Monday, March 24, 2008

Iran Behind Baghdad Attacks - Petraeus

US commander in Iraq Gen David Petraeus told BBC today that Iran was behind Sunday’s barrage of mortars and rockets fired at Baghdad’s Green Zone. Gen Patraeus said he thought Iran trained, equipped and funded the insurgents involved in the attacks.

Gen Petraeus singled out Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and its Quds Force as the perpetrators of the violence in Baghdad.

The latest comments by Gen Petraeus add to increasing signs of a looming conflict involving Iran.

· President Bush said on Wednesday that Iran could be hiding a nuclear weapon program and suggested Iran’s goal in building the weapon is to destroy Israel.
· Vice President Dick Cheney toured the region this week and said Iran must not be allowed to build a nuclear weapon. Cheney warned Arab leaders of destabilizing role of Iran in the region.
· Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said yesterday that Iran’s nuclear program is putting the stability of the entire Middle East, and the entire world, in jeopardy. Barak told visiting Cheney that the military option must be kept open in dealing with Iran.
· Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Tel Aviv on Friday that a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is disastrous.
· French president Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday that Europe’s security was at stake while Iran was increasing the range of its missiles.

Developments in the region also pointed to an imminent conflict involving Iran’s surrogates.

· Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak today reportedly put the Israeli military on guard against Hezbollah’s “open war” against Israel. Hezbollah had threatened such attack to retaliate against Mughaniyeh killing. But if Israel attacks Iranian nuclear installations, Hezbollah would indeed launch a war against Israel.
· Hezbollah has built up its rocket arsenal, surpassing its pre-2006 Lebanese War capabilities.
· The militant groups stationed in Syria, along with Syrian army divisions, are reportedly deployed in Baqaa amid rising tensions over a war with Israel.

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