“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their life”.

By now there are few people who can fail to recognize that the British Prime Minister has been misleading himself and us to believe that which is false to be valid, and that which is valid to be false. Self-deception has been honed to a fine craft in this man. It seems we are swimming in a sea completely bereft of a moral compass, awash with dishonesty and led by self-serving men who talk up war with no regard to the lives their actions destroy. I shake my head in despair and wonder how we as a people will recover from this shameless episode.

Blair’s latest performance before the press, following the release of the 15 British Navy seamen and woman by Iran was an excellent example of Blair’s self-deception. Blair, caught on the hop by the Iranian action made an off-the-cuff address to the press in which avoiding acknowledgement of Iranian “magnamity” was central. Instead, referring to the deaths of four British soldiers in Iraq the previous day, he alleged, “It’s far too early to say that the particular terrorist act that killed our forces was an act committed by terrorists who were backed by any elements of the Iranian regime, so I make no allegation in respect of that particular incident. But the general picture, as I have said before, is there are elements at least of the Iranian regime that are backing, financing, arming, terrorism in Iraq.” He presented no proof. In the propaganda war being waged by Britain against Iran it only necessary to repeat ad-infinitum such fact-free accusations and appear to believe them.

In an article appearing in the Gulf Times was the following snippet

“Iraqi army soldiers swept into the city of Diwaniya early this morning to disrupt militia activity and return security and stability of the volatile city back to the government of Iraq,” the US military said in a statement.

Bleichwehl said troops, facing scattered resistance, discovered a factory that produced “explosively formed penetrators” (EFPs), a particularly deadly type of explosive that can destroy a main battle tank and several weapons caches.

Followed by

Police in Basra indicated an explosion that destroyed a British armoured fighting vehicle, killing four soldiers and a translator on Thursday, was caused by a new type of bomb.

“We found two bombs … that were similar to the bomb that exploded targeting the British troops,” Major General Mohamed Moussawi said. “These are new bombs that haven’t been used and do not have a precedent in southern Iraq.”
The bomb blast left a crater several metres across and a metre deep in the road.

US and British forces have accused neighbouring Shia Iran of supplying Shia militias with EFPs, which are normally placed on the side of the road and fire a metal projectile embedded in the device into the target at high speed.

But a Western explosives expert in Iraq said it appeared from photographs of the crater that the blast had been caused by a commercial landmine buried in the road, not by an EFP

Yes, for months now we have been told that Iran was supplying these EFPs to what are now being dubbed “anti-Iraqi forces” but that the knowledge to make them were beyond the abilities of Iraqis. Juan Cole however says that “One of the key components, which is difficult to mill, is routinely used in oil field technology, and lots of Iraqis know how to make it.” Now that evidence has surfaced of workshops being found in Iraq producing EFPs, the accusation mutates so that Iran is now training the Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

Iraqi militia fighters are being trained in Iran to build and use deadly armor-piercing roadside bombs and complex attack strategies against American forces, the U.S. military said Wednesday.

U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell would not say how many militiamen had gone to Iran but said that questioning of fighters captured as recently as this month confirmed many had been in Iranian training camps.

“They do receive training on how to assemble and employ EFPs,” Caldwell said, adding that fighters also were taught how to carry out attacks that use explosives followed by assaults with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms.

EFP stands for explosively formed penetrator. The weapon causes great uneasiness among U.S. forces because it explodes with tremendous force and can penetrate heavily armored vehicles with a fist-size lump of molten copper. In January, U.S. officials said EFPs had killed at least 170 American soldiers in
Iraq.

“We know that they are being in fact manufactured and smuggled into this country, and we know that training does go on in Iran for people to learn how to assemble them and how to employ them. We know that training has gone on as recently as this past month from detainees’ debriefs,” Caldwell said at a weekly briefing.

The general would not say specifically which arm of the Iranian government was doing the training but called the instructors “surrogates” of Iran’s intelligence agency. He also said the U.S. military had evidence that Iranian intelligence agents were active in Iraq in funding, training and arming Shiite militia fighters.

Caldwell opened the briefing by showing photographs of what he said were Iranian-made mortar rounds, RPG rounds and rockets that were found in Iraq.

The accusations are the latest attempt by the United States to show that Iran is meddling in the Iraq war. If true, the training poses a serious threat to both U.S. forces and Iraqi stability. Iraq, which like Iran is majority Shiite, has found itself in a difficult position since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, trying to maintain good relations with its neighbor while not angering the Americans.

Commanders of a splinter group inside the Shiite Mahdi Army militia have told The Associated Press there are as many as 4,000 members of their organization that were trained in Iran and that they have stockpiles of deadly roadside bombs known as EFPs.

Asked for reaction, Caldwell said he could not confirm the number.

The Mahdi Army commanders who spoke to the AP did so on condition of anonymity because their organization is viewed as illegal by the American military and giving their names would likely lead to their arrest and imprisonment. They said Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards was running the training operation in Iran.

Gen. Ramazan Sharif, spokesman of the Revolutionary Guards, denied ties with the Mahdi Army in Iraq.

“This sort of news and information is planned by occupier (U.S.) forces in Iraq as part of their psychological operations against Iran,” he said.

“This hollow claim was repeatedly rejected by Iraqi government and officials. And the occupiers could not provide any evidence to support it,” Sharif said. He said the United States was using such claims as a cover for its failures in Iraq.

The Mahdi Army is loyal to radical Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who U.S. officials say is holed up in Iran.

On Wednesday, Iraqi Cabinet ministers allied to al-Sadr threatened to quit the government to protest the prime minister’s lack of support for a timetable for U.S. withdrawal.

Such a pullout by the bloc that put Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in office could collapse his already perilously weak government. The threat comes two months into a U.S. effort to pacify Baghdad in order to give al-Maliki’s government room to function.

There have been many attempts by the US to link Muqtada al Sadr to Iran. After years of being fed disinformation about Iraq there is little cause to believe these latest pronouncements.

The man is a nationalist who is both suspicious and resentful of foreign interference by Iran. On the 9th of April he called once more for unity between Sunnis and Shias. More worryingly for the US, he called for the Iraqi army and police to join his forces in overthrowing the occupation forces, urging them not support the “occupier because it is your enemy.”

Najaf 9th April 2007

“Iraq has had enough bloodshed. The occupation forces led by the biggest evil, America, is working to sow dissent either directly or through its agents.”

The day after the Najaf rally attended by a million Iraqis shouting “Yes! Yes! Iraq. No! No! America”, Al Mahdi soldiers were parading in the streets in a show of power and a slap to the face of PM Nouri al-Maliki who claimed that the Iraqi army were in control of its streets.

Iraqi Cabinet ministers allied to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threatened Wednesday to quit the government to protest the prime minister’s lack of support for a timetable for U.S. withdrawal, according to a statement.

Such a pullout by the very bloc that put Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in office could collapse his already perilously weak government. The threat comes two months into a U.S. effort to pacify Baghdad in order to give al-Maliki’s government room to function.

Nouri al-Maliki’s government is riven with divisions. Other blocs are also threatening to pull out.

Four years after the occupation of Iraq, the “political process” that resulted from the invasion is still as precarious as ever. In the Arab media today, almost every major political bloc is threatening to abandon the “political process,” each for their own reasons.

Al-Hayat reported that the Kurdish bloc considers the Kirkuk referendum to be a major condition for “its participation in the political process.” After an acute political crisis with Turkey over the issue of Kirkuk, the Iraqi vice-prime minister (representing the Kurdish bloc) Barham Salih warned the government from “placing obstacles” in the path of the application of the 140th article of the constitution.

…As if those developments were not enough trouble for Maliki, the government is also faced by similar threats from the Sunni bloc in the parliament. Az-Zaman and al-Hayat write that a strong current within the Sunni Tawafuq coalition is calling for a withdrawal from the government and the political process as a whole. (Slogger reported earlier on this development.)

While ‘Adnan al-Dulaimi (leader of the Tawafuq bloc) affirmed that his party is not intending to abandon the political process, he also stated that not all parties within his coalition are in agreement over this issue. Dulaimi specifically referred to the Islamic Party (one of the major constituents of Tawafuq) who, Dulaimi said, is planning to form its own independent coalition in the parliament.

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