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I said it once, I said it twice ...

Posted by Helen Friday, August 12, 2005

Having failed, together with our “friends and allies” to resolve the grim and ever more serious problem of Iran’s nuclear capability, we have turned our attention to another aspect of the Mullahs’ politics: the large and growing amount of explosive material that is smuggled into Iraq to be used against the coalition forces but, above all, against Iraqis, whether they are trying to sign up for the security forces or just want to lead normal lives.

In fact, one could argue, that far from fighting the West in the name of Islam, the Mullahs of Iran are continuing slyly and by proxy the old war between Iraq and Iran.

According to an article in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph:

“The move came after British and American intelligence officials said they uncovered evidence that Iran's Revolutionary Guard was providing deadly "shaped" charges to Iraq's insurgents.”
I take an issue with the word “insurgents”, which implies that these are courageous and patriotic fighters against foreign invaders. The man in charge of the operation is a Jordanian, al-Zarqawi; many of the bombers have flooded into Iraq from various other unsuccessful “theatres of war”, such as various tourist resorts, where Western visitors are the only source of income; quite a few of those who leave charge packed cars are actually hired hands; and, finally, their main targets are Iraqi civilians: children lining up for sweets and toys, women shopping in markets, market stall holders, young men waiting to join the police force or the army, other young and not so young men trying to get work.

Let us not mince our words: the so-called insurgents are terrorists, no different from the ones who have blown up or tried to blow up travellers on London transport.

Meanwhile the Foreign Office has made a huffy statement:
“Any Iranian link to armed groups in Iraq outside the political process, either through supply of weapons, training or funding are unacceptable and undermine Iran's long-term interest to secure a stable and democratic Iraq.”
That is, of course, begging a question: do the Mullahs in Iran see it as in their long-term interest to “secure a stable and democratic Iraq”? I should have thought no. Ideas of democracy have a nasty way of spreading across borders.

Defence Secretary Rumsfeld also issued a warning:
“It's notably unhelpful for the Iranians to be allowing weapons of those types to be crossing the border.”
It was, he added, ultimately unhelpful to Iran as well. When asked whether this implied a threat, he told the assembled hacks that he never implied threats and they well knew that.

There is, however, one question that Mr Rumsfeld may well have asked from his British allies, particularly the helpful FCO and even more helpful intelligence officers: how many of the “weapons of this type” are coming through Basra?