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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Iraq, Iran, Syria

posted by on January 11 at 16:14 PM

At the Washington Note, Steven C. Clemons writes:

Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.

The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country.

From Bush’s speech last night:

”We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

Clemons also writes:

Adding fuel to the speculation is that U.S. forces today raided an Iranian Consulate in Arbil, Iraq and detained five Iranian staff members. Given that Iran showed little deference to the political sanctity of the US Embassy in Tehran 29 years ago, it would be ironic for Iran to hyperventilate much about the raid.

But what is disconcerting is that some are speculating that Bush has decided to heat up military engagement with Iran and Syria — taking possible action within their borders, not just within Iraq.

Some are suggesting that the Consulate raid may have been designed to try and prompt a military response from Iran — to generate a casus belli for further American action.

(Click here to read the whole thing, including Condoleezza Rice’s non-denial denials in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today.)

Update: Here’s White House Press Secretary Tony Snow talking to Chris Matthews about Iran on MSNBC:

SNOW: Ok, but, let me just do a couple of things here. I think you understand and most Americans understand Iran is the foremost financier of global terror. It’s a problem. But you don’t deal with everything militarily, as you know. The United States exhausted all diplomatic options before going into Iraq, and I think what you’re doing if you’re trying to go down the road of speculation that is just way ahead of events. Right now, we’re working on making Iraq a success. One other thing about Iran, Chris. The Iranian public, most which of is young, is very pro-American.

Whew. Now I feel better.

RSS icon Comments


Personally, I was more amused that they finally admitted that al-Qaeda is alive and well and Osama too and all are in Pakistan.


Posted by Will in Seattle | January 11, 2007 5:07 PM

I'm waiting for the "Iranians and Syrians will welcome our forces with open arms and flowers" speech.

Posted by Pack | January 11, 2007 5:08 PM

"The Iranian population, most of which is young..."


Most intelligent quote of the day.

Posted by John | January 11, 2007 5:18 PM

"The United States exhausted all diplomatic options before going into Iraq" ... That lying sack of s***.
I guess we couldn't expect better out of someone with codename "SnowJob".

Posted by treacle | January 11, 2007 5:37 PM

When we went into Afghanistan, my thoughts were that the only way to make real and lasting change in the region would be if we were able to redraw the map to something more like the pre-colonial map. Not sure how we do this now, but knocking over Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Syria would certainly be the first step.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | January 11, 2007 6:59 PM

If Iran attacks us, they're within their rights. We invaded sovereign Irani territory. We've provided them with a casus belli.

Posted by Gitai | January 11, 2007 7:08 PM

Gitai - When? How?

Posted by you_gotta_be_kidding_me | January 11, 2007 7:38 PM

Gitai is referring to the US attack on the Iranian consulate in Kurdish Iraq. However, only full embassies and not consulates are considered sovereign territory. While it was a stupid provocation, it was not an act of war as an attack on an embassy would have been. It's a subtle point that many are overlooking.

Posted by Cascadian | January 11, 2007 8:08 PM

Oh, I see... the Consulate. (Cascadian, your understanding is mine as well, thus my confusion.) Either way, I don't recall an peace treaty concluding the war they started when they invaded our Embassy. I'd just call this a continuation of hostilities.

Posted by you_gotta_be_kidding_me | January 11, 2007 8:33 PM

Perhaps Gitai is talking about the Special Forces secret missions in Iran, revealed by Seymour Hersh in Jan 2005.
Can you clarify Gitai?

Posted by treacle | January 11, 2007 11:54 PM

It's not secret. It's ILLEGAL. Congress has NOT authorized military operations outside of Iraq, no matter how many drugs the Bushies are on.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 12, 2007 12:43 AM

Is that "ILLEGAL" in the same way that Clinton's unauthorized missel attacks were?

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | January 12, 2007 9:17 AM

I am referring to the attacks on the consulate in Irbil. According the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Article 31, "Consular premises shall be inviolable to the extent provided in this article." The same article provides that, "The authorities of the receiving State shall not enter that part of the consular premises which is used exclusively for the purpose of the work of the consular post except with the consent of the head of the consular post," and regarding our seizure of computers and records, "The consular premises, the property of the consular post, and its means of transport shall be immune from any form of requisition for purposes of national defence or public utility," and Article 33 states, "The consular archives and documents shall be inviolable at all times and wherever they may be." Article 41 outlines the diplomatic immunity of consular officers. Article 43 denies the receiving state jurisdiction. Article 45 outlines the procedure for the sending state to waive that immunity. Honorary consular members do not have such immunity.

The special forces stuff is pretty awful too, though.

Posted by Gitai | January 12, 2007 10:38 AM

Thankfully the Iranians don't recognize these conventions themselves, or we might have had a problem.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | January 12, 2007 11:40 AM

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