Hogan's Alley

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ahmadinejad: Are Americans Responsible For All Terror In Iraq?

In an interview broadcast this morning on ABC's Good Morning America, Iranian President Ahmadinejad responds with the following to one of Diane Sawyer's questions:

Ahmadinejad: … [Laughs] Well I think that you should check your source because people say different things. One of the interior ministry officials from Iran (sic) said that all of these terrors are done by American forces, and that was an official. He had an official position in Iraq.

Emphasis added.

Prior to this point, he also implies that the Bathist and Sunni insurgents attacking Shiites are American led:

Ahmadinejad: Let me ask you a question, those people who are killing the Shiites, are they organized by Americans?

Sawyer: Sunnis? Baathists?

Ahmadinejad: Anyone, anyone. Are the Baathists organized in Kuwait by Americans? Why do you say no? No, I am just asking you a question, who organizes them?

Note, he is being very playful with Sawyer, who he says at one point is, "only a journalist." He is just raising a question. He maintains full deniability about affirmatively making such accusations. And yet...it seems perfectly clear that he is reflecting the view of, if not himself, significant numbers of people in the middle east.

What then would happen in Iraq if, or more likely when, America withdraws. Will a Sunni/Shiite bloodbath ensue as many, including Andrew Sullivan predict? Sullivan argues in effect that such Muslim on Muslim terror will expose the perpetrators as simple murderers, not Islamic heroes battling the infidels.

But what if they are not so fanatical and stupid as we presume? Suppose, upon the departure of American troops they see that continuing terror bombings will expose there position as protectors of Islam against the West? The al Qaeda types will, I predict stop their suicide bombings. That, of course, will do nothing to halt the internecine warfare between Shi'a and Sunni, which is purely murderous, not fundamentally suicidal. Both sides will openly fight to establish their interests and geographic control with remote controlled bombs and death squads. Assistance from the Saudi's and Iranians will no doubt ensue at a large scale, until the conflict threatens to inflame the region and interfere with the flow of oil money to the pockets of both nations. Then peace conferences will be brokered and some tentative peace agreement instituted.

The deeply relevant question for America is what will be the tolerance in some newly peaceful Iraq for al Qaeda? Will their training bases and the flow of weapons and funds to their Iraqi bases be ignored by the government? Under those conditions will they prosper and grow, able to plan and execute new attacks on the West? If they do, what will be the realistic possibilities of US troops then in Kuwait or the Kurdish areas to re-invade central Iraq to quash the terrorists?

I think that our chances of successfully stopping them will be nil. Imagine the argument here about the then proffered evidence of al Qaeda growth and involvement in new attacks on Europe or America. Just look at the current wave of international and domestic doubt the US allegations of Iran being the source for new and effective IED weapons being used against American troops in Iraq. The legacy of Chenney and Rumsfeld. Also, wouldn't any newly "independent" Iraqi government oppose the reintroduction of US forces in any number back into their territory?

In short, if, as Democrats believe, we have just duly appointed Gen. Petraeus to engage in a fool's errand, the end of American involvement in Iraq is now in sight. The insurgent forces will fight mightily, especially via bombings killing as many American troops and Iraqi civilians as possible to assure reportage by the media that the "surge" is failing. We will depart, with or without our tails between our legs, and we will hunker down in the region and here at home awaiting the next attack. You can bet your house that the next President, of either party, will not instigate large scale military response to future attacks without crystal clear evidence and a target that will only require minimal, brief, overwhelming force, followed by a rapid exit. The enemy is not so foolish as to provide such a vulnerable paper trail.

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