Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lebanon's Daily Star: Iran's Shia 'outreach' still a problem

Interestingly, after this 'cease-fire' and Hezbullah's (self)pro-claimed victory, Lebanon's Daily Star should print this:
Despite US forces, the real power in Iraq is Iran Excerpt:
By mid-2002, the balance began to tip in Iran's favor with the escalation of the Iraqi-US confrontation. The Iranian leadership accurately judged the seriousness of this looming confrontation. Thus, while the Bush administration was engaged in plotting the removal of the Iraqi regime, the Iranian leadership was busy planning how Tehran could strategically gain from any US adventure in Iraq.

This approach became evident in several high-level decisions taken by Tehran in 2002-2003. First, against all declared ideological and political principles of the Iranian revolution, the Iranian leadership encouraged the main Iraq Shiite opposition parties to move closer to the US, especially during the crucial months preceding the invasion when Washington was preparing the post-invasion political arrangements. Iraqi ayatollahs and prominent Shiite political and religious figures frequently visited Washington or met high-ranking US officials. This unusual alliance was approved by the Iranian leadership
AND
Second, in August 2002 Iran's supreme guide Ali Khamenei ordered the formation of a special committee on Iraq to monitor the development of the crisis, formulate Iranian strategy and mobilize the state's resources to promote Iranian interests in post-Baath Iraq. The committee consisted of representatives from defense, intelligence, political, diplomatic, and religious institutions. The intelligence arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, responsible for promoting "external jihad," was in charge of most, if not all, Iranian activities related to Iraq, including sponsorship and control of the pro-Iran Shiite opposition groups and direct and crucial control of these groups' intelligence and armed wings, as well as militias. Thus, at the time of the US-led invasion of Iraq, Iranian institutions were well placed to advance Tehran's strategic objectives.

Among the chief aims of these institutions were: first, to prevent an American success in Iraq that might undermine the stability and security of Iran, as well as threaten the survival of the Islamic regime at a later stage; second, to establish sustainable Iranian influence in the new Iraq that could serve Iran's long-term strategic regional interests; and third, to prevent the emergence of a strong Iraq that could balance or contain Iran. The Iranian formula was simple: A failed US plus a weak and fragmented Iraq equalled a strong and influential Iran.


Click on title for the full article.
It struck me, naievly perhaps, that an article like this, focussing on Iran's connections with Shia's outside of the country, in the region, was perhaps a signal of sorts that said, yes, Hezbollah (thinks it) 'won', but we got into this 'instability' because of them.
What is your take on the timing of this article?

2 Comments:

Blogger KT said...

"first, to prevent an American success in Iraq that might undermine the stability and security of Iran,

as well as threaten the survival of the Islamic regime at a later stage;

second, to establish sustainable Iranian influence in the new Iraq that could serve Iran's long-term strategic regional interests;

and third, to prevent the emergence of a strong Iraq that could balance or contain Iran."

Pretty good take on the situation by the author. All one needs to do is look at Hezbollah to want to smack the Lebanese up side of the head and say play it straight and don't waste your chance, stoopid. It breaks my heart to see what the Iraqis have been through for the last several decades and now more being used by someone else for power and money. It really is no wonder they can be played so easily.

Part of me hopes the Shia will be able to change the status quo for the better of everyone in the ME in terms of human rights when they "control" the entire area, but from the going ons of the last 25 years in Iran, I would be some worried if I were any governments in the area. Iran has all the time in the world to bring everyone in the area back to the the 7th century, and apparently the people are willingly lining up to help them.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

I realized and remember today that most Middle Eastern countries did not come into being until recent, (just look at the nice straight-ish border lines) and that opposing factions/tribes ended up in one part together as opposed to being delineated..I don't think that people as much have a nat'l identity than a tribal/faction/and especially religious identity first! Hence just assuming a certain 'behaviour' of a Middle Eastern country is oversimplifying it if you do not take into account the various loyalties that are at work or need to be assuaged.
Ingrid

8:07 PM  

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