by Martin ‘HStorm’ Odoni

It’s been the worst kept secret in the world for the last year or so, of course, but the USA would clearly still like to embark on its long-awaited invasion of Iran, despite current talks between the two countries and Syria. The nuclear issue laid the foundation last year, but the more immediate pretext for attacking is two-fold, and relates to supposed Iranian activity in Iraq; –

1) The Americans have been asserting for some weeks that Iranian technology has been used in bombs that have killed up to one hundred and seventy American and other foreign troops in Iraq, and that Shi’a groups have been getting training from Iran. They interpret this as proving that there has been a wide pattern of covert Iranian activity in Iraq for months, effectively fuelling the insurgency.

2) The US accuses Tehran of interfering in the work of the Iraqi government itself.

To answer point 1), the interpretation they offer doesn’t prove any such thing; Iraq is awash with weapons and explosives and other bomb-making materials from countless sources, many of them changing hands on a frequent basis. (It also seems highly unlikely that Shi’a gunmen would need any training from the Iranians.)

Furthermore, no real evidence that the weaponry brought into Iraq was provided by Tehran has been made public, over three months since the accusations were first levelled. About ninety-nine percent of all attacks on allied troops in Iraq have been occuring in Sunni areas, and are carried out by Ba’athist or Salafist guerrilla groups. Why would the Shi’a Government in Iran – a Persian, not Arab, country let us remember – supply arms to Sunni Arab militants? Or even more unlikely, the Ba’athists? What, after the Ba’athists spent the whole of the 80’s trying to exterminate the Iranians? Isn’t that a little like Israeli Zionists supplying arms to Neo-Nazi groups in the former East Germany?

Also, most of the outside help these groups get actually comes from rebellious Sunnis in countries allied with… oho! The United States! Could it be that these outside rebels are trying to tell the States something? Sunni rebels can be found in such ‘noble’ allied countries as our dear old friend, Saudi Arabia, and the other Gulf monarchies.

Note how Washington has mysteriously failed to denounce Saudi aid to the Sunni insurgents who are killing US troops, but openly denounces Shi’ites in Iran for it! Who is Dubya trying to kid?

As for point 2), consider the following incident; –

In December, US troops raided the compound of Shi’ite cleric Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the largest bloc in parliament – made up of fundamentalist Shi’ites – and found several Iranians were visiting there. Some were briefly detained and then made to leave the country. Two others were delivered to Iraqi Government custody and accused of being, and I quote, “High-ranking intelligence officers of the Quds Force unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Force”. Baghdad let them go.

Al-Hakim, as well as Iraqi President and Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, angrily insisted that the Iranians had been invited to the country, protests that seem strange if the Iranian visitors were helping the Sunnis bomb Iraq to bits.

Press reports on the documents the US captured in the raid were, typically, contradictory. American newspapers said that they indicated “Iranian arms smuggling and included plans for ethnic cleansing of Sunnis in Baghdad.” I kid ye not.

In stark contrast, British intelligence officials told the BBC that the documents contained no mention of arms. Instead they indicated that the Iranians had come to consult about a cabinet shuffle planned by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, head of the fundamentalist Shi’ite al-Dawa party, the largest bloc in the legislature.

Looking at the above situation, who do you think was interfering in matters under the jurisdiction of the Iraqi Government? Iran or the USA? Indeed, which country currently has 150,000 troops stationed on Iraqi soil? Iran or the USA?

And which country recently tried to force a new law onto the Baghdad Government (details of which were leaked onto the Internet before the Iraqi Parliament had even heard of it) creating a new Federal Oil and Gas Council to control all the country’s fuel reserves; a Council that would be headed up, not by Iraq’s own National Oil Authorities, but by the leaders of Chevron, ExxonMobil, and BP, among other Western oil giants? (On that subject, doesn’t it amaze you that some people still believe that control of the distribution of Iraqi oil was not a motivation for the war?)

It’s also worth remembering that the largest parties in the present Iraqi Parliament were founded and nurtured in Iran. So once again, you have to ask the ‘killer’ question; why would the administration in Tehran feel any need to ‘interfere’ in the activities of the ‘Green zone’, when the Government that’s established there is largely made up of Iran’s own people?

As I suggested over a year ago, it probably suited Iran at that point for Iraq to remain unstable, at least in the short term, but not now. Now, the USA has moved an extra fleet to the Gulf, they have extra forces in Afghanistan (and operating clandestinely inside Pakistan), as well as a surge in troop presence in Iraq and the former Soviet Muslim republics. Iran is now surrounded by the American military. The only good thing that can happen for President Ahmedinajad now is not continued insurgency across the border, but for the USA to leave Iraq entirely while it is still under the governance of a friendly Shi’a-run Parliament. Bring down that Parliament, and heaven knows what the replacement’s attitude to its neighbour will be.