Iran, Sadr and Iranian Forces Deployed Throughout the Middle East

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 7 months ago

US News & World Report recently reported on a skirmish between Iranian and U.S. forces in September of 2006, within Iraq but near the Iranian border.  This skirmish was merely a prelude to further action, and more recently fifteen British sailors and marines were abducted by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces while patroling inside Iraqi territorial waters near the Shatt al-Arab waterway.  Of course, Iran immediately claimed that the Brits were in Iranian territory, but this is irrelevant since the abductions had nothing to do with territorial disputes.  The abductions were the next step in the escalating covert war with coalition forces.

Iran is interrogating the British, and at the present it appears that Iran intends to charge the British.  Khedmat, a website close to President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, said the government had “firm determination? not to hand over the 15 Britons before a trial.  Iran claims that the abducted British are not bargaining chips, but it has been reported that the Iranians are stunned by recent defections by senior Iranian officials and officers, and the abductions of the British are in retaliation for the U.S. involvement in these captures or defections.

In fact, there are more Iranian losses than the high level officials.  It is also reported that the U.S. now holds approximately three hundred prisoners tied to Iranian intelligence.   If retaliation was the intent – and it seems clear that it was – the British were the perfect targets.  The British rules of engagement virtually ensured their abductions without resistance (h/t Larwyn).  Former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, said British rules of engagement were “very much de-escalatory, because we don’t want wars starting … Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away.”  Here we see in real life the exemplification of the points we have discussed regarding the role of our presuppositions in setting rules of engagement, in Rules of Engagement and Pre-Theoretical Commitments.

In addition to demanding the return of their sailors and marines, the British have said that this is a time for patient diplomacy.  But not all Brits are happy with the de-escalatory approach, as a commentary at the Telegraph entitled “Britain must leave Iran in no doubt of its anger” hints.  Showing his disagreement with the presuppositions behind the British rules of engagement, one particularly upset commenter remarked concerning this piece:

The issue really is quite simple. All military force – not just nuclear weapons – are supposed to be a deterrent. Vegetius and all that. If they no longer deter, they are hardly worth the 40 billion quid which we spend on them each year, and if things like this keep happening and provoke no military response we might as well save the money and spend it on National Tie Your Shoelaces Properly To Prevent Needless Accidents Awareness Week and the other priorities of our totally enfeebled political culture. Now I think of it, I seem to recall that the government’s defence plan involves scrapping most of the Royal Navy and replacing it with a rowing boat called HMS Harry Potter with a large white flag on the back, so presumably they are already following this policy.

It is more likely, however, given this government’s track-record of derangement, that they are waiting until after Iran has nuclear weapons before trying to get the sailors out. After all, Blair insisted that Bush have another go at the UN before invading Iraq, cunningly giving ample time to prepare for an insurgency and ensuring that we would go in during the most unfavourable weather conditions. Frankly we should consider it a mercy that the Revolutionary Guards aren’t marching up Whitehall. Afghanistan, Iraq and now Iran are going to be the issues which break the English-speaking nations’ global dominance, which has long over-stayed its welcome in any case, because for all our boats, guns and money we don’t have sufficient credibility for these things to deter Nauru, let alone China. Better to cut our losses and go back to squabbling about Cod Quotas with the Europeans.

There are indications that Iran is finding its war inside Iraq costly and a losing proposition (more at the Strategy Page).  But it is likely that these reports don’t account for the reality of the Iranian influence in the region.  It is reported that Iran is directly supporting 3000 former Sadrists who have defected from Islamic cleric Moqtada al Sadr.  Note that this is in addition to the already large Iranian influence of thousands of intelligence personnel, Badr Brigade and Quds.  The DEBKAfile is likely accurate when it reports that Iranian reprisals are planned to U.N. sanctions, and that the abduction of the sailors is but a pretext.

But while there may be various political machinations inside and outside of the Sadrists, it seems unlikely that Sadr is out of power and influence.  Sadr city is a dangerous place, with 470 anti-tank mines recently captured in coalition raids (i.e., 470 potential IEDs).  We predict that Sadr will rise above the political skirmishes to achieve even more power than he presently has.

Showing incredible naivety, the coalition intends to win hearts and minds in Sadr city with medical facilities and other things to show good intentions.  Similar mistakes are being made by the coalition forces, who recently released Sadr aid Sheik Ahmed Abady al-Shaibani, who was detained 2 ½ years ago in Najaf.  This plays into Sadr’s hands.

At the standdown of the surge and security plan, Sadr will return to Baghdad, heavily guarded, to women crying and waving their scarves in the air, and men shooting their AK-47s and and swearing to kill on command.  Sadr will be received back as not just a hero, but as someone almost divine, who stood down the U.S.  Any capture of Sadr and turnover to the courts of Iraq would have the opposite outcome of that intended, because no Iraqi court will convict Sadr of crimes, thus exhonerating and codifying him in his rule of his followers.

Iran will then have their forces deployed in Lebanon, headed by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and in Iraq, headed by Moqtada al Sadr.  Only confident actions by the administration – rather than acquiescence by the State Department – will avert such an outcome.  The Brits would rather “de-escalate,” and the U.N. is impotent.

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  • http://www.fumento.com Michael Fumento

    “Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away.?

    Next time they might try roaring into action and sinking everything in sight. You cannot treat a thug in the same way you treat a gentleman.

  • frank

    Isn’t it odd that the media waits 7 months to report the skermish between Iranian and U.S. soldiers? Why is it suddenly so much more newsworthy?…The Mainstream Media is really shoveling the propaganda, people need to read between the lines and figure out that the media is nothing but a proganda machine for the government, they DON’T have are best interest in mind!

  • frank

    What I don’t understand is how the British sailors, with their radar equipment and even binoculars etc. couldnt see the aproaching iranian ships?, they should have seen them miles before they could get close enough to capture the marines. Heck, they should have been able to detect the Iranian boats (on radar) before they even let the marines leave the Cornwall. Sounds to me like the British wanted this to happen for some reason, probably a justification for military action, like some are saying; “a Gulf Of Tonkin” redue.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Iran,Iraq,Islamic Facism and was published March 27th, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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