September 24, 2007

Iran Applies Pressure To Free Quds Officer

Iran has started to close its border with the Kurdish region of Iraq in response to the arrest of an Iranian official in Sulaimaniyah last week. The US insists that the detainee belongs to the Quds Force, the terrorist elite of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, and had facilitated the smuggling of Iranian weapons to insurgents and terrorists within Iraq. The Iraqis have protested the arrest as well as the border closure:

Iran closed major border crossings with northern Iraq on Monday to protest the U.S. detention of an Iranian official the military accused of weapons smuggling, a Kurdish official said.

At least four border gates have been closed and one remains open, the governor of the Kurdish province of Sulaimaniyah, Dana Ahmed Majeed, told The Associated Press. The move threatens the economy of Iraq's northern region — one of the country's few success stories.

In Tehran, the public relations department in Iran's Interior Ministry said no decision had been taken to shut the border.

But Kurdish authorities said the Iranians began shutting down the crossing points late Sunday near the border towns of Banjiwin, Haj Omran, Halabja and Khanaqin.

The Iranians, who have their own economic problems, have decided to play chicken with the Iraqis and the US. The Kurds need to trade with Iran, especially since their other options are limited at the moment. Turkey wants them to go away, and Syria doesn't offer much hope for economic development. Teheran sees the border crossings as a pressure point to test the Iraqi allegiance to American counter-terrorist efforts.

The US, on the other hand, sees Iran as the major problem in solving the terrorism issue in Iraq. Closing the border might suit our purposes in the short run, as it gives Iran less cover for their infiltration. Capturing Iranian provocateurs, regardless of whether they have an invitation to enter Iraq, sends a clear message to both Teheran and Baghdad that the US will not tolerate Iranian participation in violence against our troops and in sectarian strife.

So far, though, the Iraqis have rejected the American approach. Nouri al-Maliki says he will address the bruising of Iraqi sovereignty with George Bush at the UN in a side conversation. Jalal Talabani, the Kurdish president of Iraq, has already demanded the release of Mahmudi Farhadi.

Who blinks first? Chicken always gets most dangerous at the very end.


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Comments (2)

Posted by NoDonkey | September 24, 2007 8:29 AM

Screw the Iranians.

Keep the borders closed and pay the Kurds the difference.

No additional funds should be necessary. Docking the pay of the absolutely worthless Democrat Congress should make up the difference.

Better yet, how about asking the Democrats to give back all that they've stolen since taking over Congress last January?

That should give the Iraqis enough money to start rebuilding Saddam's palaces.

Posted by David M | September 24, 2007 10:17 AM

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