Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Iranian Incursions in Iraq

The New York Times has an article up regarding recent Iranian incursions into Iraqi territory, actions taken ostensibly to strike at Iranian Kurdish rebels taking refuge in Iraq. This isn't the first time for such a cross-border incident.
The shelling here continues a trend of Iranian border incursions during the past 13 months that have included a helicopter attack on Kurdish villages in northern Iraq last May, and the occupation by Iranian soldiers of part of the Fakka oil field in southeastern Iraq for three days last December.
This sort of Iranian provocation, along with other incidents, should never have been tolerated by the U.S. At this point with the U.S. in withdrawal mode, the Iraqi government no doubt fears major problems with Iran, and probably wouldn't thank us for intervening. But Iran has been interfering in Iraq for a long time. It should never have been permitted, particularly when the U.S. was still primarily responsible for Iraqi security.

One of the main reasons for Iran's aggressive rogue state behavior is that it has been able to get away with all sorts of hostile actions, with no serious response by the U.S. Weakness -- in this case self-imposed -- encourages aggression. That has been demonstrated time and time again by Iran. The very first time an Iranian aircraft violated Iraqi airspace it should have been intercepted and destroyed. The very first time Iranian ground forces entered Iraq, they should have been annihilated, and the border post they staged from should have been destroyed with maximum loss of life. That would have been the sort of clear message that the rulers of Iran understand -- that force will be met with superior force. Because that was not done, and many other provocations also went unanswered, Iran has grown bolder and more arrogant, confident that it can do what it wishes without significant consequence. Iraqi Kurds, the ethnic group most closely allied to the U.S., and the most pro-American, are now paying for our failure to act.

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