Monday, August 09, 2004

Iraqi Minister Singles Out Iran for Supporting Insurgents

The Iraqi defense minister has identified an old and expected enemy as being a supporter of insurgents.
The charges leveled by Iraqi Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalaan and the kidnapping of Iran's consul to Kerbala highlighted growing mistrust between the two neighbors which fought each other to a standstill in a bitter 1980-1988 war.

Political analysts said the mounting tensions reflected the desire of Iraqi officials to assert their independence from Shi'ite Muslim Iran which, in turn, is divided over how best to exert influence in its western neighbor.

Shalaan, who has previously branded Iran as Iraq's "first enemy," said Shi'ite Muslim rebels were using arms obtained from Iran to wage a bloody uprising in Najaf where U.S. forces say at least 360 rebels have been killed since Thursday.
Of course the Iranians have a huge hand in the insurgency, as do the Syrians. These are two regimes with a great deal on the line in Iraq. However, I am somewhat surprised by how boldly Shalaan called out Iran. He may feel a little freer to do so after this little tidbit came to light:
Ramazanzadeh said kidnapped diplomat Fereidoun Jahani was a long-serving Foreign Ministry official despite footage provided by his captors showing credentials in his name bearing the logo of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Security experts say the Revolutionary Guards -- an ideologically driven branch of the armed forces -- has sent scores of agents into Iraq.
It looks like the Iranians have gotten caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Will this stop their support of the insurgency? The answer to that is no, because the fundamentalist rulers of Iran simply cannot allow a successful democratic state next door when so many of their own citizenry chafe and yearn for democracy.

Can this still have an effect on the insurgency itself? Oh yes, as it is demonstrated how much of the insurgency is foreign-driven and opposed to the success and combined will of the Iraqi populace, any remaining native support should wither. At that point, cooperation with and support for the Iraqi government will greatly increase.


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