Over the weekend, military sources gave a briefing to the press in Baghdad, ostensibly presenting their case that Iran is actively involved in Iraq, and supplying weaponry to add fuel to the spiralling violence there.
The reactions spanned everything from hysteria to derision, but the prevailing tone was — and is — a pervading skepticism. Who said this? (They’re anonymous). Who’s supplying these munitions? (The US thinks it’s tied to the government).
Unh hunh. Right. We’ve heard this before, but this time around, people aren’t going to accept maybes and we’re pretty sures. It wasn’t specific enough.
Everybody’s jaded from 2002, and Americans want to see the man (men?) behind the curtain this time. A smoke = fire justification for any type of action by this government isn’t going to be enough, and it’s just too easy to counter. That’s what blown credibility gets you, and it’s hard to imagine anything this administration could say about Iraq or Iran that the public would believe at this point.
But what would the public’s perception of such proof be if it were some other administration presenting it, or it came from another source altogether?
Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
More than 100 of the.50 calibre weapons, capable of penetrating body armour, have been discovered by American troops during raids.
The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year.
The sale was condemned in Washington and London because officials were worried that the weapons would be used by insurgents against British and American troops.
According to the article, it was only 45 days from Iran’s receipt of these guns before one was used to kill in Iraq. Pretty danged quick, I’d say, to have hit the Iraqi streets without governmental facilitation.
Is this, as Ed Morrissey calls it this morning, the smoking gun?
It’s fascinating (to me) that this has come out through the UK press. Yes, there’s bias there (as here), but other than Americans being the troops finding (and getting killed by) these weapons, this trail of crumbs was laid by someone else altogether.
I think it’s pretty obvious that the Iranian government is involved in Iraq up to its eyebrows. What’s not clear to me is what could, or should, be done about it. Even if the Iranian officials came out and said, “Yup. We’re supplying arms to our friends in Iraq”, what would that change?
Only public opinion. Hmmmm…..