Democrats & Liberals Archives

Iranian Consulate Raid - Spin Zone

The U.S. network news reports conveniently leave out the information that target of “the raid” that resulted in the continued detention of “five Iranians,” was an Iranian consulate.

It was not just "some place." It was a particular place. It was not just "five Iranians." It was five members of the Iranian Consulate in Irbil or Arbil), Iraq. Those are critical pieces of information, make all the difference between protecting Iraq's security, and essentially attacking the sovereign territory of Iran - an act of war. Iran has thus far refused to be provoked into a retaliatory act which could be used by Bush to legitimate a war on Iran. The presentation of this in the U.S. news is spin - the same kind of spin and half-truth that got us into Iraq.

Condoleezza Rice has stated the Bush authorized the Iranian consulate raid. Now they are claiming that the individuals "detained" in the raid are members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's al-Qod's Force. Not at all surprising, Iran is demanding their release. The Bush administration claims, and perhaps it is true, that the five individuals swept up in the raid on the consulate were involved in bringing weapons and money into Iraq for the purposes of the "insurgency." However, that doesn't make any difference in terms of the violation of the Vienna Convention.

No matter who "approved" the raid; no matter who was in the consulate; no matter what they were doing or planning; it makes no difference. The Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs is very clear. If you want to declare someone under consulate protection a "criminal" and get them out of the country, then the receiving nation (in this case Iraq) declares the individual(s) "persons non grata," and the sending state (in this case Iran) has to remove them in a timely fashion (Article 23). Neither Iraq, or the United States has the authority to invade the consulate and remove anyone.

Article 31 of the Convention declares consulates "inviolable." People (including the receiving state) can't even enter the consulate without consular permission. Nor can they detain consular personnel or confiscate consular property - from files to furniture. Consular archives receive further protection under Article 33.

Consular personnel are also inviolable (Article 41), and are guaranteed freedom of movement and communication (Articles 41 and 35). Consular staff and others are even free of requirements to register as aliens in the receiving nation (Article 46).

Over the top of all of this, it is the responsibility of the receiving nation (Iraq) to protect the consulate, consulate inviolability, and consular staff, their families, and visitors (Article 23 and 40 among others).

So, in approving the raid on a consulate, Bush violated not just Iran's rights, but Iraq's. Since it is Iraq who agreed to a consulate, it also accepted the responsibility of protecting it. Since they did not, the US violated both nations, and continues to do so by not releasing either the people nor the items it has confiscated.

It would make no difference if Osama bin Laden had been in the consulate in Irbil. The course of action would have been for Iraq to declare the individuals "persons non grata" and demand their removal from the country. Further, those persons would have had safe passage back to Iran.

Now the implication is that the five individuals are member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard - Qods Force. While that doesn't make any difference in terms of the Convention, some information about the IRGC Qods is useful.

(The following information is primarily taken from the Global Security article Qods (Jerusalem) Force Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC - Pasdaran-e Inqilab))

First, the IRGC is a branch of the Iranian government - the Mullah side of the government. It was first formed under Khomeini in 1979 in the revolution that overthrew the Shah and expelled the United States from Iran. It has remained a formal part of the state ever since that time. It serves both a domestic and international purposes. It is similar in some regards to MI6 of Britain, or a kind of combined FBI-CIA-Special Forces Unit in the U.S. It seems likely that millions of Iranians over the years have been (or are) members of the IRGC or the Baseej "volunteers under the control of the IRG."

The Qods Force refers largely to the international arm of the IRGC. It engages in both overt and covert activities outside Iran - including the alleged training and support of groups such as Hizbullah. "Qods" is Persian for "Jerusalem," which speaks volumes about the true heart of conflict in the Middle East and Southern Asia. However, as the conflict has spread, so (it is alleged) have the activities of the Qods - Sudan for example (https://www.aei.org/events/filter.all,eventID.861/transcript.asp "Sudan: Genocide, Terrorism, and America's National Interest, AEI).

It is possible that those who were in the Consulate were (or are) connected to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. It is possible that they were, or are, connected to the Qods Force. However, that does not make the invasion of an Iranian Consulate in Iraq legal. It would not make the invasion of an Iranian Consulate in the US legal. Instead, like so many other international agreements that the Bush administration has decided do not apply to them, this action jeopardizes others. Denying the Geneva Convention, and the conventions against torture place US forces (and civilian contractors) at risk. Declaring the nuclear nonproliferation agreement, and ban on preemptive war does not apply to the US has put the entire world at risk. Violating the Vienna Convention places all U.S. State Department and diplomatic staff at risk. Given that, it is telling that Rice could speak of it so blithely.

International agreements are no more amenable to Presidential exemption than is US law. George Bush has utilized the "signing statement" as a mechanism for exempting himself from the laws of the United States. He apparently feels that he can ignore international law and agreements the United States is a signatory of with equal disregard. In both cases he is wrong. While ignoring the laws of the United States may ultimately get him impeached. Violation of international agreements may ultimately bring him before an international tribunal.

Of Interest
1/12/07 AP, U.S. Contradicts Iraqi Foreign Minister

1/07/07 Jerusalem Post, Whose finger will be on the button?

Iran Chamber Society, Islamic Revolution of 1979

1/15/07 Sengupta, Independent, America threatens to 'deal with' Iran over its support for insurgents

Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs

Posted by Rowan Wolf at January 16, 2007 9:01 AM
Comments
Comment #203525

Good post, Rowan. I really hope for Bush’s sake and America’s sake that there’s more to this story that justifies this action.

I doubt it.

Posted by: LawnBoy at January 16, 2007 1:23 PM
Comment #203546


The outcome in Iraq will have a greater impact on Iran than on America. It does not suprise me that Iran has agents in Iraq, why shouldn’t they. I would be supprised if Iran was directly involved in attacks on Americans. They would be stupid to do so considering what Bush is planning to do to them and they are not stupid. As to Iran supplying IED’s to the Iraqi’s, why? There are enough artillery shells hidden in Iraq to produce IED,s for the next 20 years.

Posted by: jlw at January 16, 2007 2:54 PM
Comment #203573

It depends on whether or not they were properly accredited as diplomats by the Iraqi government. That is more than a technical question. If they were not accredited, diplomatic immunity does not apply to them. It does not matter what they called themselves or what mission they were on.

Besides, not everybody who works at a diplomatic mission has diplomatic status AND a consulate is not sovereign territory. Even an Embassy really is not, but that is where the distinction comes.

I understand that some Iranians with diplomatic status were seized but released after their status was confirmed. This constitutes a minor diplomatic matter, unlike the holding of the entire staff of an embassy for more than a year.

Diplomatic status confers some privileges, but it is not a license to do whatever they want. It is not like in the situation in the movie “Lethal Weapon II.

Posted by: Jack at January 16, 2007 5:28 PM
Comment #203580

You should know better Jack. International law is absolutely clear. Presedence is absolutely clear. Diplomatic Immunity, embassies and consulars are foreign territory. Period.
Bush has now made the Iranian takeover of our Embassy in 1979 legal. We can no longer claim otherwise. F him.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 16, 2007 6:31 PM
Comment #203581

An important piece of information is being ignored concerning the arrests of Iraniana in Iraq. Who are they meeting?

In the first arrest in Bagdhad, the Iranians were meeting with supporters of al-Hakim & the ruling SCIRI party. These are the Shias in power & in control of the Iraqi government.

In Irbil, the Iranians were meeting with the Kurds & memebers of the ruling party in Kurdistan, under Barzani.

In other words, the Iranians are NOT meeting with Sunni insurgents, and it is highly unlikely they are providing arms for fighting Americans. In fact, they are meeting with people who are obstensibly our allies.

Members of the SCIRI party, such as al-Hakim, spend the Saddam Hussein years in exile, in Iran. The Baathists ruthlessly & violently suppressed religious fundamentalists such as al-Hakim. Today, both the Iranians and the US are fighting to make sure religious fundamentalists such as al-Hakim stay in power.

Likewise, the Kurds have close ties with Iranians. During the Iran-Iraq War, the Iranians supported the Kurdish uprising against Saddam Hussein. As a result, the Baathists violently suppressed the Kurds, resulting in @ 100,000 Kurdish deaths. (In an earlier article in the Red Column, Kaida suggests 400,000 Kurds died. This is one of those bizarre numbers pulled out of thin air).

The spin comes with US accusations that the Iranians are funding Sunni insurgents. While it is admittedly possible that, through graft, weapons could be resold to Sunni insurgents, it seems highly unlikely.

The Bush administration is lying to people.

Again.

The intent is to whip up support for bombing Iran.

Posted by: phx8 at January 16, 2007 6:34 PM
Comment #203583

Rowan

You make some good points. Bush’s disregard for everything except his own ideology (whatever scary thing that happens to be) should not be surpsing at this point in his “presidency.” Actually, I think someone was finally able to get through to him about his geographical blunder—after all Iraq and Iran only differ by one letter!

LawnBoy and jlw—
Don’t waste your words on admonishing JC. This individual clearly lacks the intellectual capacity to debate the issues in Rowan’s post or any other post for that matter. So JC’s only recourse is accuse those that don’t buy into his “Bush devotee” mantra of being anti-American or America haters. If, however, you take some enjoyment in responding to JC’s post, then have it! When it comes to responding to “Jack” just say “ditto” for what you responded to JC.

JC and Jack aside…I read an interesting jounal artical regarding the Iraq insurgency, in particular those that use suicide bombing and IEDs (way too scholoaryly for the likes of JC and Jack). Most of the “insurgents” that have been identified come from Saudi Arabia NOT Iran. Also permit me to remind, until the British decided otherwise, Iraq was originally part of Iran. The fact that Iraq is predominantly Shiite is the reflection of this shared past. Any Shiite dominated government will have close ties to Iran including funding for attacks on American soldiers.

It is these sorts of dynmaics that make the military situation for American troops fraught with futility. So Rowen, as much as it pains me to even give the appearance of supporting any Bush ideology, if there is even the slightest of threats to American troops in Iraq, then any means necessary to route it out should be employed even at the risk of the violation (or apparent violation) of international law. The situation for American troops in Iraq is too far gone (thanks to Bush), there safety and/or protection far outways adhering to international laws that are the subject of your post. It is either them or us, so, by my way of thinking, it should be them!

Posted by: Kim-Sue at January 16, 2007 6:40 PM
Comment #203586

Kim-Sue,

I can’t speak for jc, but you are definitely underestimating Jack. Although I usually disagree with him, he’s much more informed and a much more respectful debater than you give him credit for.

Either way, be careful. You tone here is too personal and insulting for the guidelines of WatchBlog. Keep it up, and you will be banned.

Posted by: LawnBoy at January 16, 2007 6:46 PM
Comment #203590
Also permit me to remind, until the British decided otherwise, Iraq was originally part of Iran.

Not really. Iraq was rule by the Ottomans from the 1500s until WWI, but Iran (then known as Persia) was independent the whole time.

The Brits defined the borders of Iraq, but not by separating it from Iran.

Posted by: LawnBoy at January 16, 2007 6:53 PM
Comment #203594

heres a nightmare scenerio. Isreal and or the US attack suspected nuclear sites in Iran. Iran retaliates with an invasion of Iraq. The insurgency intensifys,pinning down troops in Bagdad. Syria invades. In desperation the US hurries troops from Afganistan. The Talaban sieze the opportunity and attack Kabul.This pins down what Nato support we have. The Iranians use human wave attacks like they did against Saddam’s army. The US is warned by Russia and China not to use WMDs or tactical nukes. An urgent plea to NATO gets Turkey to invade Iraq from the north. They start etnic cleansing but we need their help too much to stop them. Oil supplies are cut off. The strategic oil supply is opened but it is not enough to keep the US economy from collasping.Riots break out at home.The Chinese stop buying US bonds and start cashing in the ones they hold. Taxes go through the roof. In order to pay off the bonds the US starts printing more money causing hyperinflation. We lose our Army. Bagdad becomes our Dien Bien Fu. The US sphere of infuence collapes and our empire goes the way of the Soviet Union. Bin Laden wins. The US is no longer a player in the Middle East. The vacumn is filled by China,now the worlds only superpower.Taiwan falls. Isrealis are doomed to a second diasphora.The Sauds are toppled. BinLaden takes the throne.
Point? This is a very dangerious game we are playing and our CICh has a record of rash actions and failures.None of this is impossible and some is likely.

Posted by: BillS at January 16, 2007 7:07 PM
Comment #203596

The real tragedy in all this is that it is in our best interests to stop Iran from gaining influence in Iraq. We can bitch and moan about historical mistakes and moan about worst case scenarios all we want but we are screwed today because of Bush 43. Instead of tracking down these guys after they met, then “special renditioning” or killing them, we once again wasted our waning influence and credibility on this public stupid and illegal move. Bush has wasted all our nations “political capital” by torturing stupid goat herders in Guantanemo rather than focusing on actual value added targets. What a moron.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 16, 2007 7:12 PM
Comment #203597

Did anybody see this coming?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16656642/

Posted by: Rocky at January 16, 2007 7:17 PM
Comment #203599

jc-
Bush is an idiot concerning international law. He only sees the limitations put on our friends and on the US. He doesn’t see the limitations it puts on our enemies.

We run many intelligence operations out of our embassies. I guess Bush wants our enemies to be able to harass, attack, and kill our official cover operatives.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Bush would do a great deal more good for this country if he went for approaches that fly under the radar, rather than those that muddy the waters of our own interests.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 16, 2007 7:52 PM
Comment #203612

LawnBoy - great analogy with the coach

Dave - I hadn’t even thought about the implications of the capturing of the US Embassy in 79.

phx8 - good points on who Iran would likely be supporting

Posted by: Rowan Wolf at January 16, 2007 9:09 PM
Comment #203619

Iraq has been called the worst strategic disaster in the history of the United States for good reason. The implosion of the failed state in Iraq could well turn into an explosion, a regional war. It seems hard to believe. The entire idea of bombing Iran still seems unlikely, a mere a case of saber rattling. And yet, and yet, the incompetence of the Bush administration is so gross, its willingness to implement Neocon & Israeli foreign policy goals at the expense of American interests so deluded & ill-conceived, that nothing this administration does can truly be surprising.

Negroponte was supposedly behind the release of the NIE showing Iran is at least ten years from developing a nuclear bomb. There is speculation he was demoted to work under Rice because the release undercut the Bush administration rationale for bombing Iran.

Surely, it is just saber rattling. A war with Iran is such a ridiculously bad idea, it cannot possibly be in the works.

And yet.

Posted by: phx8 at January 16, 2007 9:43 PM
Comment #203627

Dave1

I do know better. There is a significant difference between consulates (which this was at best) and embassies. Consular immunity is much less comprehensive and it is a myth that the territory of a consulate is foreign territory.

This sums up some of the privileges enjoyed by diplomats.

Much of what you see on TV is not correct.

Stephen

International law is only a series of treaties. It is what those treaties say and has only the obligations the signatories agree. We should not talk about international law in any bigger sense. Maybe that is what Bush understands.

If the Iranians followed “international law” even the basic kinds, we would not have such troubles as we do.

Posted by: Jackj at January 16, 2007 10:10 PM
Comment #203631


Sometimes things may not be what they seem. Since the Shiite dominated government has taken over in Iraq, relations between Iraq and Iran have been steadily getting better. Iraq has made several oil deals with Iran and have talks in progress to do more including the possibility of Iranians improving the infrastructure and increasing production in some of Iraq’s oil fields. Iranians are trying to drum up business in other sectors of the Iraq economy as well. This is definitely not what the U.S. had in mind in Iraq when it limited access to business in Iraq to companies from coalition countries.

Posted by: jlw at January 16, 2007 10:29 PM
Comment #203637

Jlw,
This is where the magnitude of the strategic error in invading Iraq becomes apparent.

First, we removed the Taliban, a Sunni fundamentalist government backed by Pakistan, and at odds with Iran.

Then, we invaded Iraq, a secular Sunni regime which served as a counterbalance to the revolutionary fire of the Iranian Shias.

Hezbollah, a Shia group with ties to Iran, has prospered because the Syrians were booted from Lebanon. Hezbollah (along with Amal) participated in the political process, and became one of the strongest parties in the Lebanese democracy. They gained further stature when the Israelies bombed Lebanon (with the US rushing shipments of additional bombs & missiles), and attempted an invasion, only to be repelled.

The moves made by the Bush administration have again and again aided and expanded Iranian power and influence. Now, the Saudis threaten to invade Anbar province, in order to prevent a slaughter of Sunnis at the hands of a Shia Iraqi government.

Could it cross the mind of someone like Cheney, that bombing Iran would somehow cancel out the the boosts we have given them time after time? It makes little sense. Then again, when an administration is as misguided & incompetent as the Bush administration, all bets are off.

Posted by: phx8 at January 16, 2007 11:06 PM
Comment #203649
LawnBoy, Adrienne, Trent, 1LT B, Stephen D., Dave1-20-2009, Diogenes, and many others (even Jack sometimes)-

Words cannot express my gratitude for the great discussions and your having made me think about many things I wouldn’t have otherwise thought about. While I wish I could have many more similarly fruitful discussions going forward, WB has made it clear to me that my style and spirit are not welcome. No worries. Life goes on, people get wiser, and a new day will always dawn. Good luck to you all in every way!

In the words of the immortal Barney Gumble: Don’t cry for me, I’m already dead.

K23


Thank you very much, Kevin. I’ve enjoyed all of our exchanges a great deal also.

All,
I cannot believe and am very upset about this development. I have written to the managing editor, and I encourage all others who admired Kevin23 to do the same. He is an intelligent and articulate poster in these threads, and he is one of the few Republicans who didn’t hate, sneer at, or talk down to us folks on the left the way so many others do. Kevin is an old-school style conservative who knows how to think for himself — one of the precious few people who made me feel that the word bi-partisan doesn’t have to be a joke, a guy who was willing to try to build a bridge with us wherever possible. I absolutely Hate to see him go, and I hope that if perhaps many more of us write and express our appreciation for his character, he might be allowed to return.

Sorry this is off topic,
Adrienne

Posted by: Adrienne at January 17, 2007 12:33 AM
Comment #203651

Btw, Rowan, this is a fantastic article with great links. Well done.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 17, 2007 12:42 AM
Comment #203653

Adrienne,

I agree. There should be some adjustments made to the rules.

Jackj,

I don’t watch much TV, it’s almost all crap. Unless it was not a diplomatic compound, there is no excuse.

Kevin,

I add my wishes for a speedy return to this blog. As an aside, I think your debates helped me come back to some sense of decorum, I was getting pretty tired of the (r)wing talking points.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 17, 2007 12:50 AM
Comment #203658

For anyone who is interested in the British take on Iranian involvement in Iraq, there is a very interesting story at www.rawstory.com taken from a Brit news source:
“Iran ‘taking control of Basra by stealth’”

Posted by: phx8 at January 17, 2007 1:23 AM
Comment #203665

Adrienne, you have violated our rules of participation by failing to observe the following from WB’s Rules of Participation:

“Please direct comments NOT about the article to the manager at the above link.”

Participants are not removed for their popularity or unpopularity. They are removed for violating our Rules of Participation. Take heed!

If you are inclined to reply, don’t do it here, but, to managing_editor@watchblog.com


Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at January 17, 2007 3:37 AM
Comment #203666

Dave1-20-2009, if you care to discuss rules changes, do so to: managing_editor@watchblog.com, not here. Thanks.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at January 17, 2007 3:38 AM
Comment #203672

Dave1

Do you know their precise diplomatic status? Frankly, I do not. Just because you are called a diplomat by your home country does not mean you are a diplomat in another and those at consulates do not enjoy the same immunity as those at embassies.

Do you know that this was an established conuslar post? It is legal to detain consular officials and it is legal to enter the residence of a consular official in many situations.

This does not appear to be a major diplomatic incident and even if it were, it would be a diplomatic incident and nothing like the hostage problem. People are making way too much of this because 1) they dislike the U.S. and 2) they do not understand the concepts of diplomacy.

Posted by: Jack at January 17, 2007 7:41 AM
Comment #203673

Dave

I am 99% sure I am right about this. The Washington Post has a story indicating that the Iranians were trying to upgrade this to a consulate, meaning it was NOT one yet. Beyond that, the story says “Tehran contends that the five men detained are all diplomats, an assertion that Iraq’s foreign minister and U.S. officials reject.”

Iraq (the host country) accredits diplomats. If Iraq has not accredited them, they are NOT diplomats in Iraq. It is very simple. They have nothing.

Posted by: Jack at January 17, 2007 7:46 AM
Comment #203682

It is fact, not opinion, that this was a consulate, and that the individuals detained are officials from the consulate.

Below is the statement issued by the Kurdish Regional Government on January 11,2007. Here is the original article link. As you can see, that page is now blank. It was titled “Official statement: US raid on consulate of Iran.” In fact if you do a search at the KRG site, it will find the title and take you to the blank link. Fortunately, it is difficult to disappear things on the internet, and there is a copy of the text at Liberty Forum. If my memory serves, this appears to be what I originally read.

11 January 2007

The Presidency and the Kurdistan Regional Government express their dismay and condemnation of the American action against the official consulate of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The consulate was opened by agreement between the governments of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and enjoys immunity and protection under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Unlike other parts of Iraq, the Kurdistan Region enjoys safety, security, stability and the rule of law. The US action does not conform to the policy of attempting to spread security and stability throughout all of Iraq. No military action should be taken in the Kurdistan Region without consultations with security authorities here.

The people of the Kurdistan Region protest against and reject this action which violates our internal sovereignty. We do not accept that disputes with our neighbouring countries should be brought onto our soil. We call for the immediate release of those arrested.

The gist of the above is confirmed through CNN reports, including U.S. raid on Iranian consulate angers Kurds” and Reuters’ “US forces raid Iranian consulate in Iraq.”

Further, the Iraqi government called for the US to release the Iranian officials

From the Chicago Tribune, 1/15/07 Iraq urges U.S. to free 5 Iranians:

The Iraqi government called Sunday for the release of five Iranian officials accused by the U.S. military of being linked to an organization that provides weapons to Iraqi militants and supports violence against U.S. soldiers. … Kurdish legislators condemned the raid as “illegal.” Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari defended the detainees—members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s al-Quds force—as long-standing officials who provide outreach to Iranians in Iraq.

Appearing on CNN, Zebari said the five Iranians had been in Iraq with the knowledge and permission of the Iraqi government. Their office in Irbil had been offering “certain consular service for the local people,” he said.

Posted by: Rowan Wolf at January 17, 2007 9:53 AM
Comment #203683

This may also be of interest - Top Iraqi condemns US over Iran

Posted by: Rowan Wolf at January 17, 2007 10:01 AM
Comment #203685

Jack,

If they were not diplomats, and the sites raided were not diplomatic, then you are correct. From wikipedia

Contrary to popular belief, although many of the staff of consulates may be career diplomats they do not generally have diplomatic immunity (unless they are also accredited as such). Immunities and privileges for consuls and accredited staff of consulates under the relevant international conventions are generally limited to actions undertaken in their official capacity and, with respect to the consulate itself, to those required for official duties. In practice, the extension and application of consular privileges and immunities can be subject to wide discrepancies from country to country.
So, of course, we would have to know the laws of Iraq on that matter.
Also (unable to research at this time), I believe the diplomats declare themselves as diplomats prior to entry into the host country and if the host country formally accepts them into the country, then they have the immunities of diplomats.
Anyway, I think my opinion stated in the post of ::January 16, 2007 07:12 PM :: stands. Diplomacy and relations are all about appearances. And this makes us appear as bullies operating outside the rule of law, again.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 17, 2007 10:13 AM
Comment #203707

Good article Rowan. IMO the detention of these Iranians against the wishes of their “hosts” just goes to prove that we do NOT recognize the sovereignty of the same Iraqi “democracy” Bush has touted as a phenomenal success. Iraq is under US occupation, albeit an undermanned occupation.

After reading the following news out of Kuwait City in recent days I’ve begun expecting to read the headline, “US begins strategic bombing of Iranian nuclear sites” every morning:

US military strike on Iran seen by April ’07; Sea-launched attack to hit oil, N-sites

http://www.arabtimesonline.com/arabtimes/kuwait/view.asp?msgID=9548

“the source said “they have chosen April as British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said it will be the last month in office for him. The United States has to take action against Iran and Syria before April 2007.”

“Claiming the attack will be launched from the sea and not from any country in the region, he said “the US and its allies will target the oil installations and nuclear facilities of Iran ensuring there is no environmental catastrophe or after effects.” “Already the US has started sending its warships to the Gulf and the build-up will continue until Washington has the required number by the end of this month,” the source said. “US forces in Iraq and other countries in the region will be protected against any Iranian missile attack by an advanced Patriot missile system.””

Of course what would a Kuwaiti know?

Coupled with GlobalSecurity.org’s Iran Countdown,

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iran-timeline.htm#070201

“01 February 2007
“The year 2007 begins to mark the closing of the window of opportunity for military strkes against Iran.

“CBS News reported on 18 December 2006 that the Bush administration has decided to ramp up the naval presence in the Persian Gulf to send a message to Tehran. CBS reported that an additional aircraft carrier would be added to the Gulf contingent in January 2007, arriving on station around 01 February 2007. The New York Times reported 20 December 2006 that the Bremerton-based aircraft carrier CVN-74 John C. Stennis and its strike group could leave weeks earlier than planned as part of a move to increase the U.S. military presence in and around the Middle East. Moving up the Stennis’ departure date in January 2006 allows a longer overlap with USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the carrier currently in the Persian Gulf. Eisenhower deployed 01 October 2006, and could remain on station into March 2007. It is difficult for one Carrier Air Wing [CVW] to conduct flight operations for much more than about 12 hours before having to stop. However, with the combined striking power of two CVWs, the Carrier Task Force (CTF) is able to conduct air operations over a continuous 24-hour cycle.”

It looks to me like the days are numbered!

Especially when you consider, “On 26 September 2006 Iran and Russia signed an agreement under which Russia will ship fuel to a nuclear power plant it is building in Iran by March 2007.”

“On 12 November 2006 Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Iran intended to install 3,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges by March 2007. Hosseini said Iran was doing all the work to install the centrifuges under control of the UN nuclear watchdog, adding that two cascades of 164 centrifuges were already in operation in the country. The 3,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges would give Iran the capability of producing enough Highly Enriched Uranium for about one atomic bomb annually.”

My fears are similar to those espoused by Bill S. At the very least we’ll be demonized by most of the free world. We may well find out if Bush was right when he looked into Putin’s eyes and saw that he had a “good heart”.

Considering how many American troops we have in harms way in Iraq and Afghanistan I think there is probably valid reason for the VA to be dusting off the military draft aparatus.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 17, 2007 12:34 PM
Comment #203726

Watchblog-managing Editor:

Since you brought it up in responding to Dave1 and Adrienne in this thread, there seems to be some discord between the policy of not discussing editorial decisions of Watchblog in a public forum and the general thesis of open and free debate at Watchblog. While I have not found Watchblog’s policies hard to comply with nor unreasonable (I’ve been reprimanded, justifiably on occasion), no one is perfect. Perhaps a public discourse is in order.

Posted by: gergle at January 17, 2007 2:42 PM
Comment #203727

Rowan,

Interesting post, I hadn’t read that much on this. A bit worrisome. I guess we’ll know what is really going on, soon.

PHX8,

Do you have a link to the article? I couldn’t find it on their site.

Posted by: gergle at January 17, 2007 2:48 PM
Comment #203752

LawnBoy

Thanks for the advice. With respect to Jack, perhaps you give him too much credit. As you have NOT seen the things he has posted to me—always personal, never addressing issues in objective debate. You are only seeing one side of the story (whatever your motivation). If he has not been banned, chances are slim that I should be. Nonethesless, if I am banned, so beit; it could hardly be construed as one of life’s major tragedies—or minor for that matter.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at January 17, 2007 6:29 PM
Comment #203755

I’ll say this:

It’s a shame that Rowan’s article has been derailed. She’s speaking about an event that I see as the Bush administration leading up to the bombing of Iran.

This is a huge deal and we’re “pissing and moaning” because someone got kicked off the site for not following the rules. IMO the most egregious violation is leading a thread “off-track”.

Anyone that has “off topic” comments can easily find the editor of any article here:

http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/about.html

Let’s stay “on track” and start counting our days ‘till “melt-down”!

Posted by: KansasDem at January 17, 2007 7:05 PM
Comment #203778

To bush, the law is whatever he says it is, screw the international laws, treaty and most of the US Constitution. He have ground it into the dirt, and has gone his own way.
Unfortunately we still have 2yrs of this rhinestone cowboy, and his cowgirls left. Hopefully it won’t end a world war

Posted by: KT at January 17, 2007 9:33 PM
Comment #203779

Dave1

Diplomats travel on a particular passport. If they do not have a dip passport, they are not diplomats. Diplomats must be accredited to the country or countries where they are stationed. If they are not, then they are not diplomats for immunity purposes. A man might be an ambassador in one country, but enjoys nothing but courtesy when he crosses into another country.

Iran has a poorly defined foreign service. I do not mean that as a criticism. It is just a fact that it may be much more difficult to tell an Iranian diplomat from an Iranian agitator.

Finally, consulates generally do not have a very large professional staffs. You have to ask yourself what legitimate diplomatic business a dozen Iranians would have in a provincial Iraqi city.

It all comes down to the technicality of the law. Some of the facts are in dispute, but if the Iraqis do not say they are accredited, they are not accredited. Even if they were legitimate diplomats, it is just a diplomatic incident. Diplomatic incidents can be serious, but many times they are not. This one probably is not. My guess is that if we were being objective, the Iranians would have more explaining to do, trying to use diplomatic cover for nefarious purposes.

Posted by: Jack at January 17, 2007 9:34 PM
Comment #203781

Jack,

You miss the point. Elected Iraqi officials recognize these Iranian’s as diplomats.

On one hand we tout our success in establishing a free Iraqi government while OTOH we deny them the right to invite or exclude diplomatic guests. We can’t have it both ways.

Is Iraq a Democracy that needs our assistance, or are we an occupying power?

Posted by: KansasDem at January 17, 2007 9:58 PM
Comment #203783

Jack,

I agree with Kansas and I add, that I assume the Iranians were up to activities against our interests. I don’t have to ask what anyone is doing anywhere, if they are diplomats then they must be treated as diplomats no matter what. EOS. As I said before: this ‘makes us appear as bullies operating outside the rule of law, again’ More credibility and prestige down the toilet. The priority of excusing Bushes illegal/imoral/innapropropriate/illconcieved behaviors causes our nation more harm than good.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 17, 2007 10:28 PM
Comment #203788

Kansas & Dave

This is very technical. Local officials cannot recognize diplomats and a consular immunity is not the same as an embassy immunity.

According to the Washington Post, the Iraqi authorities denied they were diplomats (i.e. not accredited). They were in the process of trying to establish a consulate.

We evidently went against the wishes of some Kurdish officials. This is not something I think we should do, but I expect that in a fluid situation like Iraq, this kind of thing may happen. Even in friendly, orderly countries our diplomats are sometimes detained. You cannot just claim diplomatic immuity; sometimes it has to be verified. Too many people have seen that Lethal weapon movie. In real life, those guys would have been arrested near the start of the movie. It would have caused a diplomatic incident. They would have been declared persona non grata and kicked out of the country. As I understand it, the Iraq situation was not far different, except that I do not believe this was an established consulate.

It makes us appear as bullies if/because the Iranians have been good at putting out their story and the media has not been asking the right questions. For example, I have seen no reports where the Iranian specifically identified those detained. If it were U.S. diplomats, we would clearly identify them along with their diplomatic rank and status. I suspect the Iranians have not done this because the cannot and they cannot because they did not have diplomatic status and were up to no good.

Diplomatic status is fairly easy to prove and it is up to the Iranians to do it, if it is true.

Posted by: Jack at January 17, 2007 11:41 PM
Comment #203819

jack,

As I said above, this was likely a good thing to do for our national interests in that it was probably an actual offensive and preventive act against our enemies. However, the reality is we don’t really know anything about what happened, the powers that be have had days to spin their stories. The sad reality is also that Bush is so discredited that no one believes anything we say anymore so even if the Iranians had no immunity the news cycle has moved on and we are once again looking like the bad guys.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 18, 2007 10:22 AM
Comment #203838

Adrienne,

Sounds like rats abandoning a sinking ship.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 18, 2007 12:36 PM
Comment #203955

Do you guys get paid by Iran and Al Qaeda to function as a fifth column in the US supporting our nations enemies or are you volunteers?

Posted by: Stephen at January 19, 2007 9:56 AM
Comment #204010

Stephen:
“Do you guys get paid by Iran and Al Qaeda to function as a fifth column in the US supporting our nations enemies or are you volunteers?”

I don’t think it’s at all fair to say such a thing about Rep. Walter Jones for proposing that legislation, or about Ron Paul (R-TX), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Richard Neal (D-MA), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) or Marty Meehan (D-MA) for co-sponsoring the measure.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 19, 2007 3:44 PM
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