View Full Version : In the War of Arms: Iraq v. Mahdi Army, Iran

04-08-08, 09:01 AM
In the War of Arms: Iraq v. Mahdi Army, Iran [Steve Schippert]

As I mentioned earlier today, Gen. David Petraeus will deliver a report to Congress tomorrow. As I also noted, some in the media are already projecting the notion that Petraeus is seeking war with Iran. Readers who expect the report to be portrayed as a sign of Petraeus's aggression, rather than Iran's aggression, may find a symposium published today both insightful and informative ahead of the media news cycle that is about to commence.

In the Center for Threat Awareness symposium Iraq v. Mahdi Army, conducted over the weekend, a wide range of experts discussed the latest clash between the Iraqi government and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. It did not take long for the participants to follow al-Sadr's strings directly up to his Iranian puppet masters. Some of the notable quotes from the discussion are below.
Ralph Peters - “One of the most frequently cited maxims in the [Army-Marine Counterinsurgency manual] is T.E. Lawrence’s conclusion that it’s better for our local allies to do things imperfectly themselves than for us to do things perfectly for them. Well, that’s exactly what happened. The Iraqi security forces went for it. They got a bloody nose, but got the best of the fistfight.”

Mohammed Fadhil - “Perhaps the biggest mistake in the battle, which did not end with victory in spite of the courage exhibited in the decision to engage the enemy, was Maliki’s decision to personally lead the battle as the commander in chief of armed forces.”

Omar Fadhil - “[A]lthough it looked like the SIIC and Da’wa spearheaded the political part of the campaign, the decision as a whole reflects the desire of the moderate powers to neutralize the threat posed by Sadr’s militia in order to create an environment where politics can be practiced in the closest possible manner to ‘fair play’.”

Dr. Michael Ledeen - “We are on the verge of defeating and humiliating Iran in Iraq. The Iranian people sense this. I wish we would say it in just those terms, instead of pretending to believe that “international pressure” will eventually bring about a change in the behavior of the regime. That won’t work. We’re in a great position right now.”

Bill Roggio - “This should come as no surprise to anyone following Iranian activities inside Iraq. Iran is fighting a thinly veiled, undeclared war against both the Iraqi people and the United States.”

CTA - “Yet [the Iranians] continue to operate training camps and from them funnel into Iraq trained operators, weapons and cash along with other means of supporting attacks against the Iraqi government and Coalition forces. Are these not acts of war?”
Ralph Peters - “I have to say that I’m pleased with the overall quality of this discussion and appreciate the insights offered by all the participants. I only wish more Americans were exposed to exchanges at this level of rationality.”

It was great moderating such an engaging discussion among peers, and I think what they had to say is important - especially before tomorrow's news cycle begins in earnest. Knowledge goes before spin, or you risk being spun.

It may be a sad state of affairs that America's MNF-I theater commander is not going to be in friendly confines on Capitol Hill or in the media. But it remains a fact, regardless. I hope the symposium helps broaden and enhance awareness before the spinning gets out of hand.