Sunday, April 6, 2008

Iran Joined in Battle for Basra

The war in Iraq has taken a new turn with the fighting in Basra.

Like the during Cold War, where
the Soviets challenged American world power by fighting proxy wars against U.S. allies on the periphery, Iran has escalated it strategic competition in the Middle East with the deployment of Iranian military personnel in the recent Shiite fighting in Iraq.

The Times of London has the story:

IRANIAN forces were involved in the recent battle for Basra, General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, is expected to tell Congress this week.

Military and intelligence sources believe Iranians were operating at a tactical command level with the Shi’ite militias fighting Iraqi security forces; some were directing operations on the ground, they think.

Petraeus intends to use the evidence of Iranian involvement to argue against any reductions in US forces.
Also, the Los Angeles Times reports that Petraeus may have some concern that the political alignments in Washington are turning against a sustained U.S. presence in Iraq.

On a related point, see also my earlier entry, "
Basra Breakout: The Second Iran-Iraq War."