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Analyst: UK using Iran accusations as 'smokescreen for its plight in Iraq'

London, Oct 22, IRNA-Analyst for the US-based Jamestown Foundation Mahan Abedin believes that the UK is using its allegations of Iranian involvement in southern Iraq as a "smokescreen" for its plight in Basra.

Abedin, who edits the Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, says that Iranian accusations pointing to British complicity in the bombings in Ahvaz have "more merit" than UK claims against Iran.

British accusations are "weak and clumsily constructed, to the point of being silly," he said. The bomb technology that the British efer to is "more than 50 years old," he revealed in an article for the online Hong Kong-based Asia Times.

The analyst said the technology has been used in "a variety of conflicts around the world, and is also known to have been in the possession of the former Iraqi military intelligence service." "The real concern is that the Blair government is using Iran as a smokescreen for its increasingly desperate plight in Iraq," he said.

"The British dilemma in Iraq is simple but also intractable: they have devoted significant resources to the conflict, but have only marginal influence on the real decision-making (which is done by the Americans)."

Abedin, who gained his masters in Political Theory from the London School of Economists, demolished British accusations against Iran for the way they were orchestrated and badly miscalculated.

This included the way the British government "unwisely copied Israeli disinformation methodology" by bringing in the Lebanese Hizbollah into the equation.

"There is every reason to believe that the United Kingdom is using the excuse of Iranian meddling in Iraq as a subterfuge for its own plans for a long-term intelligence presence in Iraq and as a device for applying further pressure on the Islamic Republic over the nuclear stand-off," he said.

The analyst from the foundation, with former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski as one of its board members, suggested that there was a much wider dilemma for UK foreign policy in the region.

"From a British perspective, the country has invested significant resources in the Iraq conflict, but has reaped very few benefits apart from consolidating the "special relationship" with the US," he said.

Poignantly, this included that "the wider UK intelligence community has failed to lay the foundations for a long-term intelligence presence in Iraq."

"Much of the tension between the UK military and the militias is rooted in the almost universal wish in the Shi'ite south that the British begin withdrawing immediately," Abedin suggested.

"From a wider geostrategic perspective, if the British government is hoping to apply pressure on Iran in the nuclear stand-off, then it has completely misread events in Tehran over the past few months," he also believed.

The analyst said that if the UK wanted to portray itself as a key player in the nuclear stand-off, "the uncompromising message from Tehran leaves little doubt that the UK is merely a pawn in an escalating geostrategic conflict between the Islamic Republic and the United States."

Iran's accusations implicating Britain in the twin bombings that occurred in Ahvaz, he suggested, had "more merit" because of UK links with Arab separatists in the region, who had met Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on at least one occasion.

Abedin said that a message to the UK government probably is that that "any further accusations against Iran might be met by Iranian revelations on thwarted FRU (Front Research Unit) operations in Khuzestan."

... Payvand News - 10/22/05 ... --

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