Monday, April 14, 2008

Petraeus's Iran Gaffe

By Amir Arfa, Press TV, Tehran

In a CNN interview after two days of Iran bashing before Congress and less than a month after "presumptive" Republican Presidential nominee, John McCain made himself butt of all media jokes by suggesting that [Shia] Iran was "taking [Sunni] al-Qaeda" into its soil "training them and sending them back."

US top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus put his boot in it and suggested that Iraq had "no desire to be the 51st state of Iran".

For your information General, Iran has 30 not 50 provinces/Ostans and not states.

Nor did Iran invade and occupy Iraq in 2003.

Nor did it send an "administrator" to Iraq.

Nor did it draft Iraq's constitution.

Nor did it draft Iraq's oil law.

Nor does it have over 150,000 troops in Iraq.

Nor is it building a secret army outside Iraq's mainstream armed forces by arming hundreds of thousands tribesmen under the pretext of fighting Al-Qaeda all despite outspoken opposition by Iraq's "sovereign" government.

Nor is it signing "presence of forces", "strategic relationship" and "declaration of principles" agreements with Iraq's "sovereign" government.

Nor is it torturing Iraqis in Iraqi jails such as the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

Nor is it giving carte blanche to trigger-happy "defense contractors" such as Blackwater to kill innocent Iraqi civilians.

Nor is it renewing the contract of these "defense contractors" outlawed by the "sovereign" Iraqi government.

Nor is it giving green light to its NATO allies to invade Iraq without even cluing in the Iraqi government.

Nor is it capturing diplomats invited by the "sovereign" Iraqi government and/or refuse to release them even after frequent calls by Iraq's "sovereign" president.

Nor is it pitting every one against every one and blaming everyone else for the mess in Iraq and

Petraus's Freudian slip of tongue however does have a point. Iraq indeed has "no desire to be the 51st state of…" any country and that's why according to a recent poll conducted by The British ORB/Channel 4 News survey, more than two-thirds of Iraqis believe US-led occupation forces should leave their country; A stunning mirror figure of Americans who want their troops back home.

But who cares about the polls?

US president George W Bush has time and again uttered his sheer disdain for public opinion over 80 percent of which (over TWO HUNDRED FORTY MILLION Americans) according to a new CBS/New York Times poll are dissatisfied with the direction of their country under his leadership. 89 percent (TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY MILLION AMERICANS) see a direct link between the "3-trillion dollar war" and their morbid economy.

Vice President Dick Cheney couldn't be more frank when he said "So?" to ABC's Martha Raddatz's question about the 70 percent (over TWO HUNDRED TEN MILLION) popular opposition to the War in Iraq.

Seven months after earning the nickname General Betrayus by, the General is at it again and how!

The General's Iraq Progress report comes against the backdrop of unspeakable carnage, unemployment and starvation in Iraq.

Just a few days ago the United Nations launched an appeal for $265 million for Iraq aid in 2008 warning the country is still suffering from a humanitarian crisis; that as the Bush administration pumps a weekly 12 billion tax payer dollars into the so called "war effort".

According to David Shearer, the UN's humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, "Four million Iraqis need food assistance while only 40 percent of the population has reliable access to safe drinking water."

According to the UN refugee agency, 4.2 million Iraqis have been displaced since 2003, including 750,000 who found refuge in Jordan and 1.4 million in Syria. Another two million or so are displaced within the country.

And civilian Iraqi death toll since the beginning of the invasion is put anywhere between tens of thousands to the British polling agency ORB's over 1,000,000.

The report however paints a different picture. It's mostly roses and peaches in Iraq except the "I" word, "Iran".

The 4400-word-or-so report boils down to:

"Since Ambassador Crocker and I appeared before you seven months ago there has been significant but uneven security progress in Iraq."

"Al Qaeda-Iraq and a number of other extremist elements have been dealt serious blows, the capabilities of Iraqi Security Force elements have grown, and there has been noteworthy involvement of local Iraqis in local security."

Al-Qaeda is in "disarray" and "retreating", Sunni insurgents are now "sons of Iraq" 91000 of whom are on our payroll, even Shia militia have been disrupted, However " the progress made since last spring is fragile and reversible", If we leave hell breaks loose and Iraq fails and of course, "A failed state in Iraq would pose serious consequences for the greater fight against Al Qaeda, for regional stability, for the already existing humanitarian crisis in Iraq, and for the effort to counter malign Iranian influence."

In other words, it's all quiet along the MesS.o.po.ta.mi.a except for Iran and its "Malign" actions, so, we have no choice but to stay.

Iran Rhetoric;

-none of us earlier this year appreciated the extent of Iranian involvement in Iraq, something about which we and Iraq's leaders all now have greater concern.

-Malign actions by Syria and, especially, by Iran fuel that [ethno-sectarian] violence. Lack of adequate governmental capacity, lingering sectarian mistrust, and various forms of corruption add to Iraq's challenges.

The General's anti-Iran rhetoric was well embraced and echoed a day later by his boss at the White House.

Collocating Iran and Al-Qaeda as "two of the greatest threats to America in this new century" Bush told a small but friendly audience that included Vice President Dick Cheney, the secretaries of State and Defense and representatives of veterans' organizations, "The regime in Tehran also has a choice to make: They can live in peace with its neighbor, enjoy strong economic and cultural and religious ties, or it can continue to arm and train and fund illegal militant groups which are terrorizing the Iraqi people and turning them against Iran." Adding, "If Iran makes the right choice, America will encourage a peaceful relationship between Iran and Iraq. If Iran makes the wrong choice, America will act to protect our interests and our troops and our Iraqi partners."

Trite as it may sound such rhetoric still generates headlines about a possible US attack on Iran among them, Allen L Roland's "COUNTDOWN TO ATTACK ON IRAN BEGINS THIS WEEK" appearing in OpEdNews

According to Roland whose article predates Petraeus's appearance before Congress, "The stage is set. This is build up week for attacking Iran. General Patraeus will testify before Congress laying out the pretext for war with Iran. McCain will support him and Obama and Clinton will have to acquiesce or make a political stand to protect their base. Cheney has already briefed the region, Admiral Fallon has been relieved and three Navy carrier attack groups are on station, ready and awaiting Bush's orders ~ it's the final countdown and Congress will not stop Bush."

I bet Allen is now adding to his list the visit by Petraeus and Crocker to Saudi Arabia on their way back to Iraq.

From Seymour Hersh's "shifting targets" last year to L Roland's "COUNTDOWN" today the media world is full of speculations, reasons and counter reasons for a possible US attack.

On March 11, 2008 , shortly after US Centcom chief Adm. Fallon's resignation US news and world report published a highly sensational article titled" the 6 Signs the US May Be Headed for War in Iran"

The 6 signs were listed as:
1. Fallon's resignation
2. Vice President Cheney's peace trip
3. Israeli airstrike on Syria Israel's airstrike deep in Syria
4. Warships off Lebanon Two U.S. warships took up
5. Israeli comments
6.Israel's war with Hezbollah

Washington Post's William M. Arkin countered by, "Six Signs the US Is Not Headed for War in Iran"

Before giving his signs, William wrote, "There are a couple of military adages -- "An Army marches on its stomach" and "Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics" -- that should adequately explain why the United States is not headed for war with Iran." Adding" There is no actual preparation for such a war going on. Moreover, the US military is not in a position to carry off such an operation.

I personally tend to agree with William Arkin except his premises are based on logic and rationality.