Those American combat forces are now leaving, and, supposedly, a new sheriff is in town -- the Iraqi security forces, police and army. Due to the weakness of the Iraqi central government -- many of whom were taught (trained) in Iran while in exile -- combined with the continued rivalry between the Shia', Sunni, and Kurds causes many to be dubious of Iraq's security and Iraq's ability to fend off Iranian influence, even if they wanted to and that is in serious doubt as well.
Iran recently developed a new tact. According to a CSM report, "Iran has enjoyed sway in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion through large investments and charity work to help the country's majority Shiites, as well as by supporting Shiite militias to take on US forces on Iraqi soil. But so far, Iran's ability to affect Iraq's powerful religious establishment -- headed by the revered Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in the holy city of Najaf -- has been limited. Now, in conjunction with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party, Tehran is trying to move one of Iran's heaviest-hitting clerics to Najaf. Analysts say the bid to install Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi -- a former Iranian judiciary chief who is very close to Iran's absolute ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- aims to undermine Mr. Sistani, blunt his criticism of Mr. Maliki's government, and draw Iraq closer to Iran. Mr. Shahroudi is just one man, but as a marja -- the highest rank of cleric in Shiite Islam, a "source of emulation' for followers -- he's among the elite few who might challenge Sistani for influence in Iraq and jeopardize American hopes to limit Iraq's ties to Iran. "
"Iran and Iraq have brotherly relations and no factor can divide the two nations," Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said last month. He said Iran and Iraq could help establish a "just order" in the world. Ahmadinejad is known for his fiery rhetoric, but some analysts regard that statement as significant as it relates to the future of Iran.
It is difficult to conceive a more dangerous scenario to American interests than those illustrated in the preceding paragraphs where Iran is concerned. But that is exactly what has happened in the past two weeks. One of the advantages our nation has is our technological advances in UAV's, or drones, or so we thought. These drones could snoop Iran without Iranian forces knowing it due to stealth technology and the altitude of the drones -- or so we thought.
Most know now of the loss of a RQ-170 drone over Iran and its complete recovery by Iranian forces. But how was it lost? Simple, Iran hijacked it using electronic welfare. A CSM exclusive, Exclusive: Iran hijacked US drone, says Iranian engineer (Video), an article that should be reviewed by everyone, reported, "The "spoofing' technique that the Iranians used -- which took into account precise landing altitudes, as well as latitudinal and longitudinal data -- made the drone "land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the remote-control signals and communications' from the US control center, says the [Iraqi] engineer."
The article adds, "The revelations about Iran's apparent electronic prowess come as the US, Israel, and some European nations appear to be engaged in an ever-widening covert war with Iran, which has seen assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, explosions at Iran's missile and industrial facilities, and the Stuxnet computer virus that set back Iran's nuclear program."
This is where we stand with Iran today. Iran is the second largest importer of oil, life's blood to Western economies. She also stands astride the Strait of Hormuz through which vast quantities of oil destined to fuel the globe's economy must traverse.
One can easily conclude the American invasion of Iraq was counter-productive.
So, this is the Iraq we leave behind. As the troops departed they engaged in farewell meetings with their Iraqi counterparts exhibiting a certain wistfulness and reticence of their imminent departure. Despite the epithets of the President and his generals they knew their mission was incomplete. They should not despair. Our troops were given a mission in March 2003 by politicians in Washington that was destined for failure from its very beginning.
I wish to thank the Christian Science Monitor and Scott Peterson for contributing to this report. It would appear that CSM is one of those rare news outlets that is actually "monitoring" events in the Middle East. The mainstream media and politicians are busy congratulating everyone for our "successes" in Iraq while welcoming home our "victorious" troops.
A private in the army knows different.
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