CASMII Statement on the Latest Allegations by the US Against Iran
"Unfounded charges sabotage the prospect of
On Monday, July 2nd, a US military briefing in
Iraq alleged serious Iranian complicity in anti-US insurgency in Iraq. Brigadier
General, Kevin Bergner, an army spokesman, made specific allegations that the
Iranian Quds Force had colluded in an assault on American servicemen in Karbala
in January during which 5 Americans were killed. Far from presenting a smoking
gun (or any actual evidence), this well-orchestrated media event is part of a
familiar repetitive pattern of demonization designed to bolster the notion of an
"evil" Iran in the minds of the American public. It is aimed at justifying
continued occupation of Iraq and hostilities towards Iran, as well as sabotaging
the prospect of further US-Iran negotiations which have been requested by Iraq
and supported by the Iranian government.
Within hours of the press conference, U.S. Sen.
Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), put out a press release that the Iranian government
"has declared war on us.", and "our diplomatic efforts are only likely to
succeed if backed by a credible threat of force ."
Much like Colin Powell's speech at the 2002 United
Nations General Assembly, the venue and aura of Monday's event were fashioned in
such a way that one might expect to receive serious evidence that would prove
beyond a reasonable doubt the validity of an important accusation, such as
"Iranian government is ordering the killing of Americans."
However, the presentation was devoid of any
tangible facts and consisted largely of recycled allegations. The only
difference, this time, was that US was willing to make a direct statement on the
record, implicating Iran in the Karbala attack, something the military had been
reluctant to do in the past. Otherwise it was simply a government press release
which was echoed almost verbatim, enthusiastically and uncritically, across the
spectrum of the major western media.
When the Karbala raid occurred on January 20,
2007, the Bush administration wasted no time pointing fingers at Iran, with no
evidence other than the fact that the operation was "meticulously planned" and
"sophisticated," essentially saying that this would preclude Iraqis or other
Arabs from being able to carry it out.
The Pentagon announced that it was investigating
possible Iranian involvement. Noting the lack of evidence, the January 31 story
by New York Times suggested a political objective: "tying Iran to the deadly
attack could be helpful to the Bush administration, which has been engaged in an
escalating war of words with Iran."
On January 26, Bush issued the extraordinary
blanket order which authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian
operatives inside Iraq. The order had nothing to do with Iranian involvement in
the Karbala raid, other than the fact that the raid provided an opportune time.
As noted by Washington Post:
The decision to use lethal force against
Iranians inside Iraq began taking shape last summer, when Israel was at war
with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Officials said a group of senior Bush
administration officials who regularly attend the highest-level
counterterrorism meetings agreed that the conflict provided an opening to
portray Iran as a nuclear-ambitious link between al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the
death squads in Iraq .
In February, the administration released a series
of ridiculous pictures depicting collected mortars and other ammunition
supposedly supplied by Iran. The pieces had writings like "9-2006" circled by
red marker with arrows pointing to the piece saying "this indicates a 2006
production date ." Then as now, no actual evidence of Iranian complicity was
presented. But, the media frequently repeated the unsubstantiated claim
that such evidence did exist.
The program to blame Iran for Iraq violence was
underway well before the compound raid now portrayed as central to the case
The key finding in Monday's report is the capture
of Ali Musa Daqduq whom the US is claiming is a Hezbollah operative and a
liaison between the Quds Force and the Iraqi insurgency. The US military claims
that Daqduq has decided to share information about his involvement with the
Iranians. Bergner stated Daqduq's confession as thus:
Both Ali Musa Daqduq and Qais Khazali state
that senior leadership within the Quds Force knew of and supported planning
for the eventual Karbala attack that killed five coalition soldiers
However, even though his picture has been widely
disseminated, Daqduq is not made available for any questioning and the
transcripts of his interrogations have not been released. In fact there is only
one quote directly attributed to Daqduq himself:
Dakdouk told U.S. interrogators that the
Karbala attackers "could not have conducted this complex operation without the
support and direction of the Quds Force" 
If the quote is genuine, the implication is
extraordinary. It means that the military's star witness is himself merely
speculating about Quds' role. He is deducing such an involvement rather than
having first hand knowledge of it.
Daqduq and his accomplices were captured not on
Monday but back in March. On March 20th, the US claimed to have killed Azhar
al-Dulaimi described as the "mastermind" of the Karbala attack without
implicating Iran or the Quds force . On April 26 during a Press conference,
General Petraeus described a key document found on Al Dulaimi, as
a 22-page memorandum on a computer that
detailed the planning, preparation, approval process and conduct of the
operation that resulted in five of our soldiers being killed in Karbala
Petraeus went on to specifically reject any
Iranian involvement in the Karbala raid.
Q And were you
saying that there was evidence of Iranian involvement in that operation? I
just want to be clear.
GEN. PETRAEUS: No. No. No. That -- first
of all, that was the operation that you mentioned, and we do not have a direct
link to Iranian involvement in that particular case
Later in the same press conference he repeated
Q Not necessarily
involvement in that specific operation? From the Iranians, I mean.
GEN. PETRAEUS: Again, not direction, not -- again, we just can't
confirm it. I can't say it wasn't there either, but we did not find, if you
will, a direct fingerprint to it.
The description that General David Petraeus, the
commander of the Multinational Forces in Iraq, gave in April about the 22 page
document, is in direct contradiction to that of Brigadier General Kevin Bergner.
Petraeus said "No. No. No" to evidence of Iranian involvement; he said there was
not "a direct fingerprint to it," whilst Bergner claimed the same 22 page
document "showed" that "Quds forces had gathered detailed information of the
activities of American soldiers in Karbala ."
Since nothing of what the US Military has chosen
to disclose has changed between April and now, it begs the question: Why the
different postures? Why reject Iranian involvement vehemently back then, and
treat it as practically a "slam dunk" case now?
The painful fact for the US is that its "surge"
strategy, based on a significant increase of troop deployment in Iraq since
January, has completely failed to improve security and reduce bloodshed in the
country. For the desperate American military planners, Iran provides a
convenient scapegoat for this strategic blunder.
This explanation is confirmed by the sacking of
General Peter Pace as the chairman of the join chiefs of staff. General Pace
publicly questioned the Administration's assertions about Iranians supplying the
Iraq insurgency, saying in February that there was no evidence that Iran is
arming Iraqis . His statements came after Bush's "shoot to kill" order which
was issued in January. At the time, AP noted
His remarks might raise questions on the
credibility of the claims of high-level Iranian involvement, especially
following the faulty U.S. intelligence that was used to justify the invasion
of Iraq in 2003 .
For the Bush Administration, the point is not the
unfortunate fate of the 5 US servicemen or the protection of US troops. As
Professor Juan Cole observed so aptly:
...some 99 percent of all attacks on U.S.
troops occur in Sunni Arab areas and are carried out by Baathist or Sunni
fundamentalist (Salafi) guerrilla groups. Most of the outside help these
groups get comes from the Sunni Arab public in countries allied with the
United States, notably Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies. Washington has
yet to denounce Saudi aid to the Sunni insurgents who are killing U.S. troops
In its unsubstantiated allegations, the US is not
motivated by a desire for stability in Iraq, for ending the occupation or
support for a democratic Iraqi government. If those were the goals, cooperation
with Iran would be very high on the agenda. This would include the immediate
release of the five Iranian diplomats of the consulate in Irbil, ending support
for terrorist organizations against Iran, dismantling covert operations on the
Iranian soil, terminating ever increasing American military build-up in
neighbouring territories and the Persian Gulf and the immediate resumption of
bilateral discussions with Iran.
By fabricating evidence, misrepresenting facts and
propagating unfounded charges against Iran, the US leaders actually sabotage the
prospect of negotiations with Iran, as urgently sought by the Iraqi
This US propaganda drive prepares the American
pubic for hostile action against Iran, and supports pro-war politicians
like Sen. Lieberman who exploit these charges as "evidence of Iranian
intervention." It is aimed at justifying the US military presence in the
region, while calling on the Bush administration to "confront Iran
The current Bush policy is headed toward greater
conflict by design. It is certain to bring long-term disaster for America and
for the region. We ask all those who seek to avoid another catastrophic war to
speak up now and alert their elected representatives. CASMII calls on the US
government to cease its campaign of demonization of Iran. We call on the US to
enter into immediate and comprehensive negotiations with Iran on all points of
dispute between the two countries, without imposing any
Sanctions and Military intervention in Iran)
... Payvand News - 7/4/07 ... --