I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More Iranian involvement in Iraq

I have posted a lot on growing Iranian involvement in (and control over) Iraq's internal affairs, and the obvious and severe dangers that poses to U.S. interests in the Middle East, so I will simply pass along with minimal comment this morning's New York Times article as yet more evidence of this growing problem:

Less than two days before nationwide elections, the Iraqi border police seized a tanker on Tuesday that had just crossed from Iran filled with thousands of forged ballots, an official at the Interior Ministry said.

The tanker was seized in the evening by agents with the American-trained border protection force at the Iraqi town of Badra, after crossing at Munthirya on the Iraqi border, the official said. According to the Iraqi official, the border police found several thousand partly completed ballots inside.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the Iranian truck driver told the police under interrogation that at least three other trucks filled with ballots had crossed from Iran at different spots along the border. . . .

Agents of the Iranian government are believed to be supporting the two main Shiite political parties here - the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Dawa Party -with money and other assistance. Both parties support a strong role for Islam in the Iraqi state; however, compared with the Iranian government itself, which is a strict theocracy, the Iraqi version is relatively moderate.

In recent months, American officials in Baghdad and Washington, along with their British counterparts, have contended that sophisticated bombs have been smuggled across the border from Iran, and that some of them have been used against American and British soldiers. The bombs are thought to be far more sophisticated than most of the powerful but rather rudimentary ones used to attack American tanks and convoys here.

There are some people, primarily on the Left, who are discounting these reports (and others demonstrating Iranian mischief in Iraq) as American fabrications designed to fuel the flames against Iran. That's one of the prices the Administration has to pay for its alarmist and false pre-war rhetoric about Iraqi threats. But to anyone with an even casual knowledge of Iran's historical involvement with Iraqis Shiites, it should come as no surprise at all that the Iranians are seeking to exploit the power vacuum in Iraq in order to maximize their influence there. That's why it is so bizarre, and so infuriating, that we seem to have no plan, and no method, for impeding it. It looks more and more like democratic elections in Iraq will legitimately install pro-Iranian Shiites who intend to do Iran's bidding.

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