POSTED: 14 APRIL 2008 - 8:00am HST

Petraeus Points to War With Iran

image above: General David Peraeus before Senate Committee 4/8/08 from NY Times

"It's why I've repeatedly noted that we haven't turned any corners,
we haven't seen any lights at the end of the tunnel.
The champagne bottle has been pushed to the back of the refrigerator.
And the progress, while real, is fragile and is reversible."

by Patrick J. Buchanan on 11 April 2008 in

The neocons may yet get their war on Iran.

Ever since President Nouri al-Maliki ordered the attacks in Basra on the Mahdi Army, Gen. David Petraeus has been laying the predicate for U.S. air strikes on Iran and a wider war in the Middle East.

Iran, Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee, has "fueled the recent violence in a particularly damaging way through its lethal support of the special groups."

These "special groups" are "funded, trained, armed and directed by Iran's Quds Force with help from Lebanese Hezbollah. It was these groups that launched Iranian rockets and mortar rounds at Iraq's seat of government (the Green Zone) ... causing loss of innocent life and fear in the capital."

Is the Iranian government aware of this – and behind it?

"President Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders" promised to end their "support for the special groups," said the general, but the "nefarious activities of the Quds force have continued."

Are Iranians then murdering Americans, asked Joe Lieberman:

"Is it fair to say that the Iranian-backed special groups in Iraq are responsible for the murder of hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians?"

"It certainly is. ... That is correct," said Petraeus.

The following day, Petraeus told the House Armed Services Committee, "Unchecked, the 'special groups' pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq."

Translation: The United States is now fighting the proxies of Iran for the future of Iraq.

The general's testimony is forcing Bush's hand, for consider the question it logically raises: If the Quds Force and Hezbollah, both designated as terrorist organizations, are arming, training and directing "special groups" to "murder" Americans, and rocket and mortar the Green Zone to kill our diplomats, and they now represent the No. 1 threat to a free Iraq, why has Bush failed to neutralize these base camps of terror and aggression?

Hence, be not surprised if President Bush appears before the TV cameras, one day soon, to declare:

"My commanding general in Iraq, David Petraeus, has told me that Iran, with the knowledge of President Ahmadinejad, has become a privileged sanctuary for two terrorist organizations – Hezbollah and the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard – to train, arm and direct terrorist attacks on U.S. and coalition forces, despite repeated promises to halt this murderous practice.
"I have therefore directed U.S. air and naval forces to begin air strikes on these base camps of terror. Our attacks will continue until the Iranian attacks cease."

Because of the failures of a Democratic Congress elected to end the war, Bush can now make a compelling case that he would be acting fully within his authority as commander-in-chief.

In early 2007, Nancy Pelosi pulled down a resolution that would have denied Bush the authority to attack Iran without congressional approval. In September, both Houses passed the Kyl-Lieberman resolution designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.

Courtesy of Congress, Bush thus has a blank check for war on Iran. And the signs are growing that he intends to fill it in and cash it.

Israel has been hurling invective at Iran and conducting security drills to prepare its population for rocket barrages worse than those Hezbollah delivered in the Lebanon War.

Adm. William "Fox" Fallon, the Central Command head who opposed war with Iran, has been removed. Hamas and Hezbollah have been stocking up on Qassam and Katyusha rockets.

Vice President Cheney has lately toured Arab capitals.

And President Ahmadinejad just made international headlines by declaring that Tehran will begin installing 6,000 advanced centrifuges to accelerate Iran's enrichment of uranium.

This is Bush's last chance to strike and, when Iran responds, to effect its nuclear castration. Are Bush and Cheney likely to pass up this last chance to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities and effect the election of John McCain? For any attack on Iran's "terrorist bases" would rally the GOP and drive a wedge between Obama and Hillary.

Indeed, Sen. Clinton, who voted to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, could hardly denounce Bush for ordering air strikes on the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, when Petraeus testified, in her presence, that it is behind the serial murder of U.S. soldiers.

The Iranians may sense what is afoot. For Tehran helped broker the truce in the Maliki-Sadr clash in Basra, and has called for a halt to the mortar and rocket attacks on the Green Zone.

With a friendly regime in Baghdad that rolled out the red carpet for Ahmadinejad, Iran has nothing to gain by war. Already, it is the big winner from the U.S. wars that took down Tehran's Taliban enemies, decimated its al-Qaeda enemies and destroyed its Sunni enemies, Saddam and his Baath Party.

No, it is not Iran that wants a war with the United States. It is the United States that has reasons to want a short, sharp war with Iran.

Bush Hypes Threat from Iran
By Matthew Rothschildon on 10 April 2008 in

In his speech on Thursday, Bush wasted little time before getting to the ominous subject of Iran.

Time and time again, he lumped the alleged threat from Iran in the same breadth as the one from Al Qaeda, once again fusing enemies in the minds of the American people.

“Serious and complex challenges remain in Iraq, from the presence of Al Qaeda to the destructive influence of Iran,” he said, even before declaring that the surge has “renewed and revived the prospect of success.”

A little later, he said, “Iraq is the convergence point for two of the greatest threats to America in this new century: Al Qaeda and Iran.” (Bush has now elevated Iran over China as the looming threat of the century!)

And in the next paragraph, he said, “If we succeed in Iraq after all that Al Qaeda and Iran have invested there, it would be a historic blow to the global terrorist movement and a severe setback for Iran.”

Al Qaeda-Iran, Al Qaeda-Iran, Al Qaeda-Iran. That is the chant emanating from the White House.

But Bush was not content to be subtle about his belligerence toward Iran.
Listen to the saber rattle:

“The regime in Tehran also has a choice to make,” Bush said. “It can live in peace with its neighbor, enjoy strong economic and cultural and religious ties. Or it can continue to arm and train and fund illegal militant groups, which are terrorizing the Iraqi people and turning them against Iran. If Iran makes the right choice, America will encourage a peaceful relationship between Iran and Iraq. Iran makes the wrong choice, America will act to protect our interests, and our troops, and our Iraqi partners.”

By “America will act,” Bush is making damn clear that he intends to go ahead and bomb Iran.

We can keep telling ourselves that Bush wouldn’t be so foolish as to widen the war to Iran when the one in Iraq is going so badly. But foolishness has never stopped him before
Regard his words.
They put not only Tehran on notice.
They put Congress and the American people on notice.

This man is planning on waging another illegal war, and we need to do all that we can, nonviolently, to stop him.



POSTED: 6 APRIL 2008 - 3:00pm HST

Not again. Not this time. Let's hear the truth.

by Juan Wilson on 6 April 2008

It would seem that just as General David Petraeus is back in Washington to drum up continued support for his strategy of perpetual surge, things are unraveling in Iraq. Internal political disputes between Shia factors have boiled over in violence. One side represents the Shia in place in Baghdad (Maliki) while the other is a representative of Iranian interests (Sadr).

The showdown came in Basra, the southern oil port on the Persian Gulf near Iran. The pathetic display of force by Maliki in Basra was an embarrassment to the Baghdad leadership and the Americans who backed them. A peace deal to save Maliki was brokered by an Iranian general and the Sadr Militia was able to keep its weapons. U.S. Forces went into Sadr City, within Baghdad to close down the rocket mortar sites that have been raining destruction on the Green Zone all week.

The result was Americans under attack all over the place. No matter how bright Petraeus is, he won't like taking a defeat. He'll want to take Iran before admitting he may have been following a dead-end strategy.

Only problem is, we can't take Iran. The country's population is three times the size of Iraq. It has not been worn down for a decade before an invasion, as was Iraq. They are technically and militarily a more superior opponent than Iraq, with the will to fight us. Even standing at a distance and dropping ordinance from the sky will backfire badly. Hamas and other terror networks throughout the middle east will be ignited. Our tenuous position in the middle east will be over.

The Senate should hold David Petraeus' feet to the fire this coming week. Then get the hell out of Iraq with some semblance of dignity. Don't wait until we have to bail out of the Green Zone in overloaded helicopters.



POSTED: 6 APRIL 2008 - 2:30pm HST

British fear US commander is beating
the drum for Iran strikes

by Damien McElroy on 5 April 2008 in The Telegraph

British officials gave warning yesterday that America's commander in Iraq will declare that Iran is waging war against the US-backed Baghdad government.

A strong statement from General David Petraeus about Iran's intervention in Iraq could set the stage for a US attack on Iranian military facilities, according to a Whitehall assessment. In closely watched testimony in Washington next week, Gen Petraeus will state that the Iranian threat has risen as Tehran has supplied and directed attacks by militia fighters against the Iraqi state and its US allies.

The outbreak of Iraq's worst violence in 18 months last week with fighting in Basra and the daily bombardment of the Green Zone diplomatic enclave, demonstrated that although the Sunni Muslim insurgency is dramatically diminished, Shia forces remain in a strong position to destabilise the country.

'Petraeus is going to go very hard on Iran as the source of attacks on the American effort in Iraq,' a British official said. 'Iran is waging a war in Iraq. The idea that America can't fight a war on two fronts is wrong, there can be airstrikes and other moves,' he said.

'Petraeus has put emphasis on America having to fight the battle on behalf of Iraq. In his report he can frame it in terms of our soldiers killed and diplomats dead in attacks on the Green Zone.'

Tension between Washington and Tehran is already high over Iran's covert nuclear programme. The Bush administration has not ruled out military strikes.
In remarks interpreted as signalling a change in his approach to Iran, Gen Petraeus last week hit out at the Iranian leadership. 'The rockets that were launched at the Green Zone were Iranian-provided, Iranian-made rockets,' he said. 'All of this in complete violation of promises made by President Ahmadinejad and the other most senior Iranian leaders to their Iraqi counterparts.'

The humiliation of the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki by the Iranian-backed cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in fighting in Basra last week triggered top-level warnings over Iran's strength in Iraq.

Gen Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Baghdad, will answer questions from American political leaders at the US Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday before travelling to London to brief Gordon Brown.

The Wall Street Journal said last week that the US war effort in Iraq must have a double goal.

'The US must recognise that Iran is engaged in a full-up proxy war against it in Iraq,' wrote the military analyst Kimberly Kagan.

There are signs that targeting Iran would unite American politicians across the bitter divide on Iraq. 'Iran is the bull in the china shop,' said Ike Skelton, the Democrat chairman of the Armed Services Committee. 'In all of this, they seem to have links to all of the Shi'ite groups, whether they be political or military.'

'Handed Over'
to a Government Called Sadr

by Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily on 3 April 2008 on  IPS News see

Despite the huge media campaign led by U.S. officials and a complicit corporate-controlled media to convince the world of U.S. success in Iraq, emerging facts on the ground show massive failure.

The date March 25 of this year will be remembered as the day of truth through five years of occupation.

"Mehdi army militias controlled all Shia and mixed parts of Baghdad in no time," a Baghdad police colonel, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. "Iraqi army and police forces as well as Badr and Dawa militias suddenly disappeared from the streets, leaving their armored vehicles for Mehdi militiamen to drive around in joyful convoys that toured many parts of Baghdad before taking them to their stronghold of Sadr City in the east of Baghdad."

The police colonel was speaking of the recent clashes between members of the Shia Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army, the largest militia in the country, and members of the Iraqi government forces, that are widely known to comprise members of a rival Shia militia, the Badr Organization.

Dozens of militiamen from both sides were killed in clashes that broke out in Baghdad, Basra, Kut, Samawa, Hilla and most of the Iraqi Shia southern provinces between the Mehdi Army and other militias supported by the U.S., Iran and the Iraqi government.

The Badr Organization militia is headed by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who is also head of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) that dominates the government. The Dawa Party is headed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The number of civilians killed and injured in the clashes is still unknown. Iraqi government offices continue to keep largely silent about the events.

"Every resident of Basra knew the situation would explode any minute between these oil thieves, and that Basra would suffer another wave of militia war," Salman Kathum, a doctor and former resident of Basra who fled for Baghdad last month told IPS.

For months now there has been a struggle between the Sadr Movement, the SIIC, and the al-Fadhila Party for control of the south, and particularly Basra.

Falah Shenshal, an MP allied to al-Sadr, told al-Jazeera Mar. 26 that al-Maliki was targeting political opponents. "They say they target outlaw gangs, but why do they start with the areas where the sons of the Sadr movement are located? This is a political battle...for the political interests of one party (al-Maliki's Dawa party) because the local elections are coming soon (due later this year)."

The fighting came just as the U.S. military announced the death of their 4,000th soldier in Iraq, and on the heels of a carefully crafted PR campaign designed to show that the "surge" of U.S. troops in Iraq has successfully improved the situation on the ground.

"I wonder what lies General David Petraeus (the U.S. forces commander in Iraq) will fabricate this time," Malek Shakir, a journalist in Baghdad told IPS. "The 25th March events revealed the true failure of the U.S. occupation project in Iraq. More complications are expected in the coming days."

Maliki has himself been in Basra to lead a surge against Mehdi Army militias while the U.S. sent forces to surround Sadr City in an attempt to support their Badr and Dawa allies.

News of limited clashes and air strikes have come from Sadr City, with unofficial reports of many casualties amongst civilians. Curfew in many parts of Baghdad and in four southern provinces had made life difficult already.

"This failure takes Iraq to point zero and even worse," Brigadier-General Kathum Alwan of the Iraqi army told IPS in Baghdad. "We must admit that the formation of our forces was wrong, as we saw how our officers deserted their posts, leaving their vehicles for militias."

Alwan added, "Not a single unit of our army and police stood for their duty in Baghdad, leaving us wondering what to do. Most of the officers who left their posts were members of Badr brigades and the Dawa Party, who should have been most faithful to Maliki's government."

The Green Zone of Baghdad where the U.S. embassy and the Iraqi government and parliament buildings are located, was hit by missiles. General Petraeus appeared at a press conference to accuse Iran of being behind the shelling of the zone that is supposed to be the safest area in Iraq. At least one U.S. citizen was killed in the attacks, and two others were injured.

"The Green Zone looked deserted as most U.S. and Iraqi personnel were ordered to take shelter deep underground," an engineer who works for a foreign company in the zone told IPS. "It seemed that this area too was under curfew. No place in Iraq is safe any more."

Further complicating matters for the occupiers of Iraq, the U.S.-backed Awakening groups, largely comprised of former resistance fighters, are now going on strike to demand overdue payment from the U.S. military.

see also a sample of one article a year:
Island Breath: American attack on Iran nears
Island Breath: Drumbeat for War with Iran
Island Breath: Iran War Countdown 3/1/07
Island Breath: Put End to Iraq and Iran War 1/20/07
Island Breath: War with Iran already begun 4/14/06