Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Playing both Sides

Even though a pro-Iranian Shiite government is taking power in Iraq the neo-Cons in the Bush administration continue to accuse Iran of supporting the insurgents. This may even be true—in the real world playing both sides against each other is not uncommon. Are the United States and Britain doing the same? Is the Coalition acting to destabilize the new government we are ostensibly supporting?



(CNN) -- British forces in Iraq are patrolling a tense city after UK armored vehicles crashed into a detention center in Basra and later rescued two undercover troops apparently held by Shiite militia.

The dramatic raid on Monday followed a day of rioting in the southern Iraqi city, sparked when the two soldiers were said by police and local officials to have fired on an Iraqi police patrol.

An Iraqi official, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, said the soldiers' arrests stemmed from an incident earlier in the day. The official said two unknown gunmen in full Arabic dress began firing on civilians in central Basra, wounding several, including a traffic police officer. There were no fatalities, the official said.

The two gunmen fled the scene but were captured and taken in for questioning, admitting they were British Marines carrying out a "special security task," the official said.

Here are some excerpts from an Asia Times story of last February that did not get the attention it deserved:


Feb 15, 2005 -To head off this threat of a Shi'ite clergy-driven religious movement, the US has, according to Asia Times Online investigations, resolved to arm small militias backed by US troops and entrenched in the population to "nip the evil in the bud".

Asia Times Online has learned that in a highly clandestine operation, the US has procured Pakistan-manufactured weapons, including rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, ammunition, rockets and other light weaponry. Consignments have been loaded in bulk onto US military cargo aircraft at Chaklala airbase in the past few weeks. The aircraft arrived from and departed for Iraq.

The US-armed and supported militias in the south will comprise former members of the Ba'ath Party, which has already split into three factions, only one of which is pro-Saddam Hussein. They would be expected to receive assistance from pro-US interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqi National Accord.

Hopefully these weapons are not being used against US troops.

Excerpts from an article that made me go hmm...


Talking with the Enemy By Michael Ware Time Sunday 20 February 2005

Inside the secret dialogue between the U.S. and insurgents in Iraq - and what the rebels say they want.

The secret meeting is taking place in the bowels of a facility in Baghdad, a cavernous, heavily guarded building in the U.S.-controlled green zone. The Iraqi negotiator, a middle-aged former member of Saddam Hussein's regime and the senior representative of the self-described nationalist insurgency, sits on one side of the table. He is here to talk to two members of the U.S. military. One of them, an officer, takes notes during the meeting. The other, dressed in civilian clothes, listens as the Iraqi outlines a list of demands the U.S. must satisfy before the insurgents stop fighting. The parties trade boilerplate complaints: the U.S. officer presses the Iraqi for names of other insurgent leaders; the Iraqi says the newly elected Shi'a-dominated government is being controlled by Iran. The discussion does not go beyond generalities, but both sides know what's behind the coded language.

The Iraqi's very presence conveys a message: Members of the insurgency are open to negotiating an end to their struggle with the U.S. "We are ready," he says before leaving, "to work with you." (emphasis added).


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