Saturday, May 27, 2006

Timing is everything

Remember all the waffle about Iran supposedly arming the Sunni insurgents (despite it being wildly contrary to Iranian interests)? Well, I think it may be gradually turning into a case of being right too early. Not that the New-Old Iraqi Army is getting arms from Iran, but that somebody may be trying to build up a countervailing power to the hitherto Iranian-supported SCIRI.

Take a look at this report about how Basra, once an even break between SCIRI and the Sadr movement, is now under the control of a third, heterodox Shia party (Fadhila), who are applying the oil weapon to the SCIRI/Dawa-majority central government.

Now consider a stub in Private Eye this week regarding the latest IED innovation in the south. Supposedly "somebody" there has got the knowledge of how to make passive infrared-triggered, compressed gas bombs "from Iran". Guerrilla fuel-air explosive! Scarequotes because (I think I've said before) that getting the information on how to make them is no longer a serious problem. They use the Internet after all, and they have access to smart people (Iraq had a space programme up to 1991).

But I think there is a possibility that Iran is concerned that SCIRI is not enough, that it is getting too close to the Sunnis and also the Sadrists, and that therefore they need counter-leverage. After all, why would the Badr Corps attack British troops in the deep south? They're the government! Why would Sadr do so now? And anyway, he and his loathe Iran. I wonder if the Fadhila is being built up as "the real resistance" to undermine Sadr, or else whether support to the pro-Iran side is leaking to Sadr?

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