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January 12, 2007
Payback From Wayback

So I presume that the Bush administration meant what they said when they rejected the Iraq Study Group's recommendation for diplomacy with Iran. Or perhaps they decided to apply the kind of armed diplomacy that would get Iran's attention yesterday when they raided an Iranian consular office in Irbil and detained six of its employees in a cordon-and-knock operation:

American troops backed by attack helicopters and armored vehicles raided an Iranian diplomatic office in the dead of night early Thursday and detained as many as six of the Iranians working inside.

The raid was the second surprise seizure of Iranians by the American military in Iraq in recent weeks and came a day after President Bush bluntly warned Iran to quit meddling in Iraqi affairs.

There was a tense standoff later in the day between the American soldiers and about 100 Kurdish troops, who surrounded the American armored vehicles for about two hours in this northern Iraqi city.

The attack was denounced by senior Kurdish officials, who are normally America’s closest allies in Iraq but regarded the action as an affront to their sovereignty in this highly tribal swath of the country. Iran’s Foreign Ministry reacted in Tehran with a harsh denunciation that threatened to escalate tensions with the Bush administration.

Let's get the negative issues on the table first. If this was a true consular office, then the US just committed an act of war against the Iranians. The Iranian flag flew over the building, and apparently they conducted some consular services for people wanting to travel to Iran for medical purposes. If the Iranians use it for intelligence work, then that would mean they operate their consulates in the same manner as every other country.

Nor is it particularly smart to alienate the Kurds, who obviously objected to this operation, since they're the best friends we have in Iraq and perhaps increasingly the only ones on whom we can rely. The Kurds have no reasons to love the Iranians. The Kurds are Sunni, not Shi'ite, and the Iranians oppress the minority Kurds in Iran. However, they do not want to have the Americans dictate the terms of their engagement with their neighbor, and understandably so.

Having said all of that, Iranian proclamations of outrage should be met with as much laughter as possible. After all, this is the same regime that sacked our embassy in 1979 and held dozens of Americans hostage for 444 days. Their president is rumored to have been one of the organizers of the seizure. The Iranians have never paid for that affront, and they have not stopped from sending weapons and experts into Iraq to kill American soldiers. They have conducted a low-level war against America for 30 years, and they should expect that we will fight back on the same terms.

Next time, however, let's coordinate better with our true friends in Iraq. We will need them in the months ahead.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 12, 2007 4:57 AM

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» Don't question the Sellouts' Patriotism! from Doug Ross @ Journal
The New York Times had a succinct reaction to President Bush's speech: "President Bush told Americans last night that failure in Iraq would be a disaster. The disaster is Mr. Bushs war, and he has already failed..." [Read More]

Tracked on January 12, 2007 5:18 AM

» A Very Bad Sign in Irbil from Polimom Says
There are still questions today about what type of “compound”, exactly, was raided by U.S. troops in Irbil. Did the detained Iranians have diplomatic status? Were those offices considered Iranian territory, as an offically designated consul... [Read More]

Tracked on January 12, 2007 10:19 AM

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