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Shiite Muslim uprising in Iraq: Iran Proxy War?

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The question is this: Is the Shiite Muslim uprising in Iraq, which started April 4, 2004, an Iran Proxy War? or is that association with Iran just yet another delusion or deception of the neocon cabal?

March 28, 2003

  • "U.S. Accuses Syria, Iran of Meddling in War," National Public Radio March 28, 2003: "U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warns Syria and Iran to stay out of the war in neighboring Iraq. Rumsfeld accuses Syria of shipping military gear to Iraqi forces, an allegation Syria's foreign ministry called 'unfounded.' Rumsfeld also warns Iraqi exiles entering the country from Iran that they will be treated as 'combatants' if they join the fighting."
  • "Warning sent to Syria, Iran: Stop meddling," Houston Chronicle News Services, March 28, 2003: "In disclosing the complaint about Syria, Rumsfeld also said that a corps of anti-Saddam Iraqis, with hundreds of members who had been trained in Iran, was operating in Iraq, and he demanded that they leave."

March 29, 2003

  • Ali Akbar Dareini, "Iran Rejects U.S. Claims of Meddling in Iraq," AP, March 29, 2003: "Iran dismissed as 'baseless' allegations made by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that it is meddling in the war on Iraq, and insisted it would not allow Iraqi opposition in Iran to cross the border. ... 'Tehran does not allow any military activities on its (Iraq) border in favor or against any of the belligerent parties,' government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh was quoted Saturday by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying. ... On Friday, Rumsfeld accused Syria and Iran of meddling in the Iraq war. He said Iranian-backed Shiite opposition militias inside Iraq present a potential threat to U.S. and allied troops."
  • Robert Burns, "Rumsfeld warns Syria, Iran not to give Iraq weapons, aid," AP, March 29, 2003: " ... accused Syria and Iran of meddling in the Iraq war and warned Friday that both Iraqi neighbors would be held accountable if it continued. ... He alleged that military equipment had crossed into Iraq from Syria, and Iranian-sponsored fighting forces were inside Iraq and presenting a potential threat to U.S. and allied troops."
  • Linda Diebel, "Rumsfeld sets sights on Syria and Iran," Toronto Star, March 29, 2003: "At the Pentagon, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld attacked Syria for helping Iraqi President Saddam Hussein maintain military supply lines, and Iran for training Iraqi Shiite fighters opposed to Saddam's Sunni Muslim regime. ... These armed militias, Rumsfeld said, are crossing by the hundreds from Iran back into Iraq, where U.S. Gen. Tommy R. Franks is commanding Operation Iraqi Freedom."

March 31, 2003

  • "Iran denies 'meddling' in Iraq," ABC (Australia), March 31, 2003: "Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi says his country will not support an Iraqi government installed by the United States. ... He says Iran will only support an Iraqi government chosen democratically by the people. ... Mr Kharazi has also rejected accusations from the United States that Iran is meddling in the war in Iraq. ... US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said that Tehran is allowing hundreds of Iran-based Iraqi opposition fighters to cross the border."

May 30, 2003

June 10, 2003

  • Jim Krane, "Iran Accused of Interfering in Iraq," AP, June 10, 2003: "L. Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, echoed other U.S. officials, notably Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who have expressed concern Shiite extremists in Iran would try to stir unrest within Iraq's own Shiite majority in an effort to install an Iran-like theocracy in Baghdad."

April 7, 2004

"Q: Given that the Shi'a militias, at least recently, have become much more of an active threat to U.S. forces, can you say whether there's any evidence the Iranian government or Iranian forces are in any way meddling in this situation and making things worse?
"SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, we know the Iranians have been meddling, and it's unhelpful to have neighboring countries meddling in the affairs of Iraq. And I think the Iraqi people are not going to want to be dominated by a neighboring country -- any neighboring country. No country wants to be dominated by its neighbors. And the -- but the situation here is what it is, and this particular individual that is causing troubles recently is someone that is behaving in a lawless way and is a fugitive from Iraqi justice. It's not the United States that's issued the warrant, it's the Iraqi judicial system that has."

April 8, 2004

  • "Italian Security Report Links Moqtada Sadr To The Supreme Leader," Radio Farda (Transcripts), April 8, 2004: "Iraqi Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr, who is directing a widespread armed uprising against the coalition forces in Baghdad and southern Iraq, receives his orders directly from the office of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei Italian foreign intelligence organization, Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare (SISMI), a unit of the Italian defense ministry, said today in a report to the Italian parliament. The report, which prompted a call to foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi by Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini, said without political, financial and military support from the Supreme Leader, Moqtada Sadr and his al-Mahdi brigade could not have mounted their multiple, simultaneous attacks."

April 9 2004

  • Neoconservatives Claim Sadr Uprising is "Made in Teheran" By Jim Lobe IPS April 9, 2004

Despite the growing number of reports that depict the past week's uprising by the radical Shia cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, and his Mahdi Army as a spontaneous and indigenous revolt, some influential U.S. neoconservatives are insisting that Iran is behind it. They are calling on the Bush administration to warn Teheran to cease its alleged backing for al-Sadr and other Shia militias or face retaliation, ranging from an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities to covert action designed to overthrow the government.

But independent experts on both Iran and Iraq say that, while Iran has no doubt provided various forms of assistance to Shia factions in Iraq since Hussein's ouster one year ago, its relations with Sadr have long been rocky and that it has opposed radical actions that could destabilize the situation. "Those elements closest to Iran among the Shiite clerics (in Iraq) have been the most moderate through all of this," according to Shaul Bakhash, an Iran expert at George Mason University. Indeed, many regional specialists agree that Iran has a strategic interest in avoiding any train of events that risks plunging Iraq into chaos or civil war and partition.

April 9, 2004

April 10, 2004

  • "US Troops Pull out of Major Centers as Iraqi Security Forces and Interim Government Buckle," DEBKAfile, April 10, 2004: "Most surprisingly, American and allied forces were stopped in their tracks not by a popular Iraqi revolution or a mighty army, but by the spotty 'strike and scoot' tactics of a radical militia, the ragtag Mehdi Army led by a fringe Shiite leader, 31-year old Moqtada Sadr. ... His tactics, meticulously plotted by masterminds in Iran and the Hizballah, proved capable of breaking up the military, political and economic edifice the Bush administration had created at great cost on the road to a future democracy."

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