Monday, July 16, 2007

Iran should be next

From The Washington Post:

Dominance by Shiite militias is typically associated with places in eastern Baghdad, such as Sadr City, while areas west of the Tigris River and south of the Baghdad airport road are home to large Sunni enclaves. Not long ago the western neighborhoods conformed clearly with this perception. U.S. soldiers estimate that a year ago, Sunnis made up about 80 percent of the population there and Shiites 20 percent. But those numbers have now reversed, after a concerted effort to cleanse Sunnis from the area, according to U.S. military officials. Graffiti marking the walls in these neighborhoods herald the new order: "Every land is Karbala, and every day is Ashura," read one slogan, extolling the Shiite holy city in southern Iraq and a major Shiite religious holiday.

The brazen attacks on U.S. soldiers also appear to challenge the idea that the Mahdi Army has been lying low to avoid confrontations with Americans. Street fighting between the Mahdi Army and U.S. forces has also broken out in other parts of the capital recently, including clashes in the al-Amin neighborhood Thursday in which Apache attack helicopters were called in to quell the gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades targeting U.S. troops. The next day, U.S. soldiers killed six Iraqi policemen during a raid in which they captured a police lieutenant believed to be working with Iranian-backed Shiite militias.

American soldiers who oversee West Rashid -- a district of about 700,000 people that includes the al-Amil, Bayaa and al-Jihad neighborhoods -- described an organized, well-financed Shiite enemy that rules ruthlessly and distributes the spoils of war to the area's impoverished residents.
In recent months, U.S. commanders have contended that the Mahdi Army, also known by its Arabic initials JAM, has splintered into a loosely connected militia in which its leader, Sadr, exerts a tenuous grip over disparate factions.
American commanders attribute much of the current violence to what they are now calling "special groups" or "secret cells" of Iranian-backed militiamen who may be acting independently of, or against, Sadr and his followers. But taken together, they say, militiamen acting as criminal power-brokers seeking profit and the perhaps more moderate Sadr loyalists constitute a formidable challenge for the soldiers who arrived in the capital in March as part of
President Bush's troop buildup.

When debating with the anti-war crowd they always accuse the US of planning to invade Iran next (as though that would be a bad thing). But the fact is that Iran is emerging as the principal engine driving the terrorism and chaos in Iraq today.

And not just Iraq, but the world. Iran is the principal state sponsor of terrorism. They control Hamas and Hezbollah and they are supplying advanced weapons to the insurgents in Iraq. They are also building nuclear weapons and their leaders are in the grip of an apocalyptic religious fanaticism.

By every measure of sanity and reason they are too dangerous to be allowed to continue to exist. Yet it is unlikely that anything will be done before it is too late because the left has been so successful in demonizing the war in Iraq.