The President apparently doesn't bluff often. As he said in his address to the Nation about Iraq last night:
Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We'll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.
Today we have clear follow up to those words.
U.S. forces stormed an Iranian government representative's office in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil early on Thursday and arrested five people, including diplomats and staff, Iranian officials said.
the U.S. military said it had detained six people around Arbil on suspicion of being "closely tied to activities targeting Iraqi and coalition forces".
"This operation was part of an ongoing effort by coalition forces targeting individuals involved in activities aimed at the killing of Iraqi citizens and Coalition forces," it said, adding that the suspects had surrendered without incident.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, while not commenting on the operation in Arbil, told Fox News:
"The president made very clear last night that we know that Iran is engaged in activities that are endangering our troops, activities that are destabilising the young Iraqi government and that we're going to pursue those who may be involved in those activities."
More activity followed that raid, though it didn't go as planned.
In the second raid, staged later in the day, U.S. troops attempted to abduct more people from inside the perimeter of Irbil airport, but were surrounded by Kurdish peshmerga troops.
"This group has come from nowhere," Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told ABC News. "They were unwilling to reveal their identity and entered the airport, which is a very sensitive area, and there was a response by the local forces."
Both sides were heavily armed, and shooting very nearly broke out. "There weren't any casualties, but it was a split second really for a disaster to happen. This has created a great deal of anxiety," said Zebari.
It is unclear where the U.S. troops came from — even local U.S. officials contacted by the Kurdish authorities had no knowledge of the armed men.
For those having a hissy fit about the first raid violating International law, the following is from the above article:
The liaison office that was raided issues travel permits for Iraqis traveling to Iran and other consular tasks and is on a waiting list to be officially declared a consulate. Technically, according to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, the Iranians working in the liaison are not diplomats.
Apparently, some are too young, or short of memory to keep in mind how well Iranian radicals respect foreign embassies, that are actually established and officially recognized. Besides that and the technicality, payback is a beotch, isn't it?
We finally have an increase in activity directed at those working to destabilize Iraq. It would appear that we've gained some solid intelligence from previous raids and doing well in exploiting that information. It's about time, I hope we keep the pressure up and break their ability and will to meddle, so that Iraq can achieve stability and peace..
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