Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Most commentary and news reports about the fighting in Basra have concentrated on Iraqi issues, but it might be opportune to remember that this latest action, evidently provoked by arrests of Sadr officials, started during the latest round of saber-rattling versus Iran. Could we be seeing an upping of the ante?

There is growing concern, however, that Iran could respond to such US accusations. "This is pretty serious, and if the Iranians do not back down rapidly this will escalate," says Martin Navias, an analyst at Britain's Centre for Defence Studies at King's College in London. "The US has a number of problems with Iran, mainly the nuclear program and its behavior in Iraq. There are many people in the Bush administration who want to hit Iran."

While Iraqi troops fought with Shiite militants in Basra Tuesday, a contingent of Coalition troops, including British and US forces, mobilized at Basra's border with Iran to prevent militiamen from escaping or smuggling in ammunition and weapons, according to a senior security source in the city who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his remarks.

When troops mass at an international border, especially if one side just accused the other of 'arming terrorists', the situation is very dangerous. This danger goes beyond the plans of the presidents and generals, any asshole on the ground, on either side of the border, can start a shooting war. We're getting closer.


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