Despite the Bush administration's efforts to blame Iran for the ever-increasing violent attacks in Iraq, a report by McClatchy Newspapers indicates that fewer than 10 percent of the attacks on U.S. service members occurred in Shiite areas.
Since it is extremely unlikely that Iran is providing weapons to the Sunni groups that are the heart of the insurgency in Iraq, it appears that Bush is once again trying to lie us into an unnecessary war.
A detailed report by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker also points out that "in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites."
But not only is the Bush administration rattling sabers at Iran, they are also funding other Sunni organizations and governments. Hersh says:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.Pay attention to those last four words: "sympathetic to Al Qaeda." This latest Bush administration "strategy" plays right into the hands of the one group that has actually attacked the United States.
I feel so much safer.
Hersh explains why the Bush people are taking these actions:
[F]rom the Administration’s perspective, the most profound -- and unintended -- strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran.
(And, indeed, as Juan Cole says this morning, Iran is doing a lot of business in Iraq: Their 2006 non-oil exports to Iraq topped $1 billion, he reports.)
Let's see if we understand the progression here: Al Qaeda attacks the U.S. on Sept. 11. The U.S. mounts a half-hearted attempt to deal with Al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, then minimizes that effort so it can invade Iraq, which had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks. The war in Iraq deteriorates into the current civil war and general mess, so now the U.S. wants to take on Iran, which is certainly not backing the hardcore Sunni insurgency in Iraq.
In other words, we keep attacking the people who aren't attacking us, instead of going after our real enemies.
Does this make sense to anybody besides Dick Cheney?
[corrected to fix typo at 3:46 PM]