Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Agence Global - Article

Agence Global - Article: "Schizophrenia on Iran's Role in Iraq
by William O. BeemanReleased: 15 Apr 2004

The Bush administration is clearly confused about what to do with the current military debacle in Iraq, but nothing shows their confusion more acutely than their inability to decide what Iran�s role should be there, now and in the future.

U.S. attacks against the young militant cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr over the last month were most likely prompted by the Defense Department�s chosen ruler-in-waiting, Ahmad Chalabi, who saw him as a threat to his own future rule of Iraq. On April 4, American chief administrator Paul Bremer announced the new defense minister for the post-June 30 government, Ali Allawi, who is Mr. Chalabi's nephew. The attack against Mr. al-Sadr's organization took place the day before on April 3. The coincidence is hard to dismiss.

When al-Sadr struck back with his al-Mahdi Army, the first accusation out of the gate was that he was �supported by Iran.� The accusation came from neo-conservative, Michael Rubin, who until recently was an advisor to the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority.

Rubin laid out a baroque set of connections between Iran and al-Sadr. Rubin named Ayatollah Kazim al-Husayni al-Haeri, a cleric based in the Iranian shrine city of Qom, as a conduit of funding to Mr Sadr. Predictably, the news headline became, �Iran supports al-Sadr rebellion!� Having briefed the Department of Defense on this implausible scenario, he also published it on April 6 in the National Observer, the virtual house organ of the American Enterprise Institute, where he is a fellow.

The cry was quickly taken up by conservative New York Times columnists William Safire and David Brooks, thus ensuring that this tenuous connection would become common wisdom.

Rubin�s story i"

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