The US has detained some Iranians in Iraq. In fact, American forces both stopped an Iranian embassy car to take two of Iran’s diplomats into custody, and also entered al-Hakim‘s compound to remove several others Iranians.
According to the NYT’s report, the diplomats were released, but the others – including some Iraqis — are still being held:
The predawn raid on Mr. Hakim’s compound, on the east side of the Tigris, was perhaps the most startling part of the American operation. The arrests were made inside the house of Hadi al-Ameri, the chairman of the Iraqi Parliament’s security committee and leader of the Badr Organization, the armed wing of Mr. Hakim’s political party.
Many Shiite political groups are now suspected of having ties to Iran, and Sciri [al-Hakim’s group- ed. ] is no exception. Senior party leaders lived in exile in Iran for years plotting the overthrow of Mr. Hussein. Some married Iranians and raised their children there.
Mr. Hakim has emerged as the central Iraqi Shiite who is backing a new bloc made up of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds that would isolate more radical politicians. Americans back the new bloc, and Mr. Hakim traveled to Washington earlier this month to discuss its formation with Mr. Bush. It was not clear how the arrests, embarrassing to Mr. Hakim, would affect those political efforts.
It would appear that the Americans are attempting to hold the Shi’ite Iraqi government’s feet to the fire. There is on-going concern that the Sunnis will be particularly vulnerable in the coming era of Iraq’s
theocratic democratic rule.
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That’s how it appears, but who knows for sure? An “unnamed” American claimed:
“It’s our position that the Iraqis have to seize this opportunity to sort out with the Iranians just what kind of behavior they are going to tolerate,” the official said, declining to speak on the record because the details of the raid and investigation were not yet public. “They are going to have to confront the evidence that the Iranians are deeply involved in some of the acts of violence.”
I think he means that Iraq is going to have to be public and up-front about the incursion of Iranian insurgents into the country, insurgents tasked with killing Iraq’s American “guests.” With the arrest of people it suspects of targeting Americans, the militarily has thrown down the gauntlet.
Let’s see if anyone picks it up. So far, Iran is uncharacteristically mum – considering these events started on Thursday, that silence in itself is interesting.
Thanks to Larwyn