Oops, They Invaded the Wrong Country?

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Al-Qaeda, Iran, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Terrorism Views: 5158

A potentially major news story-that Iran had more connections with al Qaeda than Iraq ever did, according to the 9/11 Commission's interim report-has been relegated to the back pages of national newspapers and underplayed by the electronic media. The commission found that as many as 10 of the September 11 hijackers were given safe passage by the Iranians during the year before the attacks. Has the U.S. media already become so cynical about the Bush administration's motives for invading Iraq that this does not even rate a front page news story?

Maybe, privately, reporters are not that surprised that Iran had closer ties with al Qaeda than Iraq did with the terror group. After all, before the war, the U.S. government knew that the most active state sponsor of terrorism was Iran, not Iraq. In fact, Iraq was not very active at all in sponsoring terrorist attacks. Many opponents of the Iraq invasion argued convincingly that Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda had little ideological affinity. Given that Osama bin Laden's main goal is to cleanse the Islamic world of corrupt, secular regimes, it was illogical that al Qaeda and Iraq would have much in common. In fact, the 9/11 Commission has concluded that no "collaborative relationship" existed between Iraq and al Qaeda.

Conversely, al Qaeda and the theocratic Iranian government both promoted radical Islamic rule. According to the 9/11 Commission's interim report, al Qaeda and the Iranian government talked in the 1990's about finessing their Sunni-Shia differences to cooperate against a common foe. The commission also noted that al Qaeda operatives traveled to Iran and Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah camps in Lebanon for military-style training. What a surprise, evidence shows cooperation between like-minded people and no collaboration between those with diametrically opposed agendas!

Even an Iranian threat to U.S. security must be kept in perspective. The 9/11 Commission clearly has no evidence that the Iranians knew about al Qaeda's 9/11 plot in advance ..

Although a post-war inspection has shown that Saddam had no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and only anemic efforts to reconstitute them, before the war he seemed like a despotic tyrant bent on getting them. Yet, prior to the war and even assuming the worst case for Saddam's weapons programs, the Iranians were known to be ahead of him in their quest to develop nuclear weapons (the only true weapon of mass destruction) and the missiles to deliver them. Furthermore, in conventional terms, Saddam's military retained only one-half to one-third of its fighting capability after the first Gulf War and more than a decade of the most grinding economic sanctions in world history.

In contrast, the Iranian government, effectively still run by radical Shiite clerics, had control of an economy four times that of Iraq, a population three times Iraq's, and a defense budget that was larger than Iraq's. Even before the war, most security analysts concluded that Iran was the bigger threat.

But the question remains, a threat to what? Even an Iranian threat to U.S. security must be kept in perspective. The 9/11 Commission clearly has no evidence that the Iranians knew about al Qaeda's 9/11 plot in advance; most of the hijackers didn't even know the details of the attacks beforehand. Iran's nuclear and missile programs are primarily a threat to its neighbors, not to the United States. Iran will take some time to develop and produce a missile that can hit the United States. Once Iran possesses missiles and a few nuclear warheads with which to arm them, the United States would still be able to deter an Iranian nuclear attack with the thousands of warheads making up the most potent nuclear arsenal in the world. 

And that's lucky because the United States is unlikely to be invading Iran any time soon. Iran, through questionable information passed through Ahmed Chalabi and his intelligence chief, has cleverly managed to induce the United States to take out its chief regional rival-Saddam Hussein-and at the same time bog the United States down in a long-term quagmire. But even if the U.S. military weren't so entangled, the much larger, mountainous, and more populous Iran would be much more difficult to conquer than the comparatively smaller, flatter, and less populous Iraq. And even the latter is proving difficult and unpopular back in the states.

Given that Iran was more of a threat, was the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq undertaken to have a "demonstration effect" to scare the stronger Iranians into better behavior? If so, the intervention seems to have had the counterproductive effect of spurring Iran to covertly accelerate its nuclear program. Also, it demonstrates only that the best way to fight the Americans is with guerrilla warfare. Anyway you cut it, the radical Iranian regime is the main beneficiary of the naively muscular U.S. policy toward Iraq.

Ivan Eland is the Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California and author of the book, Putting "Defense" Back into U.S. Defense Policy: Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World.

  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Al-Qaeda, Iran, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Terrorism
Views: 5158

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Older Comments:
Ehadas, unfortunately you have not discussed with Chris on Iviews, the way that D'Alaxa and I have before in the past in previous articles. If you search in backdated articles, you will find a log of all the stupid comments he has made before.

Now to the issue of Israel being a Jewish state - 90% of the Jews in Israel are not ethnic jews, meaning they do not descend from Noah's son Shem, nor do they descend from Prophet Abraham, upon whom be peace. They are rather Eastern European, and Russian European in ancestry, and primarily originate from the Caucasus mountains, north of Armenia and Georgia. The jews in Israel may be called Jewish by creed, but ethnically, the vast majority of them are not Sephardic/ethnic Jews, but they are Khazarian/Ashkenazim Jews. Thus, they have no claim to the land of Palestine/Israel, because they do not originate from there as an ethnically jewish people. The only Jews who are truly Semitic Jews are arab speaking from the Middle East, the Maghrib (North Africa), and Ethiopian Jews. These are the only Jews who have any historical claim to Israel.

Next time ehadas, think of it like this, if you are a Catholic whose ancestors are from Massachussets, does that mean that you have a right to return to Nazareth, Jerusalem, or even Vatican City? That's right, you do not have any right to claim it as your land - but even Italian Roman Catholics from Italy do not go crying to the world to let them return to Vatican City, do they? Or do you think Muslims who are from Pakistan go crying and demanding the world to let them (Pakistani's) to return to Jerusalem or anywhere else in Palestine just because they are Muslim? NO, because Palestinians, whose ancestors are mixed with Canaanites, Sumerians who used to rule over the region in back in 6000 B.C., have more right to that land than even Sephardic Jews of 2000 B.C.
Anti-Semitism claims are inapplicable to Khazarian Jews of the world.

Real Eyes Realize Real Lies.

You threw the "bloody racist" accusation out at Chris without thinking it through. Just because you disagree with someone is no reason to try and manipulate someone on the defensive with the race card.
As for your other comments - Israel is definately NOT a Nazi state - think about it, why would Jews live there if it were? Unless of course, you are one of the few who do not believe the holocaust ever happened? In spite of documentation to the contrary?

Salam. Regrettably, I think the author could have rephrased "radical Iranian regime" to read something more like "radical elements within Iran's leadership" in the article's final paragraph. Note however that the author is asking, what is so wrong with Iran having the bomb? (See paragraph #6.) Does that make it sound like the author hopes to prevent Iran from improving its ability to defend itself? If someone refuses to kiss my b*cks*d* should I therefore suspect him of plotting against me? One of the few things that led me to the Qur'an was that the very few Muslims I had chatted with over the years seemed thoughtful and polite in addition to seeming sincere.

The author is a dedicated Bush-bashing defense expert from the Muslim-friendly American state of Iowa. Yes, I realize that I am a registered member of the Republican Party - but I also want what is best for the Ummah. If Kerry wins, you might start seeing the author's name appearing elsewhere. But I also want what is best for my country. At what point must my country's leaders (and future leaders) responsibly conclude that the Ummah's spokespersons (and future leaders insha'Allah) are incapable of analytical thought? Personally, I would prefer to go forward (rather than back) to the Golden Age of Islam.

Wassalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu.

Oh - and, Chris, what difference would it make WHEN they acquired WMD. Regardless, I trust that the "evidence" has been safely destroyed. And if U.S. forces knew there was no WMD then why would they bother starting when the moon was nearly full - and seemingly more to the point why would they suffer racing through the desert wearing rubber suits? Personally, I think the Reagonites resolved the WMD problem itself in a somewhat Islamic manner. My thinking is they avoided ill-speech and strove to do rightly - at least with regard to WMD. (Peace and God's mercy and blessings.)

Chris! .. You uphold a state terroristic action(US invading Iraq) as an act of Humane righteousnes? Fill me in on your theory. Most importantly, explain to me in an unbiased way(You are not a bloody racist are you?) how would you justify Israel's arsenal of WMD which are a threat to all her neighbours?! If US (in an oxymoron attempt) is a righteous and just superpower, why didn't she invade the Nazi state of Israel and dismantle the nuclear arsenal at Dimona and other places, Vanunu would explain?! .. If you have biases that's OK, we all have, I guess, however in order to make a point where there isn't don't call a broom a central vacuum cleaning system, OK?

I guess has been sleeping for the last couple of years. Tell me, are you genuinely ignorant or a liar whose lies fall in the face of facts ? Is America so morally bankrupt that they cant come up with anything better but flip flop ?
If UN sanctions being violated was ever the issue, why not invade Israel ? They've written the book on violating all sorts of UN sanctions. Rank Hypocrite

The decision to invade Iraq was not an issue of comparing Iraq's perceived threat to American intestests versus that of another mid east dictatorship. All mid east dictatorships / oligarchies are the same in that regard. It was the fact that Iraq had violated United Nations sanctions, thus providing the needed justification. As for whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destructions at the moment of the invasion is not the issue. The issue is whether or not Iraq acquired these items (or attempted to acquire them) at any point after the sanctions were in place.

The United States supports the terrorist state, Israel.

Remember!!! Ariel Sharon haughtily says: "...Israel owns America..."

SO Why blame Iran for supporting whatever terrorist groups?

Solution: IRAN MUST DEVELOP WMD. No body would be blaming Iran if Iran had NUKES to deliver to U.S. cities in the blink of an eye. & the thugs in the U.S. gov't know that very well.

Iran MUST develop WMD, unless the "HOPE-BOY" of America is voted out/kicked out of office by Florida supreme court judges this coming November. SEND the HOPE-BOY, Bush jR, HOME to the toxic RANCH in TEXAS!!!

To summarize for U.S. public- Before pointing fingers at others, point them (fingers) at yourselves. That's the only way to avoid FUTURE BIG BANGS in the USA.

& In addition, the U.S. public need to stop acting stupid. They need to understand that they can't live peacefully if their gov't is killing Muslims like cattles directly or indirectly (by terrorist states) all around the world. It's very simple.

Sorrow Tidbit: I feel sorry for the U.S. public. It's hard to believe they are dying for their current moronic gov't. It's time they start watching news from foreign countries, not just be brainwashed by FOX NEWS, which is the mouth-piece for the current court-appointed administration.


Why is Islamicity running this article in which an Islamic nation Iran is being attacked and condemned and having allegations made against it based on what some report has outlined? Why also the hinting against Hezballah, those who freed Southern Lebanon from the Israeli occupation? Have you got your priorities right?? If Iran is next to be attacked then this will be a catastrophy for the Islamic world, as the rest of the "Islamic nations" have sold out. Saudi Arabia is the greatest ally of USA, that says a lot doesn't it?

The author, 'm sure like most of us are now confused as to where the next target of the neocons, supported by the ever crude Khazars of Israel, is going to be. But if the past week event is anything to go by, certainly your guess is good as mine it is the SUDAN. Yes the neocons want to see their base(ARMED) in the African Continent(the central part of it). How else could we have crisis of shepherds Vs farmers in Sudan being exagerated to a compelete "Genocide" by an Islamic Government on its own PEOPLE? It is just incredible. You watched on CNN the same story being repeated every hour, the surprising aspect is that only a handful of people are seen been shown in the so called "Refugee" areas. The other day one horrible looking woman was delibering an assessment of happenings there and she said amongst other things, that wide scale abuses were reported like "ganged rapes", "killings", "women being sold for sex". My God! All these without a single picture or evidence to corroborate her stories. And the US congress has already said it is "GENOCIDE". The next thing now is to put sanctions(to kill more Sudanis) and then send American army to the next base in Africa. So the world dorminion government continues...
Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Rajiun!

This is the next agenda folks. As for Iran, Syria, Israel is now to finish the job..Or is it? How these imbeciles have taken the entire world(not even the world of the Muslims) for a long ride, is mind bogling! And the rest of the world are just watching helplessly. Going to the UN which =US will not solve the problem, folks. It is of utmost importance now, for Iran or even North Korea to produce their nuclear weapons at least if not to use it, but to check the callousness of these thugs that are hijacking the entire human race to doom. May Allah continue to protect His faithfuls and all those who are willing to stand against these vagabonds.

MAJ'D said:
I do not think this web site is worthy of presenting such articles that essentially promote aggression on a peacfull country such as Iran, let alone a Muslim peacful country, let alone a Muslim country.

MAJ'D said:
I do not think this web site is worthy of presenting such articles that essentially promote aggression on a peacfull country such as Iran, let alone a Muslim peacful country, let alone a Muslim country.

Perhaps Americans should insist on hearing an old truth or at least a new lie before moving on to the next potential adversary in the neocons' "to do" list. In the meantime perhaps Americans could strive to enable ALL Iraqis to form a secure, thriving and diverse republic - or whatever else they hope to form. In the process perhaps Iraq's neighbors would wish to have good relations with Iraq for reasons of their own.

That is basically what I myself was hoping would be happening more than a year ago. To some extent it now is (for which I am grateful).

It is not alqaeda connection.US invaded that the country under the pretext of wmd and as Tariq Ali says "they made it sure before invading iraq,it did not had wmd" If there had been traces of wmd they would have not destroyed the country.