By Evan Derkacz
Posted on January 11, 2007
"Last night, Bush sent US forces to attack the inviolate territory of a foreign diplomatic mission, the Iranian mission in northern Iraq - legally, the land of a foreign nation - and took the Iranians hostage. It's hard to see under international law how this is legal, let alone how this isn't an act of war. And it's beyond ironic that we appear to have condoned the very action that we condemned Iran for - attacking diplomatic missions in violation of international law," writes John Aravosis.
"But what's most troubling about this is the transparency of what Bush is up to. He's trying to provoke a war with Iran, either by forcing Iran to strike back, or by discovering secret Iranian diplomatic documents that would prove their complicity in helping the insurgents in Iraq. We just invaded Iran last night, folks. Foreign embassies and diplomatic outposts are legally the foreign soil of the country represented. We invaded Iran. This is an act of war."
"U.S. forces in Iraq raided Iran's consulate in the northern city of Arbil and detained five staff members," according to state-run Iranian news, via Bloomberg.
We don't know whether it was Iranians or Iranian diplomats who were captured or why the raid even took place. But the timing is curious, given Bush's speech last night.
The escalation being opposed by generals in the field, woefully inadequate, and deemed unnecessary by the Iraqi Government itself has led some to speculate on whether the escalation doesn't involve Iran and Syria in some way. I mean, who would be so stupid as to throw more troops in now? They point to these lines in Bush's speech:
I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing - and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies.
In addition to the more direct threats, according to Bloomberg:
Bush accused Iran and Syria of aiding the movement of "terrorists and insurgents" in and out of Iraq and said the U.S. will "seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies."
According to Steve Clemons, Bush may have bypassed Congress to start a secret war on both Iran and Syria:
Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.
The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country.
The NY Times pointed out that: "One senior administration official said this evening that the omission of the usual wording about seeking a diplomatic solution [to the Iranian nuclear stand-off] 'was not accidental.'"
The only possible glimmer of good news in this whole shitstorm comes from, of all places, the National Review's John Podhoretz, via Sandy Levinson:
Want a little tough truth with your morning coffee? McCain can do this, and Rudy can do that, and Romney can do the other thing. But if tonight's speech doesn't herald the beginning of a serious turnaround in Iraq that is plain to see by spring of next year, the Risen Christ could be the Republican nominee in 2008 and He wouldn't be able to win against Al Sharpton.
Heavens! A black man?
Evan Derkacz is an AlterNet editor. He writes and edits PEEK, the blog of blogs.