Ir** vs Ir**
Robert Burns at the Associated Press reports that the US has provided the Iraqi government with a report of the extent of Iranian subversion. In cases where secret briefings are publicly announced the news is the announcement, not the briefing. The ballyhoo is normally intended to send a signal to a third party, or to prepare the public for further action.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Iraqi leaders have been given the latest U.S. evidence of Iranian support for militias inside Iraq, and Baghdad will decide what to do about it, two senior Pentagon officials said Wednesday.
Marine Lt. Gen. John Sattler, director of strategy, plans and policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki possesses the evidence, which other officials said contradicts Tehran's stated commitment to stop providing arms, weapons technology and training to Shiite militias inside Iraq.
"It's in Prime Minister al-Maliki's hands right now, the evidence as to whether or not he's been lied to — bald-faced lied to — by the Iranian government," Sattler told a Pentagon news conference.
"The evidence inside Baghdad has been shared with the Iraqi leadership, and that's where it stands right now," he added.
The US has been complaining about Iranian subversion for some time now. What's different this time is an implied attempt to get Iraq to explicitly denounce Teheran. In trying to get Baghdad to nail its colors to the mast, the US is building pieces of a coalition against Teheran.
The role of the Iraqis, especially the Shi'ites, against Iran is probably going to be confined to pressure on Iranian cells within its borders. CPT Justin Gorkowski at the Small Wars Journal explains how the major Iraqi contribution to the war has been non-kinetic: intelligence, policing, stabilization and information operations. These are the millstones which ultimately grind out underground cells.
But the US will continue to hold the threat of direct action against Iran, whether or not it will actually be used. This will be used to keep Teheran guessing. The AP story continues:
The U.S. briefly had two Navy aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf this week — a move that Gates said Tuesday could be seen as a "reminder" to Iran. The Pentagon has routinely said that moving ships to the Gulf is a way of showing countries there that the U.S. remains committed to the region.
And besides, who knows?
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