Friday, January 12, 2007

US Raid of Iranian Offices in Iraq

The US raid of the Iranian offices in northern Iraq is puzzling. Clearly, it is an attempt to provoke Iran, or obtain information that can be used to justify a future attack on Iran.

But why pick this particular office in the northern part of Iraq?

The northern part of Iraq is relatively stable. It would seem to be an inconvenient place for Iran to facilitate unrest in the middle and southern part of Iraq, and thus an unlikely source of damming information.

It reeks of a desperate measure.

Iranian and Iraqi officials said the building was an Iranian consulate and the detainees its employees.

The US military said it was still investigating, but that the building did not have diplomatic status.

The troops raided the building at about 0300 (0001GMT), taking away computers and papers, according to local media.

AFP news agency quoted Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman as saying he did not know the nationality of the six but said they were "suspected of being closely tied to activities targeting Iraq and coalition forces".

More here from Juan Cole.



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