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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Iran in Iraq: 300,000 Iraqi Shiites are unlikely to be wrong 


There is a certain subspecies of leftist that believes that American claims that Iran is subverting Iraq are nothing more than propaganda to justify war against Iran. It would be delightful, then, for such people to explain this story in today's Washington Post:

More than 300,000 Shiite Muslims from southern Iraq have signed a petition condemning Iran for fomenting violence in Iraq, according to a group of sheiks leading the campaign.

"The Iranians, in fact, have taken over all of south Iraq," said a senior tribal leader from the south who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. "Their influence is everywhere."

...

The petition, which the organizers said was signed by 600 sheiks, calls on the United Nations to send a delegation to investigate what it termed crimes committed by Iran and its proxies in southern Iraq.

"The most painful stab in the back of the Shiites in Iraq by the Iranian regime has been its shameful abuse of Shiite religion to achieve its ominous end," the sheiks said a statement. "The only solution and hopeful prospect for Iraq, and in particular the southern provinces, is the eviction of the Iranian regime from our homeland."

The petition was "supported by" (the WaPo's term) "the People's Mujaheddin Organization of Iran, or Mujaheddin-e Khalq, an Iranian opposition group that is listed by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization but that nonetheless enjoys U.S. military protection in Iraq." This will undoubtedly provoke the rejoinder from the left that the petition itself must be an American black op, to which I will pre-ask the question, since when have our intelligence operatives been even close to that sophisticated in southern Iraq? Not that it wouldn't be wonderful if they were, but who's kidding whom?

The good news in this is that Iraqis are reclaiming Iraq. The Sunnis in al-Anbar are going after the jihadis (including those Iraqis paid with foreign money), and the Shiites in the south are stepping up to condemn Iranian subversion. Iraqis seem finally to have decided that American soldiers, infidels that they may be, are the only foreigners who will go home when asked.

The next question, of course, is whether Iraqi nationalism, founded on opposition to Iran, the jihad, and the United States, is sufficient to overcome sectarian and tribal divisions once the American troops withdraw.

20 Comments:

By Blogger tm, at Thu Nov 22, 09:22:00 AM:

I'm one of those lefties, by the by, that thinks Iranian involvement is vastly oversold. W/re/to this story: you're assuming this petition exists. Absent evidence of the petition, I don't see any reason to take the word of an anti-Iranian terrorist org.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Nov 22, 11:58:00 AM:

jpe,

The sheikhs showed Reuters two thick bundles of notes which contained original signatures. The sheikhs said more than 300,000 people had signed the pages.  

By Blogger antithaca, at Thu Nov 22, 11:59:00 AM:

oh come now jpe..."absent evidence of the petition"?

I'm sure you accept, uncritically, the follow-on tale of the dead American soldier which immediately follows. Without evidence.

Why? I mean, do you need a note from DoD? A copy of every petition from every tribal sheik?

It's fine to be "critically skeptical" but...cynically so or, ideologically so...only does you discredit.

Being in a state of denial about every factoid that challenges your position only proves TH's previos point about "Selling Victory Short". Don't do it man!  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Thu Nov 22, 12:04:00 PM:

Not only did the sheikhs show the signatures to the press, but there is this interesting point: The petition is a political tool of peoples who believe that they must give their consent to be governed. Not only would this kind of thing not have been possible under Saddam (or under many governments in the Arab world), but it shows that Iraqis are understanding the importance of demonstrating legitimacy for their position. I think that is progress, too.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Thu Nov 22, 05:05:00 PM:

"Absent evidence of the petition,"

That sums up the left - "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts." He may have a point though, considering the source of the story is that notorious far-right neocon outlet, the Washington Post.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Thu Nov 22, 07:54:00 PM:

Leftists implicitly trust AP's Jamil Hussein fabulist stories lacking any corroborating evidence from other news organizations.

Leftists implicitly distrust this story claiming lack of evidence.

Square that circle for me.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Nov 22, 11:06:00 PM:

Who cares? We shouldn't be in Iraq anyway. Last time I checked, Iraq is not America. All of that money wasted in Iraq, for what? How strong could America be if that money were spent on Americans instead of Iraqis? Amazing, spending American tax payer money on anything but Americans! And there are people who support this BS.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Nov 22, 11:18:00 PM:

spending American tax payer money on anything but Americans!

We don't spend money on Americans? The GDP of the US is over $13 trillion. The annual federal budget is about $3 trillion.

That doesn't include state and local monies or charitable donations by Americans. We spend trillions of dollars each year on Americans.

More important, I thought we had agreed after 9/11 that we could not permit a failed state - like Afghanistan was - to be used by terrorists as a staging ground for operations.

Do you no longer agree with that concern?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 23, 12:16:00 AM:

Becuase their also are getting tired of seeing their relitives murdered in cold blood  

By Blogger Consul-At-Arms, at Fri Nov 23, 01:20:00 AM:

I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2007/11/re-iran-in-iraq-300000-iraqi-shiites.html  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 23, 04:21:00 AM:

Who cares? We shouldn't be in Bosnia anyway. Last time I checked, Bosnia is not America. All of that money wasted in Bosnia, for what? How strong could America be if that money were spent on Americans instead of Bosnians? Amazing, spending American tax payer money on anything but Americans! And there are people who support this BS.

By Anonymous circa 1995  

By Blogger tm, at Fri Nov 23, 10:54:00 AM:

The sheikhs showed Reuters two thick bundles of notes which contained original signatures

Wow. Signatures, huh? I'm sure a) the signatures are real; and b) are for the document (not sighted by the press, IIRC) as represented.

This is remarkably thin stuff.  

By Blogger tm, at Fri Nov 23, 11:02:00 AM:

Via Newshoggers, it seems that this petition has been kicking around for at least a year.

Hey, if I were a terrorist group that would benefit from opposing Iran, I'm sure I'd do the same thing. Bravo for giving aid & comfort to the pro-Saddam terrorist org Mujahideen Khalq, by the by. I'm sure they appreciate all the good press they're getting on righty blogs.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 23, 12:39:00 PM:

Bravo for giving aid & comfort to the pro-Saddam terrorist org Mujahideen Khalq, by the by.

I'll call your bluff, if I may:

Who's done that?

Thanks.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 23, 12:50:00 PM:

Bravo for giving aid & comfort to the pro-Saddam terrorist org Mujahideen Khalq, by the by.

But you said the petition doesn't exist.

How can someone praise a group - give "aid and comfort" you call it - for signing an agreement that doesn't exist?

The praise is empty since the act didn't occur.

One of us is confused and, to be frank, it's not those reading your stuff.  

By Blogger Steve M. Galbraith, at Fri Nov 23, 12:58:00 PM:

Bravo for giving aid & comfort to the pro-Saddam terrorist org Mujahideen Khalq, by the by.

And your condemnation of the People's Mujahedin of Iraq is giving aid and comfort to the terror state of Iran.

It's easy being silly. Especially on the internet.

SMG  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 23, 04:02:00 PM:

Let's be clear. The MEK is a cult/terrorist organization that adheres to a fusion of Marxism and Islamism and should not be considered reliable source for ANY intel, petition or communique. If they are indeed the orginators of this petition then it should be dismissed as propaganda.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Fri Nov 23, 05:10:00 PM:

If [the MEK is] indeed the orginators of this petition then it should be dismissed as propaganda.

Agreed. That is why I was careful to quote the WaPo's term "supported by" carefully. I am not sure whether that means "hey, we certainly agree with the efforts of the petitioners," in which case the MEK would be free-riders, or if it means "organized, funded, and/or executed by" MEK. In the first case MEK is only a free-rider, in the second case they are the moving force. Big difference.  

By Blogger Steve M. Galbraith, at Fri Nov 23, 05:59:00 PM:

Let's be clear.

Okay, let's be extra clear.

The same person who said that the petition didn't exist then smeared folks by stating they were supporting the MEK by citing the petition as (possibly) a positive move.

Can't do that. If the petition doesn't exist, then that person cannot smear folks as being supporters of a group that allegedly supports the (non-existent) petition.

Second, as the Post stories states, the petition was put together by southern Shi'a sheiks and not the MEK. The article states - in one sentence - that the MEK supports the petition.

It seems to me that if the MEK was more involved in circulating and disseminating the petition, that the reporters would have mentioned that higher in the story and cited it as a major part of the story.

Again, the Post says: "Their [the Shi'a sheiks] effort is being supported by the People's Mujaheddin Organization of Iran, or Mujaheddin-e Khalq".

Supported can mean many things but not every thing. It certainly does not mean, at least to my understanding of the term, created or engendered or originate.

People who try to smear others should be called for it.

SMG  

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