US intelligence report projects deteriorating situation in Iraq
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But Mr. Beehner goes on to write that the US still accuses Iran of being involved in Iraq on several key front including security, religious issues (the US believes that one-third of the 2000 Iranian religious students in Karbala and Quds are Iranian intelligence agents) and the economy. But as far assigns of "intensified" Iranian involvement in Iraq is concerned, Joost Hiltermann, Middle East program director of the International Crisis Group, say Iranian activity in Iraq is "not a new phenomenon."Skip to next paragraph
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Tehran, for example, has had intelligence operatives in northern Iraq for the past two decades, including base offices in Irbil and Sulaymaniya, and enjoys close ties with Kurdish leaders. Iran's most recent alleged transgressions – support for Iraq's Shiite militias – stretches back to at least 2004, experts say. Lawrence J. Korb of the Center for American Progress believes the Bush administration is pushing a strategy to get more aggressive on Tehran. "This is not about Iraq," he says. "It's about Iran."
In a review of Arab editorials in the region, The Middle East Times points out that Arab media are also split on the issue of Iran. An editorial in Egypt's Al Gumhuriya argues that President Bush is preparing to attack Iran in order to save face after his problems in Iraq.
The semi-official daily remarked that rather than admitting defeat, Bush was hoping to save face by preparing for a new adventure against Iran, after having "discovered that his destruction of Iraq has made US interests open to threats in the Gulf [from] Iranian shores."
The newspaper argued this meant the entire Middle East was now threatened by the anti-Iran war plans of its "American friend" and called for the regional countries to prevent another confrontation.
But the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas accused Iranian and Iraqi officials of working together against the US.
The pro-government daily said [maps confiscated from Iranians who were arrested by American forces] were a sign the Iranian government was planning to set off sectarian sedition in Iraq through the random killings of innocent civilians and US soldiers.
"The killing of the coalition troops is [taking place] because of an alliance between the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guards and the Iraqi government, with the cooperation of [Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri] Al Maliki who is of Iranian origin," the paper charged.
A report on Stratfor, the military intelligence site (subscription needed), notes that the mistaken comments made by French President Jacques Chirac this week and later withdrawn (Chirac originally said that even if Iran did have a nuclear weapon or two, it would not really be much of a threat) are probably correct, and that Iran's mullah-led regime just wants to have a bomb in order to protect itself from attack by the US and Israel. But Stratfor goes onto say that Israel, not wanting to take any chances and having realized that an overt attack on Iran is not really possible, is conducting covert activities in Iran, hinting that the recent death of a top Iranian nuclear scientist may be connected to Israel's secret service, the Mossad.