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CNN:US Supporting Sunni Militias Against Iraqi Government

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According to the following report by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware, the US is supporting Sunni militias as “a balance against the very government America created and has lost influence over.” Ware’s report suggests the possibility of a protracted proxy war between the US and Sunni Arab allies versus the elected Shiite dominated government supported by Iran, as a strategy to curb Iranian and Shiite ascendancy in the region.

Cooper notes the disapproval of elected Iraqi leaders for this strategy:

Prime Minister al-Maliki and others in the parliament were voicing concerns over the strategy in your [Ware’s] story saying it could create new militias, a legitimate concern, but kind of hypocritical for Shi’a political leaders who have their own militias to be condemning other militias.

Cooper did not remark on the inherent duplicity of this policy concerning positions taken by US administration officials regarding alleged Iranian support for Shiite Militias.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said afterward he saw positive steps during the meeting, which he said was “businesslike.” But Iran rejected one key U.S. complaint: that Iran is supporting militias inside Iraq.

RYAN CROCKER, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq: We also made it clear, from the American point of view, that this is about actions, not just principles. And I laid out before the Iranians a number of our direct, specific concerns about their behavior in Iraq, their support for militias that are fighting both the Iraqi security forces and coalition forces.

GWEN IFILL: For his part, the Iranian envoy said he proposed forming a committee to help the Iraqi government with security matters. He pressed for a second round of meetings with the U.S. next month.

American and Iranian officials regularly accuse each other of contributing to instability in Iraq, but some analysts see the possibility of cooperation in Iraq. As the US and Iran meet for their second round of talks on stabilizing Iraq, this issue will likely arise as a point of contention for both parties.

Irancove @ July 21, 2007

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