As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Going To War With The Peacemakers

So, this week David Petraeus stepped up to the war machine Wurlitzer and belted out some anti-Iran rhetoric, calling it the biggest threat to American security and outright calling the Iranian Ambassador to Iraq a terrorist. Of course, it's unclear why we should believe him at all, considering that one of his own advisors is calling his testimony on casualties in Iraq potentially misleading. Not to mention the fact that nobody has been arming Iraqi militants more than the US government. But on a macro level, the notion that Iran is sowing chaos inside Iraq is damaged by this latest revelation, from AJ Rossmiller:

But leaving aside the hypocrisy, on the *very same day,* news came out that Iran had helped broker a peace deal between the two major Shia militias, the Badr Corps of SIIC (formerly SCIRI) and Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of SIIC, who is reportedly undergoing treatment for cancer in Iran, met with Sadr, a frequent rival for Shia following and control in Baghdad and oil-rich Basra province, to bury the hatchet. The plan reportedly has three primary elements: stopping the fighting between Iraqis, urging media to engender a spirit of friendship and forgiveness, and establishing commissions in each of Iraq's 18 provinces to oversee the peace initiative. The agreement was "in the spirit of" Ramadan, the Muslim holy month in which gestures of forgiveness and mercy are often made.

And again, they worked out the agreement in Iran. Not with U.S. officials (with whom Sadr refuses to deal), not with Saudi Arabia, not the UN. Iran. So when Petraeus says (quoting the CNN article, not the General directly) that, "sectarian fighting among militias fueled by Iran could be the biggest long-term challenge for Iraq," well, exactly what sectarian fighting among militias is he referring to? Why are these statement always so vague, so imprecise? *Which* militias? *Where* is Iran fueling fighting? I'm open to being convinced, but the dichotomy of Petraeus accusing Iran of fueling sectarian infighting at precisely the same time two major militia groups are agreeing to a peace accord in Iran doesn't bode well for his case.

And by the way, the news of that peace deal isn't all good, it's clearly an effort to band together against the US backing of anti-government Sunni groups, and will focus the country even more toward civil war. But Iran is making actual efforts to broker peace. Less can be said of St. Petraeus.

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