Friday, June 23, 2006
Timing is everything. I heard this on BBC World Service radio this morning: The US military commander in Iraq has accused Iran of providing covert support to Shia extremists in Iraq.
And from the BBC News website: Although the US has no evidence that Iranians were operating directly in Iraq, Gen Casey said "surrogates" regularly attacked US troops.
Let’s examine the first part of the latter statement. The US has no evidence – that sounds oddly familiar. Of what else have we had no evidence? Let’s see...there was Saddam’s connection to Al-Qaeda and 9/11. Then there was WMD. And of course, we have had no evidence of criminal activities concerning most of the prisoners held in Guantánamo Bay and other illegal prison camps. There seems to be a pattern here. When I was a kid, you weren’t allowed to accuse anyone without evidence. Suspicions and hearsay were not acceptable. It is obvious those rules no longer apply – at least not to some.
Looking at the whole statement again, here is my analysis:
1. We have no evidence that Iranians are operating in Iraq (stated clearly).
2. Iranians are not operating in Iraq and/or our intelligence is still shit (inferred from statement).
3. We want to accuse Iran so we have come up with a “surrogates” theory – whatever that means (postulated from statement).
The Brits have also claimed that Iranians are training insurgents and providing explosives and other materials.
Some analysts fundamentally disagree with Gen Casey, e.g. Karim Sadjadpour of the International Crisis Group in Washington. He told the BBC that Shias have not had a big influence on the insurgency, that the outside help comes from Sunnis and Jihadis from countries like Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
The thing is, I don’t even care whether Gen Casey is, in fact, right. Knowing the truth is not going to make a difference.
What bothers me right now is the timing of Gen Casey’s accusation. What bothers me is the US’ stockpiling of reasons to attack Iran. What bothers me is the possibility that Americans may still be as gullible as we were 3 and 4 years ago in the build-up to the invasion of Iraq.