Monday, February 05, 2007
Lou Dobbs had a panel of experts, 1 Feb. 2007 that provided the most insightful analysis on Iran’s involvement in Iraq to date. I have provided excerpts below in blue and the the full transcript at:
This is the first time that anyone has solved the riddle of how Iranian weapons get to the Sunnis. I would like to highlight some of the facts in my words.
1. The Sunnis, insurgents and Al-Qaeda acting in loose coordination are creating 99% of the US casualties.
2. 70%, down from a high of 90% last year of US casualties are from sophisticated IEDs made in Iran. Snipers do 20% and fire fights 10%.
3. The Sunnis are as opposed to Iran as they are opposed to the Iraqi Shia.
4. ABRAHAMIAN: “Yes, I think actually, so far, ironically that Iran and the United States have been on parallel paths. Both have been supporting -- SCIRI and Dawa, who have formed the main Baghdad government.”
5. A critical observation, WOW! GERGES: “I just come from the Middle East. I cannot tell you the transformation that has taken place in the Sunni-dominated Arab world, anti-Shiite and anti-Iranian sentiment is becoming deeply hardened in the region. I mean, there is a major internal, intensive struggle in the Middle East...The anti-Shiite and anti-Iranian sentiments in the Sunni Arab-dominated world. And to put -- it's amazing. In the Arab world, the thing is Iran... And, in fact, most -- I mean, a majority of Sunnis believe that the United States and Iran are basically allied together against the Sunni, the Sunni minority in Iraq. And this is the irony, the paradox of the situation in Iraq.” Obviously we are not in concert with Iran, just the opposite, but we are supporting the same people in Iraq in the eyes of the Sunnis.
6. Suicide bombers, the major killer of the Shia, are all Sunnis. Shia culture does not glorify suicide like the Sunnis.
The Iranians are supporting the Sunnis/insurgents/Al-Qaeda with weapons and IEDs. And last week we saw the introduction of the SA-7 downing American helicopters. Obvious Russian weapons involvement. Wealthy Baathists are responsible for the insurgents who are mostly Sunni Iraqis and some foreigners. But the Iranians are not supporting them directly. Then how? Black market, maybe, but all roads lead to Syria. I don’t see anyone trucking weapons to the Sunnis through hundreds of miles of Shia Iraq when the Shia are targets of those weapons. If Syria, then it is Hezbollah. Syria is not going to have their fingerprints on the weapons directly, but certainly they are allowing it to happen. Connect the dots…. Iran – Hezbollah/Syria – Wealthy Iraqi Sunnis – cheap fighters of all types including Kurds but not Shia.
The Bush plan as stated can’t succeed. We can kill all the fighters we want, they are easily replaced. What about the wealthy Baathists? They are supported by all of our so-called regional allies who are Sunni. If we eliminate the wealthy Baathists our allies will freak. We can’t attack Iran. Why? Bush does not have the political capital and his speeches so far have been incredible weak. He has made no case against Iran except nukes. We can’t attack Syria for the same reason as Iran, no political capital and no case made to the American people. Who does that leave? Hezbollah. The good news is they are Shia. They are also going to bring down the democracy in Lebanon and will be the launch site for Iran to nuke Israel, which I wrote about before. The president needs to connect the dots for the American people; Hezbollah is complicit in the 99% American casualties and all of the Shia casualties. They are not our best target; Iran and the wealthy Baathists are, but they are a politically correct target. Our allies would strongly support us; it would re-stabilize Lebanon and take away Iran’s best proxy. Bush could claim hot pursuit when the Hezbollah flee to Syria and follow them there, wiping out them and any Syrians stupid enough to get in the way.
Joining me now, three leading authorities on Iran, Iraq and Iran's military ambitions. Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle East and international studies at Sarah Lawrence College. And Ervand Abrahamian is a history professor at Baruch College, and we thank you for being here. General David Grange, one of the country's most distinguished military commanders, and it's always good to have you with us, Dave.
GERGES: Lou, one point must be made very clear. The Sunni-led insurgency is responsible for the death of almost 99 percent of American and coalition forces in Iraq. And the Sunni-led insurgency is as opposed to Iran and the Shias as it is opposed to basically the American military presence.
ABRAHAMIAN: Yes, I think actually, so far, ironically that Iran and the United States have been on parallel paths. Both have been supporting -- SCIRI and Dawa, who have formed the main Baghdad government. So their support has gone basically to them. So I think the idea that somehow Iranians are supporting insurgents, Sunnis against -- killing Americans, it could be possible. But it's very unlikely. I would say it's in the realm of absurdity.
GERGES: I just come from the Middle East. I cannot tell you the transformation that has taken place in the Sunni-dominated Arab world, anti-Shiite and anti-Iranian sentiment is becoming deeply hardened in the region. I mean, there is a major internal, intensive struggle in the Middle East...The anti-Shiite and anti-Iranian sentiments in the Sunni Arab-dominated world. And to put -- it's amazing. In the Arab world, the thing is Iran... And, in fact, most -- I mean, a majority of Sunnis believe that the United States and Iran are basically allied together against the Sunni, the Sunni minority in Iraq. And this is the irony, the paradox of the situation in Iraq.
GRANGE: Lou, you know, first of all, the Iranian influence in Iraq does not only support Shia death squads or militia or whatever, it also supports Sunni insurgents. In other words, their common enemy is the Americans. They still fight each other. If two out of three Americans die from IEDs, most of the IEDs are triggered or initiated by devices made in Iran, then their influencing the death of the American soldiers regardless of who pulls the trigger.
ABRAHAMIAN: It just is not possible in the Middle East context to think that Iranian officials would be providing lethal materials to Sunni, Baathist fanatics who kill other Shias. It's just not possible.
GERGES: But it doesn't make sense. It's against common sense. I can understand, for example, if Iranian arms are sold on the black market. I can understand if Syria supports some of these Sunni resistant groups. But truly Iran, it's against its interests to do so.
Liberty or Death