T Nation

Casus Belli?

EXCERPT:

[i]The American military is holding at least four Iranians in Iraq, including men the Bush administration called senior military officials, who were seized in a pair of raids late last week aimed at people suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi security forces, according to senior Iraqi and American officials in Baghdad and Washington.

The Bush administration made no public announcement of the politically delicate seizure of the Iranians, though in response to specific questions the White House confirmed Sunday that the Iranians were in custody.

Gordon D. Johndroe, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said two Iranian diplomats were among those initially detained in the raids. The two had papers showing that they were accredited to work in Iraq, and he said they were turned over to the Iraqi authorities and released. He confirmed that a group of other Iranians, including the military officials, remained in custody while an investigation continued, and he said, “We continue to work with the government of Iraq on the status of the detainees.”

It was unclear what kind of evidence American officials possessed that the Iranians were planning attacks, and the officials would not identify those being held. One official said that “a lot of material” was seized in the raid, but would not say if it included arms or documents that pointed to planning for attacks. Much of the material was still being examined, the official said.

Nonetheless, the two raids, in central Baghdad, have deeply upset Iraqi government officials, who have been making strenuous efforts to engage Iran on matters of security. At least two of the Iranians were in this country on an invitation extended by Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, during a visit to Tehran earlier this month. It was particularly awkward for the Iraqis that one of the raids took place in the Baghdad compound of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq?s most powerful Shiite leaders, who traveled to Washington three weeks ago to meet President Bush…

American and Iraqi officials have long accused Iran of interfering in this country?s internal affairs, but have rarely produced evidence. The administration presented last week’s arrests as a potential confirmation of the link. Mr. Johndroe said, “We suspect this event validates our claims about Iranian meddling, but we want to finish our investigation of the detained Iranians before characterizing their activities.”[/i]

Questions: 1) How do you think the USA should react to this? 2) Does this affect the reaction the USA and NATO should have to Iran’s quest for nuclear technology?

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Questions: 1) How do you think the USA should react to this? 2) Does this affect the reaction the USA and NATO should have to Iran’s quest for nuclear technology?[/quote]

  1. We should just keep our mouths shut. We will make a stronger case by not saying a thing and giving the rest of the world the “wrong” impression of our intentions for Iran. Let Iraq handle it.

  2. As far as I know, our reaction to Iran’s current quest for nuclear technology is an emphatic, “No!”, so I do not see how this would change that reaction for our administration.

[quote]
BostonBarrister wrote:
Questions: 1) How do you think the USA should react to this? 2) Does this affect the reaction the USA and NATO should have to Iran’s quest for nuclear technology?

LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

  1. We should just keep our mouths shut. We will make a stronger case by not saying a thing and giving the rest of the world the “wrong” impression of our intentions for Iran. Let Iraq handle it.[/quote]

Well, given we have them in custody, I don’t think keeping our mouths shut is a viable option. The question is how to push it – and I think that at the very least what’s going on over there with Iraq and Syria supplying both troops and logistical support needs to be widely publicized.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
2) As far as I know, our reaction to Iran’s current quest for nuclear technology is an emphatic, “No!”, so I do not see how this would change that reaction for our administration.[/quote]

I guess the question is whether there should be more action behind the rhetoric – sanctions, or the possibility of other action.

It’s about 11 years too late, but this is also a serious matter:

For those who can’t access the link, it’s federal judge Royce C. Lamberth’s painstaking 209-page opinion, describing Iran’s orchestration of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing which killed 19 members of the United States Air Force and wounded 372 others.