Raise your hand if you saw this coming
Oh, well, we have to stay in Iraq - to defend them from Iran!
Last week's violence in Basra and Baghdad has convinced the Bush administration that actions by Iran, and not al-Qaeda, are the primary threat inside Iraq, and has sparked a broad reassessment of policy in the region, according to senior U.S. officials.
Evidence of an increase in Iranian weapons, training and direction for the Shiite militias that battled U.S. and Iraqi security forces in those two cities has fixed new U.S. attention on what Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday called Tehran's "malign" influence, the officials said.
The intensified focus on Iran coincides with diminished emphasis on al-Qaeda in Iraq as the leading justification for an ongoing U.S. military presence in Iraq.
Um, yeah. O-Kay.
That's "Al-Qaeda In Iraq" as opposed to "Al-Qaeda in Iraq", by the way, but who gives a damn about hairsplitting distinctions like that now that Iran's proved their evil machinations on our lil' fragile doe-eyed
Partly in response to advice from Petraeus and Crocker, the administration has initiated an interagency assessment of what is known about Iranian activities and intentions, how to combat them and how to capitalize on them. The review stems from an internal conclusion, following last week's fighting, that the administration lacked a comprehensive understanding and a sophisticated approach.
"the administration lacked . . . understanding". Oh, jeezul, color me all kinds of surprised at that.
Iran's brokering of a tentative cease-fire among Shiite political groups and the militia in Tehran added to U.S. consternation.
"The importance of Iranian influence in facilitating the discussion between different political factions was of significant importance," Petraeus told Pentagon reporters yesterday. Administration officials worried that Iran appeared in control of events in Iraq, while the United States seemed weak and uninformed.
"the United States seemed . . . uninformed." Now how could THAT be?
I mean, it sure as hell isn't as if we have a press that spends its time doing silly stuff like worrying about reflections in Face-Shooter Dick's glasses or who's picking guests up at the airport, nosirree.
And Crocker et al whine at the rest of the Arabs, and our buddies the Saudis in particular, that they could be a little more neighborly:
The message to the Saudis, he said, "is going to be . . . it is time, more than time, for the Arab states to step forward and engage constructively with Iraq. Get their embassies open, get ambassadors on the ground, consider visits, implement debt relief, treat Iraq like the country it is, which is a central part of the Arab world."
C'mon, come back to
Jamaica Iraq! What's a few mortar rounds and IEDs between friends? Bring the family! Bring a cake and some tuna noodle casserole! And, hell, if you really wanted to send a couple brigades of troops our way we wouldn't mind one bit.