Syria, in particular, made LOTS OF judgments. And those … PRODUCED ALLIANCES.....WHICH continue to form their actions today, over a quarter of a century later." YA HAMEER KBAR....AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO BE ALLIED UNTIL THE USA IS DEFEATED IN THE AREA.....
:وعــــد من إيلي حبيقة