Friend or foe?
CNN's analysis of events in Iraq are wonderful example of how to patch up a theory that is rapidly falling to pieces. The theory of course, is that Iran is a poor, misunderstood victim of US aggression in a third country. The facts however, are that Iran is supporting the Madhi Army in Iraq. How to square the circle? Easy. Just read Michael Ware.
"Al-Sadr is involved in a very complicated relationship with the Iranians," said CNN Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware. "The Iranians do provide funding and support for his militia, yet at the same time they're trying to rein him in and get him to adopt a certain political agenda, which from time to time he resists."
Ware said Iran wants to use al-Sadr's populist base to advance its agenda in Iraq. "However, they don't want to see him get too big for his boots or to rise to a position where they can no longer have sway over him."
Iran has weakened al-Sadr by encouraging dissension within his Mehdi Army and backing hardliners -- known as the Special Groups -- who break away and keep up the fight against the U.S. occupation, Ware said.
According to this theory, Iran is supporting Moqtada al-Sadr in order to rein him in. If the US would only leave Iran alone then all would be well. But unfortunately Americans are too stupid to understand that people who are firing EFPs, mortars and rockets are you are not your enemy. By acting against Sadr, America has created the real enemy.
"Iran's very good at putting pressure on you, forcing you to split, and anything that squeezes out the side, Iran picks up and turns into hardline factions," Ware said. "That's exactly what's happened to Muqtada. He's had purge after purge after purge of belligerent commanders, and they've all been swept up by Iran.
"And now the most lethal attacks on U.S. forces, the most coordinated attacks on U.S. forces, the most daring attacks on U.S. forces in the country are committed by Iranian-backed breakaway elements of Muqtada's militia faction."
But if Iran were determined to advance peace by restraining Sadr why would "the most daring attacks on U.S. forces in the country" be "committed by Iranian-backed breakaway elements of Muqtada's militia faction"? If these are two dogs with the same master how can the master be benign in the one case and malign on the other? Inquiring minds want to know.
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