Sunday, August 28, 2016

At Large

How WikiLeaks Makes Confrontation With Iran More Likely

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks during a London news conference on the release of secret documents about the Iraq war on October 23.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks during a London news conference on the release of secret documents about the Iraq war on October 23.
It is no secret that Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, opposes the American-led war efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He is not some dispassionate journalist bringing information to light for its own sake; he has an agenda, and makes no bones about it. "This material shines light on the everyday brutality and squalor of war," he said before releasing a stash of classified documents related to the Afghan conflict this summer. "The archive will change public opinion and it will change the opinion of people in positions of political and diplomatic influence."

WikiLeaks will indeed "change" opinions. But they should not alter them in the pacifistic way Assange desires.

Far from demonstrating that it is America and its allies which are responsible for most of the violence that has engulfed Iraq in the seven years since the ouster of Saddam Hussein, the latest WikiLeaks reveal, in the words of the "Washington Post," that "the vast majority of Iraqi civilian deaths were caused by other Iraqis, not by coalition forces." And many of those deaths were perpetrated by Iraqis who received training in neighboring Iran. "The New York Times" last week said that the documents reveal the "shadow war between the United States and Iraqi militias backed by Iran's Revolutionary Guards." According to a 2006 report, for instance, Azhar al-Dulaimi, a Shi'ite militia commander who had kidnapped officials from Iraq's Ministry of Higher Education, was trained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah, Iran's terrorist proxy in Lebanon. This is but one of the connections to Iran that the WikiLeaks reveal; the documents offer a trove of information spelling out in specific detail how various instruments of the Iranian regime funded, equipped, and trained Shi'ite militants to kill not only their fellow Iraqis, but coalition troops as well.

Critics of the war have long painted allegations of Iranian involvement in Iraq as exaggerated, the cynical attempts of Western hard-liners to gain support for tougher policies against Tehran. Reasonable people can of course differ on how to deal with the Iranian regime. But what is now beyond dispute is that it clearly sees itself as engaged in a war against the United States and those attempting to forge an independent and democratic Iraq.

According to the documents, Iran has served as a veritable training camp for terrorists who use Iranian territory as a base from which to conduct deadly operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The regime's Quds Force, the external branch of the Revolutionary Guards that equips terrorists throughout the Middle East and allegedly even in Latin America, has trained Shi'ite militants from Iraq in the use of explosives and sniper rifles. Crucially, as the "Times" points out, this training continued after President Barack Obama publicly reached out to Iranian officials and reiterated his intention to withdraw American troops by the end of next year: "The attacks continued during Mr. Obama's first year in office, with no indication in the reports that the new administration’s policies led the Quds Force to end its support for Iraqi militants," says the "Times." "The pending American troop withdrawals, the reports asserted, may even have encouraged some militant attacks."

The Afghan war logs that Assange leaked earlier this year told much the same story about Iran's destabilizing influence, a point I stressed at the time. Let's just say that the Islamic republic's involvement in that country has involved tactics more worrying than the Tammany Hall-esque handing of "bags of money" to President Hamid Karzai and his senior aides.

Asked about his motives in releasing classified information, Assange has said, "I enjoy crushing bastards." Presumably, he's referring to the international coalition -- the officials, soldiers, and humanitarian aid workers -- trying to bring some measure of stability to Iraq and Afghanistan, and not the theocrats and mass murderers who have visited such destruction and misery on those countries. Assange doesn't seem to have much fire in his belly for going after them. But the unwitting effects of his latest document dump, as with the last, have been to reveal the true nature of Al-Qaeda and the Iranian regime, and to open a window into what the region will look like should their efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq prove successful.
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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Anthony
October 26, 2010 14:42
This is pure spin. Iran certainly had a role in the Iraq conflict (we enabled it but going there in the first place) but the role Iran played dwarfs the role we played to destabilize the region. NYT and Washingtonpost have turned into an arm of the pentagon/washington but highlighting Iran's role and whitewashing our own failures.
In Response

by: Rick from: New York
October 27, 2010 02:02
The Islamic Republic has always been a destabilizing element since its inception. Anthony and Darrell (more than likely the same person) do not seem to know history. Yes the US invasion destabilized the Baathist Iraq and the Taliban Afghanistan... both states NEEDED to be destabilized. The conflicts have NOT spread to other countries and while innocent people have been killed- hundreds of thousands had already died under the control of those brutal dictatorship. The Iranian people deserve a much better government - and when the history is finally available the world is going to be forced to accept how damaging Iran has been to the whole middle east through its support to terrorist groups.
In Response

by: Mike from: Los Angeles
October 27, 2010 16:39
Rick, it seems that you are ignoring a big factor in your argument and that is the greediness of the bullying powers and their imperialist agendas. To achieve their goals, they commit ANY crimes and then they easily spin the facts!! And if you read the history you see that almost all those brutal governments are byproducts of the bullying powers’ actions!
In Response

by: Anthony
October 28, 2010 17:09
Ah, Rick logic goes: America good, everyone else bad. We can do no wrong! We are the forces of righteousness! We torture, kill innocent civilians in the name of freedom and democracy!
In Response

by: Ivo
October 28, 2010 18:14
So then Rick, why Iraq and Afghanistan "NEEDED" to be destabilised but not the KSA for example? You know that same country whose regime and record on human rights are worse than Iran's, the country where Wahhabism (along with most 9/11 folks) originates from and so on.

Don't get me wrongly by the way, I don't feel sorry to see either regime go.

>how damaging Iran has been to the whole middle east through its support to terrorist groups.
There were no terrorists in Iraq prior to March 2003, you know that right?

by: Darrell from: CA
October 26, 2010 18:49
Aren't we forgetting that Iraq is in Iran's backyard. There is no doubt, in my opinion, that we would somehow get involved if Russia decided to invade Mexico. What Iran is doing only makes logical sense following the US invasion and subsequent destabilization of the region.
In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
October 27, 2010 08:40
@"What Iran is doing only makes logical sense"

Nice, so training and equipping suicide bombers and militia who kill literally thousands of innocent men, women, and children in Iraq, not to mention the coalition forces trying to protect those people "makes sense"?

Iran is a clear and present dange to the region, if you had ever been there you would understand quite clearly the problems that Iran is causing in all of the neighboring states, through the Iranian governments support for Islamic extremism, terrorism, and organised criminal groups that do its bidding.
In Response

by: Anonymous
October 28, 2010 17:27
whats knew !!!
In Response

by: Darrell from: CA
October 28, 2010 19:25
Whoa there Andrew. First of all, studies have shown that the number one reason why people become suicide bombers or terrorist (not just muslims) is OCCUPATION by an aggressive foreign invader. Think about it, if Iran decided to invade and occupy parts of New Zealand because it didn't like how you folks do things, how would you react?

I love my country and I am concerned about the direction our leaders are continuing to lead us. The United States can no longer take the moral high ground and say we are just defending human rights and instilling Democracy throughout the middle east while at the same time killing innocent civillians with drone attacks, torturing pow's, or basically creating more chaos in the region.

Remember General Powell's comments about absolute certainty that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Or how our mission in Afghanistan to "get Bin Laden" changed to eliminating the Taliban. Besides that, why are we in Afghanistan anyway when most of the 13 hijackers on 911 were Saudis' including Osama. It seems to me that we should stop the supply of terrorists at it's source. But that won't happen because Saudi Arabia is our ally and they have plenty of oil so we'll just overlook that point and turn our eyes away when they perform public beheadings.

by: Anonymous
October 26, 2010 20:10
total neocon nonsense. shame on you and others like you who are pushing for another war.

by: Raoole
October 26, 2010 21:54
What about the Sunni Militants, who were funded and armed by Saudis?
Majority of American soldiers that were killed in Iraq died by Sunni Militants
not by Shiite Militants.
Amazing 400,000 pages of secret documents but no mention of Saudis?
I smell rotten fish here.
In Response

by: viewer
October 28, 2010 00:01
correct! cuz Saudi is friendly and they are buying weapons from us...only some 60 billion $ !
In Response

by: Anonymous
October 28, 2010 17:30
not by saudis government or army
In Response

by: Ivo
October 28, 2010 18:32
>Amazing 400,000 pages of secret documents but no mention of Saudis?
>I smell rotten fish here.

You think the author of the article or the ones he quotes has read all the 400,000 odd pages? Obviously they haven't, they're just cherry-picking for their own agenda, namely fuel the anti-Iranian hysteria and scare mongering.

by: Waqar from: Tehran
October 27, 2010 00:22
Iran's role in Iraq is so hyped up. Afterall, what can a country bearing inhumane sanctions do vs the might of the US? It just doesn't add up - plus this whole "bags full of cash" thing is so silly.. Karzai himself said the US does the same as well.. really silly stuff..
In Response

by: Diyosko Day
October 27, 2010 15:29
iDIOTIC. West's money is for nation building, humanitarian efforts and security. Iran's for Karzai's palace and his staff to keep their loyalty. The President should serve the people not the country where money comes and bids the most and direct. If it weren't exposed who knows where the money goes -to fight the coalition?
In Response

by: viewer
October 28, 2010 00:04
Nation Building....good joke!
In Response

by: Dayan
October 28, 2010 07:45
Diyosko Day - your utterance is so naive (and idiotic) that I doubt you have seen any aid project anywhere in the third world. "West's money is for nation building, humanitarian efforts and security" would make any person with little field experience laugh.

by: piaagano from: USA
October 27, 2010 00:23
Yeah, Anthony and Darrell, we "destabilized" a region in which Saddam used chemical weapons against his own countrymen, tortured and killed many others, and in which the mullahs in Iran sent nine-year-olds to the front lines against Iraq, held Americans hostage and killed our embassy's guards, and continues to execute enemies of the state by public hanging or stoning.

Rwandans and the southern Sudanese must feel very fortunate that we righteously didn't elect to "destabilize" their regions as well.

by: tom from: ohio
October 27, 2010 00:36
Sure, Iran has vital interest in Iraq, It must try to make sure no more Sadam takes charge.
In Response

by: viewer
October 28, 2010 00:09
probably the biggest fear of Iran is what happens if CF role in Iraq finishes....probably they would be they are pushing to get the CF stuck in there...however oil, Defense & private military companies would like this situation....when the streets are full of blood, they can make profits....

by: viewer
October 27, 2010 06:20
Darrel is correct....
this is just a matter of lateral thinking...
the story of the guy who was in prison and wanted to help his wife to plant potato in the he wrote a letter to his wife..saying that I have hidden the guns in the police force go and dig the whole farm guns...but the farm is ready for seeding & planting !

with this perspective, you can see what WikiLeaks is somehow the same...
after attacking iraq with false intel & justifications, they are facing credibility of information & intelligence among public.......but through wikileaks we are accepting all of the 400,000 pages of info !!! and then it's possible to justify any action against iran in public opinion......

WikiLeaks is going to be the best example for Lateral Thinking, nevertheless it's going to be used in evil way.....

by: Mark from: Afghanistan
October 27, 2010 08:03
"Some how get involved...logical sense...." Wikileaks documents a de facto war that was being waged between the CF and Iran. The above comments seem to justify the murder of innocent civilians or at the very least the non-judicial, non-war related politcal killings of thousand and iraqis and hundreds of foreign humanitarian personnel, in addition to the unnecessay deaths and injuries to military personnel as part of this war. The comments sound like those of a dupe or an apologist for Iran.
In Response

by: viewer
October 27, 2010 23:54
First, let me clarify something, no one intended and can approve what's happening in Iraq & Afghanistan and especially to their people...
but it seems that you do not dislike another war!

For a complete Logical Sense that why CF are in Iraq, read this article:

non-judicial, non-war related politcal killings of thousand and iraqis and hundreds of foreign humanitarian whom?
"Iraq for Sale"

you are not a dope to think US forces are there for Iraqi people... however, in terms of the business model in a country level, it's notable to use the 1990 War Cost re-payment method, in that time Saudi paid, this time US get it directly from the Oil...but there is someone should be there for protection/security...Blackwater/XE (they can do anything and answer to nobody!)...everything is destroyed during our attack...we get the money we paid for oil back for constructing what we destroyed for freedom !
Oh, Iran is there & will become unhappy if we don't gain their support (like how their supported Northern Alliance & CF to fight against Taliban....)
we want to screw them later.....we don't need them....

and if you are a soldier, don't worry you will see another war soon...

these articles and many other articles like this which are being published or broadcasted on news channels are preparing the public......

by: Anonymous
October 28, 2010 18:06
>he has an agenda, and makes no bones about it.

Mister Kirchick, when you say 'A' please also say 'B'. What *is* Assange's agenda in your view?

>Presumably, he's referring to the international coalition
Presumptions based on what? Especially regarding humanitarian aid workers.

Anyway, those who propagate freedom, democracy, free media/speech and so on—especially on a 'surrogate broadcaster' platform—should only admire Assange's effort to bring out the truth.

Truth is, war is a dirty business and no matter how some would like to sugar coat the Iraq/Afghan wars, fact is the liberators (or 'liberators') are too guilty of dirty crimes and if they want to be taken seriously about their effort of establishing freedom, democracy and human rights they should welcome these leaks.

>But the unwitting effects of his latest document dump, as with the last, have been to reveal the true nature of Al-Qaeda and the Iranian regime

Then why isn't this article a glorifying praise of WikiLeaks?!

Oh and as for Obama 'publicly reaching out to Iranian officials', in case you meet his first Nouruz address (I never bothered watching the second), my honest impression was that he was being especially condescending and pointing fingers.
Comments page of 2

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At Large takes an expansive view of the politics, people, and cultures of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's broadcast region. Written by RFE/RL Writer at Large James Kirchick, the site is home to dispatches and commentaries about the Balkans to Central Asia and everywhere in between.

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