General Petreaus is coming to Washington this week to meet with the do-nothing Congress. The General will tell the congress about the success of the surge, how he wants to slow down troop withdrawals to make sure that we aren’t creating a window of opportunity for the terrorists and that Iran is very much involved with the militias in Basra. Per their usual practice, the Democrats have begun to criticize the General’s testimony even before it is offered:
Iranians in Basra with Militias – Petreaus
US Commander in Iraq General David Petreaus is expected to tell Congress this week that military intelligence has placed Iranian personnel in Basra helping the Shia militias fight the Iraqi army.
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.
Dr Daniel Goure, a defence analyst at the Lexington Institute in Virginia, said: “There is no question that Petraeus will be tough on Iran. It is one thing to withdraw troops when there is purely sectarian fighting but it is another thing if it leaves the Iranians to move in.”
US defence chiefs are concerned that the troop surge has overstretched the military. Admiral Mike McMullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, warned that the army and marines were at risk of crossing an “invisible red line” if the burden on forces remained. He said deployments of 15 months had to be reduced to a year “as fast as possible”.
Petraeus is likely to announce that combat tours will be reduced from 15 months to 12 months.
Anti-war advocates will protest both Petreaus’s contention that Iran was involved in Basra as well as the general’s refusal to ask for further troop reductions. Some of them see Petreaus setting Iran up to be attacked by President Bush.
Only a fool thinks Iran is not involved in Iraqi politics or is not giving aid to the Shia militias. The evidence is overwhelming. Does this mean the Bush Administration will invade Iran to keep the Iranians out of Iraqi internal affairs?
I think not. The causus belli for war against Iran would have to be their nuclear program. And with the NIE released in December claiming Iran has stopped its nuclear program, it would seem doubtful that the President would order such an attack.
The Iraqis are going to have to live with the Iranians after we’re gone. It is they who must deal with his blatant interference in their internal affairs. Whether Prime Minister Maliki can do so remains to be seen.