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February 05, 2007

Cognitive Dissonance Iran  Iraq  Politics

While administration rhetoric against Iran grows more heated, a new US National Intelligence Estimate finds it "not likely" that Iran is a significant cause of violence in Iraq. Seattle Times:

The Bush administration is escalating its confrontation with Iran, sending an additional aircraft carrier and minesweepers into the Persian Gulf as it accuses the Islamic regime of arming Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq for attacks on U.S. troops.

A new U.S. intelligence estimate Friday, however, concluded that Iranian and other outside meddling is "not likely" a major cause of the bloodshed in Iraq, and a new McClatchy analysis of U.S. casualties in Iraq found that Sunni Muslim insurgents, not Iranian-backed Shiites, have mounted most — but not all — attacks on American forces.

The Bush administration, which made exaggerated or incorrect claims about Iraq's weapons programs and ties to al-Qaida to justify its 2003 invasion of Iraq, hasn't provided evidence to back up its charges. [...]

"The vast majority of Americans who are being killed are still being killed by IEDs [improvised explosive devices] set by Sunnis," said Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA and White House expert on Persian Gulf affairs. [...]

"The evidence that I am seeing does not seem to support the level of rhetoric, let alone the military actions" the administration is taking, Pollack said. [...]

On Friday, the National Intelligence Council, comprising the top U.S. intelligence analysts, released an assessment of the Iraq crisis that said "lethal support" from Iran to Shiite militants "clearly intensifies" the conflict, but isn't a significant factor.

"Iraq's neighbors influence, and are influenced by, events in Iraq, but the involvement of these outside actors is not likely to be a major driver of violence or the prospects for stability because of the self-sustaining" sectarian strife, said the analysis, known as a National Intelligence Estimate.

Intelligence officials said they have strong evidence of Iranian support for Iraqi Shiite militias, especially the Mahdi Army. The question is how great a role they're playing in the conflict.

"No one sees a problem," said a U.S. defense official who requested anonymity because the issue involves top-secret intelligence. [Emphasis added]

The analysts who generated the NIE have seen whatever evidence exists. If they haven't seen any evidence that Iran is playing a significant role in Iraq, it's because there isn't any evidence.

No one should be giving the White House the benefit of the doubt on this. Not after all the lies they told us to sell their attack on Iraq. The penalty for lying is not to be believed.

Posted by Jonathan at February 5, 2007 04:26 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb