"I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them," said a defiant Obama. "We've been talking about Iraq. One of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they're going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses. They have been acting irresponsibly up until this point. But if we tell them that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force, we are in a position to say that they are going to have to carry some weight, in terms of stabilizing the region."
Iran and Syria 'are going to to carry some weight, in terms of stabilizing the region'? You got to be kidding.
Well, that was then. But after a few years of on-the-job training, Obama at long last has come to realize that, contrary to the absurd and convoluted line of reasoning he once proffered, Iran is actually a destabilizing and highly dangerous force in the region.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that "U.S. military commanders and intelligence officers are pushing for greater authority to conduct covert operations to thwart Iranian influence in neighboring Iraq."
It is still unclear whether the President will approve this request. Obama, after all, has consistently avoided taking any kind of action - or saying anything - that might antagonize the Iranian regime. But, nevertheless, the Obama administration, apparently, is now suddenly concerned about Iran's increasing influence in Iraq.
[The proposal put forth by U.S. military commanders and intelligence officers] comes amid growing concern in the Obama administration about Iran's attempts in recent months to expand its influence in Iraq and the broader Middle East and what it says is Tehran's increased arms smuggling to its allies...To suggest that Iran has only recently ["in recent months"] begun to expand its influence in Iraq is an outright lie, but par for the course, I suppose.
Compounding the urgency is the planned reduction in the US military presence in Iraq by the end of the year, a development that many fear will open up the country to more influence from Iran, which also has a majority Shiite population.Well, maybe that explains the sudden concern emanating from the White House. After all, the 2012 election is right around the corner.
If the request is approved by the White House, the authorization for the covert activity in Iraq likely would take the form of a classified presidential "finding." But unlike the secret order that authorized the CIA's campaign against Al Qaeda in 2001, the current proposal is limited in scope, officials said.
Still, such a step would reflect the U.S.'s effort to contain Iranian activities in the region. Ending the U.S.'s involvement in the Iraqi conflict was a central promise of President Obama's 2008 campaign, and the administration wants to ensure it doesn't withdraw troops only to see its main regional nemesis, Iran, raise its influence there.
Now, what was it that Obama said during the 2007 debate?
"We need to talk to Iran and Syria because they're going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses... If we tell them that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force, we are in a position to say that they are going to have to carry some weight, in terms of stabilizing the region."And, the last sentence I quoted from the Wall Street Journal was...
"The administration wants to ensure it doesn't withdraw troops only to see its main regional nemesis, Iran, raise its influence there.Heh...