Iran’s deadly sub­ver­sion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Ev­i­dence mounts of Iran’s role in fi­nanc­ing ter­ror­ist el­e­ments in Iraq, and the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­pears to have de­cided — cor­rectly, in our view — that it’s time to step up the fight against the most brazen forms of Ira­nian sub­ver­sion in Iraq, par­tic­u­larly pay­ing for road­side bombs that kill and maim Amer­i­can sol­diers. Pres­i­dent Bush’s warn­ing is­sued to Iran and its rogue-state ally Syria in his ad­dress to the na­tion two weeks ago was not made in a vac­uum, but in the course of a stepped up U.S. mil­i­tary cam­paign to deny Iran and its agents the abil­ity to op­er­ate freely in Iraq.

U.S. of­fi­cials say that grow­ing num­bers of U.S. troops in Bagh­dad and other re­gions of Iraq where Shi’ite mili­tias op­er­ate are be­ing killed by ex­plo­sive de­vices sup­plied by Iran. Last month, Amer­i­can forces cap­tured mem­bers of an elite unit of the Ira­nian Revo­lu­tion­ary Guard trans­fer­ring ex­plo­sives to Shi’ite mili­tias. One of­fi­cial cap­tured in Bagh­dad was the third-rank­ing man in the Is­lamic Revo­lu­tion­ary Guards Quds force, which car­ries out intelligence ac­tiv­i­ties and ter­ror­ist train­ing out­side Iran. U.S. forces found what ap­peared to be maps of Bagh­dad neigh­bor­hoods from which Sun­nis could be re­moved, as well as ev­i­dence of the force’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in Hezbol­lah’s war against Is­rael last sum­mer.

On Jan. 11, U.S. of­fi­cials say, a raid in the Kur­dish-con­trolled city of Ir­bil cap­tured Ira­nian “diplo­mats” who may also have been mem­bers of the Revo­lu­tion­ary Guard — a mil­i­tary or­ga­ni­za­tion com­prised of the most ded­i­cated agents of the regime in Tehran. The Ira­ni­ans are be­lieved to have been smug­gling bombs into Iraq, and even sev­eral harsh crit­ics of the war now ac­knowl­edge that the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion has a point. For ex­am­ple, the au­thors of a de­tailed anal­y­sis in the left-wing Guardian news­pa­per in Lon­don con­cede that the idea “of the Ira­ni­ans in­spir­ing ‘man­aged chaos’ to raise the price of the Amer­i­can oc­cu­pa­tion is, at least, be­liev­able. In­deed, Iran’s Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad of­fered re­cently to help the Amer­i­cans out of the quag­mire in Iraq on con­di­tion that they prom­ise to with­draw.”

Iraqi Kur­dish of­fi­cials pub­licly ex­press their dis­plea­sure with the Jan. 11 raid, and this should hardly be a sur­prise. On at least three oc­ca­sions in mod­ern times — in 1963, 1975 and 1991 — the United States en­cour­aged the Kurds to rise against dic­ta­tors in Bagh­dad, only to be­tray them af­ter they took our ad­vice. Mr. Bush is un­der con­sid­er­able pres­sure to aban­don the Kurds once again, and they are un­der­stand­ably wary that this may hap­pen in the com­ing months — only this time with nice-sound­ing words like “re­de­ploy­ment” used to cam­ou­flage the knife in the back. Kur­dish (and more gen­er­ally Iraqi) hes­i­tance can only be re­in­forced by pub­lic dis­plays like the one by Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee Chair­man Joseph Bi­den last week, who warned of a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis if U.S. forces crossed the Ira­nian border in search of ter­ror­ists who send bombs into Iraq to kill Amer­i­can sol­diers.

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