UPDATE: Amir Taheri of the New York Post says Iran's back is against the wall. Hmmmm..... I'm not so sure about that, but the crude oil price drop has caused a serious economic crunch. Taheri asks:
If it is found that Iranian agents have been training Iraqis and killing Americans, there can be no other answer than harsh, unequivocal action against Iran. There should be more economic sanctions. There should be threats tinged with actions. A guided bomb on this mullah, for example. Remember Libya? While these leaders profess death in Allah's name, they seem averse to actually dying themselves.
What should the United States and its allies do when, and if, the Khomeinist regime offers a partial retreat?
The temptation to make a deal - as well as the pressure in its favor - would be immense. The Bush administration would face a crucial question: Allow a dangerous but wounded enemy to recover, or go for the kill?
As soon as I read about the Karbala attack, I thought, "something stinks". We have a traitor in our midst if this report is true, was my next thought. Well, it looks like Iraq has Iran in it's midst. From Captain Ed:
Does this remind anyone of Hezbollah's actions against Israel this summer? Iran is testing their enemies. Like a toddler, with very dangerous weapons, they keep escalating until someone tells them, "NO!" in no uncertain terms. They have yet to be deterred.
Earlier on Tuesday, Time Magazine reported that Iran has a motive to attack Americans in Iraq. The Revolutionary Guard wants some measure of revenge for the capture of five Iranians in Irbil, at least some of whom belong to the IRGC. Time speculates that the IRGC wanted to send a message, and that the number of casualties were specifically selected to make sure that no one misunderstood it.
What happens if the US concludes that Iran did indeed conduct this mission against American servicemen? It would be an act of war, although the presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers in support of insurgents also qualifies. The Bush administration might be tempted to retaliate with some air strikes, perhaps selected especially for the nuclear program Iran seems keen to pursue at all costs. However, one can imagine the outcry that would cause, not just among our European allies but also leading Democrats in Congress. It would not take long for at least a few of them -- Maurice Hinchey springs to mind -- to accuse the Bush administration of manufacturing the evidence pointing to Iran in order to justify an attack on that nation.
Meanwhile, February 5th is the date that Baghdad will start operations. Is it just me or should military operations be a secret, so, you know, the enemy gets killed? Sheesh. IraqtheModel says this:
We talked earlier about insurgents and terrorists fleeing Baghdad to Diyala, and today there's another report about a similar migration, from al-Sabah:Well, that's good. I feel sorry for the outlying cities now. Like I said before, Iraq is like one big game of Donkey Kong.Eyewitnesses in some volatile areas said that large numbers of militants have fled to Syria to avoid being trapped in the incoming security operations. According to those witnesses, residents and shopkeepers are no longer concerned about militants whose existence in public used to bring on clashes that put the lives of civilians in danger.
Pulling the root of the weed is going to involve dealing directly with Iran and Syria. And by dealing directly, I don't mean sitting down for tea to have a chat.