Oh My! Iran Is A Problem

Annie

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Like we didn't know, but it's refreshing to see Brits also worked up over it:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/12/22/do2202.xml

War on two fronts in Afghanistan

By Con Coughlin
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 22/12/2006

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Just when it seemed matters could not get any worse in Afghanistan, along comes an altogether more alarming threat to Nato's attempts to restore order to that strife-torn region — in the form of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Ever since the US-led coalition overthrew the Taliban and their al-Qa'eda allies in late 2001, it has been assumed that the biggest threat to the successful restoration of Afghanistan as a functioning state was posed by the surviving remnants of the former regime and their sponsors in Pakistan.

Indeed, the main thrust of last summer's Nato offensive was concentrated along the Pakistani border, where a hard core of about 1,000 Taliban fighters have been attempting to re-establish a power base that could be used for an attempt to seize Kabul.
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The British Army — which is in the vanguard of Nato's efforts to control the south — fought the fiercest engagements it has encountered since the Second World War in its campaign to subjugate the Taliban, and has been, in the main, successful in defeating a determined enemy.

The entire Nato effort in Afghanistan, moreover, has been predicated on the assumption that the key to success lies in suppressing the Taliban resurgence in the south, and persuading the Pakistanis to take effective action to dismantle the Taliban's training infrastructure in its lawless North-West Frontier provinces.

At no point have Nato's planners paid any serious attention to the other country whose border stretches for hundreds of miles along Afghanistan's western border, even though Iran's visceral hostility to the presence of a massive Western force so close to home is hardly a secret. This is despite the fact that the Iranians have actively supported, equipped and trained the insurgent groups that have caused coalition forces so much discomfort in southern Iraq.

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Michael Lindeen has a few words about the above:

http://pajamasmedia.com/xpress/michaelledeen/2006/12/22/the_mask_comes_off_the_mullahs.php

Con Coughlin is one of the best British journalists on the military/intelligence/national security beat, and he is privy to the thinking of top policy people and field commanders. In today’s “Telegraph” he picks up on a theme I raised yesterday: that both Washington and London are grudgingly coming to accept the fact that Iran is waging war against us in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Coughlin carefully spells out the implications of the accusation against a top British military aide in Afghanistan. Corporal Daniel James–the personal interpreter for the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan–is charged with giving the Iranians information that “prejudic(es) the safety of the (British) state.” No matter how this case is ultimately resolved, Coughlin writes, the fact that Iran is interested in recruiting such people confirms the mullahs’ desire to ensure the failure of our mission.

Until recently, as Coughlin notes, “NATO commanders have appeared reluctant to even discuss the possibility that the Iranians might have their own agenda in upsetting coalition attempts to establish an effective government.” And this reluctance was obviously peculiar to anyone who knew anything about Iran’s real activities in the region. Commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan always knew that the Iranians had helped “orchestrate the roadside bombs that have killed and maimed so many soldiers,” and are “actively supporting and providing equipment to Taliban-related groups” in Afghanistan.

And so we have Prime Minister Blair openly denouncing the Islamic Republic in language not even President Bush has used.

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